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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Not a T-bird, but '47 Ford truck fills the billKansas.com, December 19th
Dan and Dana Caywood went looking for an appropriate color and found it in a 1999 vintage Chrysler color called Black Cherry. Sam Valdez at Showroom Automotive in Haysville handled the paint job. “We had some of that almond paint left and somebody ...Read more
Trask Jewelers closing after 159 years downtownDaily Bulldog, December 19th
An antique hand-crank cash register still gets the job done, as do the pencils he prefers to use. After working some 60 ... "I want to slow down, catch up with projects, do a little traveling," John Anderson said, and have time for his Model T Ford...Read more
Area Gallery Receives International AttentionCibola County Beacon, December 19th
The 1923 Model “T” car is the largest of those artifacts, which also include vintage neon signs, oilcans, and license plates from the 1940s-60s. “I have two photos and another postcard that are being scanned to add to the show,” acknowledged Gallegos...Read more
Isabella's Ice Cream Opens Its First Location at Rincon MarketTucson Weekly, December 15th
The funny thing about Tucson is it's never not ice cream weather. That's good news for Dominic and Kristel Johnson who just opened their first stationary Isabella's ice cream shop in Rincon Market. Their large converted Model T “T-iosk,” as they've...Read more
An Apple-1, on Sale at Christie's, Finds a TechieNew York Times, December 9th
To assess the condition of the “Ricketts” Apple-1 and bring it to full operation, Christie's called in Corey Cohen, a 43-year-old manager at a software company and vintage computer enthusiast from New Jersey who has become to early Apple circuitry what ...Read more
Houston couple perish in accident in beloved antique carHouston Chronicle, December 4th
"Allen's father placed an order for a Model T just around the time Model T production stopped," Riekert said. "A little while later, they told him, 'We have this Model A coupe if you want it,' and he said 'OK'." The car joined the Cunningham family...Read more
Palm Springs to Twentynine Palms: Marines ride in vintage carsThe Desert Sun, November 30th
Although the club planned to use 16 vintage cars, extremely strong winds in the high desert forced organizers and volunteers to instead use their personal cars for the lengthy drive. Three classic cars — a 1927 Model T, a 1942 Ford Convertible and a...Read more
Building mural portrays Tremonton's Model-T eraStandard-Examiner, November 29th
The "Welcome Mural" is based on a vintage photo of downtown Tremonton from Model-T times, showing the antique cars of days past along with a welcome sign spanning Main. It's the first of four planned for this town of approximately 8,000 population...Read more