The Ford Model T is unique to car history, and it receives credit for being the model that brought cars to the average American. Part of the car's history is also history of the automobile industry, the factory production line, and the ability of average workers to get a fair wage, thanks to Henry Ford and his vision. Ford Model T cars were produced from 1908 through 1927, in Detroit, Michigan, and in Hamtramck, Michigan. By 1927, 15 million Model T Fords had rolled off the assembly lines.
Ford used interchangeable parts on the line and marketed his cars to middle class Americans. Henry Ford collaborated with designers Childe Harold Wills, Joseph A. Galamb, Henry Love, Perter E. Martin, Gus Degner, C.J. Smith, and Eugene Farkas. Mr. Ford's dream was to build a car for the great multitude". He wanted it designed for family use and to be easy for the owner to care for it. He chose the best materials and the best men to make his cars. Another goal was to make prices affordable enough that the average worker could purchase Ford Model T cars.
Ford Model T cars were considered both a full-size Ford and an economy car. There were 2-, 3-, and 4-door models, styled as a roadster, roadster pickup, coupe, town car, wagon, and 2- and 4- door sedan. The first engines were a 177 CID 2.9L engine generating 20 hp, with a 2-speed planetary gear transmission. Fuel economy was calculated to be between 13 to 21 mpg. Starting up the Model T was achieved by using a hand crank carefully to avoid kick back. By 1919, most cars had electric starting. Without a fuel pump, drivers had to use gravity, which meant going up a hill had to be done backwards. The transmission was controlled with 3 foot pedals, a lever, and throttle.
The car had a solid beam axle fitted with transversely mounted semi-elliptical springs. Early wheels were wooden. Rubber tires all had air filled inner tubes. Many parts were made from brass, and the coaches were open with no doors. Changes to Ford Model T were kept quiet to reduce influence upon sales. In 1918, Model Ts accounted for half the cars in the U.S. Early cars were color coded according to style, but by 1914 all were black. The cars weighed in at 1,200 pounds and had a 10-gallon fuel tank.
The revolutionary Ford Model T set sales records for many years. The assembly process was equally successful, with a completed car being produced in just 93 minutes. In 1925, Model T prices were just $240, with 2 million annual sales. The car production ended May 26, 1927. In 1909, the 4-seat open touring car sold for $850, far lower than the completion pricing of $2,000 to $3,000. Prices for Model T decreased to $290 by the 1920s. It was the first globally produced car, and car clubs today continue to support the preservation of the cars.
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