AUTOS: Models, Models, Models

In a mowed, 15-acre wheatfield 1½ miles north of Flora, Ill. stood 1,374 glistening new white Fords, Falcons and Thunderbirds, 115 new trucks and one bright red-and-white fire engine. At exactly 10:23 one morning last week Flora residents sprinted across the stubble in a Midwestern version of the Le Mans start, hopped into the new cars, and amid a swirl of dust drove them to their homes.

For one week the fire department and nearly every family in Flora (pop. 5,338), including the Chevrolet dealer, was lent a new Ford to drive. It...