You Could Win a 2018 Ford Expedition if You Find Henry Ford's Punch Bowl

It's been out of the hands of the Ford family since 1951 and they really want it back.

The hunt is on for what might be the most valuable and historically significant punch bowl in history. At least, in automotive history. It’s a punch bowl that belonged to Henry Ford. He won it as a trophy in a race that led to the birth of the Ford Motor Company, according to Automotive News.

On Oct. 10, 1901, 38-year-old Henry Ford raced against Winston Motor Carriage Co. founder and expert racing driver Alexander Winton at the Detroit Driving Club in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. It was Winston’s Bullet racer versus Ford’s Sweepstakes car. Ford won the 10-lap race in a big upset in front of 8,000 spectators and earned $1,000, which he would use to fund his new business, the Ford Motor Company. Along with the prize money, Ford won a punch bowl as a trophy which was picked out by Winston’s promotion manager since everyone was so sure Winston would be the winner.

That punch bowl was proudly displayed in Ford’s Fair Lane estate on a table in the entrance hall. Although it meant so much to Henry Ford, his children did not know its significance. After the death of Henry Ford’s wife Clara in 1950, their children sold the punch bowl in an auction the following year for $70. The Ford family has since figured out who bought it in that auction, but the winner was the Garden Shop in New York, a business that had been closed for years. It’s believed that only one photo of the punch bowl exists and it was taken by Henry Ford himself.

Hemmings

California Ford dealer Jim Burke Ford-Lincoln has been looking for Henry Ford’s punch bowl since 2003. Burke offered a new Ford Expedition in exchange for the bowl, but the offer was never redeemed and Jim Burke passed away in 2006.

However, the reward might be renewed on the heels of the second original Bullitt Ford Mustang recently being found. "Jim Burke Ford-Lincoln is committed to help retrieve and return the bowl. We are currently considering the renewal of Jim's generous offer,” said George Hay, the dealership’s director of marketing and advertising in an email to Automotive News. “We are confident the promise of a free 2018 Ford Expedition [which has a starting MSRP of $51,695] will captivate the imagination of the country and lead to the return of the Punch Bowl."

The folks at The Henry Ford museum complex would love to get its hands on the punch bowl. If it belongs anywhere, it belongs in that museum. "People ask us about if there are any holy grail artifacts we'd like to get," said The Henry Ford curator of transportation Matt Anderson in an email to Automotive News. "That's always the first one we talk about. It's one object that would immediately find a place on the museum floor." Whoever brings it forward will need to be able to match it to Ford’s photograph and ideally have some sort of documentation proving the bowl’s authenticity.

If you think a 2018 Ford Expedition would look good in your driveway, you might want to check your attic or basement for any fancy old punch bowls that might be laying around.