Come November, "T" doesn't just stand for Thanksgiving or turkey but instead for the "Tin Lizzie," as the Ford Model T will wrap up months of centennial celebrations with a premiere appearance in America's Thanksgiving Parade this year. In honour of this historic milestone, Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services are sponsoring a unique parade that will feature 19 Model Ts, representing the 19 years that the iconic Tin Lizzie was in production. "It's only fitting that the vehicle credited for putting the world on wheels will culminate its 100th anniversary celebration on the streets near its birthplace as part of America's Thanksgiving Day Parade," said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. "We're honored to join thousands of families who will be watching the parade this Thanksgiving in celebrating the legacy of Henry Ford and the spirit of innovation created by the Model T that is still alive in Ford Motor Company today." Held each Thanksgiving Day on the legendary Woodward Avenue in Detroit, America's Thanks-giving Day Parade has kicked off the holiday season for millions of families for 83 years, complete with a rich tradition of hand made floats and entertainment befitting the Motown tradition.
Putting the World on Wheels - Then and Now
The Model T chugged into history Oct. 1, 1908. Henry Ford called it the "universal car." It became the symbol of low cost, reliable transportation that could get through when other vehicles and horse drawn wagons were stuck in muddy roads. The Model T won the approval of millions of Americans, who affectionately dubbed it "Tin Lizzie." The first Model Ts sold for US$825 (for a two-door roadster) - an unexpected bargain compared to other cars. But even more remarkable is that during its 19 years of production, Ford continued to steadily lower its price, thanks to manufacturing efficiencies including the moving assembly line introduced in 1913. In addition to its affordability, Model T stands out as the industry's truly first global car. By 1921, it accounted for almost 57 percent of the world's automobile production. More than 15 million Model Ts were sold when production ended on May 26, 1927.
Celebrating an Icon
During the past six months Ford recognised the historic milestone through a series of regional celebrations joined by thousands of Model T owners and global enthusiasts, including hosting the world's largest gathering of Model Ts since they had left the factory in July, at the "T Party 2008" in Richmond, Indiana.
Top 10 ways Ford's Model T changed the world
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 jump started 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 eighthour 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.
3. Personalise 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.
4. The Universal Car - Model T stands out as the industry's truly 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 centre of the front seat. The Model T standardised the left-hand steering wheel.
6. Any Colour 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 colours including blue, red and green.
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-litre, 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.
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. 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".
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 still chose the Model T as the most influential car of the 20th century.