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See The Ford Quadricycle In Action: Video

As anyone who’s ever been handed-down a car from a long-bygone era can attest, the experience is somewhat like climbing into a time machine. The principles of internal combustion may not have changed since its earliest implementation, but horseless carriages have grown by leaps and bounds in terms of materials, style, electronics-integration, and the like.

Yet even still, regardless of the age of your hand-me-down car, the pedals and other controls are almost certainly precisely how you’d expect them.

The same can’t be said for the very earliest automobiles, like the Ford Model T, or – even earlier – the Ford Quadricycle. That’s what tickles us about the Jalopnik video above, in which one of the editors from that outlet drives Henry Ford‘s very first automobile around a parking lot. The steering mechanism is like that found on a WhirlyBall cart; the shift lever looks to be a good 3 feet long, and offers two forward gear ratios, but no reverse. We’re guessing the Ford Quadricycle’s single headlamp is activated by some combination of primal screams, and pounding it with a mallet.

In short, the Ford Quadricycle is a crude, primitive thing when compared to the automobiles of today. That much ought to be expected. Still, Jason from Jalopnik handles the antiquated oddity like a champ, and we get an illustrative look at one of the first great leaps in automotive history.

We just thank the maker that we don’t have to drive it.

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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