In the fall of 1908, Ford Motor Company introduced the car that would put the world on wheels: the Model T. This innovation revolutionized both the transportation and manufacturing industries, making the Ford Motor Company an industrial powerhouse.
The Ford Model T was built for almost 20 years. This early Ford motorcar was offered as a touring car, a Tourabout, a Runabout, a Town Car, a Landaulet, and a Coupe, with other open and closed bodies, plus a bare chassis. Even a one-ton truck was introduced in later years.
The Model T was manufactured between 1908 to 1927. The 1908 Model T production was the first attempt at manufacturing a motorcar that the ordinary person could afford to buy. Rolling off the assembly line at a price of $850 for the touring car, the original Model T cost more than the average
American earned in a year. This was still considered affordable, and eventually, Ford was able to bring the price of the Model T down as low as $260 by 1925.
This comparatively low price was partially the result of Ford’s shift away from building each car individually by hand. Henry Ford and his engineers fine-tuned the assembly line process in order to mass produce the “Tin Lizzy”.
The early Model T was so affordable that it enabled the working Americans to live outside the major cities where they were employed. This was the beginning of the American suburban lifestyle that is more common today. The Model T was also the first of the antique motorcars that were rugged enough to be used in rural locations without paved roads.
About Classic Model T Motorcars
The Ford Model T had a four-cylinder engine with a one-piece cylinder block. It was also the first car to employ the use of the left-sided steering wheel. By 1915, the popularity of the Model T was so great that most other U.S. car manufacturers followed suit, moving the steering to the left side.
Because the Classic Ford Model T was produced for 20 years there were some variations and innovations during that time. If a Model T motorcar was made before the year 1912, the body would have actually been made of wood and these antique automobiles are now known as ‘brass era’ models. Many people think of Model Ts as only being produced in black, but originally they were produced in several colors including red, blue, green, and gray.
After the year 1914, the Model T did only come in the color black, and by 1915 Henry Ford had replaced the lamp-style headlights with electric headlights and had added a passenger door. In the year of 1919, an electric starter was added to the Tin Lizzy, with 6-volt batteries and generators. During 1922 and 1923, Ford made many of his Model T cars from Vanadium steel alloy, and the 1926-27 would have had an all steel body, and be the heaviest Model T cars ever produced by Ford Motor Company.
The Decline of Model T Production
By mid to late 1920s, the Model T faced stiff competition, as other car manufacturers began to offer many new features in their motorcars. The Model T had remained unchanged in many ways since 1908, and sales continually declined, Henry Ford reluctantly retired his Model T in the year 1927 to begin the production and sale of the new Ford Model A.