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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Book excerpt: An automaker survival guide in the age of alternative transportationMLive.com, April 22nd
At $33,000, the average price of a car is $10,000 higher in equivalent dollars than the average price of an automobile when Henry Ford began selling the Model T. As we've said, gasoline is now 50% more costly, in relative terms, than it was a...Read more
Revisiting NYC's 1964 World's Fair, 50 years laterModesto Bee, April 21st
There's also a modern zoo, an antique carousel and outdoor sculptures. Here's a guide to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World's Fair on a visit to Queens. THE NEIGHBORHOOD. On weekends, Flushing Meadows Corona Park is packed with ...Read more
Tremonton taps local artist for outdoor muralsStandard-Examiner, April 20th
Both spring from vintage photograph inspiration featuring Model T motorcars in past Tremonton area locales. Both 3-week jobs were completed on commission by the city 10 years ago. Four are now in the planning stage, and hopefully more after that, said ...Read more
Hood River Valley cloaked in colorThe Register-Guard, April 19th
What makes WAAAM special, said Davidson, is that more than 90 percent of its antique machines are in full operating condition, including an 1899 Locomobile steam car “that accelerates from 0 to 40 in about 45 minutes,” she joked. On the second Saturday...Read more
E-Horse? A Proposed Electric Carriage for Central ParkWall Street Journal (blog), April 17th
The union representing the carriage drivers says about 400 jobs could be lost by abolishing the rides, but Mr. de Blasio has an idea for saving them: instead of horse-drawn carriages, tourists could be driven around the park in faux-vintage electric...Read more
Model A and Model T era antique car show set for SheltonShelton Herald, April 16th
In an effort to promote interest in automotive history and to share knowledge, a Model T and Model A Meet will take place in Shelton on Saturday, May 10 at 9 a.m. in the Beardsley's Cider Mill & Orchard parking lot, 278 Leavenworth Road (Route 110)...Read more
Powerful past preserved at Antique Tractors and Trains ShowSalisbury Post, April 13th
This vintage Oliver tractor and a Farmall tractor with planting attachments were on display through the Piedmont Antique Power Association, based in Mocksville — one of several groups with equipment on display. “We like to get together, have these...Read more
Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show registration opensSan Jose Mercury News, March 25th
The world's coolest cars of every era and style, model-T fire engines, vintage busses, custom motorcycles, tricked out trucks, sleek streamliners, one-of-a-kind antique engines and tractors and historic military aircraft will be among the mesmerizing...Read more