Henry Ford began production of the
Model T (aka the "Tin
Lizzie") in 1908, and his introduction of the moving assembly line commenced in 1913, thereby
reducing the assembly time of an automobile from 12 hours to just 2.5 hours. Prices dropped to less
than half the original cost and profits soared as a growing number of people were able to afford a
car. It is always interesting when reading these reports on airplanes and automobiles which were
published in the middle of the last century to remember that at the time, the technology was less
than 50 years old.
Tonneau, BTW, is one of the French word for a barrel ('baril' being
the primary word). We still speak of tonneau covers today for truck beds, but originally a tonneau
was a removable set of seats in the rear of the vehicle.
Auto Progress: The Ford Story
One of the several experimental cars hand built by Henry Ford
in 1896. It had a 2-cylinder engine, chain drive and was tiller steered. Planetary gear transmission.
First production Ford, the 1903 Model A, had an 8 hp engine, two-speed planetary gears with chain
transmission and removable tonneau body. Without tonneau it sold for around $800.
Barney Oldfield, renowned pioneer race driver, started his career on this curious 1902 Ford 999 racer
having 4-cylinder engine, wire wheels.
Side entrance doors first appeared on the Model B touring car which made its high-seated debut in
The Model N (right) of 1906 had a 4-cylinder engine, planetary gears and shaft drive. Many of its
features were incorporated in famed Model T which followed it. The price was a modest $500.
While it is hardly true that Henry Ford invented or built the world's first practical automobile,
it can be safely said that he more than any other man brought the automobile within the reach of the
masses. Financed and otherwise assisted by such potent names as Couzens and Dodge, he eventually dreamed
up the fabulous Model T or "Tin Lizzie" which was produced by the millions. And produced for almost
twenty years without any real basic change. In fact, it was Ford's obstinate refusal to change this
design that permitted his closest competitor, Chevrolet, to steal the lead in car sales. Temporarily
regaining the No. 1 spot through the Model A In 1928 and again with the V-8 in 1932, the Ford Company
today has a commanding position in the industry - only recently was it able once more to boast of sales
1928 Model A (not to be confused with 1903 Model A) was first
completely new Ford design in 20 years. Also first Ford to employ c:onventional clutch and 3-speed transmission.
Had a 4-cylinder 40 hp engine, safety glass, 4-wheel brakes.
Model T, the legendary "Tin Lizzie," came out in 1905 and with only minor changes lasted two decades.
The first Ford with left-hand steering, it had a 20 hp, 4-cylinder engine and built-in flywheel magneto.
Prices varied over the years with a 1926 all-time low of $260 without extras. (Extras then included
such items as windshield and top.)
1906 Model K was first Ford six and largest as well as most expensive ($2,500) Ford car produced
in company's early period. It was also the least successful model and was soon withdrawn from the market.
First Ford V-8 had a high-performance 65 hp engine. With that engine but different body stylings,
this car remained about same 1932-1942. Prices started at slightly under $600.
Most powerful and luxurious development of the V-8 series is this year's 130 hp Crestline Skyliner.
With its smooth styling, automatic transmission, power brakes and steering, it is in almost unbelievable
contrast to the first 1903 production Ford.
Posted May 6, 2017