Jim Burke Ford of Bakersfield, Calif., has issued an all-points bulletin on Henry Ford's missing punch bowl. The reward for returning it is a 2003 Ford Expedition.
The Ford family has not seen the cut-glass punch bowl in more than 50 years. It was a trophy won by the auto pioneer in a 1901 race in which Henry Ford was the underdog to noted racer and manufacturer Alexander Winton.
Henry Ford is said to have treasured the punch bowl, which had been handpicked for Winton.
"So instead of Mrs. Winton getting a punch bowl, Clara Ford got a punch bowl," Ford great-grandson Edsel Ford II said. "But it got lost, and we can't find it anymore."
The bowl became missing after Clara Ford died in 1950. The punch set may have been sold inadvertently at a 1951 auction in New York City.
Dealer Jim Burke decided to pony up an SUV worth $35,000 to $40,000 to celebrate his connection to Ford Motor Co. on Ford's 100th anniversary and his dealership's 90th anniversary.
Punch bowl finders have until May 31 to bring in their candidates. If any punch bowl passes a first round of validation at the dealership, it will be sent to Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., for authentication.
"Edsel said, 'I want to get my great-grandmother's punch bowl back.' So we're trying to do something about it in our area," Burke said.
Edsel Ford and Burke talked about the missing punch bowl at Ford Motor Co.'s Salute to Dealers Awards during the convention.
Despite the lucrative reward, the Ford family isn't counting on the bowl making its way home.
"The punch bowl clearly is not in Bakersfield, Calif.," Edsel Ford said. "But Jim, who I've known for most of my life, has done a local promotion, so he's having some fun with it."