History of the Stainless Steel
In 1935, officials at Allegheny Ludlum Steel Division and the Ford Motor
Company collaborated on an experiment that would become a legacy and a
tribute to one of the most dynamic metals ever developed.
Allegheny Ludlum, a pioneer producer of stainless steel, proposed the
idea of creating a stainless steel car to Ford. The idea took shape in
the form of a 1936 Deluxe Sedan. That car became the centerpiece of a
campaign to expose the public to the new metal and its many uses.
Allegheny Ludlum and Ford would later collaborate on two more stainless
models, a 1960 Thunderbird and a 1967 Lincoln Continental Convertible.
Of the 11 cars originally built, nine are still in use.
The stainless steel cars were perfect vehicles for increasing awareness
of the quality of the metal. And over the years, this quality has been
shown in its stainless performance.
Of the six stainless steel cars that rolled off the Ford assembly line
in Detroit in 1936, four exist today as living proof of the durability
of stainless steel. One is on display at the Heinz Regional History
Center in Pittsburgh, PA.
Each of the original six logged at least 200,000 miles in the hands of
Allegheny Ludlum officials before "retiring" to private ownership in
1946. Thousands of additional miles have been logged on the odometers
since, and the shiny bodies have outlasted most of their non-stainless
The experiment was an unparalleled success on a number of levels. Public
awareness of stainless steel's many uses increased with every city and
state the cars visited. Through many years of active use, metallurgists
and engineers were amazed at the superiority of the silvery metal.
Since 1960, when two stainless steel Ford Thunderbirds were introduced,
they have been displayed throughout the United States and Europe.
The two Thunderbirds came off the Wixom, Michigan production line on
July 11, 1960, and each has traveled over 100,000 miles, demonstrating
the durability and timeless beauty of stainless steel.
With the exception of the body skin, bumpers and grille, which are made
of T302 stainless steel, every other component is standard 1960
Thunderbird equipment. Also included is the first T409 solid stainless
steel muffler released on a production vehicle. Both cars still have
their original mufflers and T304 exhaust pipes after 25 years on the
The 1967 Lincoln Convertible was the last of the stainless steel cars
produced by the Ford Motor Company and Allegheny Ludlum Steel.
Once again, the companies proved that stainless steel's enduring beauty
is matched by its toughness.
As with all stainless steel there is no need for painting. The
corrosion-resistant properties of the stainless eliminate the problems
caused by rust.
Except for the vehicle's body, all other parts and equipment on the car
are standard for the 1967 Lincoln Convertible. The vehicle's weight is
just about equal to one with a standard steel body.
Three stainless Lincolns were built that year. Allegheny Ludlum Steel
retains two and still uses them for customer visits and special events.
A full set of Stainless automobiles (1936 Deluxe, T-Bird, and
Continental) are on permanent display in the Crawford Auto Museum in
This is the 1936 Ford built for and owned by Allegheny
LudlumSteel. It was attending our open house and then was featured in a
local parade with over 100 of our salaried, hourly and retired employees
walking alongside. This is 1 of only 4 in existence and is the only one
currently in running and in road-worthy condition. The car is in
exceptional condition, with the interior and even the frame looking
All 4 cars each had over 200,000 miles on them before they removed them
from service. These cars were built for Allegheny as promotional and
projects. The top salesmen each year were given the honor of being able
them for one year. The v-8 engine (max 85 hp) ran like a sewing machine
surprisingly smooth and quiet.
FYI, the car was insured (we were told) for the trip to Louisville via
covered trailer for 1.5 million dollars. We were also told that the dies
were ruined by stamping the stainless car parts, making these the last
of these cars ever produced.
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