MotorCities National Heritage Area

by A. Wayne Ferens
Images Courtesy of Ford Motor Company Archives
Published 4.5.2023

Ford Times October 15 1909 1Ford Times October 15 1909

The first monthly publication produced by the Ford Motor Company was the Ford Times magazine. The first issue was published and provided to Ford dealers and customers on April 15, 1908. Initially, the publication was 4x6 inches in size but later increased to 5x7 inches. It mainly focused on Ford's automotive products and its expanding model line. In the 1910s, it featured color printed covers from graphic artists with articles on Ford's dealer organization, Ford owners and their travel experiences, Ford's overseas business and pleas for better roads. These small Ford magazines ceased publication in April 1917 with America's entry into World War I. It would not be published again until 1943. 

Ford Times July 1914 2Ford Times July 1914


When the Ford Times resumed production, it would last another 50 years and was similar in content to Readers Digest, a very popular national publication (est.1922), and the Yankee Magazine (est.1935), the only magazine devoted to New England. With the company‚Äôs growing business and customer base, Ford expanded its publication department that included such writers as Edward Weeks, Cory Ford, Bernard De Voto and Edward Ware Smith. The new monochrome issues would include articles featuring destinations for sports and vacations, scenic road trips, gardening and dining, food recipes, camping, museums and historic places across America, as well as information about current Ford vehicles. 

After World War II, Ford Motor Company added a publication to include one for Lincoln-Mercury. One could subscribe for a free magazine through your local Ford dealer after purchasing a new car. In the 1980s, you could purchase them for a dollar, a price that increased in the 1990s to $1.50. 

Lincoln Mercury Times March April 1951 cover 3
Lincoln Mercury Times interior pages 4Lincoln Mercury Times 1951


In the late 1940s, Arthur Lougee became the art director of both the Ford Times and Lincoln-Mercury Times, as well as Ford's New England Journeys publication. Over the next several decades, the "Times" magazines featured many paintings and artwork from dozens of America's contemporary watercolor artists such as Frederick James, King Coffin, Maxwell Mays, John Whorf, Estelle Coniff, Edward Turner, William Barss, Eunice Utterback, Dorothy Manuel and Forrest Orr were often on the covers.

Ford Times August 1949 5Ford Times August 1949


Contemporary photographers and painters were also contributors to both magazines including Henry E. McDaniel and Charley Harper. Harper was a Cincinnati, Ohio-based American Modernist artist. He was best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations. He did more Ford Times covers than any other artist with his subjects mainly natural, with birds prominently featured. Harper passed away in 2007 and an exhibition of his work was held at the Cincinnati Art Museum that same year

Ford Times covers from 1952 6Ford Times covers from 1952 by Charley Harper


The Ford Times magazine was last published and mailed to Ford owners and enthusiasts in January 1993. After 60 years of publication the magazine was most likely terminated due to consumer and cost cutting issues at Ford Motor Company. What started basically as a piece of advertising for Ford and its products evolved into an informative magazine for automobile enthusiasts and motorists across America. Below right is the cover of the final issue (upper left) of Ford Times dated January 1993.   

Ford Times November 1990 Arnold Palmer 7Ford Times November 1990 featuring Arnold Palmer 

Ford Times final issue January 1993 8Ford Times final issue January 1993

Note: Ford also produced a quarterly series of Truck Times magazines that contained stories that revolved around trucks.