This Is Who Bought The Very First Ford Ever Made

Regardless of your feelings about Ford nowadays, no car fanatic can deny the impact the company had on the automotive industry. From the creation of streamlined assembly line production techniques to the release of the iconic Model T to providing significantly improved pay and work conditions for its employees, the company's countless milestones represent the very peak of both technical innovation and widespread commercial success in the earliest eras of the automobile. But even this tech giant had to start from somewhere.

Before the groundbreaking release of the Model T in 1908, Ford went into production with its first car, the Model A, in 1903. However, this version, largely designed by C. Harold Wills, was a far cry from the Model A that fans would become accustomed to in the company's later years. The topless two-seater came equipped with a 2-cylinder engine with eight horsepower that could hit speeds of a then-rip-roaring 30 miles per hour. Thanks to Ford's clever production assembly line that cut down on labor costs and materials, the original 1903-1904 Model A became one of the first cars to be widely available to the general public at a time when cars were seen as an luxury reserved for those with deep pockets. However, it's safe to say that without one man willing to take a chance on the soon-to-be-sensation, not only might the Model A have fallen into obscurity, but so could have the company that made it. 

A dentist's purchase helped secure Ford's future

While Ford is well-known for its many successes and groundbreaking achievements, that wasn't always the case for the company. With a heavier focus on motorsports and performance style cars, the team's efforts were initially met with little fanfare. As a result, Ford was in the midst of immense financial difficulties and an uncertain future by the time the Model A rolled out in 1903. 

Ford's destiny was ultimately sealed by Chicago-based dentist Dr. Ernst Pfennig, who bought the first ever Model A for $850 (or well over $30,000 in 2024) in July 1903, only a month after Ford reincorporated into Ford Motor Company. Pfenning was born in Germany and moved to the United States to continue his practice in 1883, at a time when the dentistry profession was met with skepticism from much of the public. To the automotive industry, however, those working in the medical field were prime marketing targets due to their high incomes and needs to perform house calls, making cars a more efficient investment over a horse and wagon. 

Whether he realized it or not, Pfennig's purchase would secure Ford's place as an industry juggernaut. The company's stream of success continued with hundreds of Model As sold over the following months, accumulating nearly $100,000 in sales within a year. The monumental hit paved the way for new achievements from Ford that would soon overshadow the Model A and cement Ford's many successful creations into the history books.