The Ford Model T, the first ever mainstream production car, is our Car of the Week this time around.
Up until 1908, cars were considered fancy toys for reach people. A simple everyday man couldn’t even dream of owning one. Until the Model T appeared.
The first car ever to be mass produced, the Model T turned the way common folk saw motoring upside down. It was priced at $850, came in a range of different models and was available in a variety of colours, except from 1915 to 1925, when the customer could order it in “any colour that he wants so long as it is black.”
Needless to say it was an instant hit. The Model T sold unbelievably well, starting what became the car culture in America. And it only got better. When the Model T was first introduced it took 12 hours and 8 minutes to produce a single unit. When production was about to end in 1927, Ford was producing a Model T every 24 seconds, and the price dropped down to just $290.
By 1915, half of the cars in the US were Model T’s and Ford was producing more vehicles than all the other American car companies (All 299 of them). In terms of its underpinnings, it was very revolutionary. Power came from a 2.9L 4-cylinder engine that made 22 hp, propelling it to a top speed of 45 mph.
By 1927, the Model T had become horrendously obsolete and unable to compete with the offerings from other manufacturers, despite the fact that it cost the equivalent of $3000. So it had to be replaced with the Model A. It didn’t matter however, as it had fulfilled its purpose. As a popular quote from Henry Ford says: “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 open spaces.”