Henry Ford applied for his patent US 2,269,451 on January 13, 1942, for a plastic-bodied automobile. The whole point of the invention was that plastic was used not only for the doors and sides, but also for the roof, hood and other “open panels”.
The designer highlighted such advantages of the new material as lightness, noiselessness, cost-effectiveness in production (from soybean oil), as well as ease of replacement in case of an accident.
At the same time, Henry Ford also pointed out the disadvantages – plastic panels are structurally unable to withstand loads if they are used according to the principle of an all-steel body. Therefore, he developed a steel spatial frame, which was supposed to take on all the loads regardless of the outer panels.
Henry Ford embodied his idea in the world’s first plastic car even earlier, presenting a “living” car to the public on August 13, 1941. It turned out to be almost a third lighter than steel. At the height of World War II, when there was a shortage of steel, the development of cars with bodies made from alternative materials was very important.
Note that the first mass-produced car with a plastic body was the P70 minicar, production of which began in 1955 in the German city of Zwickau.