• Aug 29th 2006 at 9:12AM
  • 4
In the 1930s and 1940s, Henry Ford developed a car body that was made from from hemp fiber, and now YouTube has a video of it (and everything else). The video is only 26 seconds long, pixelated and there is no listed source, but the information in it is pretty cool. Henry Ford's plastic hemp car used fibers made from hemp, and the resulting material was "lighter than steel, but could withstand ten times the impact without denting" according to the clip. Manu Sharma, of Orange Hues, wrote in with the tip and said her research found out it was actually ten times stronger than steel and 44 percent lighter. You can watch the clip here. The YouTube clip doesn't have a lot of information, and if you do a little searching for more information, you quickly get to sites with horrible spelling and dubious information. Still, it seems clear that Henry Ford did encourage hemp cultivation to use as a fuel and as a manufacturing material. We'll see what happens when Toyota releases the Prius 420.

[Source: You Tube, hat tip to Manu Sharma]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      Prattacus, this was a concept vehicle. The hemp car never made it to production. I believe it was probably because the hemp body was more expensive to produce and for the fact that hemp farming was later banned rather than performance issue. A lighter car has the direct advantage of increasing fuel efficiency.

      (I've sent more details to the editor and this post might be updated soon)
      • 8 Years Ago
      Let us not forget henry ford was a nazi sympathizer
      • 9 Years Ago
      Before all you conspiracy theorists smoke more of the misinformation ganja that comes out of this site, note that any company owes a fiduciary duty to its shareholders to increase share price when possible. There are protections for executive decisions, but those can be overcome with a proper showing of abuse.

      Along those lines, I believe that if hemp cars were that great, they would have been sold.

      Now it could be they were that great, and were simply outlawed by prohibition laws. But I'd gather they had issues with longevity when exposed to UV, tolerance for point loads, and manufacturability issues, to name a few.

      Good old steel actually is a really good material for cars. But composites aren't impossible. Look at the Corvette.

      Ovearll, I don't think this was a 100 mpg carberator of a technology, but I would like to see the hemp laws changed so inventors could start to explore the material. The manufacturing techniques we have today for composites are quite awesome, and it's possible a real hemp car could be made.
      • 9 Years Ago
      that's reminds me a bit of Volvo's future plans to built a car with more plastics components sourced from vegetal or animal sources instead of plastic coming from fossil fuels, here the article dated from September 2005, it's in French however, you need to use Google Translation or Alta-vista, it's at http://www4.autonet.ca/FR/Nouvelles/article.php?file=/Nouvelles/environnement/2005/09/30/1323959.html
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