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      Car History: Car History Year 1919
    Posted on Sunday, September 26 @ 21:37:22 UTC by Cars
      Cars World War One had ended in November 1918, the economy was experiencing a post-war mini-boom based on the euphoria of victory, and the population of Detroit was nearly four times what it had been at the start of the century, thanks to the burgeoning business of building auto-mobiles. At the heart of the Motor City's prosperity was the incredible and ever-expanding empire of Henry Ford, based on the corner-stone of just one model - the Model T.

    Arriving in October 1908, the Model T Ford was to revolutionize the automobile industry and help establish a freedom of movement for Americans - the car would come within reach of almost anyone. Eleven years on, the Model T was going strong and, if altered in appearance (it had a major facelift in 1917), no backwoods mechanic could fail to recognize the car or its components and know exactly how to fix whatever went wrong. Mass production was the main key to its phenomenal success, but what was equally important was Ford's insistence on reducing the price whenever possible, stimulating demand even more and creating further profits. When introduced, the Model T sold at $850, but by 1919 the 2-door Runabout was only $500. And while the first full year of production saw 17,771 put together, with the coming of the moving assembly line and its refinement of operation, in 1919 an amazing 820,455 cars bearing the Ford name were manufactured - almost double the previous year's output and nearly half the total for the whole US auto industry. A further milestone reached in this year was the production of the three millionth Model T. It is widely assumed that Ford could keep the price of the Model T so low because it was churned out, year after year, without any alterations. This isn't so. Changes were made all the time - models came and went, different suppliers were often used and components were modified, either to cure problems or to provide a cheaper method of production. But the original concept of a car for the masses remained and the specification was more or less constant. The engine was a four cylinder L-head of 176.7 cu.in. developing 20 horsepower, cooled by thermosyphon action, coupled to a unique planetary transmission with two forward speeds and reverse and a multiple disc clutch, while a torque tube drive connected this to the rear axle. The wheelbase was 100 inches, wooden spoked wheels were 30 inches and suspension was by transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs. Within that framework the Model T evolved bit by bit, and 1919 saw an electric starter and battery as standard on closed models and offered as an option on open cars. This in turn led to an instrument panel being fitted with a single gauge (an ammeter), ignition/light switch and choke knob - speedometers were installed by dealers or owners. Demountable rim wheels were also available for the first time to make tire changing easier. The Model T became forever enshrined in American folklore for being virtually indestructible and, in spite of its quirky features, utterly reliable. Cheerfully used and savagely abused, it was a target of derision and affection in like amounts, at home on the remotest farm or in the teeming city, and it captured the heart of the nation in a manner that no other automobile in history - before or since -has come close to equaling. It is interesting to speculate as to how different the modern automobile - and our view of it - might be, had Henry Ford's views and attitudes to production prevailed. He believed that the automobile was the means by which the population might be made mobile; it was an engine of social change and, as such, of primarily practical significance, just like electric light or refrigeration. He didn't see why the car should have any more romance attached to it than the horse and buggy or the bicycle; it was simply a device for transporting persons from A to B. So long as the car enabled the doctor to get to the patient and the farmer to market, what did it matter what color it was painted? In truth, the automobile simply provides mobility - and clothes simply keep out the cold. In reality, these things are the means by which we inform the world at large of who and what we are, or at least would like to be. Specification FORD MODEL T Engine Cast iron - 4 cylinders in line Displacement 176.5 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3 3/4 x 4 ins. Horsepower 20 Body styles Tourer; Coupe; Runabout; Sedan No. of seats 2-5 Weight (lbs) c. 1,500 lbs Price $474 - $875 Produced 350,000   Specification DODGE MODEL 30 Engine Cast iron - 4 cylinders in line Displacement 212.3 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3 7/8 x 4 1/2 ins. Horsepower 35 Body styles Roadster; Tourer; Sedan; Limousine; Taxi No. of seats 2-6 Weight (lbs) c.2,815 lbs Price $1,085 - $1,900 Produced 106,000
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