(from Ford Press
Release) TOP 10 WAYS FORD'S MODEL T CHANGED THE WORLD
DEARBORN, Mich., July 2,
2008 - This year, Ford Motor Company is celebrating the 100th
anniversary of the car credited with "putting the world on wheels,"
the Model T. Henry Ford's iconic vehicle, which officially brought
the world into the age of the "horseless carriage," also is
responsible for hundreds of innovations that jumpstarted the
automotive industry as we know it. This list focuses on the 10 most
important influences of the Model T and how the world was forever
changed by them.
1. King of the assembly line - The Model T brought mobility and
prosperity on an undreamed of scale through manufacturing
efficiencies at a price that anyone could afford. The mass
production process perfected the moving assembly line, creating and
defining the industrial age and enabling Ford to steadily decrease
the price of the Model T. In 1908, the first Model Ts sold for $825.
By 1925, it sold for only $260.
2. Friend of the factory worker - The Model T is responsible for
establishing a minimum wage and the eight-hour work day. The $5 a
day minimum wage brought the best workers to the Ford factories and
is often cited as having helped establish the middle-class. The
factory work also gave jobs to people who usually could not find
work such as immigrants, women, minorities and people with
3. Personalize it - Over the years, thousands of Model T accessories
have been sold. Because of this, the car spurred the aftermarket
supplier industry, which is now a $38 billion industry annually.
Anytime you see a car with anything from a bumper sticker to chrome
wheels, know that the Model T started the customization trend.
4. The Universal Car - Model T stands out as the industry's truly
the first global car. By 1921, it accounted for almost 57 percent of
the world's automobile production. It also was manufactured in
several countries and had dealerships in six continents.
5. The American Way - Before the Model T, early cars might have a
steering wheel on the right, left, or in the center of the front
seat. The Model T standardized the left-hand steering wheel.
6. Any Color As Long As It's Black - The myth that the Model T only
came in black probably comes from the reality that almost 12 million
of the 15 million total Model Ts were black. But, in the early and
late years of Model T production, the car was produced in many
different colors, including blue, red, green and grey. Oddly, many
these hues were so dark they were hardly discernable from black,
another reason the myth lives on.
7. Built Ford Tough - By 1925, Ford was building its first
factory-produced domestic pickup truck - the Ford Model T Runabout -
with a pickup body. Ford also offered a heavier-duty, one-ton-rated
Model TT pickup - akin to today's F-Series Super Duty. The Model T
chassis was simple, strong and lightweight, with a unique
three-point suspension that isolated the frame and powertrain from
road shock that would cause other less sophisticated chassis designs
to flex under heavy loads.
8. Look at that thing go! - Tin Lizzie's original engines offered
flexibility and boasted 20 hp, with a top speed of 40-45 mph. The
front-mounted, 2.9-liter, four-cylinder, flex-fuel engine was the
first single block motor with removable cylinder head and today
remains the basis for most modern engines. The engine could be
matched to one of nine T body styles, all built on the same chassis.
The Touring, Roadster, Fordor, Coupe, and Sedan were just some of
the options. The Model T set the groundwork for modern cars that
share the same chassis but are completely different from each other.
9. Tin Lizzie, a Pop Culture Icon - Soon after the Model T appeared
in dealer showrooms, it started appearing in movies, songs, and
became part of modern language and culture. The Model T was featured
in 1920s black-and-white comedies and became the subject of hundreds
of jokes and cartoons that captured the experience about life with
the Model T, the personality of the car and its creator, Henry Ford.
Hundreds of songs and even whole music albums were created as the
Model T became part of pop culture, later generating dozens of
nicknames for the car. The most common - "Tin Lizzie" - was the
moniker that had several possible origins ranging from the
popularity of the female name "Lizzie" during that period to a
famous Model T racecar named "Old Liz."
10. The Car of the Century - The Model T was the best-selling
vehicle ever, until 1972 when the VW bug finally surpassed it.
During 19 years of production, more than 15 Million Model Ts had
been sold by May 26, 1927, when a ceremony marked the formal end of
Model T production. More than 20 years later in 1999, a panel of 126
automotive experts from 32 countries still chose the Model T as the
most influential car of the 20th century.