Ford's Fabulous Flivver

| November/December 1974

Published through the courtesy of Our Sun Magazine, the magazine of the Sun Oil Company, from the September, 1973 issue.

In this era of gaudy, expensive, annually obsolescent automobiles, it is difficult to realize that an American once grew rich by manufacturing the same car in the same model for 19 years. And the same color for 11 of those years.

The man was Henry Ford and the car was his remarkable Model T. It was an odd-looking contraption, seven feet tall from top to pavement, as ungraceful as a village pump, as eccentric as the village hermit. It went its way making a noise like the end of the world. But it wrought prodigious changes in our nation's living; it was a revolution on wheels.

The Model T Ford - more familiarly referred to as the 'flivver,' 'Tin Lizzie,' or the 'Leaping Lena' - made its debut in 1908. By 1927, when he finally discontinued it, Henry Ford had produced more than 15,000,000 Model Ts. This was as many cars as had been turned out by all other automobile companies put together.

Where Mr. Ford's competitors issued new models every year, the Model T remained largely unchanged. There were occasional improvements, but it kept its same strange, three-pedal floor-board (clutch pedal on the left; reverse pedal in the center; brake on the right). And it was an unvarying black. Thus the famous quote by Mr. Ford:

'A customer can have a car painted any color he wants, so long as it is black.'


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