Ford gearing up to celebrate special 100th Irish birthday this year
Expect to hear a lot more from Ford this year, as they celebrate a special 100-year 'birthday'.
The build-up has begun to mark the 100th anniversary, in April, of Henry Ford establishing the factory on the Marina in Cork city. One particularly special event will be held in Cork City Hall on April 21, to mark the centenary. Sadly, the factory is no more but was, in its time, a huge employer in the area.
As you know, the Ford Motor company was set up in Michigan by Henry Ford in 1903. A mere 14 years later, he opened the first purpose-built Ford factory outside of North America in Cork.
His father, William, had emigrated from Ballinascarty, Cork, during the Famine. Henry, born in Michigan in 1863, realised the potential of the motor car at an early stage. He went on to become the man who brought motoring to the masses.
When business expanded to Europe, he chose Ireland for his first factory this side of the Atlantic.
The Irish company is called Henry Ford & Son Ltd, which continues to this day to be the only Ford entity to have the company founder's full name.
The main vehicle from the Cork plant was the Fordson tractor, but it also produced car models, including the Model T (last one anywhere was made in Cork in December 1928).
Cork's line-up of models from the 30s to the 80s, included the Model A, Model BF, Model Y; Prefect; Anglia; Escort; Cortina; and Sierra.
New rules on EEC membership in 1973 lifted restrictions on imports of fully-built vehicles, and a depressed car market, undermined the Cork plant's viability and it closed in 1984.