Henry Ford’s famous and well accepted Model T “Tin Lizzie” put the Ford Motor Company on the map and made Mr. Ford a very wealthy man. At the same time, the Model T made it possible for the common working man to own an automobile. Much of Ford’s success had to do with the development of the assembly line.
This helped keep costs relatively low. While Henry Ford wasn’t the inventor of the assembly line he certainly knew how to adapt it to automobile manufacturing. As an example, the first Ford Model T sold for a little over $800. Largely due to the efficiency of the assembly line, the 1925 Model T could be bought at under $300. The Ford Assembly line which Henry Ford perfected was the main reason car process came down as much. Henry Ford touted the fact that the Model T was a reliable low cost automobile that could easily be maintained. This type of car was what people wanted during the early days of automobile travel.
An interesting fact is that Ford Motor Company had the distinction of being the first American motor car being manufactured simultaneously in many foreign countries. Another widely held belief was that the success and public acceptance of the Model T convinced the federal government to make road construction a high priority.
The 1927 Ford Model T was historic for several reasons. First, it was the best Ford Model T produced to date. Secondly, it was the last year for the historic Ford Model T.
The only problem for the 1927 Ford Model T was that times were changing. During the period of the Model T, 1909 to 1927 about 15 million of the models were built. There was no question that the car was improved as it headed into 1927 however it appears that the car buying public wanted something more.
A Simple Car
If there’s one description to place on the Ford Model T it was simplicity. This was a simple yet extremely useful automobile. The engine was cast in one block and the four cylinder engine delivered 20 HP. Three pedals and a hand lever operated the transmission. In a large way, the simplicity of the Ford Model T was something cherished by the elder Ford. Henry Ford was a man who generally resisted change. As an example, during the 1930′s when competitors were adding technical improvement to their cars, such as hydraulic brakes, Ford resisted until the last. Much of the credit for convincing the elder Ford to eventually agree to changes was given to his son Edsel Ford.
In regards to the transmission, Ford widened the transmission brake band from 1.125 inches to 1.75 inches. This gave it better stopping power and a substantially longer life. The three pedal arrangement worked as such. The left pedal was used to engage the gear. When the car was in neutral, the middle pedal was used to engage reverse gear, and the right pedal operated the transmission brake.
1927 Ford Model T Specs
The engine for the 1927 Ford Model T was a 2.3 liter four cylinder delivering 20 HP.
The brakes were contracting bands in the transmission with a separate parking brake on the rear wheels.
The transmission was a three speed planetary design using the three foot pedals mentioned above. The car had a 100 inch wheelbase with an overall length of 134.5 inches.
The 1927 Model T weighed about 1,200 lbs and the car speed was generally between 35 and 40 MPH with a top speed of 45 MPH.
The Last Year For The Model T
As mentioned above, times were changing during the 1920′s. Ford’s Model T managed to become the best selling car year after year however their share of the market was shrinking. Competition increased and General Motors made a lot of progress with their assembly line production methods. The car that was first built in 1908 at the Piquette Avenue plant in Detroit Michigan would finally make way for another model in 1927.
In 1927 Ford sold about half the number of units compared to Chevrolet. This alone was enough to convince Ford Motor to come out with something new, thus the Ford Model A.
The “Tin Lizzie” was a huge success any way you look at it. It was the car that allowed the average worker to become a car owner and that changed society enormously. The Model T helped people cover long distances much quicker. This helped change the rural lifestyle. Neighbors in effect were now closer together. The Ford Model T was considered to be an automobile that ran before there were good roads.
The Ford Model A started to be rolled out in December of 1927 and it was accepted quite well.
One of the best books available on the subject of Henry Ford, the Ford Model T and Ford’s influence on early 1900′s society is Wheels For The World by author Douglas Brinkley.
Another good book on the Ford Model T is The Legendary Model-T Ford: The Ultimate History of America’s First Great Automobile by author Tom Collins.
(Photos from author’s collection)