5 Things You Didn't Know About The Model T

On October 1, 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Model T Ford at the company’s Piquette Avenue plant in Detroit, Michigan. At $850 the new car was cheap for its day, but still cost $30 more than the average worker's annual wage. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about the Model T.


Ford Did Not Advertise The Model T The Model T was so successful that Ford did not run advertisements and depended on word of mouth to drive sales. He did not run a single ad between 1917 and 1923. This made sense, considering that the Model T was the dominant vehicle at the time.  Interestingly, most Ford car dealerships still ran adverts to entice would-be car buyers to acquire their Model Ts from them.

The Car Was Only Available in Black In the beginning, Model Ts were available in gray, green, blue and red, but Ford switched to black because using different paints affected the speed of the assembly line. Although dealerships objected and asked that more color options be made available, Ford is said to have stated “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” He also added that he would continue to build only the Model T without any modifications whatsoever. Ford later wrote that no one believed it was a good decision, but the Model Ts were only produced with black paint starting in 1914.


The Model T Came in a Truck Version Most people do not know that Henry Ford made a truck version of the Model T. The Model TT was a Model T with a truck bed in place of rear seats and a heavier frame. The first Model TT truck went on sale on July 27, 1917. Ford sold 209 vehicles before the year was over. The Model TT went out of production in 1927 and was succeeded by the Model AA truck the same year. The Model AA was rebadged as the successful F-series in 1948. The F-series has been a top seller in the US vehicle market since 1977.

It Was Nicknamed "The Tin Lizzie" After Winning a Race The Ford Model T went by a few nicknames, including "Leaping Lena", "jitney" and “flivver.” However, its most common nickname was the “Tin Lizzie.” The Model T got that name from a car race. At the time, car dealerships regularly hosted automobile races to publicize the cars in their collection. One such race was held at Pikes Peak in Colorado in 1922. One of the contenders was Noel Bullock and his Model T, which he called “Old Liz.” Old Liz was truly old. Its body paint had faded, and its hood was missing. Spectators started calling it the Tin Lizzie because it looked more like a tin can than a vehicle. Nevertheless, the battered Old Liz went on to win the race. Newspapers reported the surprising win but called the car the Tin Lizzie instead of Old Liz, and the name stuck.

Poland Turned the Model T Into A War Vehicle In June 1920, Poland introduced an armored version of the Model T that was designed as part of their war effort against the Soviet Union and named it the Ford FT-B. The vehicle was the brainchild of Tadeusz Tanski, who worked with the Polish Ministry of Military Affairs at the time. His idea was to weld steel armor captured from the German Army during World War I to the chassis of a Ford Model T. The result was the Ford FT-B. The Ford FT-B was small and fast, just as the Polish army hoped. The resulting vehicle was fast and small and carried only a driver and machine gunner.