Cork, 7 August 2008 – This year, Ford is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the car credited with "putting the world on wheels". Henry Ford's iconic Model T, which brought the world into the age of the "horseless carriage," is also responsible for hundreds of innovations that jumpstarted the automotive industry as we know it.
Henry Ford’s ancestral home of Cork features prominently in the history of the Model T. The cars were made at the Cork plant from 1920 until 1927. Indeed, it was in Cork that the last ever Model T rolled off a Ford production line in December 1927, as it was replaced by the newly designed Model A.
Important Ways the Model T Changed the World:
- 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. In 1908, the first Model Ts sold for $825 – by 1925, it retailed for only $260. The mass production process perfected the moving assembly line, creating and defining the industrial age.
- Friend of the factory worker - The Model T is responsible for establishing a minimum wage and the eight-hour 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.
- 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 was also manufactured in several countries and had dealerships in six continents.
- Personalize 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 multi-million euro industry annually across Europe.
- Left Hand Drive Standardised - Before the Model T, early cars might have a steering wheel on the right, left, or in the center of the front seat. The Model T standardised the left-hand steering wheel.
- 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, green and grey. Oddly, many of these hues were so dark they were hardly discernable from black, another reason the myth lives on.
- Tin Lizzie, a Pop Culture Icon - Soon after the Model T appeared in dealer showrooms, it started appearing in films, songs, and became part of modern language and culture. The Model T was featured in 1920s black-and-white comedies and numerous songs as the Model T became part of pop culture, later generating dozens of nicknames for the car. The most common, "Tin Lizzie", with a slight change in spelling, was adopted by a legendary Irish hard rock band.
- The Car of the Century - The Model T was the best-selling vehicle ever, until 1972 when the VW Beetle finally surpassed it. During 19 years of production, more than 15 Million Model Ts had been sold by. In 1999, more than 70 years after it finished production, a panel of 126 automotive experts from 32 countries still chose the Model T as the most influential car of the 20th century.