THE 1904 FORD MODEL C -- CANADA'S FIRST FORD
- On October 10, 1904, eight workmen began to build the first Ford automobile in Canada – the 1904 Model C. It was assembled in a converted wagon works in Walkerville, now Windsor, Ontario.
- Gordon McGregor, the owner of the Walkerville Wagon Works, had convinced local Canadian businessmen that they should invest in the automobile industry.
- "There are men in Detroit like Henry Ford who say every farmer will soon be using an automobile. I don't see why we can't build autos right here," McGregor is reported to have said at one of the first meetings with potential investors.
- McGregor and Windsor banker John Curry held a series of meetings with Henry Ford, culminating in the incorporation of the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited, on August 17, 1904. The fledgling Ford of Canada had the exclusive rights to produce Ford cars for sale in all parts of the British Empire, except the United Kingdom.
- In its first year of operation, employment at Ford of Canada grew to 17 people and their combined annual payroll was $12,000.
- This workforce produced 107 Model Cs and seven Model Bs in that first year.
- According to local lore, each time a car was finished, McGregor would drive it around until he found a buyer. Then he'd return to initiate work on the next one.
- The two-cylinder, 10-horsepower Ford Model C cost $1,100 – a price only the very wealthy could afford. In fact, the Ford Model T, introduced in 1908, was the first car to be priced within reach of a working class family.