Tuesday 6th January 1953
Earl S MacPherson was issued with a US patent for his vehicle wheel suspension system. He was the chief engineer of the Chevrolet Cadet project, a compact car intended to sell for less than $1,000. MacPherson developed a strut-type suspension for the Cadet, partly inspired by Fiat designs patented by Guido Fornaca in the 1920s (although the Cadet did not use a true MacPherson strut design) and a patent by Frank M. Smith of Stout Motor Car Corporation. After the Cadet was cancelled in May 1947, MacPherson left GM, joining the Ford Motor Company later that year. One of his first projects was to adapt his strut suspension design for the 1949 Ford Vedette, for Ford’s French subsidiary. This became the first car to use the true MacPherson strut suspension. Ford’s Poissy plant got off to a slow start with the Vedette, however, and the Fords Zephyr and Consul which captured the headlines at the 1950 London Motor Show have also been claimed as the first cars to appear “in mass production” with MacPherson struts.