1914 Ford Model T Speedster Runabout; 2-door
Owner: Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Original cost: $500.00
Number made: 35,017
Engine, etc.: 4 cyl.; 177 cid; 20 hp; 100 in. wheelbase; 1,200 lbs (Touring)
In 1908 Ford built the first “Model T” which allowed most owners to do their own repairs. It was Henry Ford’s attempt to create a “Universal Car” and, humble though it was, the Model T was able to literally put America on the wheels.
In the early 1900’s automobiles were very new with steam, electricity, and gas as the three means of powering vehicles. Until about 1915 no one knew which of the three would win as the favored power source. Steam and electricity had their benefits but the gasoline engine had the most potential and offered options for increases in power. It was said that how a vehicle finished on the race track often determined the success of sales. With gasoline engines winning most of the races, other sources of power were eventually doomed.
Black was now the Ford color though it was never listed prior to 1914. Henry Ford preferred the black color because it dried the fastest. Black continued as the color for all models until 1925. Three Ford models were available in 1914: a runabout, a touring car, and a town car
The first full year of work after automation of the assembly line was completed was 1914. From 1908 until 1927 over 15 million cars were produced. By 1914, the time to build a Model T chassis had been reduced from 12 ½ hours to one hour and 33 minutes. This was also the year that Ford introduced his revolutionary $5 a day wage. He paid workers a wage proportionate to the cost of the automobile so they would be able to buy what they produced.
There were over 200 automobile manufacturers during the early 1900’s with the average factory building a couple hundred vehicles a year. During the years 1917 through 1923 Ford did not do any advertising but sold 9 out of 10 cars – no advertising was necessary.
The Model T was described as having “a chassis of blessed simplicity and dogged reliability”. It was called the “Tin Lizzie” and the “Flivver”.
Basic equipment included three oil lamps – 2 side lamps and one tail lamp.
This car has an acetylene generator that makes gas to power the headlights. Water in the top drips on calcium carbide in the bottom tank and the gas created flows through rubber tubes to the headlights where the driver opens the lens and lights the gas. The side lamps on this car are powered by kerosene.
This was the first year for the now-standard left side steering wheel.
Sources: Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1805 -1942. Beverly Rae Kimes, et al. 3rd ed. Krause Publications, 1996.