Going Backwards Uphill

modelTford

The Ford Model T was the first affordable automobile. Known as the “Tin Lizzie,” it changed the way Americans live, work and travel.

Henry Ford’s revolutionary advancements in assembly-line automobile manufacturing is what made the Model T the first car to be affordable for a majority of Americans. Car ownership became a reality for average American workers, not just the wealthy.

More than 15 million Model Ts were built in Detroit and Highland Park, Michigan. They were also assembled at a Ford plant in Manchester, England, and at plants in continental Europe.

It had a 2.9-liter, 20-horsepower engine and could travel at speeds up to 45 miles per hour. It had a 10-gallon fuel tank and could run on kerosene, petrol/gasoline, or ethanol.

But the thing I only learned recently is that it couldn’t drive uphill if the tank was low on fuel. Why? Because there was no fuel pump. The workaround in this design flaw was that people would drive uphill in reverse, thereby using gravity to get the fuel to the engine. I imagine lines of cars at hills going in reverse. That would certainly be a strange – and dangerous – sight to see today. But I like their ingenuity.

modelT-hill

The Model T cost $850 in 1909, and as efficiency in production increased, the price dropped, so that by 1927, you could get one for $290. The last Model T rolled off the assembly line in 1927.

Published by

Ken Ronkowitz

Random by design. Predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente. A lifelong educator.

Add to the conversation about this article

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.