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Rearview Mirror

Posted on August 1, 2000

59 Years Ago

Hoping to find a way to avoid the effects of a steel shortage, Ford Motor Co. unveils a version of its standard production car with experimental composite body panels reportedly made from compressed soybean material. (Other reports indicate that the “soybean” car’s body panels were made from synthetic resin reinforced with material derived from hemp and spruce pulp). Company founder Henry Ford demonstrates the strength of the material by taking an axe to the “plastic” trunk lid without damage. But before Ford can perfect the process, auto output is brought to a halt six months later for conversion to war material production.

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