So how's this for a way to celebrate National Robotics Week? Ford has dug up some photos and press releases from the late 1960s featuring "Freddie Ford," a quasi-robot made out of auto parts that entertained crowds on the auto show circuit.
To our modern sensibilities, Freddie barely qualifies as an appliance, let alone an actual robot like Asimo from Honda, MABEL from the University of Michigan, or Robonaut from General Motors and NASA. From reading the press releases, we gather that Freddie mainly responded to questions from the audience with corny answers that touted Ford's products.
While Freddie is amusing enough, the real treasure here are the press releases from an era in which Ford could do no wrong. To read the casual mentions of the company's victory at Le Mans with the GT40 and the launch of the original Mercury Cougar is a real treat.
Question: "Are those oil pans really your feet?" Answer: "Yes, sir, these are 390 V-8 oil pans from the biggest V-8 that uses only regular gas."
Scroll down for the vintage press releases and check out both the Freddie Ford photos in our gallery.
DALLAS, Tex. -- One individual at the Ford exhibit in this year's State Fair of Texas will loom head and shoulders above all others who "man" exhibits.
He is Freddie Ford, an 800-pound, nine-foot-tall robot with a heart made of switches, tapes and relays, skin made of sheet metal and aluminum and whose shoes measure size 22D. Freddie is a talking, animated robot made entirely of Ford automotive components and, when activated, answers a series of questions.
He will be among numerous feature displays at the Ford exhibit which will include custom show cars, cut-away engines and representation of the entire 1967 Ford Division line of cars.
Other highlights of the Ford exhibit will include a Ford GT Mark II performance vehicle similar to the Ford-powered cars which captured the first three places at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans (France) race classic, and Lotus Ford no. 82, which driver Jimmy Clark piloted to victory in the 1965 Indianapolis 500 race.
Visitors also will see all the safety innovations available on Ford Motor Company cars for 1967.
Lincoln-Mercury Division's new Cougar will be exhibited in a separate "Cougar Corner" adjacent to the division's entire 1967 line of products. Prominent in the division's Fair exhibit will be the all-new top-of-the-line Mercury Marquis and Mercury Brougham models.
# # #
Model Mary Jane Laurie whispers into the "ear" of "Freddie Ford," a talking robot who will be featured at the Ford Division exhibit at the State Fair of Texas, October 8 - 23. The nine-foot-high, 800-pound Freddie is made of sheet metal and Ford auto parts, ranging from brake shoes for hands to oil pans for feet. Freddie can be activated to answer 12 questions. Visitors will see the complete line of 1967 Ford and Llncoln-Mercury Division cars at this year's Fair.
# # #
Southwest Public Relations Office
Ford Motor Company
730 Mercantile Continental Building
Dallas, Texas 75201
FREDDIE FORD ROBOT
RELEASE ANY TIME
Freddie Ford isn't very old, but he can see, hear and answer questions.
He is also an awfully big fellow, standing eight feet six inches tall in his bare feet and tipping the scales at almost 500 pounds. His chest measures 126 inches and his waist 120 inches.
Freddie, a second-generation mechanical robot, is one of the highlights of the Ford Division exhibit at auto shows around the country. Freddie is almost a replica of his popular predecessor who delighted spectators for three years.
Like the earlier model, the new Freddie Ford is made up largely of parts from Ford Division products. He even has a television camera in his nose so he can see whom he is "talking" to.
Car parts comprising Freddie include oil filter caps and radio antennas for ears; Mustang parking lights for eyes, and a Thunderbird backup light for a mouth. His upper arms are Ford muffler resonators and the lower portions are formed by Mustang shock absorbers and disc brake assemblies. Wheel caps serve for shoulders and elbows.
Embedded in Freddie's chest are such items as a Mustang speedometer with an odometer that registers miles as he talks; a Ford stereo AM/FM radio; Mustang convenience panel lights, and a seat belt. Mustang gas caps are used for knees, and a pair of engine oil pans give Freddie the biggest feet in town.
Freddie is also equipped with a console panel. Pushing any of 12 buttons on the console will provide an answer from Freddie to such questions as: "What is meant by, 'Walk softly and carry a big stick,'" Answer: "The quotation is really, "Drive softly and carry a big six.' You see, a new bigger 250-horseppwer six is standard. on Torinos, optional on Mustangs for '70. You drive softly because it is such a smooth, quiet performer. Thrifty, too."
Question: "Are those oil pans really your feet?" Answer: "Yes, sir, these are 390 V-8 oil pans from the biggest V-8 that uses only regular gas. And remember....oil changes are only needed every six months or 6,000 miles."
Question: "Why ao you have disc brakes for hands?" Answer: "They grip faster and better and 55 per cent easer than manual brakes. For 1970, power front disc brakes are available on all models and standard on some."
# # #