Ford Prefect is a writer for the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy who came to earth to write an article on our planet. His real name isn't Ford Prefect, but his research led him to believe it was nicely inconspicuous.

A joke missed entirely by most Americans, the Ford Prefect was a car first produced by Ford Motor Company 1939. Selling reasonably in Europe and Australia, the Prefect boasted ten horse power by 1949, but mostly retained its 1939 styling until its termination in 1953.

Douglas Adams jokes that Ford has mistaken the dominant life form on Earth, choosing what he believes is a common name. The first glimpse of the Prefect at nearer star systems and the authoring of Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy are roughly contemporary, demonstrating Adams' attention to detail and surreal forethought.

Ford Prefect (also called Ix) is the main supporting character in the Hitchhiker's trilogy, which ironically has five books. he is from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and had come to Earth under the guise of an out of work actor (an identity he reinforced by carrying clippings of scripts and plays in his bag. ) His real mission, is to catalogue information on the planet Earth, for a revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. His grand total of fifteen Earth years spent on the planet, leaves him with "Mostly Harmless" as an entry for Earth in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Ford acts as protagonist Arthur Dent's guide and source of explanation for most of the wacky shennanigans that happen over the course of their travels. Ford's original name is "only pronounceable in an obscure Betelgeusian dialect" which was almost wiped out by the "Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster of Gal./Sid./Year 03758," a mysterious catastrophe which took place on the planet of Betelgeuse Seven and which Ford's father was the only man to survive. He chooses the moniker Ford Prefect, as he believes that cars are the dominant species on earth, so he chooses the name of a popular British car at the time. It is a joke widely lost on most audiences.

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