After having observed the production line in a cannery, Henry Ford decided to apply the same manufacturing principles to the automobile no less, and Fordism was born.
The price of Model T’s had dropped from $825 in 1909 to an astonishing $ 260 in 1924. Such was the advantage of Fordism. The company achieved this through what they called process simplification, resource rationalization and factory self-sufficiency.
Production efficiency had become the most important thing for Ford. He reasoned that by painting all the Model T’s a no thrills black colour, production would not only be cheaper but also faster, as the black paint would dry more quickly—shaving time off the assembly line process.
Launched on October 1st, 1908, the Model T would remain in production until May 31st, 1927, with more than a record 16 million units sold.
The Model T proved to be an extremely durable car. Any part of the car which was to be subjected to stress was constructed out of vanadium, a very light and resistant alloy of steel.
The nearly 3 litre (2892cc) inline four-cylinder engine had a cast-iron block and a separate cylinder head. Equipped with a simple carburetor, the unit developed 20hp at 1800 revolutions per minute.
Power was sent to its rear wheels through a dual ratio gearbox which had in it, three epicycloid pinion trains.
The front and rear suspension were attached to the chassis through a set of transverse leaf springs, which were fitted without dampers. And the chassis itself consisted of a “U” frame structure, closed off at the opened ends by crossbars.
Although there were some model T’s manufactured before 1909, assembly-line production began properly in 1909. This specimen is one of the first produced in this way.
Our Model T was imported to Portugal in 1909, but it was only on November 27th, 1911 when it saw proper use. This was because of the then-recent Law of Brito Camacho which caused a disruption in car traffic in the North and South of Portugal.
Its first registered owner was António Augusto Correia, who registered it with the plate N -373. In 1927, the car was to change hands because Manuel Menéres, after having seen it at the Mirandela fair, exchanged his modern 1926 Ford for the Model 1909 Model T.
Menéres used it in several events, including the Estoril Rallye of Vintage Cars in 1932, the Rallye de Santo Tirso, in 1962, and the International Rallye of Estoril, in 1964.
On May 29, 1968, this Model T was certified by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain and was given the number 1,146.
With engine number 11340, it is in fact amongst the first batch of cars to roll off Ford’s assembly line in 1909. The total number of Model T’s manufactured that year exceeded 15,000 units—a testament to Henry Ford’s mass production vision.