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On this day in automotive history… January 13, 1942…

Henry Ford patents a plastic automobile, which is 30% lighter than a regular car.

Henry Ford - c. 1919

Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American industrialist, founder of the Ford Motor Company, and one of the sponsors of the development of the moving assembly line technique of mass production.

A Ford factory assembly line - c. 1913

1910 Model T photographed in Salt Lake City

1931 Ford Model A Deluxe Tudor


The Soybean car (erroneously nicknamed the ‘Hemp car’) was a plastic car made by the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan.  It was introduced to the public on August 13, 1941.  The Soybean Car was the first car whose body (excluding chassis) was constructed entirely of plastic.  The plastic car used ethanol derived from corn, as fuel.

1941 Ford automobile called the Soybean Car

The patent 2,269,452 for the chassis of the soybean car was issued January 13, 1942.

Automobile Chassis Construction Patent 2,269,452 - Figure 1

Automobile Chassis Construction Patent 2,269,452 - Figure 2

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