FOSS V FORD – Re-Aligning Canadian Automotive History

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Inventors can affect generations to return, usually altering the way in which we do issues and defining historic eras. Recounts of the inventors’ accomplishments, and tales about their lives are upheld with curiosity and for posterity. Historians search for proof and info, in order that the accomplishments of those inventors are precisely mirrored in paperwork, held in libraries, archives and museums.

Whereas not too long ago working at two occasions, we have been capable of casually ask members of most people in the event that they knew who invented the primary gasoline car in Canada. It could not shock you to listen to that the majority of these we polled believed that Ford was the primary car builder in Canada. After all, Ford has the benefit of name recognition and longevity. Nevertheless, Ford was not Canadian and nor did he construct the primary gasoline car in Canada.

The newest launch of the academy award-winning film, Ford v Ferrari, renewed recognition that in the course of the mid Sixties, the Ford model was a pressure to be reckoned with. The momentum of this film has created a chance for the Foss household, to carry to mild an often-overlooked piece of Canadian historical past. You see, the inventor of the primary gasoline car in Canada was not Ford, however was actually the lesser recognized Foss. Foss constructed the Fossmobile in 1897, across the identical time as Ford invented the Quadracycle in the US. Ford’s first vehicles weren’t distributed in Canada till the early 1900s. So, within the late 1800’s it was Ford v Foss.

The acknowledgement for this ground-breaking piece of Canadian historical past, has for too lengthy been by some means buried and misplaced beneath the shadow of Ford. The Foss household has not too long ago rekindled inside Canadian historians and classic car fanatics, an curiosity in celebrating the accomplishments of George Foote Foss, the unique inventor of the primary profitable gasoline car in Canada.

The Ford v Ferrari rivalry demonstrates how competitors, together with imaginative and prescient, private conviction, and collaboration, can result in nice strides in automotive innovation. As we see within the film, within the mid Sixties, American automotive designer Carroll Shelby collaborated along with his precision targeted good friend, British race automotive driver Ken Miles. Collectively, they embraced the aim set out by Henry Ford II, to beat Ferrari by making a sooner race automotive. They embraced a collective imaginative and prescient to problem the racing world’s legal guidelines of physics and gingerly stepped round company interference so as to construct a revolutionary car for the Ford Motor Co. The plan was to compete head-to-head towards the race vehicles of Enzo Ferrari on the 24-Hour of Le Mans, in France. After years of Ferrari dominance, their imaginative and prescient was realized. In 1966 the Ford GT 40 gained, taking all three podium positions: first, second and third.

The story of the Fossmobile could not have the pizzazz wanted for a blockbuster movie plot, however it does deserve consideration, for its historic relevance. Lengthy earlier than Ford was promoting vehicles in Canada, the unique Fossmobile was constructed by George Foote Foss, in a tiny, dusty outdated bicycle restore and machine store, in Sherbrooke, Quebec in 1897. Like the principle characters within the Ford v Ferrari film, Foss had imaginative and prescient and private conviction. He enlisted the assistance of three workmen and sought out the Iron Works Firm of Sherbrooke who helped make the preliminary castings for the engine he designed. He engineered components from scratch, combining his instinct to assume outdoors the field along with his expertise from his machining and bicycle repairs. Foss persevered till he had put collectively one thing that might be pushed on the hilly streets of Sherbrooke.

It’s properly documented that he drove this invention round for 4 years, properly earlier than another vehicles confirmed up within the space. George Foss met Henry Ford on multiple event, to debate the notion of constructing vehicles collectively. Finally Foss turned Ford down, sensing that the 2 had totally different character types and visions.

The Foss household continues to construct consciousness round Foss, the primary Canadian gasoline automotive inventor, by talking at occasions and internet hosting data cubicles. Their largest and most vital venture to this point is the rebuilding of a tribute/duplicate of the unique Fossmobile. This venture entails a major quantity of fundraising so as to carry this imaginative and prescient to fruition.

It was disappointing to listen to that the general public we spoke to at current occasions assumed that Ford was by some means chargeable for Canada’s first car. This illuminated the necessity to look past the now well-known Ford v Ferrari legacy, to the extra distant previous of the unique Ford v Foss legacy, a minimum of right here in Canada. Written within the final paragraph of the preface within the “Vehicles of Canada” guide, Durnford / Baechler (1973, McClelland and Stewart Restricted), is the next;

“A common error is the declare that Ford was the primary Canadian car producer. For years John Moodie mistakenly claimed to have imported the primary automotive into Canada. U.H Dandurand claimed to have had the primary automotive in Montreal, however he did not. And so it goes. Many hallowed legends show unfounded.”

Some 47 years later, these myths appear to proceed on, significantly the Ford one. There isn’t any query that Henry Ford and Ford v Ferrari belongs proudly in American historical past books. Nevertheless, right here in Canada the person we ought to be acknowledging as the unique builder, is George Foote Foss. The retelling of this vital historic Canadian legacy could finally dispel the parable that Ford was the primary to have a gasoline car in Canada. It’s our accountability as Canadians to embrace this quiet builder’s vital a part of Canadian automotive historical past and never let the Ford big outshine his legacy.

The tribute/duplicate of the unique Fossmobile is rigorously and painstakingly being constructed to assist shine a lightweight on this historic feat. The Foss household has undertaken the large job of overseeing this venture. A group has been assembled to execute each element and the venture is properly on its solution to completion. The aim is for this tribute/duplicate automotive to be positioned right into a Canadian museum, in order that guests can have a greater likelihood to understand this vital Canadian accomplishment. The Fossmobile Tribute car and its supporting memorabilia will assist to extra clearly rectify Canadian automotive historical past, and re-establish that it was and is Foss v Ford, as the primary gasoline car builder in Canada.

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Source by Ron Foss

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