Back Then Today: Henry Ford Tests The Ford Quadricycle

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On this very day, way back in 1896, Henry Ford first drove his remarkable creation, the Ford Quadricycle. Could this have been the world's first road test of a car? No doubt Henry Ford would have put all us motoring journalists in our place with his feedback of the unique vehicle, but that's another story.

The chain-driven Quadricycle is what luxury looked like in the 1890s, and Ford's first vehicle featured a basic frame with four bicycle tyres at its four ends, and was powered by a two-cylinder ethanol engine that was capable of all of 4 horsepower!

henry ford quadricycle

The gearbox was a two-speeder, with the first gear for speeds up to 16 km/h while the second was designed to be capable of attaining 32 km/h. However, given the basic engineering of this ‘horseless carriage', one couldn't shift out of first because of a lack of torque. But Henry Ford did manage to hit the 32 kays-an-hour top speed during one of his test runs.

It was the success of the Quadricycle that gave rise to Henry Ford founding Ford Motor Company in 1903, also allowing him to stamp one of the first of his several marks in automotive history.

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