The Model T Ford celebrated its centenary back in 2008 and is directly linked with the age of affordable motor travel – but we all knew that, right?
Here are five things you didn’t know about Ford until now, unless you’re more clued up about this iconic motoring brand than most of your fellow road users.
1. Edsel-lent Design
One of the most famous facts about the Model T Ford is that it was “available in any colour, as long as it’s black”.
These days that’s easily fixed with a coloured vinyl vehicle wrap, but back then there was a long wait before the Ford Motor Company started to focus on the aesthetic – and not just the function – of their vehicles.
In fact it was 1935 before Henry Ford’s son Edsel set up the Ford Design Department, which developed the stunning Lincoln Zephyr in 1937 with its revolutionary horizontal grille configuration.
2. Not Just for Men
For almost as long as Ford have been producing motor cars, they have marketed them to both sexes – the Ford Archives in Dearborn, Michigan has over six miles of shelving containing past marketing materials, posters and PR photos.
Among them is an ad for the Model T Ford that’s over 90 years old, and features a woman working at a desk with her Model T visible outside her window.
So it’s appropriate that as the brand reached its centenary in 2008, the Ford Ka featured in the Bond movie Quantum of Solace, not as the secret agent’s vehicle of choice, but as the wheels of Bond girl Camille, played by Olga Kurylenko.
3. Double Time
In the first years of the Model T, Ford introduced some truly landmark innovations in motor vehicle production – including the moving assembly line in 1913, which cut assembly time of a Model T chassis from 12.5 hours to just 1.5 hours.
The following year, Ford introduced an eight-hour day for factory workers, an hour shorter than standard, and offered double the existing pay rate.
It’s thought that 10,000 people queued at Ford’s hiring office the day after the announcement, and the wage was enough for many Ford assembly workers to buy a Model T of their own.
4. Dodgy Decals?
The main Ford logo has remained unchanged since 1907 when it was designed by Childe Harold Wills using a stencil set that belonged to his grandfather.
However, many people will insist that the embellishment on the arm of the F – that little squiggle over the O – was never there before, a false memory phenomenon known online as the Mandela Effect.
In fact there are some examples of the logo with this squiggle missing, but they’re probably due to wear and tear, retouched photos, or just proof of why you should only use professional vehicle decals!
5. To the Moon and Back
Elon Musk’s ‘Falcon Heavy’ stunt may have sent a Tesla Roadster into space in early 2018, but Ford sent men to the moon almost 50 years before that.
Between 1961 and 1974, Ford owned the electronics brand Philco, which provided support services to NASA’s Apollo space programme – including designing, building, equipping and staffing Mission Control.
During this time, Apollo safely landed six missions on the moon, with two astronauts stepping foot on the surface each time. The first man ever to do so was Neil Armstrong on July 21st 1969, while the last to leave the moon was Gene Cernan early on December 14th 1972, and all with the support of Ford Philco.