Henry Ford Made a Hemp Car

I found an interesting tidbit in the history of natural fiber with industrial applications.  There is a long history of use of natural fiber to reinforce automobile parts.  Here is some archival footage of Henry Ford’s Hemp Car.

Click on the link above and it will take you to an interesting youtube video.  Apparently Henry Ford made a car where the exterior was some sort of fiber-reinforced composite using industrial hemp.  The video shows Henry Ford hitting the trunk of the car with an axe, and it doesn’t leave a dent.  An article appeared in Popular Mechanics Magazine, Vol. 76, No. 6, December,1941, titled: “Auto Body Made of Plastics Resists Denting Under Hard Blows”.  The article goes on to describe the car exterior, including windshield and windows, as being made from a mixture “composed of farm crops and synthetic chemicals, the plastic is reported to withstand a blow 10 as great as steel without denting…”  The article also quotes Ford as saying he would “grow automobiles from the soil.”

It makes you wonder, whatever happened to Ford’s Hemp Car?  A quick google search turned up a lot of ignorant ravings about “smoking your car”, but little in the way of the real story.  If anyone out there knows, please share with us in the comments section.