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"You can have it (Ford Model T) in any colour as long as it's black" - This is a famous quote by Henry Ford. This led to many believing that the Ford Model T was available only in black. This is however, wrong.
The Ford Model T was introduced on October 1st, 1908. Also known as "Tin Lizzie", the Ford Model T was the first affordable mass production car in history. Or to be precise, the first affordable horseless carriage. Henry Ford aimed to make a car "large enough for the family but small enough for the individual to run and care for." Price was also kept low so that anyone who made a decent living could afford one.
The production of the Ford Model T ended on May 25th, 1927; a span of almost 18 years. 15 million cars were produced. The fifteen millionth milestone Ford Model T was green in colour. So what about the notion that Ford Model T cars came only in black?
Was The Ford Model T Available Only In Black?
During the early stages of the Model T production, the car was available in almost any colour, except black. In fact the very first model came in red. Later models of the Ford Model T came with a variety of colours such as green, bright red, dark blue, maroon, brown, grey and of course black. But from 1914 to 1925, the Model T came only in black. This time period also saw a high demand for the Ford Model T and Ford Motor company had to meet the increased demand with enough supply.
There are many theories to why Henry Ford chose only black back then. Ford Model T models were painted using a technique called japanning (known today as baked enamel). The coating was used for decorative items in the 1800s. Japanning gave a piano black finish and was also proved to be durable and hard. Black was the only pigment it worked in.
Another theory is that black colour dried faster than any colour. This helped a lot in boosting production. Also, in 1914, Henry Ford introduced assembly line car manufacturing; something almost every manufacturer follows today. Assembly line production was really efficient for Ford. Using only one colour (black) increased the efficiency even more.
Most of the buyers weren't complaining either. The reason for that was, the Ford Model T looked really good in black. Black paint was and still is, cheaper. Black could also be easily applied by almost anyone as it doesn't require much detailing and precision like other paints.
But in the late 1920s, competitors of the Model T were offered in different colours. Eventually, Ford was forced to produce the Model T in colours other than Black to maintain sales.
Here Are Some Interesting Ford Model T Facts
The Ford Model T, along with being the first affordable ‘horseless carriage', revolutionised the automotive industry altogether. Here are some interesting facts about the Ford Model T:
- The Ford Model T costed $850 in 1908 and around $300 dollars in 1925, after the introduction of assembly line manufacturing.
- 15 million Model Ts were produced between 1913 and 1927.
- It came with only a forward gear and a reverse. To engage reverse, a pedal had to be depressed.
- The Ford Model T body was made primarily out of wood and sheet metal.
- The Model T was available in a variety of body styles including 2-door touring, 4-door touring, roadster, town cars, pickup and sedan.
- While regular variants of the Ford Model T produced 20bhp, the roadster had 25bhp, from its 4-cylinder engine.
- The Ford Model T had no speedometer, but it could go at 48km/h. The roadster variant could hit 65km/h.
- The Model T had to hand-cranked. Ford offered electric starters as an option but it was too expensive for most.
- Using the assembly line, Ford was able to make a Ford Model T in 12 hours. Something very impressive for the time.
- There are still many Ford Model T cars owned, maintained and running today.
Thoughts On Why The Ford Model T Came Only In Black
The Ford Model T is one of the most iconic cars in history. The first affordable mass production car brought a lot of innovations to the automotive industry. The car was so successful at a time that it became the most selling car in the world. Most of those cars would've been black in colour too. Nobody actually knows whether Henry Ford really told, "You can have it (Ford Model T) in any colour as long as it's black". But now you know the right and wrong in it!