Dearborn, Mich., May 22 – The car
that established a mass market for automobiles, the Model T, was
introduced on Oct. 1, 1908. The first Model T 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 production
More than 15,000,000 Model T's were
built and sold. The Model T was the first low-priced, mass-
produced car with standard interchangeable parts. The Model T
popularized the left-side steering column. The engine design, a
single block with a removable cylinder head, became the industry
Henry Ford's initiation of mass
production of vehicles on the moving assembly line led to lower car
prices and the $5 workday.
called the Model T "the universal car," a low-cost, reliable
vehicle that could be maintained easily. It successfully traveled
the poor roads of the era, thanks to its three-point suspension.
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 T.
The Model T's agile planetary
transmission enabled novices to operate the gears, and was a
forerunner of modern automatic transmission designs. Vanadium
steel, an alloy manufactured for the company at the direction of
Henry Ford, gave the car great strength and durability without
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. A modest
ceremony on May 26, 1927, marked the formal end of Model T
For its 100th
anniversary, Ford Motor Company built six Model T's, called T 100,
based on the original 1914 model. There are no original Model T
parts on these cars, but each is interchangeable with the original,
including the hand crank located under the radiator. Top end speed
of the T 100 is about 55 mph, and they get about 18 miles to the
gallon in their nine-gallon tank, about the same as an original
1914 Model T.
More than half the world's cars were nearly
identical Model T's during the mid 1920s.
The car was introduced with a price tag of
$850. The Model T later sold for as little as $260, because Ford
passed along the savings from his production