1902 Ford 999 engine. Henry Ford built the 999 as an experimental racer in 1902. As one of America's earliest automotive tinkerers, Ford explored a number of engineering concepts on his own before forming the Ford Motor Car Company. Barney Oldfield, a famous racecar driver of the era, drove this car to victory over the famous Winton Bullet in 1903. Later, with Henry Ford behind the wheel (or tiller, as it was then called), the car broke the land speed record at 91 mph on Michigan's frozen Lake St. Clair.