Once upon a time, more than half all cars in existence and on the roads were Ford Model T vehicles. Introduced in 1908, the Ford Model T was, in the words of Henry Ford, available in any color you wanted, as long as it was black. Behind this funny, nonsensical quote is hidden the genius that allowed so many to have access to a car: automation and standardization. Ford‘s innovative mass-market production techniques needed everything to be as standard and streamlined as possible, reducing options, but the result was a wonderful car. Incredibly rugged, by any standard, it could easily hold up in even the roughest terrain, which wasn’t a luxury, as most roads in the United States weren’t yet paved.
A single engine was available: a 2.9-liter four-cylinder engine that produced an undisclosed amount of horsepower, and was good to take the car to a top speed of 40 miles per hour. Acceleration figures are not available, however the engine was noted for its high amount of torque, so it can’t have been terrible.
The Ford Model T also had a epicyclic transmission – one pedal to go forwards, another for reverse. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. When the last Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line in Highland Park, Michigan in 1927, over 15,000,000 of them had been built. It remains one of the most popular cars of all time, and certainly the most iconic.