Here was the first truck model produced by Henry Ford. The Ford Model TT was just it's name implied. It was the truck version of Henry Ford's popular and wide selling Model T automobile. The Model TT at first was a one ton truck chassis with a heavier rear axle and frame than the car version. One thing the Model TT was noted for was it's durability. The same type of durability that the car model was also known for. The Model TT truck chassis, was built 24 inches longer than the car chassis at 124 inches.
The Model T
The Ford Model T came on the market in 1908 at a price of about $850. It had a 20 HP four cylinder engine and reportedly could reach speeds of 45 MPH. That's a fast speed for the year 1908. The Model T's were in production for nineteen years. Interestingly enough, Ford's production line methods which came into full fruition in 1913 cut production costs dramatically. As an example, the 1926 the Model T car sold for about $300. As you can see the price dropped substantially compared to the 1908 model year autos. Ford's efficient production line methods truly placed the Model T in reach of the average American. Looking back, the Model T or "Tin Lizzie" as it was often called, was not in itself such a revolutionary change in auto design and mechanics. What was revolutionary was the efficient assembly line with interchangeable parts introduced by Ford. It wouldn't take too long for others such as GM to adopt this same production method. Ford's competitors really had no choice if they wanted to stay competitive.
To keep prices as low as possible, Ford made all assembly line cars in the color black. Colors in addition to black were not offered until 1926, just one year before the Model T ceased production. An interesting side note to demonstrate the popularity of the Model T car was that when the model ceased production, some 15 million of the cars had been produced. The Ford Model T has often been called the "most influential car in America".
In 1928 the new Ford Model A was introduced. This was a truly new Ford product in many ways. See our photo article on the Ford Model AA Truck. This was the Model A Open Cab Pickup and AA Chassis.
Model TT Chassis
The Model TT truck chassis came on the market in 1917. Production records show that three one ton chassis were built that first year at a price of $380 with 41,000 chassis units built in 1918 and 70,000 units in 1919. Up until 1925, Ford Model TT chassis buyers would make arrangements to install their own truck bed for whatever specific purpose they required. Ford Model TT full trucks came on the market in 1925. The 1925 trucks were the Ford Runabout models which represented the first time Ford came out with a factory built and installed truck bed. In 1925, the Model TT Runabout sold for just under $300. Again, Ford Motor kept the price of their first full built factory truck at a price affordable to many.
The new Ford truck was built with a cargo box, an adjustable tailgate, four stake pockets and heavy duty rear springs.
Peak production numbers were in 1926 with 228,000 units built. Ford's building of a full truck with factory installed bed came at an opportune time during the 1920's Prohibition era for those in the beer hauling business. Not sure if the production of these had anything to do with that demand but the truck was sure popular. Could this have had any influence on the resounding sales figures for the Model TT during the 1926 model year?
The Ford Model TT featured in this article is on display at the Texas Transportation Museum located at 11731 Wetmore Road in San Antonio. If you're traveling to the San Antonio area I would highly recommend a stop there. Plenty of interesting exhibits including locomotives, vintage cars and trucks, carriages and model trains.
(Photos from author's collection)