(Admiring Blog / Wayne Riley / 9-17-2017)
Today’s cars are sophisticated, comfortable, fun to drive and far advanced from the cars of yesteryear. But one of the early cars was so significant that in reality it actually changed the lives of many millions in this country and around the world – Henry Ford’s Model T. Here’s a quick look at how Ford developed, built and sold 15 million Model Ts from 1908 to 1927:
Roads in America, when they existed, were rough, many unpaved and navigable mostly by the adventurous. Automobiles were cantankerous, high maintenance and very expensive, largely out of reach to all but a few. Henry Ford, after failing with one company, envisioned another company producing a simple, inexpensive car that would go anywhere and that many could afford. The car Ford and his engineers and manufacturing pioneers came up with was the Model T.
The technologically advanced Model T was tough as nails, super simple and super cheap. The engine was cast with cylinders in the block and a removable cylinder head -- a daring innovation -- rather than the “normal” one-piece block and cylinder head. The vehicle used newly developed high tensile strength vanadium steel alloy in critical highly stressed parts, and sold at first for $825 with the price steadily declining to $260 in 1924 so “anybody can afford this car."
Price was kept low and simplicity guaranteed by ignoring anything not absolutely needed to operate the car.