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These years before the ’20s are often referred to as the “brass era” of brightwork, before nickel and chrome became the dominant trim for auto exteriors.
As the Ford Model T (known affectionately as the “Tin Lizzy” for its reliability) hit the market in 1914, only subtle changes would be noted. Doors, fenders, and frame would see minor modifications, and the windshield now folded to the rear. The color black would be chosen for nearly all Model T’s for the next 11 year period. This same pattern held consistent throughout the life of the Model T – there were very few changes. Indeed, Henry Ford said in his autobiography that ”any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants as long as it is black.” (At the time, black was believed to be the only color paint that could dry fast enough to keep up with the moving assembly line)
As Henry Ford became an industry leader and his wealth increased, he shared higher salaries and bonuses with Ford Motor Company executives. Henry Ford even extended this generosity to the Ford assembly line workers; a revolutionary “Five Dollar Workday” was introduced and the company even went so far as to reduce workdays from 10 hours to 8. Production was maintained by adding a third shift to the assembly line. This innovative labor allocation and management decision was particularly unique since it was made during a worldwide depression. Decisions like these made Ford vehicles appear more accessible to the everyman, especially since every Ford worker who made a living wage was a potential customer who might also be able to afford the Ford products. The five dollar daily wage was hailed by newspapers, and headlines described the company move positively as though it had “shot like a blinding rocket through the dark clouds of an industrial depression,” “a bolt out of the blue sky flashing it was across the continent and far beyond,” contributing to “an epoch in the world’s industrial history.” History also heralds 1914 as the birthplace of the automobile rebate. That year, Henry Ford promised car buyers a rebate of $40.00 – or about 9% of the average selling price of Fords of the day if a total of 300,000 units were sold. As promised, when the sales total reached 308,213 units for the year, profit sharing rebates of $15.5 million arrived in the mailboxes of buyers. Landmark decisions such as these propelled the name “Ford” to the forefront of the automobile industry, making the company the most well-known manufacturer in the world, and the company’s namesake acquired the title of “Father of the Automobile Industry”.
- Called the “Tin Lizzie”
- Production from 1908 through 1927
- Over 15 million Model T’s produced
- This is a low mileage, all-original car – very rare!
- Price new: $550