Ford 999 is the name of 2 similar racing and record cars built by Henry Ford in 1902. Cars were based around a huge engine with a bare chassis attached to it, with no bodywork whatsoever. Both of the cars were extremely heavily engineered, with an 1156 cu.in.(18.9 L) inline-4 engine, 230 pounds (100 kg) flywheel, capable to produce from 70 to 100 horsepower. There was no rear suspension, no differential, and steering was controlled by a crude pivoting metal bar. Two cars were painted red and yellow, respectively. The Red one was named as 999 for the Empire State Express No. 999. No. 999 was a type 4-4-0 American steam locomotive which had famously set a world speed record of 112.5 mph (181.1 km/h) on May 10, 1893, making it the first man-made vehicle to exceed 100 mph (160 km/h) under its own propulsion. The yellow one was named Arrow for the connotations of a sleek arrow flying through the air. In summer 1902 Red 999 made its racing debut driven by inexperienced former bicycle racer Barney Oldfield. The debut event was five-mile (8 km) race known as the Manufacturers’ Challenge Cup, held at Grosse Pointe oval horse track in October 1902. Oldfield easily won the race which marked the start of his successful motor racing career. The Yellow Arrow car was crashed in September 1903 during a race, killing the driver Frank Day. However, Henry Ford bought back the broken car and repaired it with the intent of performing a speed run on a frozen lake. Arrow was renamed as 999, as the original red car had been retired already. On January 12, 1904 in New Baltimore, Michigan, Henry Ford drove the rechristened 999 with his mechanic Ed “Spider” Huff at the throttle. A new land speed record was achieved of 91.37 mph (147.05 km/h) on a one mile distance on an ice track carved into Lake St. Clair’s Anchor Bay. The record stood only for a couple of months beaten by Louis Rigolly on Gobron-Brlillie car by 3.5 kph.
|1902||AAA||Manufacturers’ Challenge Cup|