The Ford Motor Company was founded by Henry Ford in 1903. Ford vehicles have been nicknamed with the backronym (back acronym) “First On Race Day” since at least 1966, when an advertisement declared, “Last Year FORD Won Every Major Stock Car Race In NASCAR Circuit!” The “First On Race Day” nickname was used more frequently in the 1970s.
Other Ford backronymic nicknames include “Fix Or Repair Daily” and “Found On Road Dead.”
Wikipedia: Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company (also known as simply Ford; NYSE: F) is an American multinational automaker headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. The company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and luxury cars under the Lincoln brand. In the past it has also produced heavy trucks, tractors and automotive components. Ford owns small stakes in Mazda of Japan and Aston Martin of the United Kingdom. It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is controlled by the Ford family, although they have minority ownership.
20 January 1966, Raleigh Register (Beckley, WV), pg. 27, col. 5 ad:
Last Year FORD Won Every Major Stock Car Race In NASCAR Circuit!
(Grady Whitlock Ford—ed.)
31 January 1974, Gazette Telegraph (Colorado Springs, CO), pg. 16D, col. 2 classified ad:
(Royal European Auto—ed.)
15 May 1977, Sunday World-Herald (Omaha, NE), pg. 19-D, col. 8 classified ad:
AT MIDWEST SPEED & PERFORMANCE WE KNOW THAT FORD REALLY MEANS “FIRST ON RACE DAY.”
2 March 1983, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Tempo, Ford’s new auto, show ‘models’ are better suited to serious business” by Clarence Petersen, pg. D1:
Says Guenther: “And they come up and say, ‘FORD: Found On Road Dead’ or ‘Fix Or Repair Daily.’ I just say, ‘No, First On Race Day.’”
11 June 1985, Rockford (IL) Register Star, “Motor Sports” by Phil Pash, pg. 3C, col. 5:
Trans-Am driver Willy T. Ribbs, who wanted to go to Indy but didn’t like it after he got there, says FORD stands for First On Race Day.
The Ultimate Hot Rod Dictionary:
A-Bombs to Zoomies
By Jeff Breitenstein
Illustrated by Troy Paiva
St. Paul, MN: Motorbooks International
First On Race Day adj. A mnemonic-like endorsement of Ford Motor Company products.
Kevin Kling’s Holiday Inn
By Kevin Kling
St. Paul, MN: Borealis Books
My uncle tells Dad Ford stands for Found On Road Dead. Dad corrects him: No, he heard First On Race Day.