1902 Ford "999" Race Car, Built by Henry Ford

Henry Ford1902

The Henry Ford

The Henry Ford
Dearborn, MI, United States

After building this massive car Henry Ford was reluctant to drive it, so he hired a fearless bicycle racer named Barney Oldfield. Oldfield won many races at the controls of "999" and would go on to become America's first nationally famous race driver. The success of "999" would help Ford promote his next venture, Ford Motor Company. This car represents the triumph of brute force over finesse. The huge 1155 cu. in. engine is mounted in a wood frame; there is a clutch but no transmission; the single brake acts only on the rear axle, which mounts rigidly to the frame without benefit of springs. The name "999" came from a famous steam locomotive that set a 112 mph speed record in 1893. Henry Ford himself would set an automobile speed record of 91.37 mph in 1904 driving the "Arrow," a twin to his 999. Engine: Ford, inline 4-cylinder, atmospheric overhead intake values and side exhaust valves, 1155 cu. in., 70 hp (est.)


  • Title: 1902 Ford "999" Race Car, Built by Henry Ford
  • Creator: Ford, Henry, 1863-1947, Huff, Edward S., 1879-1933, Wills, C. Harold (Childe Harold), 1878-1940
  • Date Created: 1902
  • Location: United States, Michigan, Detroit, United States, Michigan, Grosse Pointe
  • Subject Keywords: Automobiles, Racing cars, Automobile racing, Automobile racing drivers, Ford, Henry, 1863-1947, Oldfield, Barney, 1878-1946, Harkness, Harry S., d. 1919, 999 (Racing car), Manufacturer's Challenge Cup
  • Type: Objects
  • Contributor: The Henry Ford
  • Original Source: http://collections.thehenryford.org/Collection.aspx?objectKey=122837
  • Object Name: Racing car
  • Object ID: 19.3.1
  • Image ID: THF90218
  • Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of William Hughson.

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