Meet Freddie Ford. Ford’s 9-foot tall traveling robot who has made his permanent home at the Ford Motor Company’s archive.
Meet Freddie Ford. He is a 9-foot tall robot built from Ford car parts. He now lives at the Ford Motor Company Archives. Before he came to live at the archives, he spent his time traveling the country with his brothers appearing at shopping malls, state fairs, and auto shows. Freddie Ford and his robot brothers traveled millions of miles and entertained thousands of auto show visitors during their years in service. Each version of the robot was built using parts from Ford cars of the current era such as the Ford Mustang, Pinto, Thunderbird and Granada.
The original Freddie’s first role was in 1965 as a magician’s assistant on the Magic World of Ford road show. He was created to help tell the story of Ford’s engineering excellence and traveled to shopping centers around the country. Freddie would help the magician and his assistant in the 15 minute show. A medieval knight wearing a suit of armor inspired his design; a radio antenna for ears, Mustang parking lights for eyes, and a Thunderbird backup light as a mouth. He also had a revolving flasher light on the top of his head. His shoulder joints were made from hubcaps, his arms were resonators and Ford truck shock absorbers, his hands were Ford Brake shoes and his feet were Mercury oil pans. His sides were made from half a comet engine complete with carburetor. On his chest was oil pressure, amperage, temperature and fuel indicators from the Thunderbird. When turned on the robot’s indicators operated and he could talk.
Later versions of Freddie were built to travel to different auto shows and exhibits across the country. Like the earlier model, second generation Freddie Ford was made up largely of parts from Ford Division products; he even had a television camera in his nose so he could see whom he was talking to. Embedded in Freddie's chest were such items as a Mustang speedometer with an odometer that registers miles as he spoke, a Ford stereo AM/FM radio, Mustang convenience panel lights, and a seat belt. His knees were built from mustang gas caps, and a pair of engine oil pans gave Freddie the biggest feet in town. In front of Freddie was a console with 12 buttons, pushing any of the these buttons would provide an answer from Freddie to questions such as:
“What is meant by, ‘Walk softly and carry a big stick’?"
Answer: "The quotation is really. “Drive softly and carry a big six.” You see; a new bigger 250-horsepower six is standard on Torinos, optional on Mustangs for 170. You drive softly because it is such a smooth: quiet performer- Thrifty, too."
"Are those oil pans really your feet?"
Answer: "Yes sir, these are 390 V-8 oil pans from the biggest V-8 that uses only regular gas. And remember •••• oil changes are only needed every six months or 6,000 miles."
"Why do you have disc brakes for hands?"
Answer: "They grip faster and better and 55 per cent easier than manual brakes. For 1970, power front disc brakes are available on all models and standard on some."
The version of Freddie currently housed at the archives is from the early 1980s and answers some interesting questions about Ford products from 1982. He still works, and if you press his button he will answer one of his 12 preprogrammed questions like: “Are Broncos found only in the west?”
Answer: ”My horse sense tells me no, you can find Broncos at any Ford dealer in any direction. Your Ford dealer says our Ford Bronco is America’s most advanced family four-wheeler and that it is miles ahead in fuel economy and advanced design. A perfect addition to any corral.”