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Henry Ford giving tours at auto show

Ford Motor Company

This year's North American International Auto Show coincides with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Henry Ford's birth.

Ford Motor Company is giving people an opportunity to meet the great inventor and businessman.

Ford has hired actors to represent Henry Ford at different stages of his life.

People can sign up for a tour of the Ford exhibit led by one of eight Henrys.

 David O'Donnell is playing the younger inventor, whose relentless tinkering with horseless carriages ultimately resulted in his first success, the Model A.   

"Here's a Model A, the oldest surviving car built by my company," O'Donnell says, in front of the prize recently acquired at auction by Henry Ford's great-grandson, Bill Ford, Jr.  "Let me tell you the story behind it.   110 years ago, other car companies were focused on making fancy cars for rich folks, but I had a different idea.  Here's how I put it.  'I will build a car for the great multitude'....."

The actors won't stray far from their scripts, so people won't be able to ask "Henry Ford" questions, such as what he thinks about the modern cars Ford is making, or about some of the less positive aspects of his life and work.

For a more complete picture of one of the most complex figures in modern American life, watch "Henry Ford," an American Experience documentary directed by Sarah Colt that will air on public television stations on Tuesday, January 29th, at 9:00 p.m. 


Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.