Ford 111 years young!

June 16, 2014

To celebrate Ford’s 111th anniversary we’ve put together a video showing 24 hours in the life of Ford’s global operations, but none of this would have been possible without one man, and one car; Henry Ford and his legendary Model T.

Below we take a look back at some of the pivotal moments in their history and unearth some Ford facts that you might not have known.

Edsel Ford, Henry Ford, Henry Leland, and Wilfred Leland

The Ford Motor Company wasn’t the first car manufacturer formed by Henry Ford. On November 3, 1901 the Henry Ford Company was created, but Ford left the company just one year later over disputes with his stockholders, who kept the company running, renaming it after the French explorer who founded Detroit, Antoine de la Month Cadillac.


By 1916, 55 per cent of all the cars on the road were Model T Fords

Although the first car released by Ford was the Model A, it was the Model T that became Ford’s first real success story and by 1916, 55 per cent of all the cars on the road were Model T Fords. Part of the reason for the car’s popularity was its price which was less than half of its rivals.


Henry Alexander tackiling the UK's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, in a Ford Model T

A Ford Model T may look fragile compared to modern cars, but in 1911 a Ford agent named Henry Alexander, drove one to the top of the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, to prove its ruggedness. The ascent took five days, with the route leading over boulders, through snow-drifts and over perilous loose sand paths. At the top of Ben Nevis, the Model T was met by the world’s press before taking less than three hours to descend the mountain.


Model Ts under construction at Ford's Piquette Plant, in Detroit, before production was shifted to the moving assembly line at the Highland Park Plant

While the Ford Model T is remembered a being available in “any colour … so long as it is black,” it was originally available in several colours from 1908 to 1912, and black was not one of them. It wasn’t until introduction of the moving assembly line in 1913 that Ford went with the black-only colour option as a cost-saving measure, as black paint has the quickest drying time.


Edsel Ford drives his father, Henry, out of the Ford Highland Park Plant in the very last Model T ever made

Production of the Ford Model T lasted 19 years, during which time it revolutionised travel for the common family.  The first production Model T was produced on August 12, 1908 and left the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan on September 27, 1908. By the time Henry Ford and his son, Edsel, watched the very last Model T roll off the moving assembly line at Highland Park Plant on May 26, 1927, Ford had produced 15 million of them.


Two 1909 Model T models sit outside Ford headquarters in Detroit during the company's 100th anniversary celebrations

In 1999 the Ford Model T was named the Car of the Century by the Global Automotive Elections Foundation after a voting process that lasted three years and involved 700 models, 132 professional automotive journalists from 33 different countries, as well as numerous members of the public.

Topics: ford