Also known as “Tin Lizzie” and “Flivver”, the Ford Model T was one of the most important cars ever built. It has been called the automobile that “put America on wheels”, because it was the first car that was affordable to the masses. It was also the second best-selling car model of all time, after the Volkswagen Beetle.
The design of the Model T was developed by Henry Ford, Joseph Galamb, Childe Harold Wills, and Eugene Farkas. The first Model T was built at the Piquette Plant in Detroit in 1908, and it featured a 177 cid 4-cylinder engine. The 20-hp engine could carry the car to a maximum speed of about 45 mph, and it also had three side valves and main bearings. The Ford Model T was equipped with a 3-speed planetary transmission, which was two speeds forward and one reverse. To start the car, users had to operate a hand crank at the front end of the car.
Ford produced the Model T for almost two decades, and it made considerable mechanical and visual improvements to the car over the years. In 1913, it redesigned the car with front doors and used a “dog leg” style windshield to give it a more contemporary appearance. Other changes included the introduction of a self-starter in 1919 and the switch from wooden “artillery” wheels to steel wire wheels in 1926.