||Ford Motor Company
Highland Park, US;
Buenos Aires, Argentina;
Sγo Bernardo do Campo, Brazil;
Toronto, Ontario, Canada;
||Ford Model S
||Ford Model A
||Full-size Ford, economy car
||2-door touring (190911)
3-door touring (19121925)
4-door touring (19261927)
no door roadster (190911)
2-door roadster (19261927)
roadster pickup (19251927)
2-door coupι (19091912, 19171927)
2-door Coupelet (191517)
Town car (19091918)
C-cab wagon (1912)
2-(Center)door sedan (19151923)
2-door sedan (19241927)
4-door sedan (19231927)
Separate chassis were available all years for independent coachbuilders
||177 C.I.D. (2.9 L) 20 hp I4
||2-speed planetary gear
||99.0 in (2,515 mm)
||134 in (3,404 mm)
||1,200 pounds (540 kg)
||Henry Ford, Childe Harold Wills, Joseph A. Galamb and Eugene Farkas
A major innovation brought about
by Henry Ford was the assembly line. He realized
that it would be much simpler, more practical, and
quicker if , when assembling the vehicle, the workers
could draw the various components from suitable
containers placed beside the production line, rather
than going to the various storerooms for them, which
meant they had constantly to by moving from place to
place. In this way he managed to reduce the assembly
time from 12 hours to a car coming off the line every 40
The Ford Model T (colloquially known as the
Tin Lizzie, Flivver, T‑Model Ford, or
T) is an automobile that was produced by Henry
Ford's Ford Motor Company from September 1908 to May
1927. It is generally regarded as the first affordable
automobile, the car that opened travel to the common
middle-class American; some of this was because of
Ford's innovations, including assembly line production
instead of individual hand crafting. The Ford Model T
was named the world's most influential car of the 20th
century in an international poll.
The Model T set 1908
as the historic year that the automobile became popular.
The first production Model T was produced on August 12,
1908 and left the factory on September 27, 1908, at the
Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan. On May 26, 1927,
Henry Ford watched the 15 millionth Model T Ford roll
off the assembly line at his factory in Highland Park,
There were several cars produced or prototyped by
Henry Ford from the founding of the company in 1903
until the Model T came along. Although he started with
the Model A, there were not 19 production models (A
through T); some were only prototypes. The production
model immediately before the Model T was the Model S, an
upgraded version of the company's largest success to
that point, the Model N. The follow-up was the Ford
Model A and not the Model U. Company publicity said this
was because the new car was such a departure from the
old that Henry wanted to start all over again with the
letter A. The Model T was the first automobile mass
produced on moving assembly lines with completely
interchangeable parts, marketed to the middle class.
Henry Ford said of the vehicle:
"I will build
a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough
for the family, but small enough for the individual to
run and care for. It will be constructed of the best
materials, by the best men to be hired, after the
simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But
it will be so low in price that no man making a good
salary will be unable to own one and enjoy with his
family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great
Why the Model T was so important
Before the Model T, most cars cost
lots of money. Only people with lots of money could
afford them. Even Ford's cars before the Model T cost a
lot of money. The model t went for around $980. A car
built in 1903 called the Oldsmobile Curved Dash was very
easy to buy, but was a very simple and slow car that was
more like a buggy than a car.
The man who owned the company, Henry Ford, heard about
meat being packed on an assembly line, which moved meat
from worker to worker so that the meat could be cut up.
No one had ever thought to use an assembly line to put
cars together. Ford knew that if he built his cars on an
assembly line instead of one at a time like other cars,
he could make a car that anyone could afford and would
be built like cars that cost more money. He also knew
that he could pay his workers lots more money.
The Ford Model T car was designed by Henry Ford, Childe
Harolde Wills and two Hungarian men named Jσzsef Galamb
and Eugene Farkas. The Model T had a 177 cubic inch (2.9
L) four-cylinder engine producing 20 horsepower (15 kW)
for a top speed of 45 miles per hour (72 km/h). The
engine had side valves and three main bearings. Fuel
economy was 14 to 21 miles per gallon (6 to 9 km/l), an
excellent number even today.
Ford began building the Model T in
his Piquette factory on October 6, 1908 as a 1909 model.
Workers from all over the world wanted to work for Ford
because of the good pay. Workers could even save their
money for a Model T of their own. The price of the Model
T dropped over the years, making it even easier to buy.
Work began at one end of the assembly line, starting
with an empty chassis. From there, the chassis moved
slowly down the assembly line. Workers on the assembly
line added parts to the chassis. Before long, a new
Model T rolled off the other end of the line. Different
body styles were available, even a truck, or Model TT.
At first, the only color available was black. Black
paint was used because it was cheaper than other paints
and Ford was obsessed with increasing profit. As car
paint got better over the years, Ford began offering
other colors. The time it took a chassis to become a
finished car was over twelve hours when the first Model
T's were built. By the time the last Model T came off of
the line, Ford had so many auto plants it was making one
car every 40 seconds!
Even though the Model T sold for little money, Ford used
the best materials he could buy to make his car. Most
roads in the Model T's day were dirt, gravel or even
mud. That meant the Model T had to be very strong, and
it was. The wheels and tires were very tall and skinny
so that they could sink into mud roads and not get
stuck. It was also very simple.
March 31, 1925, Ford announced that Geelong, was to be
the Australian headquarters. The first Australian-built
Ford was a Model T that came off an improvised
production line in a disused Geelong woolstore in June
1925, while work started on a factory in the nearby
suburb of Norlane. In 1928 the factory switched to the
Model A and was followed by the Ford V8 in 1932.
In 1934 the company released the world's first coupe
utility. The inventor was Ford engineer Lewis Bandt.
During the Depression, banks would not extend credit to
farmers to purchase passenger cars- in the belief they
were unnecessary luxuries. However, they would lend
money for the purchase of "working" vehicles. The coupe
utility fulfilled the need of farmers to have a
workhorse which could also be used "to take the wife to
church on Sunday and to the market on Monday".
In 1956 the company bought a large tract of land in the
northern Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows, and in July
1961 announced that the new Melbourne factory would
become the company headquarters.
Model T car was designed by Childe Harold Wills and two
Hungarian immigrants, Joseph A. Galamb and Eugene Farkas.
Henry Love, C. J. Smith, Gus Degner and Peter E. Martin
were also part of the team. Production of the Model T
began in the third quarter of 1908. Collectors today
sometimes classify Model Ts by build years and refer to
these as "model years", thus labeling the first Model Ts
as 1909 models. This is a retroactive classification
scheme; the concept of model years as we conceive it
today did not exist at the time. The nominal model
designation was "Model T", although design revisions did
occur during the car's two decades of production.
Engine and means of starting
Model T had a 177-cubic-inch (2.9 L) front-mounted
inline four-cylinder en bloc engine (that is, all
four cylinders in one block, as common now, rather than
in individual castings, as common then) producing 20 hp
(15 kW) for a top speed of 4045 mph (6472 km/h). The
Model T four-cylinder side valve engine was first in the
world with a detachable head, making service like valve
jobs easier. According to Ford Motor Company, the Model
T had fuel economy on the order of 1321 mpg-US
(1625 mpg-imp; 1811
L/100 km). The engine was capable of running on petrol,
kerosene, or ethanol, although the decreasing cost of
petrol and the later introduction of Prohibition made
ethanol an impractical fuel.
magneto was an electrical generator that produced the
high voltage necessary to produce a spark to initiate
combustion. This voltage was distributed by the timer
(analogous to a distributor in a modern vehicle) to one
of the four trembler coils, one for each cylinder. The
coil created a high voltage current, directly connected
to the spark plug in the cylinder. Ignition timing was
adjusted manually by using the spark advance lever
mounted on the steering column which rotated the timer.
A battery could be used for starting current: at
hand-cranking speed, the magneto did not always produce
sufficient current (a starting battery was not standard
equipment until sometime in 1926, though all T's had a
bat position on the coil box switch). A certain amount
of skill and experience was required to find the optimal
timing for any speed and load. When electric headlights
were introduced in 1915, the magneto was upgraded to
supply power for the lights and horn. In keeping with
the goal of ultimate reliability and simplicity, the
trembler coil and magneto ignition system was retained
even after the car became equipped with a generator and
battery for electric starting and lighting. Most cars
sold after 1919 were equipped with electric starting,
which was engaged by a small round button on the floor.
Before starting a Model T with the hand crank, the
spark had to be manually retarded or the engine might
"kick back". The crank handle was cupped in the palm,
rather than grabbed with the thumb under the top of the
handle, so that if the engine did kick back, the rapid
reverse motion of the crank would throw the hand away
from the handle, rather than violently twisting the
wrist or breaking the thumb. Most Model T Fords had the
choke operated by a wire emerging from the bottom of the
radiator where it could be operated with the left hand.
This was used to prime the engine while cranking the
engine slowly then starting the engine with the left
hand with a rapid pull of the crank handle. The car only
had to be cranked half a turn for it to successfully
start. This "quick start" is because of the engine's
small displacement and low compression.
The car's 10 US gal (38 l; 8 imp gal) fuel tank was
mounted to the frame beneath the front seat; one variant
had the carburetor (a Holley Model G) modified to run on
ethyl alcohol, to be made at home by the self-reliant
farmer. Because Ford relied on gravity to feed fuel to
the carburetor rather than a fuel pump, a Model T could
not climb a steep hill when the fuel level was low. The
immediate solution was to climb steep hills in reverse.
In 1926, the fuel tank was moved forward to under the
cowl on most models.
Early on, the engine blocks were to be produced by
the Lakeside Foundry on St. Jean in Detroit. Ford
cancelled the deal before many were produced.
The first few hundred Model Ts had a water pump, but
it was eliminated early in production. Ford opted for a
cheaper and more reliable thermo-syphon system. Hot
water, being less dense, would rise to the top of the
engine and up into the top of the radiator, descending
to the bottom as it cooled, and back into the engine.
This was the direction of water flow in most cars which
did have water pumps, until the introduction of
crossflow radiator designs. Many types of water pumps
were available as aftermarket accessories.
Transmission and drive train
The Model T was a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Its
transmission was a planetary gear type billed as "three
speed". In today's terms it would be considered a
two-speed, because one of the three speeds was reverse.
The Model T's transmission was controlled with three
foot pedals and a lever that was mounted to the road
side of the driver's seat. The throttle was controlled
with a lever on the steering wheel. The left pedal was
used to engage the gear. With the handbrake in either
the mid position or fully forward and the pedal pressed
and held forward the car entered low gear. When held in
an intermediate position the car was in neutral, a state
that could also be achieved by pulling the floor-mounted
lever to an upright position. If the lever was pushed
forward and the driver took his foot off the left pedal,
the Model T entered high gear, but only when the
handbrake lever was fully forward. The car could thus
cruise without the driver having to press any of the
pedals. There was no separate clutch pedal.
The middle pedal was used to engage reverse gear, and
the right pedal operated the transmission brake. The
floor lever also controlled the parking brake, which was
activated by pulling the lever all the way back. This
doubled as an emergency brake.
Although it was uncommon, the drive bands could fall
out of adjustment, allowing the car to creep,
particularly when cold, adding another hazard to
attempting to start the car: a person cranking the
engine could be forced backward while still holding the
crank as the car crept forward, although it was
nominally in neutral. As the car utilized a wet clutch,
this condition could also occur in cold weather, where
the thickened oil prevents the clutch discs from
slipping freely. Power reached the differential through
a single universal joint attached to a torque tube which
drove the rear axle; some models (typically trucks, but
available for cars as well) could be equipped with an
optional two-speed Ruckstell rear axle shifted by a
floor-mounted lever which provided an underdrive gear
for easier hill climbing. All gears were vanadium steel
running in an oil bath.
Model T suspension employed a transversely mounted
semi-elliptical spring for each of the front and rear
axles, which was a solid beam axle, not an independent
suspension, which still allowed a great deal of wheel
movement to cope with the dirt roads of the time.
The front axle was drop forged as a single piece of
vanadium steel. Ford twisted many axles eight times and
sent them to dealers to be put on display to demonstrate
its superiority. The Model T did not have a modern
service brake. The right foot pedal applied a band
around a drum in the transmission, thus stopping the
rear wheels from turning. The previously mentioned
parking brake lever operated band brakes on the outside
of the rear brake drums.
Wheels were wooden artillery wheels, with steel
welded-spoke wheels available in 1926 and 1927.
Tires were pneumatic clincher type, 30 in (76 cm) in
diameter, 3.5 in (8.9 cm) wide in the rear, 3 in
(7.5 cm) wide in the front. Clinchers needed much higher
pressure than today's tires, typically 60 psi (410 kPa),
to prevent them from leaving the rim at speed. Horseshoe
nails on the roads, together with the high pressure,
made flat tires a common problem.
Balloon tires became available in 1925. They were
21 Χ 4.5 in (53 Χ 11 cm) all around. Balloon tires were
closer in design to today's tires, with steel wires
reinforcing the tire bead, making lower pressure
possible typically 35 psi (240 kPa) giving a softer
ride. The old nomenclature for tire size changed from
measuring the outer diameter to measuring the rim
diameter so 21 in (530 mm) (rim diameter) Χ 4.5 in
(110 mm) (tire width) wheels has about the same outer
diameter as 30 in (76 cm) clincher tires. All tires in
this time period used an inner tube to hold the
pressurized air; "tubeless" tires were not generally in
use until much later.
Wheelbase was 99 inches (250 cm); while standard
tread width was 56 in (142 cm), 60 in (152 cm) tread
could be obtained on special order, "for Southern
Up until 1916, early Ts had a brass radiator and headlights. The
horn and numerous small parts were also brass. Many of
the early cars were open-bodied touring cars and
runabouts, these being cheaper to make than closed cars.
Prior to the 1911 model year (when front doors were
added to the touring model), US - made open cars did not
have an opening door for the driver. Later models
included closed cars (introduced in 1915), sedans,
coupes and trucks. The chassis was available so trucks
could be built to suit. Ford also developed some truck
bodies for this chassis, designated the Model TT. The
headlights were originally acetylene lamps made of brass
(commonly using Prest-O-Lite tanks), but eventually the
car gained electric lights after 1910, initially powered
from the magneto until the electrical system was
upgraded to a battery, generator and starter motor, when
lighting power was switched to the battery source.
The Model T production system, the epitome of Fordism,
is famous for representing the rigidity of early mass
production systems that were wildly successful at
achieving efficiency but that could accommodate changes
in product design only with great difficulty and
resistance. The story is more complicated; there were
few major, publicly visible changes throughout the life
of the model, but there were many smaller changes. Most
were driven by design for manufacturability
considerations, but styling and new features also played
more of a role than commonly realized. In fact, one of
the problems for the company regarding design changes
was the T's reputation for not changing and being
"already correct", which Henry Ford enjoyed and which
was a selling point for many customers, which made it
risky to admit any changes actually were happening. (The
idea of simply refining a design without making radical
visible changes would resurface, and score even greater
production success, with the VW Type 1.)
Date of Change
hole from 25/64 to 29/64"
Added for use
after 1st 250
"all stock scrapped in June"
spotting boss from rear end
compression space by 3/32"
spotting boss to rear end
between combustion chamber and water jacket
for 1/8" pipe taps on left side of head.
pipe taps for priming. Bosses remain.
Added 3/32 to
bottom of head, increases all top to bottom
dimensions and lowers compression.
High Head Changes ASAP, Use Up Old Stock.
cored hole between chambers 2 & 3.
locating boss from 5/8" square to 1/2"
height of combustion chamber 1/16"
height of combustion chamber 3/32"
height of combustion chamber 3/32".
paint with M-124
By 1918, half of all the cars in the US were Model
T's. However it was a monolithic bloc; Ford wrote in his
autobiography that he told his management team in 1909
that in the future
"Any customer can have a car painted
any color that he wants so long as it is black".
However, in the first years of production from 1908
to 1914, the Model T was not available in black but
rather only grey, green, blue, and red. Green was
available for the touring cars, town cars, coupes, and
Landaulets. Grey was only available for the town cars,
and red only for the touring cars. By 1912, all cars
were being painted midnight blue with black fenders. It
was only in 1914 that the "any color as long as it is
black" policy was finally implemented. It is often
stated that Ford suggested the use of black from 1914 to
1926 due to the cheap cost and durability of black
paint. During the lifetime production of the Model T,
over 30 different types of black paint were used on
various parts of the car. These were formulated to
satisfy the different means of applying the paint to the
various parts, and had distinct drying times, depending
on the part, paint, and method of drying.
Diverse applications in a world not
yet widely paved, motorized, or
Read full article
When the Model T was designed and introduced, the
infrastructure of the world was quite different from
today's. Pavement was a rarity except for sidewalks and
a few big-city streets. (The sense of the term
"pavement" as equivalent with "sidewalk" comes from that
era, when streets and roads were generally dirt (mud
during rainy periods) and sidewalks were a paved way to
walk down them without getting dirty. In fact, this was
a motive for segregating foot traffic from carriage
traffic long before the speed of automobiles provided
another motive.) Agriculture was the occupation of many
people. Power tools were scarce outside factories, as
were any power sources to run them; electrification,
like pavement, was found usually only in larger towns
and cities. Rural electrification and motorized
mechanization were embryonic in North America and
Europe, and nonexistent elsewhere.
Henry Ford oversaw the requirements and design of the
Model T based on the realities of that world.
Consequently, the Model T was (intentionally) almost as
much a tractor and stationary engine as it was an
automobile, that is, a vehicle dedicated solely to road
use. It has always been well regarded for its
all-terrain abilities and ruggedness. It could travel a
rocky, muddy farm lane, ford a shallow stream, climb a
steep hill, and be parked on the other side to have one
of its wheels removed and a pulley fastened to the hub
for a flat belt to drive a bucksaw, thresher, silo
blower, conveyor for filling corn cribs or haylofts,
baler, water pump (for wells, mines, or swampy farm
fields), electrical generator, and countless other
applications. One unique application of the Model T was
shown in the October 1922 issue of Fordson Farmer
magazine. It showed a minister who had transformed his
Model T in to a mobile church, complete with small
During this era, entire automobiles (including
thousands of Model Ts) were even hacked apart by their
industrious owners and reconfigured into custom
machinery permanently dedicated to a purpose, such as
homemade tractors, ice saws, or many others. Dozens of
aftermarket companies sold prefab kits to facilitate the
T's conversion from car to tractor. In a world mostly
without mechanized cultivators, Model Ts filled a
vacuum. Row-crop tractors such as the Farmall did not
become widespread until the 1930s. Like many popular car
engines of the era, the Model T engine was also used on
home-built aircraft (such as the Pietenpol Sky Scout)
Also, many Model Ts were converted into vehicles
which could travel across heavy snows with kits on the
rear wheels and skis where the front wheels were
located. They were popular for rural mail delivery for a
time. The common name for these conversions of cars and
small trucks was Snowflyers. These vehicles were
extremely popular in the northern reaches of Canada
where factories were set up to produce them.
The knowledge and skills needed by a factory worker
were reduced to 84 areas. When introduced, the T used
the building methods typical at the time, assembly by
hand, and production was small. Ford's Piquette plant
could not keep up with demand for the Model T, and only
11 cars were built there during the first full month of
production. More and more machines were used to reduce
the complexity within the 84 defined areas. In 1910,
after assembling nearly 12,000 Model Ts, Henry Ford
moved the company to the new Highland Park complex.
As a result, Ford's cars came off the line in
three-minute intervals, much faster than previous
methods, reducing production time by a factor of eight
(requiring 12.5 hours before, 93 minutes afterwards),
while using less manpower. By 1914, the assembly process
for the Model T had been so streamlined it took only 93
minutes to assemble a car. That year Ford produced more
cars than all other automakers combined. The Model T was
a great commercial success, and by the time Henry made
his 10 millionth car, 50 percent of all cars in the
world were Fords. It was so successful that Ford did not
purchase any advertising between 1917 and 1923; more
than 15 million Model Ts were manufactured, reaching a
rate of 9,000 to 10,000 cars a day in 1925, or 2 million
annually, more than any other model of its day, at a
price of just $240. Model T production was finally
surpassed by the Volkswagen Beetle on February 17, 1972.
Henry Ford's ideological approach to Model T design
was one of getting it right and then keeping it the
same; he believed the Model T was all the car a person
would, or could, ever need. As other companies offered
comfort and styling advantages, at competitive prices,
the Model T lost market share. Design changes were not
as few as the public perceived, but the idea of an
unchanging model was kept intact. Eventually, on May 26,
1927, Ford Motor Company ceased production and began the
changeovers required to produce the Model A.
Model T engines continued to be produced until August
4, 1941. Almost 170,000 were built after car production
stopped, as replacement engines were required to service
already produced vehicles. Racers and enthusiasts,
forerunners of modern hot rodders, used the Model T's
block to build popular and cheap racing engines,
including Cragar, Navarro, and famously the Frontenacs
("Fronty Fords") of the Chevrolet brothers, among many
The Model T employed some advanced technology, for
example, its use of vanadium steel alloy. Its durability
was phenomenal, and many Model Ts and their parts remain
in running order nearly a century later. Although Henry
Ford resisted some kinds of change, he always championed
the advancement of materials engineering, and often
mechanical engineering and industrial engineering.
In 2002, Ford built a final batch of six Model Ts as
part of their 2003 centenary celebrations. These cars
were assembled from remaining new components and other
parts produced from the original drawings. The last of
the six was used for publicity purposes in the UK.
Although Ford no longer manufacture parts for the
Model T, many parts are still manufactured through
private companies as replicas to service the thousands
of Model T's still in operation today.
The standard 4-seat open tourer of 1909 cost $850
(equivalent to $20,709 today), when competing cars often
cost $2,000$3,000 (equivalent to $48,726$73,089
today); in 1913, the price dropped to $550 (equivalent
to $12,181 today), and $440 in 1915 (equivalent to
$9,521 today). Sales were 69,762 in 1911; 170,211 in
1912; 202,667 in 1913; 308,162 in 1914; and 501,462 in
1915. In 1914, an assembly line worker could buy a Model
T with four months' pay.
By the 1920s, the price had fallen to $290
(equivalent to $3,289 today) because of increasing
efficiencies of assembly line technique and volume.
Henry employed vertical integration of the industries
needed to create his cars.
full price list from 1909 to 1927
here, with some
interesting inflation-adjusted figures.
Henry Ford used wood scraps from the production of
Model T's to create charcoal. Originally named Ford
Charcoal the name was changed to Kingsford Charcoal
after Ford's relative E. G. Kingsford brokered the
selection of the new charcoal plant site.
The Ford Model T was the first automobile built by
various countries simultaneously since they were being
produced in Walkerville, Canada and in Trafford Park,
Greater Manchester, England starting in 1911 and were
later assembled in Germany, Argentina, France, Spain,
Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan.
Ford made use of the knock-down kit concept almost from
the beginning of the company.
The Aeroford was an English automobile manufactured
in Bayswater, London, from 1920 to 1925. It was a Model
T with distinct hood and grille to make it appear to be
a totally different design, what later would have been
called badge engineering. The Aeroford sold from £288 in
1920, dropping to £168-214 by 1925. It was available as
a two-seater, four-seater, or coupι.
Advertising, marketing, and
Ford created a massive publicity
machine in Detroit to ensure every newspaper carried
stories and advertisements about the new product. Ford's
network of local dealers made the car ubiquitous in
virtually every city in North America. As independent
dealers, the franchises grew rich and publicized not
just the Ford but the very concept of automobiling;
local motor clubs sprang up to help new drivers and to
explore the countryside. Ford was always eager to sell
to farmers, who looked on the vehicle as a commercial
device to help their business. Sales skyrocketed
several years posted 100% gains on the previous year.
Sales passed 250,000 in 1914. By 1916, as the price
dropped to $360 for the basic touring car, sales reached
built before 1919 are classed as veteran cars and later
models as vintage cars. Today, four main clubs exist to
support the preservation and restoration of these cars:
The Model T Ford Club International, the Model T Ford
Club of America and the combined clubs of Australia.
With many chapters of clubs around
the world, the Model T Ford Club of Victoria has a
membership with a considerable number of uniquely
Australian cars. (Australia produced its own car bodies
and therefore many differences occurred between the
Australian bodied tourers and the US/Canadian cars). In
the UK, the Model T Ford Register of Great Britain
celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010.
Many steel Model T parts are still
manufactured today, and even fiberglass replicas of
their distinctive bodies are produced, which are popular
for T-bucket style hot rods (as immortalized in the Jan
and Dean surf music song "Bucket T," which was later
recorded by The Who).
In 2008, there was an around
Australia trip organised by various members of the NSW
portion of the Combined model T clubs of Australia.
Along the trip the members of the club met the likes of
Malcolm Douglas and others. The trip lasted just over 6
months, all of this time the members ate, drank and
slept in their cars that they had modified for the trip.
They left Sydney on 20th, April and made it all the way
to Echuca in Victoria for the 100 year anniversary of
the Model T Ford. People come from all over Australia,
New Zealand and America for the trip to one major city
in Australia that is held every 3 years, they stayed for
a week in Echuca and participated in various activities
organised by the Victoria club and eventually moved on
to go home and see their families back in Sydney on the
9th, October 2008.
In The Music Man by Meredith Wilson Model
T's are blamed for changes in society and the life of
travelling salesmen. "Why it's the Model T Ford made the
trouble, made the people/ Want to go, want to git, want
to git, want to git up and go/ Seven, eight, nine, ten,
twelve, fourteen, twenty-two, twenty-three miles to the
county seat/ Yes Sir Yes Sir/ Who's gonna patronize a
little bitty two-by-four kind of store any more?"
The End of the Model T's Reign
June 4, 1924, the ten millionth Model T Ford left
the Highland Park factory, which would remain the main
facility for T production. While the flivver outsold its
nearest competitor by a six-to-one margin that year, its
unbridled run was nearing an unforeseen conclusion.
After years of conceding the low end of the market to
Ford, another automaker was setting its sights on that
At the beginning of the decade,
General Motors was an awkward conglomerate of car
companies and parts suppliers, managed more for the sake
of its whipsaw stock-price than for efficiencies in auto
making. In the middle of the decade, though, a
revitalized GM, under the brilliant leadership of Alfred
P. Sloan, Jr., began to offer inexpensive Chevrolets
with amenities that the Model T lacked. Instead of the
sturdy but antiquated planetary transmission, it had a
smooth three-speed. The market began to shift; price and
value ceased to be paramount factors. Styling and
excitement suddenly counted to the customer. Even though
the Model T cost a mere $290 in the mid-twenties,
dealers clamored for a new Ford that would strike the
fancy of the more demanding and sophisticated consumers.
But Henry Ford refused even to consider replacing his
beloved Model T. Once, while he was away on vacation,
employees built an updated Model T and surprised him
with it on his return. Ford responded by kicking in the
windshield and stomping on the roof. "We got the
message," one of the employees said later, "As far as he
was concerned, the Model T was god and we were to put
away false images." Only one person persisted in warning
him of the impending crisis: his son, Edsel, who had
been installed as president of the Ford Motor Company
during the dividend trial and its aftermath in 1919. It
was the first of many arguments that Edsel would lose,
as the once adoring relationship between the two
deteriorated into distrust and disrespect on Henry's
part and woeful disillusionment on Edsel's.
The Chevrolet continued to take sales from the dour
Model T. By 1926, T sales had plummeted, and the
realities of the marketplace finally convinced Henry
Ford that the end was at hand.
May 25, 1927, Ford abruptly announced the end of
production for the Model T, and soon after closed the
Highland Park factory for six months. The shutdown was
not for retooling: there was no new model in the works.
In history's worst case of product planning, Henry sent
the workers home so that he could start to design his
next model. Fortunately, Edsel had been quietly
marshalling sketches from the company's designers, and
he was ready and able to work with his father on
producing plans for the new car, called the Model A. It
was a success from its launch in December 1927, and
placed the company on sound footing again. By the time
it went into production, the River Rouge had become the
main Ford manufacturing facility.
When the last Model T rolled off the assembly line, it
was not the end of an era, it was still the very dawn of
the one that the little car had inaugurated. Cars --
more than half of them Model Ts -- pervaded American
culture. They jammed the streets of the great eastern
cities and roamed newly laid roads in southern
California. Adapted to haul everything from mail to
machine guns to coffins to schoolchildren, automobiles
represented an opportunity for change in practically
everything. They also became a crucial factor in
recasting a growing economy. Henry Ford had created a
car for the multitudes and that car had created the
basis of the car culture embraced by every subsequent
The Ford Motor Company, having survived its own crisis
in the twenties, was one of only forty-four U.S.
automakers left in 1929, out of the hundreds that had
entered the fray since the beginning of the century.
That year, Ford, General Motors, and the newly formed
Chrysler Corporation -- known then and now as the Big
Three -- accounted for 80 percent of the market.
Henry Ford died on April 7, 1947, at the age of
eighty-three, having outlived the Model T by nearly
twenty years. A century has passed since he took the
first car he built for a ride. The world remains in
large part the one set into motion by Henry Ford: a
world in which cars are for everyone. As Will Rogers
said, "It will take a hundred years to tell whether he
helped us or hurt us, but he certainly didn't leave us
where he found us."
The Model T was introduced on
Oct. 1, 1908. It had a 20-horsepower,
four-cylinder engine, reached a top speed of
about 45 miles per hour, got about 13 to 21
miles per gallon of gasoline and weighed 1,200
pounds. It was the ninth of Henry Ford's
More than 15,000,000 Model
T's were built and sold. A modest ceremony on
May 26, 1927, marked the formal end of Model T
The first models were
produced at a factory on Piquette Avenue in
Detroit. Beginning in 1910, Model T's were built
at a new Highland Park (Michigan) plant.
Henry Ford's initiation of
mass production of vehicles on the moving
assembly line led to lower car prices and the $5
The car was introduced with a
price tag of $850. The Model T later sold for as
little as $260, without extras, because of
production savings Henry Ford passed on to
Henry Ford called the Model T
"the universal car," a low-cost, reliable
vehicle that could be maintained easily and
could successfully travel the poor roads of the
The Model T came in nine body
styles, all on the same chassis.
"Lizzie" was one of the most
popular of the dozens of nicknames for the Model
In 1914, Ford, with 13,000
employees, produced about 300,000 cars while 299
other companies with 66,350 employees produced
about 280,000 vehicles.
Gordon "10 Moments That Made American
Business," American Heritage,
attempted a buy on time program to aid
sales, resembling that of the German
Kdf-Wagen (forerunner of the Volkswagen
Type 1). Ford's plan was not a success,
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