First Model T Produced
“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...”
~ Henry Ford, My Life And Work (1863-1947)
The Model T was introduced on October 1, 1908. It had the steering wheel on the left, which every other company soon copied. The entire engine and transmission were enclosed; the four cylinders were cast in a solid block; the suspension used two semi-elliptic springs. The car was very simple to drive, and easy and cheap to repair. It was so cheap at $825 US in 1908 ($23,010 today) - and the price fell every year - that by the 1920s, a majority of American drivers had learned to drive on the Model T. Although in the first years of production, the Model T was available in grey, green, blue, and red, by 1909, Ford told his management team that in the future, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”
The Ford Model T (colloquially known as the Tin Lizzie) was produced by Ford Motor Company from October 1, 1908, to May 26, 1927. It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, the car that made travel available and affordable to the middle-class American. Ford's efficient fabrication, including assembly line production instead of individual hand crafting, revolutionized the industry.
The Model T had a front-mounted 177-cubic-inch inline four-cylinder engine, producing 20 hp (horsepower) for a top speed of 40–45 mph. The engine was capable of running on gasoline, kerosene, or ethanol.
The ignition system used an unusual trembler coil system to drive the spark plugs, rather than the expensive magnetos that were used on other cars. The need for a starting battery and also Ford's use of an unusual AC alternator located inside the flywheel housing encouraged the adoption of electric lighting, rather than oil or acetylene lamps.
Although in the first years of production from 1908 to 1913, the Model T was available in grey, green, blue, and red, by 1909, Ford told his management team that in the future, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”
This tartan was woven by Lochcarron for a Model T Ford rally held in the Scottish Borders in 2007.
For a gallery of 1908 Model Ts in various colours, click the Tin Lizzie.