Model T Facts
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 cars.
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 standard.
Henry Ford's initiation of mass production of vehicles on the moving assembly line led to lower car prices and the $5 workday.
Henry Ford 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 extra weight.
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 production.
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.