FOSS V FORD – Re-Aligning Canadian Automotive Heritage

David Beckam

Inventors can effect generations to come, often shifting the way we do things and defining historic eras. Recounts of the inventors’ achievements, and stories about their life are upheld with curiosity and for posterity. Historians seem for proof and details, so that the accomplishments of these inventors are correctly reflected in files, held in libraries, archives and museums.

Even though not long ago functioning at two activities, we had been equipped to casually request members of the general community if they knew who invented the 1st gasoline automobile in Canada. It may not surprise you to hear that most of individuals we polled believed that Ford was the 1st auto builder in Canada. Of system, Ford has the advantage of brand recognition and longevity. Even so, Ford was not Canadian and nor did he develop the very first gasoline vehicle in Canada.

The newest launch of the academy award-profitable film, Ford v Ferrari, renewed recognition that all through the mid 1960s, the Ford model was a power to be reckoned with. The momentum of this movie has created an option for the Foss household, to provide to light an typically-neglected piece of Canadian historical past. You see, the inventor of the initial gasoline automobile in Canada was not Ford, but was in truth the lesser acknowledged Foss. Foss designed the Fossmobile in 1897, around the very same time as Ford invented the Quadracycle in the United States. Ford’s initial cars were being not dispersed in Canada until finally the early 1900s. So, in the late 1800’s it was Ford v Foss.

The acknowledgement for this ground-breaking piece of Canadian heritage, has for way too long been by some means buried and misplaced beneath the shadow of Ford. The Foss family members has a short while ago rekindled within Canadian historians and vintage vehicle enthusiasts, an fascination in celebrating the accomplishments of George Foote Foss, the first inventor of the first profitable gasoline vehicle in Canada.

The Ford v Ferrari rivalry demonstrates how competition, along with vision, personal conviction, and collaboration, can lead to fantastic strides in automotive innovation. As we see in the movie, in the mid 1960s, American automotive designer Carroll Shelby collaborated with his precision concentrated good friend, British race car or truck driver Ken Miles. Together, they embraced the target established out by Henry Ford II, to defeat Ferrari by earning a more rapidly race automobile. They embraced a collective vision to obstacle the racing world’s legal guidelines of physics and gingerly stepped close to corporate interference in get to construct a innovative automobile for the Ford Motor Co. The prepare was to compete head-to-head from the race autos of Enzo Ferrari at the 24-Hour of Le Mans, in France. Right after a long time of Ferrari dominance, their eyesight was realized. In 1966 the Ford GT 40 won, having all 3 podium positions: initial, second and third.

The story of the Fossmobile may not have the pizzazz wanted for a blockbuster movie plot, but it does deserve notice, for its historic relevance. Extensive prior to Ford was promoting vehicles in Canada, the unique Fossmobile was developed by George Foote Foss, in a small, dusty previous bicycle restore and machine shop, in Sherbrooke, Quebec in 1897. Like the main figures in the Ford v Ferrari film, Foss had vision and personalized conviction. He enlisted the enable of three workmen and sought out the Iron Will work Firm of Sherbrooke who assisted make the original castings for the engine he developed. He engineered areas from scratch, combining his instinct to believe exterior the box with his capabilities from his machining and bicycle repairs. Foss persevered till he experienced put together one thing that could be driven on the hilly streets of Sherbrooke.

It is perfectly documented that he drove this creation close to for 4 several years, very well ahead of any other automobiles confirmed up in the region. George Foss met Henry Ford on a lot more than a single occasion, to explore the notion of developing automobiles jointly. Eventually Foss turned Ford down, sensing that the two experienced distinctive temperament models and visions.

The Foss household continues to develop awareness close to Foss, the very first Canadian gasoline motor vehicle inventor, by speaking at events and internet hosting information and facts booths. Their largest and most major task to date is the rebuilding of a tribute/duplicate of the primary Fossmobile. This challenge involves a sizeable volume of fundraising in get to deliver this vision to fruition.

It was disappointing to listen to that most of the men and women we spoke to at new functions assumed that Ford was in some way liable for Canada’s very first auto. This illuminated the need to have to look past the now nicely-recognised Ford v Ferrari legacy, to the much more distant earlier of the original Ford v Foss legacy, at minimum listed here in Canada. Penned in the very last paragraph of the preface in the “Vehicles of Canada” e book, Durnford / Baechler (1973, McClelland and Stewart Constrained), is the pursuing

“A universal error is the assert that Ford was the to start with Canadian automobile producer. For several years John Moodie mistakenly claimed to have imported the initial vehicle into Canada. U.H Dandurand claimed to have had the first car or truck in Montreal, but he did not. And so it goes. Many hallowed legends demonstrate unfounded.”

Some 47 yrs later, these myths feel to carry on on, especially the Ford a person. There is no concern that Henry Ford and Ford v Ferrari belongs proudly in American history textbooks. Nevertheless, below in Canada the guy we need to be acknowledging as the unique builder, is George Foote Foss. The retelling of this critical historical Canadian legacy may well eventually dispel the fantasy that Ford was the very first to have a gasoline automobile in Canada. It is our accountability as Canadians to embrace this silent builder’s essential part of Canadian automotive historical past and not permit the Ford giant outshine his legacy.

The tribute/duplicate of the first Fossmobile is diligently and painstakingly getting constructed to enable glow a gentle on this historic feat. The Foss family has carried out the tremendous endeavor of overseeing this job. A group has been assembled to execute every detail and the job is effectively on its way to completion. The target is for this tribute/replica auto to be put into a Canadian museum, so that guests can have a far better chance to respect this major Canadian accomplishment. The Fossmobile Tribute car and its supporting memorabilia will assist to far more obviously rectify Canadian automotive background, and re-build that it was and is Foss v Ford, as the initially gasoline auto builder in Canada.

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