Unsplash / Philip Schroeder

A closer look at the 1st Model T Ford

Quick notes

The Ford Model T retains a significant spot in American automotive history.

It was 1 of the 1st mass-produced middle class-oriented inexpensive vehicles that improved mobility greatly for a large class of people.

To this date, it is one of the highest-selling automobiles.

Henry Ford moved to an assembly line production model with the introduction of the Model T Ford. It is still considered one of the greatest automotive technological advances.

We all know Ford as being the producer of the first real mass-produced passenger vehicle for the average person. The truck that really started it all was the Model T.

The Ford Model T

The Ford Model T was introduced in 1908.

“It’s the 1st middle-class vehicle, due in part to the assembly line production that helped to lower the cost of production.”

The Ford Model T remains an important part of history because it greatly increased mobility for the middle class. It is seen as a sign of modernization, and modernization accessible to the middle class. The Ford Model T is considered “the most significant automobile of all time” in part due to the Model T assembly line.

Mass production of the Model T Ford meant that the 15,000,000th Model T rolled off the production line in 1927. By the end of the run of the Model T, Ford had been able to reduce the selling priced by 25 percent, owing to improvements in production.

The original price was in the $850 range. Not a bad price overall for that time period.

Unsplash / Hosea Georgeson

Ford Model T Specs and operation

The original was built with a 22hp, 4-cylinder engine allowing a Model T top speed of between 35 and 40 miles an hour. That’s pretty fast for the era and speed of other transportation available at the time.

The cooling system for the engine was a splash system. The gas tank was beneath the front seat and used gravity to feed the engine.

The gas tank is in a position where it can easily catch on fire — which was apparently a Ford principle, as this issue later again rose later with the Pinto and its placement fiasco.

The transmission was a 2-speed that was operated through foot pedals instead of hand gear shift box.

Driving a Ford Model T

“Traditionally, one needed to crank the engine of the Ford Model T to get it to start.”

An electric starter option was added in 1919 but as an option that added 15 percent to the price of the car, so a lot of buyers decided to deal with the crank. Once the engine was cranked, the spark had to be advanced by the driver, then the ignition was turned.

When you think of the joy of being able to purchase a car for around $850, just remember that it came with a lot of cranking and broken arms from the engine kickback when cranking. The actual driving of the truck sounds quite complicated, but certainly preferable to walking or riding a horse and buggy.

The interior was pretty much what one could expect for that time. Not a whole lot of luxury. The dashboard consisted of only an ammeter!

Model T Formula and its success

“Durable and inexpensive to buy.”

The Ford Model T was cheap and tough. The low price of the car was also in part due to the introduction of a moving assembly line in 1913. Henry Ford was able to reduce a car’s production time from days to a mere 93 minutes. Which when you think about the fact that it was 1913, that’s very technologically advanced.

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