First released in October of 1908, the Ford Model T was designed to be a car for the people. Unlike cars that had come before it, the Model T was made to be easy to operate and inexpensive enough that any working person could own one. Ford’s redesigned manufacturing process made this possible. Instead being assembled in place, Model Ts moved along a monorail, with large machines placed in the order they were needed to produce individual car parts. This moving production line became an instant hit, cutting fabrication time in half. Within five years, Ford had adapted the method to each of its various assembly lines, minimizing the company’s expenses and revolutionizing the modern factory.
Ford’s most popular Model T, the Touring series, originally cost $850, or approximately a teacher’s yearly salary in 1908. Although this was a comparatively reasonable price, the Model T’s straightforward operation and ease of repair are what really made it sell. The Model T’s high clearance, light weight, and four-cylinder engine allowed the car to handle nearly any rough road surface. The vehicles traveled an average of 10-12 miles per gallon, and could sometimes reach speeds of more than 30 miles an hour, though only on the best roads. The worst that could be said for them is that their brakes were terrible.
The first Model T design came in green, grey, and red, and quickly gained the nickname “Tin Lizzie,” a reference to motorcars being cheap metal versions of horses, which were often called Liz or Lizzie. In 1914, Ford began its famous “any color as long as it’s black” strategy to minimize costs and improve durability. The Model T’s simplicity generated a huge aftermarket for accessories and parts, as most of the original vehicles didn’t even include an instrument panel.
Following World War I, Ford’s sales dropped during America’s postwar economic recession, and the company finally began to rethink its Model T design. Though business soon improved to reach a new peak in 1923, with 2.2 million cars produced, pressure from competing automakers’ yearly design upgrades pushed the company towards a new Model A.
During 18 years of production, Ford had created a stunning 16.5 million Model Ts. Named the “Car of the Century” in 1999, the Ford Model T is still the most collected and well-respected car ever produced.
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Ernie Hemmings, Founder of a Bible of Classic Cars, Dies at 88New York Times, March 2nd
In 1945, when Ernie Hemmings took over the auto parts business his father had founded in Quincy, Ill., Model T and Model A Fords were still too contemporary to be called classics. But Mr. Hemmings's interest in collecting and restoring ... As thick as...Read more
Baseball's US$100 million pitchers under heavy pressure to deliver quicklyThe National, March 2nd
Theo Epstein, the Chicago Cubs' president of baseball operations who signed Lester, likens these megadeals to a “splurge on a luxury item”, MLB's equivalent of a Birkin bag or vintage Ferrari. Is this worth it to their teams? Or merely ... The Cubs...Read more
Uruguay leaders display their love for vintage carsBBC News, March 2nd
At his previous inauguration ceremony in 2005, a vintage car also featured prominently. That time Mr Vazquez travelled the first few metres of the parade route in a Ford Model T bought by his wife's family in the 1920s. Both Mr Vazquez and Mr Mujica...Read more
Rogers car auction generates $9.5 million for educationMyNews3 Las Vegas KSNV, March 1st
Rogers' resulting 230-plus-car assemblage was a well-thought-out grouping of primarily American classics sprinkled with European luxury rides, and included everything from a 1915 Ford Model T through two 2012 Fisker Karma Sedans. Some of the auction ...Read more
Snowbirds miss their friends and family, but definitely not the weatherBuffalo News, February 28th
They're down here and they've got the top down,” said Jerre Walker, a Ford Stamping Plant retiree, who rides around in a vintage Model T. For years, the Walkers and their friends Don and Carol Conklin of Hamburg have been renting condos in Sun City...Read more
Vintage plane rides take flight at Gillespie Fieldfox5sandiego.com, February 26th
“He took the ball and ran with it just like he did with the Model T and automobile factories.” TriMotor went on to build 199 planes, becoming the very first airliner in history. “This plane was the first airliner that eastern airlines ever owned,” said...Read more
Antique cars, parts stolen from Garland County garageTHV 11, February 26th
The missing cars include a 1915 dark blue Chevy model 490, a 1925 black 2 door model T truck with homemade wooden box seats, a 1933 dodge 2-door sedan (front left fender is damaged), a Pierce Arrow V12 engine, numerous antique brass and steel ...Read more
Antique Model Ts may offer historic downtown toursChattanooga Times Free Press, February 23rd
A couple of vintage Ford Model Ts and an antique Model A may soon be carrying visitors around Chattanooga in the city's latest downtown travel venture. But before the nearly century-old, rebuilt vehicles ... Needham joined with Hal Everett, a self...Read more