I thought this a good time to post a few pics of the early Ford racers, as they appeared in the day. Another thread "drifted" over to possibly the most famous Ford of all time, so I'll start with it. I think Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company realized a tremendous amount of public recognition and instant credibility as a result of Henry Ford's need for speed:
(the information presented is from my recollection, and may be "flat out wrong", but your getting what you paid for)
999 and Arrow set many track records barnstorming across the U.S.. Tom Cooper and Barney Oldfield raced each other with the two cars, with Oldfield eventually going to Winton to race their creations. Tom Cooper died in a non racing auto accident in Central Park around 1906. He represented Matheson automobiles at the time.
Photos from myautoworld:
Frank Day was killed driving one of the racers at the Wisconsin State Fair track, and I believe that's how Henry Ford ended up with the racer again. After repairing and upgrading it, Ford set a one mile world record in January 1904 driving the racer on a frozen lakebed. He is recognized as the first man to drive a mile under 40 seconds.
Henry Ford and later Ford Motor company benefited with numerous articles spread across the country via newspapers and magazines. This is before Internet, TV, radio or other mass media, so printed information was how people learned about automobiles.
Next up, Sweepstakes. I think many historians consider this racer Henry Ford's most important. In 1901 Ford won a race that Alexander Winton was a heavy favorite in. Following are a few accounts of the race and description of the racer:
A month before the Winton contest, Ford's racer is expected at another race, but doesn't make it. An inauspicious beginning to a remarkable racing career:
Following the success with his new racer, Henry Ford and investors incorporate "The Henry Ford Company." This article says the the new company will build an inexpensive two cylinder, eight horse power car.
Interestingly, it's four years to the day before Alexander Malcomson's new company, is reported to incorporate Aerocar. A lot will change in those four years.
Stationary from "The Henry Ford Company". Courtesy The Henry Ford: