Ford Model T

Ford Model T

Ford Model T, 1908-27

  • Assembly Detroit, USA, and worldwide
  • Production 15,007,003
  • Construction Separate chassis, steel body
  • Engine 2,896 cc, straight-four
  • Power output 20-22 hp at 1,800 rpm
  • Transmission Two-speed epicyclic
  • Suspension Rigid axles;transverse leaf springs
  • Brakes Drum rear and drum on transmission
  • Maximum speed 40-45 mph (64-72 km/h)

The Model T led an industrial and social revolution, introducing massproduction techniques to car manufacturing and motorizing the United States. Thanks to Henry Ford's 1913 introduction of a moving assembly line, production hit 1,000 per day in 1914, and U.S. output peaked in 1923, when two million "Tin Lizzies" were made. More than 15 million Model Ts were made from 1908 until 1927, a record-breaking figure that was overtaken only by Volkswagen's Beetle in 1972. The Model T introduced several innovations to car manufacturing.

It had a monobloc engine, and the transmission was directly attached to the power unit. With an unusual epicyclic (or "planetary") transmission, it also offered near-automatic driving with no clashing of gears. Affectionately called the "Tin Lizzie," the car was known for its extreme robustness. Its ruggedness was due to Henry Ford's insistence on using strong materials; he pioneered the use of light-but-tough vanadium steel.

Costs were controlled by keeping the specifications simple and squeezing dealer margins. From 1914 to 1926, black was the only color offered-black enamel dried more quickly, enabling production-line speeds to be sustained. As sales went up, ever-increasing numbers of the Model T were made at ever-decreasing prices. Reliable and affordable, by 1918 the Model T accounted for half of all cars in the United States.

Built for American roads With high ground clearance and simple transverse-leaf suspension, the Model T was tailor-made for the poor quality, often unsurfaced, U.S. roads of the time. The absence of front brakes and of any dampers might be regarded as faults, but the engine's easy pulling power and the need for minimal gearchanging were virtues, as was its 25-30 mpg (11-13 km/l) fuel consumption.

Ford model T front view

Ford model T rear view

The iconic Ford script was created by Childe Harold Wills-Henry Ford's chief engineering assistant-in 1903. Wills had trained as a commercial artist, and the script was based on one he had previously used on visiting cards. "The script is still in use today."

Ford model T specifications
Ford logo from 1903

Famous Ford script from 1903