You might have thought you stepped back in time yesterday afternoon as men in turn of the century wares greeted a 1915 Ford Model T in front of the Palace of Fine Arts.
The historic Model T in question had just ended its cross-country journey to San Francisco in honor of the same 3,500-mile trek that Edsel Ford took exactly one hundred years ago.
In the summer of 1915, 21-year-old Edsel Ford, the only son of Henry Ford, and six friends were among the thousands of Americans that took to the road to visit the world’s fair exposition in San Francisco. The Ford Motor Company had one of the most popular exhibits at the fair—a working Model T assembly line that produced about 18 cars each afternoon and more than 4,000 Model Ts during the course of the fair.
In honor of Ford's extremely well-documented trip (he took nearly 200 photographs and wrote daily journal entries) across the United States, the Historical Vehicle Association launched the “Road Trip Century Celebration” on July 17, using a refurbished 1915 Ford Model T similar to the one Edsel Ford drove, to recreate the iconic journey.
The road trip, which followed the National Old Trails Highway route from Detroit to Los Angeles, included many historic sites on the way to San Francisco, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, the El Vaquero Harvey House, the Summit House at Pikes Peak, the Petrified Forest National Park, and the Grand Canyon National Park.
“The trip has provided the team with a greater appreciation of the development of our national road system and those early pioneers who experienced cross-country travel by automobile,” said Mark Gessler, President of the Historic Vehicle Association. "The excitement and enthusiasm of all the people we met as we traveled through small cities and towns was a wonderful experience. The smiles, the memories and the Model T stories we heard made this trip very special.”
See more photos from the entire road trip here.