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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Struggling with change in the 1920s, part IBoothbay Register, August 29th
I thank Robert Rice for identifying the autos: the Red Cross car is a 1917 Cadillac Model 55; the stationary car to the left is a 1915 Model T; while the rear car may be a 1918 Reo (named for Ransom E. Olds of Oldsmobile). Courtesy of the Boothbay...Read more
Model T's cookin' on the roadShepherdstown Chronicle, August 28th
A cooking box located on the side of the engine of two of the vintage cars held roast beef, carrots and potatoes inside a secure cooking bag. According to club president Tom Anderson, the meal cooked during the three-hour drive from Frederick to ...Read more
BlackTop Nationals catches a break from the weatherWichita Eagle, August 28th
August often means car shows are staged in scorching heat and humidity, with time divided between prowling the rows of vehicles and seeking out shade and a cool drink. This year's BlackTop Nationals dodged a bullet last Saturday, as an ominous ...Read more
(No heading)Daily Local News, August 28th
Be sure to visit Duryea Day's large flea market, which ranges from car parts and literature to homemade crafts to vintage finds. Maybe you'll even ... park and museum. Demonstrations of the model train exhibit set up in a 1926 Ford Model T truck will...Read more
Edison Ford estates prep for Erika, to close MondayThe News-Press, August 28th
The cars that were moved away are a couple of Ford Model Ts and a Model T truck from the 1915-20 era. These are the cars garaged on ... "They've been moved to a vintage automobile place far out of the flood zone" Pendleton said. They'll stay there...Read more
Lee County Emergency management getting ready for ErikaThe News-Press, August 28th
Workers were moving vintage cars and other items in preparation on Friday, including Ford Model Ts and a Model T truck from the 1915-20 era. South Lee County. In south Lee County, the governor's emergency declaration intensified emergency planning ...Read more
Family Fun to be Had at Farmers' Market and Antique Truck & Tractor ShowHartford Courant, August 27th
The antique trucks are new this year. Last year, there were a few Model A and Model T trucks, but Pierog said that more are to be expected this year. Tractors are still the star however, and last year, there were at least 25 tractors surrounding the...Read more
Century-old Model T rolls into SF after 3600-mile road tripSFGate, August 19th
A vintage Model T Ford rolled into San Francisco this week after a 3,600-mile trip from Detroit on dusty back roads to commemorate a nearly forgotten road trip — and to make a point. “We are here to celebrate and promote our national automotive...Read more