Animated opening sequence with view of Ford Automobile factory in Dearborn, Michigan. A 1931 Ford Model A races toward foreground of screen with its Ford Emblem completing the on-screen phrase, "The twenty millionth Ford". An announcer bows and steps behind a microphone (that hides his face) and speaks. Scene shifts to the original Ford workshop at the back of his home, 58 Bagley Avenue,Detroit, Michigan. His first automobile, a two cylinder machine (Quadricycle) made in 1896 is seen near the small brick building. It is viewed from several angles and shown with its engine running. Snow is on the ground.
Crash of Gee Bee Z Super Sportster airplane at the Wayne County airport in Detroit, Michigan, on Dec. 5th 1931, during attempt to break the world landplane speed record. Ground crew and one of the Granville brothers, who built the airplane, roll the Gee Bee out of a hangar. The aircraft displays tail number NR 77Y and has large numeral 4 painted on fuselage. City of Springfield is painted on front of the airplane. Pilot, Lowell Bayles, climbs into the cockpit and starts the engine. Crew chief places canopy over the pilot's cockpit. The aircraft takes off with modest rate of climb and makes slow banking turn to the left. Camera next shows the Gee Bee descending rapidly as Bayles dives the race plane at high speed into the officially timed sea level course. Camera captures view of wing breaking off and aircraft rolling and crashing in flames. Witnesses rush to the crash site and emergency equipment responds. Views of smoldering wreckage. (According to some sources, the accident began when the gas cap loosened in the slipstream and blew through the pilots canopy hitting pilot Bayles in the face, either stunning or killing him.) His reaction on the controls pitches the plane up sharply causing a catastrophic structural failure of the right wing. The plane then snap rolled into the ground and explodes into a blaze alongside railroad tracks bordering the airport. Bayles' body was thrown 300 ft. as the huge radial engine broke loose and was hurled hundreds more feet. (Recent experiments with a reproduction of the aircraft also indicate that wing flutter would develop at speeds above 240 mph on the Gee Bee Z Super Sportster.)
Part of the building shown at 1:52 still exists today in the far northeast corner of the airport near all the rental car companies. The railroad tracks still exist as well. The plane appears to start to break apart over what is now the intersection of Middlebelt & Wick Roads (1/4 mile south of I-94) in Romulus, MI.
International speedboat racing for the Harmsworth Trophy on the Detroit River in Detroit, Michigan. Aerial view of the Detroit Yacht Club and the Detroit River. Kaye Don and a mechanic aboard speedboat Miss England II. Aerial view of the first lap of the race. Boats underway during the race. View of a bridge in the background. Garfield Wood congratulates Kaye Don after the first lap of the race. The second lap of the race begins. Speedboat Miss England II takes a turn. Other boats pick up Don and crew. Prow of the speedboat above water.
In Detroit Financial District, people in front of First State Bank Building at 751 Griswold at Lafayette in Detroit, Michigan. (The building was designed by Albert Kahn and Corrado Parducci, and later housed the Olde Discount Corporation). Interior of First State Bank Building, Detroit. Street view of First National Building under construction at 660 Woodward Avenue in Detroit (for First National Bank and other tenants). Automobile traffic on streets of Detroit. People leave Sweetest Heart of Mary, Roman Catholic Church, located on Russell Street at the corner of East Canfield avenue, in a historic Polish parish. (The neighborhood at the time was predominantely Polish.) In the distance is another Polish parish and Saint Josaphat Church located on East Canfield at the corner of Hastings Street (which is now the I 75 freeway). Heavy traffic on a main boulevard. Children play in playground on swings and slides. People and pigeons in a park. Heavy traffic on a street. Large crowd on shore and others in canoes in water at Belle Isle. Crowd streams through gate at dock to board the steamship ferry "Columbia" of the Detroit, Belle Isle and Windsor Ferry Company, with sign "Bob-Lo Route" on the side. Boblo Steamship SS Columbia (designed by Frank Kirby) filled with passengers underway on the Detroit River bound for Bob-Lo Island in Ontario Canada.
A baseball game being played at Navin Field, in Detroit, Michigan. Based on the uniforms, the size of the crowd, and the action seen in the clip, this is very likely the second game of a doubleheader played by the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox May 30, 1916, on the holiday then known as Decoration Day (now Memorial Day). Clip opens with shots of one White Sox player, two Tigers players hitting. Camera pans across packed stands. Tigers outfielder and Hall of Famer Ty Cobb (with split grip on bat) reaches out to get a hit. White Sox catcher Ray Schalk removes mask, gets ready for throw. Detroit player tries to score; Schalk receives the ball, applies the tag. Umpire's call is difficult to discern. Action shifts to an overhead view. Three White Sox players score on a hit, the last one sliding past an attempted tag by Detroit catcher Oscar Stanage. Detroit pitcher Harry Coveleski gets final out of the inning. Detroit player reaches first base on infield error. The next batter pokes a ball over first baseman for a single. Other Tigers players hit. The Tigers would win this game 9-8.
The start of the 1931 Ford Commercial Airplane Reliability Tour at the Ford Airport in Dearborn, Michigan, on Sunday July 4th 1931. Opening footage at forefront right shows the Gee Bee model E Sportster flown by Lowell Bayles to a fourth place finish. Forefront center-left is the Great Lakes biplane flown by Joeseph Meehan. A number of various aircraft are parked on the airfield, including an autogyro. Visitors on the airport ramp look at airplanes on display. The museum clock tower and other buildings at Greenfield Village are visible in the background. View looking outward from inside a hanger. A squadron of U.S. Army Air Corps Boeing P-12 pursuit airplanes parked in rows, with propellers all set horizontally. A light high wing monoplane takes off followed, successively, by two Ford trimotor passenger aircraft equipped with wheel pants. View of a biplane landing. A crowd standing in front of a hangar and several officials standing in the grass. People posing on the ramp with airport building in background.