Thursday, July 9, 2009

In the Beginning

The famous phrase by Henry Ford, "Any colour you like, as long as it's black", is part of automotive history. But the 'black only' policy had more to do with the economies of the era rather than any monetary constraints on Henry's part. Debut Model T's were offered in 'Brewster Green', but as Ford's assembly line process gathered momentum an alternative was necessary.

It was discovered that 'Black Japan Enamel' not only dried faster, but could also be applied with a spray gun instead of the laborious hand preparation and application. This eliminated the time wasted waiting for paint to dry before the next stage of assembly. So, in the interests of getting the completed cars to the clamouring public quicker, black - and black only - was settled on as the T colour.

Black was the only colour offered from 1914 to 1925, and a painted black radiator shell replaced the original brass type in 1917. Four wheel brakes were never available, but electric starters were from 1920. The Model T reached its production peak in 1923, with more than two million cars delivered.

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