Ford Timeline 1943-1982

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Ford: A Century of History, Part I by Mike Davis (6/2/2003)
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Ford Timeline: 1863-1943 by Mike Davis (6/2/2003)

Ford History II: Young Henry by Mike Davis (6/2/2003)
Ford loses two generations and ends up reinventing itself.

Ford Timeline 1943-1982 by Mike Davis (6/2/2003)

Ford History III: Edsel & Bill Redux by Mike Davis (6/9/2003)
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Ford Timeline: 1974-2003 by Mike Davis (6/13/2003)

1943 May 26 - Death of Edsel Ford;

Henry Ford re-elected president;

Henry Ford II released from Navy to help stabilize company

1944 Charles E. Srensen, Ford’s legendary production chief and executive vice president, forced to resign after 40 years
1945 Civilian production resumes; Henry Ford II replaces Old Henry as president;
Lincoln-Mercury Division formed
1946 Henry Ford II begins restructuring company with former General Motors executives under Ernest R. Breech, “Whiz Kids” fresh out of Army Air Corps, and college graduate trainees
1947 April 7 — Death of Henry Ford
1948 Introduction of 1949 models, company’s first all-new post-war cars, Bob Gregorie-designed Lincoln and Mercury and George Walker-designed Ford;
F-1 pickup introduced with new cab on pre-war chassis;
December 27 — Birth of Edsel Ford II
1949 Ford Division formed
1950 1950 Ford overtakes Chrysler to regain second place;

One-millionth Mercury built

1951 Automatic transmission available in Ford products
1952 Modern OHV engines and suspended pedals introduced
1953 Golden anniversary celebrated with opening of Research and Engineering Center in Dearborn;
F-100 introduced with new cab and chassis features
1954 Introduction of 1955 Thunderbird
1955 Introduction of 1956 Continental Mark II, safety package option, creation of separate Lincoln, Mercury and Special Product divisions.
1956 1956 Sale of Ford Motor Co. common stock begins; new Central Office Building opened (later World Headquarters and now Henry Ford II World Center);

Introduction of 1957 Ford in two sizes, plus retractable hardtop and car-based pickup Ranchero.

1957 1957 Introduction of 1958 Edsel;

Lincoln-Mercury re-formed;

May 3 — Birth of William Clay Ford Jr.

1958 Late introduction of four-place 1958 Thunderbird
1959 Fifty millionth car, a Ford Galaxie, is built;

Compact 1960 Falcon model introduced, Edsel discontinued;
Ford Motor Credit Co. formed

1960 Introduction of 1960-1/2 Mercury Comet “luxury compact”;

Introduction of 1961 Econoline “compact truck”;

Announcement of 1961 models with industry-leading longer 12-month/12,000-mile warranties (24/24 for Lincoln);
Henry Ford II elected chairman of the board, replacing retiring Breech, Robert McNamara becomes president but resigns to join Kennedy Administration as Secretary of Defense

1961 John Dykstra becomes president;

Introduction of 1962-model “intermediate” Ford Fairlane and Mercury Meteor;

Ford acquires Autolite, forms Parts Division (Motorcraft); Acquires Philco Corporation

1963 Arjay Miller becomes president
1964 Introduction of 1965 Mustang “pony car”
1965 Introduction of Ford Transit van in Europe, first transnational European design;

Introduction of 1966 Bronco in U.S., first Ford sport-utility vehicle

1966 Introduction of 1967 Mercury Cougar, a Mustang spinoff
1967 Ford of Europe formed
1968 Semon Knudsen hired from General Motors as president; Introduction of 1969 Continental Mark III
1969 Company reorganized with Henry Ford II as chairman, Lee Iacocca as president of Ford North America Automotive Operations, Robert Stevenson as president of International and Robert Hampson as president of Non-Automotive
1970 Formation of Ford Motor Land Development Co.;

Introduction of sub-compact 1971 Ford Pinto;

Lee Iacocca becomes company president

1972 Henry Ford II announces plan for Renaissance Center on Detroit waterfront;

Last year for conventional full-sized Ford convertible

1973 Introduction of “downsized” 1974 Mustang II
1976 Introduction of sub-compact front-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta in Europe
1977 Introduction of “Fox” chassis compact cars, design still used on 2004 Mustang
1978 Introduction of “Panther” chassis large body-and-frame cars, still basis of Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car;

Phillip Caldwell named president, replacing Lee Iacocca, fired by Henry Ford II

One-hundred-fifty millionth Ford vehicle worldwide is built

1979 Ford retires as chief executive officer, succeeded by Phillip Caldwell;

Ford obtains initial 25-percent interest in Toyo Kogyo of Japan, later renamed Mazda

1980 Phillip Caldwell named board chairman and CEO with Donald Petersen as president and chief operating officer;

Introduction of 1981-model Ford Escort “world car” built in North America and Europe of mostly different components

1982 Introduction of 1983 Ford Ranger compact pickup truck;

Henry Ford II retires as company officer and employee;

Introduction of first “jelly-bean” styled cars, 1983 Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar

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