This was the letter as it came on official White House stationery:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C.

March 3rd, 1898

Henry Ford
58 Bagley Avenue
Detroit, Michigan

Subject: Executive Use of the Gasoline-Powered "Quadricycle"

Dear Mr. Ford,

We received your letter, dated February 1st.

This letter is written to thank you for your offer to present a gift of one two-cylinder, four-cycle gasoline engine-powered "Quadricycle," that you have developed in your workshop in Detroit for use by the President.

And while such vehicle is of high interest to machinists and hobbyists, I do not feel the automobile can be perfected to replace the safety and comfort of the carriages we have available to us here at the White House.

Please feel free to write again should you ever design and manufacture standard, horse-drawn buggies. I will happily forward that information to my Treasury Secretary, Lyman J.Gage, for possible procurement. Until that time, I must thank you for -- and yet decline -- your generous offer.

Sincerely,

William McKinley
President of the United States

 

Larry Hall

[ As Read on Car Talk ]