Soybean because

The soybean as , more recently Referred to as the hemp body because , Was a prototype car built with agricultural plastic. Although the formula has been used, it has been suggested that the first iteration of the body is made partially from soybeans and hemp . [2] [A] [4] The body was lighter and therefore more fuel efficient than a normal metal body. [5] It was made in Dearborn, Michigan , through the work of scientist / botanist George Washington Carver and was introduced to public view on August 13, 1941. [2]It was made, in part, as a hedge against the rationing of steel during World War II . [6] [7] It was designed to run on hemp fuel . [8]



Henry Ford first put Eugene Turenne Gregor of his design department in charge of manufacturing. Ultimately it was not satisfied with the proposed project, and gave the project to the Soybean Laboratory in Greenfield Village . Lowell Overly, who had a background in tool and die design. The finished prototype was exhibited in 1941 at the Dearborn Days festival in Dearborn, Michigan . It was also shown at the Michigan State Fair Grounds the same year. [1]

Because of World War II all US automotive production has been considerably curtailed, and the plastic car has been largely driven to a halt. By the end of the war. [2] According to Lowell Overly, the prototype was destroyed by Bob Gregorie. [1]

Others argue that Ford invested millions of dollars into research. [9] He proclaimed he would “grow automobiles from the soil” – however it never happened, even though he had over 12,000 acres of soybeans for experimentation. Some sources even say the Soybean Car was not made from soybeans at all – but of the phenolic plastic , an extract of coal tar . [10] [11] [12] One newspaper even reports that all of Ford’s research only provides a final product. [10]

Reasoning for a plastic car

The Henry Ford Museum [7] gives three reasons for Ford’s decision to make a plastic automobile, the plastic car made from soybeans. [13]

  1. Ford was looking to integrate industry with agriculture;
  2. Ford claimed that these vehicles are safer than normal metal cars;
  3. Ford wished to make a new plastic material replacement for the metals used in normal cars. A side benefit would have been easing of the shortage of metal during World War II . [2]

Car ingredients

The frame of this automobile was made of tubular steel, to which are attached some of the plastic panels, [B] said to be “only a quarter of an inch (6 mm) thick.” [12] The windows were made of acrylic sheets. All of this to a reduction in weight of 25 pounds. [3] [14] [15]

The exact ingredients of the plastic are not kept alive. Speculation is a combination of soybeans, wheat , hemp, flax and ramie . Lowell Overly, the person who had the most influence in creating the car, says it was “… soybean fiber in a phenolic resin with formaldehyde used in the impregnation.” [14]

Internet video

A report circulating on the Internet shows a film from 1941 about the plastics in the opening credits being the plastic soybean because, but at the end it shows images of Henry Ford striking a hammer or axis onto a trunk lid. [16] It is not the Soybean Car he is hitting, but Ford’s personal with a plastic panel of the same material on the trunk, [13] and the hammer had a rubber boot on the sharp end of the ax. [14] When Jack Thompson, the narrator of the 1941 black and white movieThis article was originally published in the English version of the English translation of the article: Because itself. [4] Henry Ford was doing this demonstration to show the toughness of the plastic material. [15] The demonstration was dramatic, since the tool has been rebounded with much force and has been shown worldwide. [17]

See also

  • bioplastic
  • Trabant , another early car with an all-plastic body.



  1. Jump up^ “The first plastic car was manufactured by theFord Motor Company,Dearborn, Mich., USA, in August 1941. Fourteen plastic panels were mounted on a tubular welded frame.” [3]
  2. Jump up^ “Fourteen plastic panels are mounted on a tubular welded frame.” [3]