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Historic Ford River Rouge Complex Photo Is A Real-Life Time Warp

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Today, most of us wish that we could hop aboard a time machine, travel back to the past, and buy up all the cool cars produced decades ago. And while science hasn’t quite advanced to the point where we can actually do that, we can gaze at this amazing photo of the Ford River Rouge Complex, reportedly taken in 1965, that was recently posted over on Reddit.

Rarely do we come across a photo that has this much goodness going on it at once, but here we are. For starters, the picture was taken in front of the historic Ford River Rouge Complex, which was the largest integrated factory in the world when it was completed in 1928. More than 100,000 workers were employed there, even during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

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Over the years, The Rouge churned out all sorts of automobile models, tractors, boats, aircraft components, tires, and various other products. The Model A was produced there, as well as the Ford Thunderbird, Mercury Capri, and four decades of Ford Mustang models. Today, The Rouge site is home to The Blue Oval’s Rouge Center, which includes the Ford Dearborn Truck Plant, where the Ford F-150 is built.

This picture is full of Ford models, including a Galaxie and Falcon, a handful of Lincolns, and a whole slew of Mustangs. But everything else in the photo is a Blue Oval product as well – including the car haulers, which we bet a lot of folks would love to get their hands on today. Even the train has “Ford” printed on the side, because of course it does.

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And of course, there are some snazzy looking businessmen standing by the trucks, doing what we can only imagine is, well, business and such. At least that’s what it looks like. Regardless, it’s nice to take a trip back to this very different, very cool era, if only for a few precious minutes.

We’ll have more cool historic photos like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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22 Comments

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    • There were also a lot of boring station wagons back then. I wouldn’t say the current lineup is much more boring than back then. Still have a GT, Mustang, Bronco. Now we have the Raptor and Tremor, and monster diesels. And even with the ‘boring’ SUVs, there’s some fun ST models that somewhat replace the old Galaxy 500s and such. I do miss the days when cars were simpler. I really can’t say much about missing the sedans, we bought an Escape and we love it. But all things considered I think Ford has a pretty good lineup right now, still making vehicles at that same property. Still making their most historic models, in America. I personally think it’s easy to forget we still have it pretty good today.

    • I am no expert but I think the negatives were usually very clear, and developing them into prints was where the quality went bad. So I think if the original negatives still exist you can get them redeveloped much clearer than back than. Could be wrong on that though

      • That’s hilarious. Brett pwned Sam hard. I must admit I laughed out loud at the comment.

        Yes Sam, even the mighty Ford Authority make the occasional oversight here and there. I read this site daily and have for years now. They have very accurate info and one small little thing is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

        Brett: wouldn’t the proper word by orthographer vs. orthographizer? From what I know, the does not exist. From what I recall, that’s someone who catches spelling errors. Sam is more like the internet know-it-all who thinks he’s a big deal.

  1. Ford manufactured and assembled much more than cars, wagons, and trucks. Ford built Jeeps, tanks, tractors, planes, and even trains! Now many hospitals are using Ford manufactured respirators with blowers from F-150 trucks in them.

    If Henry Ford was alive today, he would have mixed emotions, since his brand is still doing great in the U.S. and in the Americas, but failing to continue some of their other products and dropping sedans and cars.

    • If Henry Ford were alive today, he would understand that the reality of the industry has changed significantly. Competition is fierce, margins are tight, and massive investment into new fields like EV and AV is needed today in order to stay alive ten years from now.

      He would understand that the business opportunity for sedans is small and that the money needed for those projects would be better used elsewhere, where there is growth potential and higher margins – like trucks and SUVs.

  2. The locomotive is an Alco S3 switcher. And the reason why it’s an Alco switcher is because at the time, the other major builder of railroad switcher engines was GM. And Ford wasn’t going to let a GM product on their property.

  3. Last year we bought an Ecosport which is unremarkable. Unless it is It had so many bells and whistles we’re still trying to figure out what they all do.

    What is remarkable about the suv class car it’s in is that it was totally built in India.

    • Ford builds vehicles and parts all over the world. That Ecosport is still a Ford vehicle. The new Mustang Mach-E is assembled in Mexico, but it is all American and all Ford.

  4. Henry Ford was a photography and cinematography admirer, and had thousands of photos taken and reels of movies produced about his own personal life (with Thomas Edison) and all of his business, including his manufacturing plants. There are many Ford documentaries available on YouTube and other video pages. His family donated all of the Ford films to the Library of Congress. Some may be seen at the Amazon Prime video site. I recommend them for many Ford fans!

  5. This site is the “Rouge Complex”, not “River Rouge”. Physically located in Dearborn, MI – “River Rouge” is another downriver community. I live 6 miles from here

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