Henry Ford apprenticed as a steam engine mechanic at age 19 and continued to work with engines under various employers until, in 1891, he began experimenting with the internal combustion engine. He introduced the Quadricycle in 1896 and started the Ford Motor Company in 1903, when the first Model A rolled off the assembly line. The Model T followed in 1908, and Ford went on to became one of the top automobile manufacturers, topping Chevrolet sales in 1954.
In 1950, Ford produced the Crestliner sedan, whose signature hood crest, based on a 17th-century coat of arms, became the symbol for the Crestliner's flathead V-8 engine. In 1951, Ford unveiled the DeLuxe Fordor sedan, which became a favourite of law enforcement because of its dependable V-8 engine, making government marketing a first for the industry. The company introduced the Victoria Mainline, an economy model equipped with an optional automatic transmission, in 1952 in three series: the Mainline, Customline and Crestliner. In 1953, Ford introduced the Crestline Victoria sedan, a vehicle similar to the '52 model that came with 41 "Worth More Features." The early '50s models ranged in price from about £1,040 to £1,235.
The 1954 Ford Crestline Sunliner was the priciest of the line, with stylist standard features. The stunning Ford Thunderbird appeared in 1955, becoming an instant hit as a high-performance sports car. The same year also brought the Fairlane, which became Ford's best-selling model almost, outselling Chevrolet. The Thunderbird captured the front again in 1956 with a convertible model and a few body changes, such as an outside spare tire compartment and a visibility porthole in the hardtop. Prices on these models ranged from about £1,235 to £1,885.
In 1957, Ford upgraded the Fairlane with the Skyliner convertible, which had a retractable hardtop. Ford retooled the Thunderbird in 1958 as a family-size four-seater with ample luggage capacity. The year 1959 brought out the luxury Galaxie series, including the extremely successful Club Sedan. These models had price tags ranging from about £1,885 to £2,535.