On October 1st 1908 a legend was born in Piquette Avenue in Detroit, a model that would change the motoring world forever. This legend is none other than the Ford Model T. Before the Ford model T, although cars had existed for a few decades, they were very expensive and were considered extreme luxury to the common man but Ford changed that perception with the Ford Model T.
Ford combined assembly line production and efficient fabrication instead of the usual individual hand crafting to mass produce affordable Model T units to the common middle class Americans.
The model was so famous that it is still ranked among the most influential cars of the 20th century. In 1999 it was ranked the most influential car of the century in the Car of the Century competition beating the likes of Volkswagen Type 1, BMC Mini and the Citroen DS. The vehicle still makes to the top ten list of the most sold cars of all time. It was ranked number 8 in a 2012 survey.
Ford model T Engine Specs
The Ford model T had a 4-cylinder 177-cubic-inch (2.9 L) engine that produced 20 hp (compare that with models that churn out over 1000 horses today and awe at where the motoring industry has come from). He was paired with two speed (two forward and reverse) epicyclic gear train, known as a planetary gear.
The engine used to run on hemp-based fuel or gasoline. The automaker later phased out the hemp-based engines when oil prices dropped since gasoline became more affordable. The car had a top speed of 40 miles per hour. It had a fuel economy of between 13 to 21 mpg which is pretty impressive even compared to current breed of cars.
Brief specs and history
Ford Model T have designed Childe Harold Wills, Joseph A. Galamb and Eugene Farkas on their team were also Henry Love, CJ Smith, Gus Degner and Peter E. Martin.
The Model T was the first low-priced mass-produced vehicle with standard interchangeable parts. The model is also credited for popularizing the left-side steering column which featured a single block with a removable cylinder head. This column would later become the industry standard. The vehicle was easy to maintain and was excellently designed to traverse the poor roads of the time. In total, the model was availed in 9 body styles with all featuring the same chassis.
Variants of the model T that were in production:
2-door touring (1909-11)
3-door touring (1912-25)
4-door touring (1926-27)
no door roadster (1909-11)
1-door roadster (1912-25)
2-door roadster (1926-27)
roadster pickup (1925-27)
2-door coupe (1909-12, 1917-27)
2-door Coupelet (1915-17)
Town car (1909-18)
C-cab wagon (1912)
2- (Center) door sedan (1915-23)
2-door sedan (1924-27)
4-door sedan (1923-27)
The Ford Model T was also a strong racer and in 1909 it won the New York cross-country race however in 1913 Henry Ford tried to enter the model driven by Frank Kullick in the Indianapolis 500 only to be turned down since his vehicle was considered lightweight and was told to add to it 1000 pounds. It is said that Ford gave them a piece of his mind reckoning that he was building race cars and not trucks.
Ford had such an advanced production line that he was able to build 300,000 cars in 1914 with a 13,000 workforce while the other 299 automakers with about 66,000 employees only managed 280,000 vehicles. “Lizzie” as the Model T was commonly called became so dominant such that by 1921 it accounted for about 57% of the worlds car production.
Before 1908 only a few cars were on the road, there were in fact fewer than 200,000. This was due to the fact that the models of the time were highly priced beyond the reach of middle class Americans. Ford identified this and set out to build a car that would be affordable to many people.
Though fairly expensive at first at $ 825 equivalent to $ 18,000 today, it was cheaper than other models at the time. A Ford model T ad used to claim that there was no car under $ 2,000 that offered more and no car over $ 2,000 offered more except for the trimmings.
The price later dropped to a low $ 350 in 1915 selling a whopping 472,350 units in that year alone. At one time it was selling at $ 260. This mass-production strategy was so successful that it even exceeded Henry Ford’s own expectations.
End of an era
In 1920s things started getting tough for the Ford Model T due to changes in taste and preferences of the Americans. Many people started craving for more than just an affordable car. They wanted style speed and luxury. This forced the company to unceremoniously discontinue production of their legendary automobile. In total, 15,007,033 Ford Model T units were made.
The last model rolled out of the production in May 26, 1927 during a small celebration. Though discontinued almost a century back its legend still lives on.