In a recent article on the the best selling cars of all time, incredibly the Ford Model T was the 8th best selling car of all time. After reading this article, the success of the Model T caused me to do a little further research which I thought worth sharing. Chalk this up to curiosity, one of those facts that was never taught in drivers ed, but is interesting enough to write down a few facts on the first production automobile, the Model T.
1) The Model T was know as the "Tin Lizzie" and was in production from 1908 to 1927. The car ushered in the era of the automobile in the U.S. and opened-up mass travel for the middle class.
2) The Model T engine produced a roaring 20HP and had a top speed of 40–45 mph (64–72 km/h). Not fast by today's standards, but a whole lot faster than the horses of the time.
3) Over 16.5M Model T cars were sold, which was an incredible number considering that there was virtualluy no infrastructure at the time and this was really the first mass-produced automobile. Early versions of the car sold for well under $1,000 and later versions for as low as $260.
4) In later prodution years, the car was offered mainly in black, per Henry Ford's "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black” statement. However, from in early production from 1908 to 1914 black was not available and the car was only offered in grey, green, blue, and red. It wasn't until 1914 that the Model T was offered solely in black.
Ironically, the other day I was talking with someone who was from the midwest and whose grandfather was a homesteader. Apparently, the grandfather was one of the few successful farmers and managed to put away some money for a rainy day. One day, as the story goes, he was approached by someone who asked him if he was interested in investing $5,000 in this new company started by Henry Ford that would be mass-producing cars. He turned down the opportunity because there were very few roads at the time and hence very few places to actually drive the car. Talk about limited vision!
I would encourage anyone reading this blog to continue researching the Model T as it is a fascinating part of our history. It shows how a great vision can change a country.