Ford Escape Automobiles Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,648 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Jul 21, 6:53 PM EDT

Ford marks 100th birthday of the Model T

By JAMES HANNAH
Associated Press Writer

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. is marking the 100th anniversary of the Model T, the first low-priced car that introduced motoring to the masses, at a time when Americans are cringing at the cost of filling their gas tanks and the U.S. auto industry is struggling with plant closings and layoffs.

But a weeklong celebration of the Model T promises to offer some nostalgic balm.

About 750 of the iconic vehicles were on display Monday in what is being called the largest gathering of Model Ts since they left the factory. Edsel Ford II, great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, planned to address the crowd Monday night at an opening banquet.

The gathering transformed the Wayne County Fairgrounds into what looked like a movie set for a motion picture depicting life in the early 1900s. Drivers created Model T traffic jams as they picked their way among barns, giving a friendly "AH-OO-GAH" honk of their horns.

Geff Bland, 42, drove his 1915 Model T to the celebration from his home in Springfield, Mo. It took him three days.

"We lived in a rural town where I could drive the car and nobody said anything," said Bland, who began driving his father's Model T in Mississippi when he was 12 years old. "I used to take it out on the gravel roads. I could hear the engine echo off the pine trees at night, and I liked that."

Jay Klehfoth, CEO of The Model T Ford Club of America based in nearby Centerville, said owners of the Model T are like a big extended family.

"Sometimes we refer to ourselves as the similarly afflicted," Klehfoth said. "We recognize we are only temporary custodians of these rolling pieces of history."

Roger Peterson, 71, of Greeneville, Tenn., has owned 11 Model Ts over the years. He bought his first - a 1923 speedster - when he lived in Marshfield, Mass.

"You don't own just one Model T," Peterson said. "You buy another one and another one and another one."

John Heitmann, a history professor at the University of Dayton who has taught classes on automobile history and its impact on American life, said the Model T is one of the most historically significant cars of the 20th century and maybe the single most important American car.

Henry Ford realized there was a big market for cars - and not just for the wealthy - and that people would keep buying them, Heitmann said.

"It was kind of the common car for the common person," Heitmann said.

A century later, Ford and other Detroit automakers are struggling to keep up with consumer demands. Buyers are shunning trucks and sport utility vehicles for more fuel-efficient models, and high gas prices and a sluggish economy are keeping sales low.

All major automakers but Honda Motor Co. reported steep sales declines for June. Ford's sales tumbled 27.9 percent from June 2007.

The Model T gathering in Richmond aims to be more than just an antique car show but a reminder of Ford's groundbreaking automobile.

The first production Model T Ford was assembled in Detroit on Oct. 1, 1908. With the development of the sturdy, low-priced car, Henry Ford made his company the biggest in the industry, according to the Henry Ford Museum.

In a span of 19 years, Ford would build 15 million cars with the Model T engine.

The Model T, nicknamed the "Tin Lizzie," was probably the most important vehicle in causing social change in America, Heitmann said. It helped transform the nation's cities, enabling residents to move farther away from the trolley lines and creating the first ring of suburbs, he said.

"The move out of the city began with the Model T and other vehicles, particularly after World War I," he said.

Heitmann said the Model T also was embraced by farmers and rural Americans.

"It had a very high ground clearance. It was easy to repair. It was so inexpensive that isolation on the American farm came to an end," he said.

Once rural Americans used the Model T to come to the cities to shop, crossroads stores in the country went out of business and centralized school systems replaced one-room schoolhouses, Heitmann said.

Henry Ford and the Model T also changed the face of the U.S. labor force.

Heitmann said Ford raised wages to attract and keep workers at his factories and employed immigrants and minorities.

"That was really important in kind of creating a class of well-to-do workers," he said.

The popularity of the Model T also found its way into poems, songs and movies.

But while the Model T was popular and offered an affordable car to the masses, Henry Ford may have tried to ride it a little too long, said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. Cole said consumers came to expect more upscale models with a wider variety of colors.

"He innovated. He brought this into the market," Cole said of Ford. "Then he got hit by others who innovated."

---

On the Net:

Ford Motor Co.: http://www.ford.com/

The Model T Ford Club: http://www.modelt.org/

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,902 Posts
Wow it's hard to believe that the first production auto is only 100 years old.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,902 Posts
Big Chris said:
MadMax said:
Wow it's hard to believe that the first production auto is only 100 years old.
Why's that Jim? Does it seem like only yesterday since you picked up your new model T?
:lol: :D
No, but, my father does.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,455 Posts
Apparently the "You can have any colour you like, as long as it's black" thing is a myth. The first Model Ts were offered in quite a few colours, and none of them were black.

It's believed it came about from early movie shots of the production line being in black and white. Of course, they all looked black when viewed on black & white film stock.

So now you know.......... :whistle:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,182 Posts
These early year model T's were known as Brass T's. Later they were modified to ease assembly and all were painted black, hence Henry's most quoted saying you can have it any color you want as long as it's black.
Also changed was all the brass fittings were removed and replaced with painted sheet steel. The later cars were also built at what was to become the River Rouge Assembly plant in Dearborn. That factory is still in operation today, in much modified form. :kneel:
It is this early model, actually a different car from the first model T, that put America on wheels, and was the basis for the first modern tractor, known as the Fordson, or Ford's son. Named in honor of his son Edsel. :beer:

OK, I'm rambling :tumble: . I'll shut up. :bill:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,182 Posts
Big Chris said:
Apparently the "You can have any colour you like, as long as it's black" thing is a myth. The first Model Ts were offered in quite a few colours, and none of them were black.

It's believed it came about from early movie shots of the production line being in black and white. Of course, they all looked black when viewed on black & white film stock.

So now you know.......... :whistle:
Knocked down versions of the later T were put into crates and shipped across the seas, both Pacific and Atlantic, then assembled in country to sell there. England had an early assembley facility, but I fail to recall it's location. :confused: Ford still has a factory on the site today, or so I have been lead to believe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,455 Posts
jonas1022 said:
Big Chris said:
Apparently the "You can have any colour you like, as long as it's black" thing is a myth. The first Model Ts were offered in quite a few colours, and none of them were black.

It's believed it came about from early movie shots of the production line being in black and white. Of course, they all looked black when viewed on black & white film stock.

So now you know.......... :whistle:
Knocked down versions of the later T were put into crates and shipped across the seas, both Pacific and Atlantic, then assembled in country to sell there. England had an early assembley facility, but I fail to recall it's location. :confused: Ford still has a factory on the site today, or so I have been lead to believe.
Dagenham? (East London)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,902 Posts
The Ford plant was moved there from Trafford Park in 1931.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,182 Posts
Trafford Park! Good call! :clap:

Dagenham, Cortina/Escort factory?

I think we had a 1959 model Cortina or whatever it was called. Olive drab green two door. Ran like a wildman, but it rusted out quickly. Then again, so did the 1958 Beetle that we got about the same time... :( And the Beetle was a dog, except in first gear, maybe second. 40 hp didn't go far or fast. :lol:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,182 Posts
Big Chris said:
jonas1022 said:
Trafford Park! Good call! :clap:

Dagenham, Cortina/Escort factory?
Dagenham only fairly recently shut down from full vehicle production. I think they just do engines now.
Does Ford do a complete build of any cars in GB now? I have heard that allot of their production has been moved east to the former Soviet Bloc countries. Like St. Petersburg has the new Focus, and to the south they are building Escorts? Maybe in Bulgaria? :shrug:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,455 Posts
jonas1022 said:
Big Chris said:
jonas1022 said:
Trafford Park! Good call! :clap:

Dagenham, Cortina/Escort factory?
Dagenham only fairly recently shut down from full vehicle production. I think they just do engines now.
Does Ford do a complete build of any cars in GB now? I have heard that allot of their production has been moved east to the former Soviet Bloc countries. Like St. Petersburg has the new Focus, and to the south they are building Escorts? Maybe in Bulgaria? :shrug:
I'm not sure. I think they do, I just don't know where. :doh:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,182 Posts
Rumour on Blue Oval News dawt com is that the only full production product in GB now is the Transit. But what do I know. I haven't been to your country in nearly 20 years...And then I was in Edinburough, London downtown, and York. Not much else, basically the tourist traps my wife wanted to see again. :yes:
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top