Early in 1908 Ford issued an Advance Catalog describing the new Model T. Careful reading and
study of the text reveals that the described car is quite unlike the Model T which appeared
in October 1908 and, of course, not like the Model Ts after the first 2500 made.
For example, the catalog describes the operation of the car and notes that reverse is applied
by means of a foot pedal. It does not say anything about the low gear but the illustration
shows three pedals and two levers, similar to the system used on the Models N, R, and S, in
which low gear was applied by means of a hand lever. The illustration of the rear axle is
much the same as the one used on the previous models, unlike that which appeared when the
Model T was actually produced. The transmission illustration shows an oil line from the
flywheel area to the rear bearing, a feature deleted before actual production apparently
because it caused excessive oil leaks at the rear of the engine.
The information is interesting though, and could give some insight as to the development of
the Model T Ford. Reproduced below are the text and pictures of this pre-production catalog.
The biggest force at work selling Ford Cars today is in the 16,000 cars that are now in
successful operation. All that we have ever claimed in catalog and advertisement is borne out
by those 16,000 cars, until today Ford is more advertised by his product than by his Advertising
Department. When a manufacturer reaches that position, the greatest care must be exercised to
retain it. As the highest grade material, superb manufacturing facilities and the greatest
engineering genius in the automobile world were brought together to list the Ford cars to their
present place as world leaders, how necessary it is to continue this combination and to exert
every effort to maintain this high standard, having the reputation to sustain. This fact was
ever dominant in designing and building the Model "T" four-cylinder, 20 H. P. touring car.
The new car must add to, rather than detract, from the reputation of Ford as a maker of quality
Two solid years have been spent in perfecting it. Each minute detail has been
carefully worked out and thoroughly tested. Special tools to the value of many thousands of
dollars have been installed. Special steels have been developed to give each part the maximum
strength. Appearance, utility and efficiency have been joined in one harmonious whole to make
a car which is now pronounced perfect.
Any man buying an automobile has a right to and should demand full value for the
money expended-he should insist that for every dollar the car costs him, he get all the
automobile that can possibly be supplied for that dollar. Some few men have money to waste but
nine times out of ten the buyer of a car is not in that financial condition, he cannot afford
to make a mistake in selection. The money involved means considerable and unless wisely spent
is a serious loss. If he gets his money's worth, he is satisfied, and the automobile industry
has made a friend-if his choice is not wise, not only must he pocket his loss, but he is an
enemy to the industry, a knocker from just cause.
The question is, how can a man be positive that in the car he is buying, he is
getting full value. The finest catalogs often describe the most inferior cars. The smoothest
salesmen are sometimes selling the poorest machines. It takes smoothness to sell them. The
slickest of color schemes and beautiful bodies often hide the poorest make-shifts in
construction and material. Catalog, salesmen and paint cannot always be relied upon to present
honestly the merits and demerits of any proposition. Where the Ford buyer is absolutely safe
is in the fact that he is buying a car designed by the most successful, capable and best
known automobile engineer in the world,-Henry Ford. In the further fact that he is dealing
with a company which has actually built more cars than any other company and that there are
today 16,000 Ford cars proving Ford superiority. In buying a Ford, you buy a car with a
reputation for quality second to none, from a company that considers reputation its biggest
asset and the maintenance of it of chief importance.
The Model "T" touring car offers the greatest automobile value ever announced by
the Ford Motor Company and that means the greatest value ever offered for the Ford has always
led the procession. A careful perusal of the following pages will convince even the most
skeptical that it is years ahead of any other car in design.
The price is remarkably low---so low that you will wonder how it is accomplished
and may even doubt the quality. When Ford announced the price on his now famous runabout,
skeptics said "impossible," but the car made good and an enormous number were sold, the very
thing we had figured on and the thing that made the price possible. The same quantity
production methods that made it profitable to sell the runabout at a figure lower by one-half
than a car of similar specifications had ever been sold for, will be utilized to keep down
the cost of Model "T." At that there is less profit per car by a considerable margin than
is usually figured in the selling price of most cars, but half the ordinary profit, multiplied
by four times the number of sales still gives us 100 per cent, more profit than the other
Model "T" Features
Steering gear and control on left side of car.
Engine, transmission, fly-wheel, magneto and universal joint enclosed in same
Top of engine removable so that the valves, cylinders, etc., can be readily
cleaned, repaired or adjusted.
With high speed in, any speed quickly obtainable, from a dead stop to 40 miles
an hour by operating foot lever.
Magneto is a part of fly-wheel, is a miniature alternating current generator
of Ford's own design.
Splash system of lubrication with the flywheel as the distributing agent.
Ford Vanadium steel throughout-this steel made by us from our own analyses and
guaranteed to possess greater dynamic qualities than any other known steel.
Simplicity of design and construction, fewer parts, more easily adjusted and repaired than
any other car manufactured.
Not an ounce of dead weight-plenty of weight to meet every conceivable demand.
Price, $850.00 F.0.B., Detroit, U.S.A.
The Model "T" Touring Car is equipped with a four-cylinder vertical engine rated
at 20 H. P. Size of cylinders, 3-3/4 x 4. Cylinders of finest quality gray iron.
Some of the noteworthy features found in the Model "T" engine are:
By removing twelve bolts the entire top can be taken off exposing all four
cylinders, all four pistons and. all eight valves. If it is desired to clean cylinders,
valves, etc., a thorough job can be quickly done, valve surfaces ground if necessary, and
The crank case is oil tight and in addition to enclosing the crank shaft, forms
the lower half of the housing of the transmission, fly-wheel, magneto and flexible joint,
all of which are enclosed and operated in an oil bath. This form of construction makes
dripping of oil impossible as all working parts are enclosed. the fly-wheel is back of
the engine and is also utilized as a rotor for the magneto.
Crank and cam shafts are drop forged each of a single piece of Ford Vanadium steel
heat treated after forging, all bearing surfaces ground to absolute accuracy.
Connecting rods are drop forged from Ford Vanadium steel.
The Commutator is in front, easily accessible.
Three Point Suspension
emsp; In the Model "T" touring car the Ford plan of 3 point suspension so successful
in other Ford models has been utilized. The motor is 3 point; the front axle is 3 point; the
rear axle is 3 point. (By an ingenious arrangement the front support of the engine instead
of being rigidly attached to the cross member of the frame rests in a bearing, so giving the
The transmission is of the Ford Spur Planetary type-the type that by actual test
has proven its superiority over every other type of transmission. This advantage lies in the
longer life of such a transmission-stripped gears impossible-and the smooth velvety action
as opposed to the jerky vibrating action of other types which racks transmission, engine,
gears and axles.
Low speed and reverse clutches are of the fiber lined steel band type. These
bands grip smoothly and when disengaged spring away from drums, assuring positive action
without waste of power.
The high speed clutch is of the multiple disc type so designed as to give the
maximum bearing surface. This multiple disc clutch is composed of smooth, steel discs interposed.
The reserve power of the engine and the flexibility of both engine and transmission
really make a transmission gear almost unnecessary, for the Model "T" can climb hills or negotiate
muddy and sandy roads on high speed. With the high speed in, by throttle control any speed from
3 to 40 miles per hour can be obtained.
As the use of the gearing is seldom necessary this transmission can be depended
upon to outlive any other part of the car. Transmission troubles are unknown with the Ford Spur
One of the features of the Ford Model "T" Touring Car that excites admiration
is the system of control employed.
The reverse is operated by a foot pedal as is also the brake on the transmission.
Spark and throttle levers are located one at the right and one at the left of the
steering post directly under the wheel where either or both can be operated by the index
fingers without removing the hands from the wheel or releasing the grip on it. With the
throttle and spark control alone any speed from a walk to high speed can be obtained without
changing the gears, while a proper combination of foot pedal and spark and throttle control
adds to this flexibility.
The Emergency brakes are operated by a hand lever. These brakes are of the
internal expanding type acting on pressed steel drums attached to the rear hubs.
The control is located on the left side, the logical place, for the following
reasons: Traveling along the right side of the road the steering wheel on the right side of
the car made it necessary to get out on the street side and walk around the car. This is
awkward and especially inconvenient if there is a lady to be considered. The control on the
left allows you to step out of the car on to the curbing without first having had to turn the
In the matter of steering with the control on the right the driver is farthest
away from the vehicle he is passing, going in opposite direction; with it on the left side he is
able to see even the wheels of the other car and easily avoids danger.
With the wheel at the left, the hand levers are operated with the left hand leaving
the right hand to do the more delicate work of steering the car.
In the Model "T" Car is employed the splash system of oiling, developed to its
highest state of perfection in a way that insures satisfaction. It is entirely a new departure,
but its extreme simplicity is a guarantee of its effectiveness even had it not been given
a complete and thorough working out for months. The oil must be distributed as long as the
engine is running for the running itself distributes the oil, and there is nothing to get
out of order or cause trouble.
Weight is too important a factor to be passed by lightly. Suppose a car is
500 pounds heavier than necessary, that represents a quarter ton of dead weight. It means
as much as the combined weight of a family of four, a man and his wife and two children---a
very serious handicap, virtually double load every time you go riding.
It takes gasoline to carry this excess weight; it wears out tires; it is hard
on engine and transmission, the effect is the same as if one tried to use a runabout as a
truck, overloading every trip.
When the now famous Ford Runabout was introduced, the cry of our competitors,
alarmed by its enormous sale, was "too light; never stand up." Since then they have called a
halt on this style of criticism---had to, for our car made good, and today the principle
selling point several of the self same manufacturers are pushing hardest is the light weight
of their own cars. Many have actually reduced the weight and so fallen in line. Others claim
a light weight that the finished car does not substantiate---but they had to follow.
But still Ford leads. The Model "T" weighs less pounds per horse power than
any other touring car made. On the other hand, to prove the wisdom of our construction and
to forestall the disclaimers that are sure to arise, we challenge any touring car manufactured
to achieve equal results be it in the way of speed, hill climbing, long life, roadability or
dependability. There isn't an ounce of unnecessary weight; there hasn't been an ounce of
necessary weight sacrificed.
The price is very low-much less than at which it has heretofore been considered
possible to make a touring car. We have no apology to make for this price, but it is only fair
that in explanation we assure you that the price is simply the result of the Ford Quantity
System of production, and the additional fact that we make our profit from the large number
of sales and are therefore satisfied with a smaller percentage on each sale.
Material, labor and engineering have in no way been sacrificed in order to
make price. The reverse is true, for Vanadium steel is the most expensive we can purchase and
the design and construction employed embodies features, notably the transmission, which
actually cost us double what we would need to pay were we to substitute some other style.
Henry Ford has long since demonstrated his ability to build a better car and
sell it for considerably less money than any other manufacturer, and the Model "T" is simply
an additional evidence of that fact.
A better 20 H. P. 4 cylinder touring car than the Model "T" cannot be made,
and the difference in price between it and that of other touring cars represents additional
manufacturing costs which only Ford has been able to reduce, and the increased profit the
manufacturer must make or wants to make to even up for the smaller quantity sold.
We make money on this car at this price just as we have on our other cars---not
much until you figure the number sold. But we do not ask you to pay an undue profit to make
up for inferior manufacturing facilities or a weak selling organization.
The price including 2 side oil lamps, tube horn and tail lamp and ironed for top is $850,
Model "T" Specifications
Motor4 cylinder, 4 cycle vertical 20 H. P. Bore, 3-3/4" stroke, 4"
Cylinders cast integral and with water jackets; inlet and exhaust valves on right side.
Crank ShaftOne piece non-welded drop forging from Ford Vanadium Steel specially
heat treated after forgingset at 180 degrees all bearing surfaces ground, cam shaft
of one piece Ford Vanadium steel, 8 cams integral.
IgnitionLow tension, magneto Ford design. Jump spark.
TransmissionNew Design Ford Spur planetary, bathed in oilno internal
gearsall gears made from Ford Vanadium steel.
LubricationSplash system automatic. Insufficient or excessive lubrication
ClutchMultiple steel discs operating in oil. Fly-wheel at rear of engine.
ControlHigh and low speeds and emergency brake by hand levers at left of driver.
Reverse and transmission brake by foot pedals. Spark and throttle give all speeds from
3 to 40 miles per hour.
Final DriveBy cardon shaft with single universal joint to bevel drive gears in
live rear axle. Ford three point system (patented in all countries) with all moving
parts enclosed in dust proof casing, running in oil. Vanadium steel throughout.
Front AxleOne piece drop forging in I-beam section, specially treated.
SteeringBy Ford reduction gear system; irreversible.
Brakes 2 sets. (a) Service band brake on transmission; (b) Internal expanding
brakes in rear hub drums.
WheelsArtillery wood type. Hubs extra long.
TiresPneumatic; rear 30x3-1/2 inches, front 30x3 inches.
Number of PassengersNormal load, 4 adults.
SpringsFront and rear; semi-elliptic.
FendersEnclosed full length of car.
Wheel Base100 inches. Tread-56 inches.
Gasoline Capacity10 gallons. Cylindrical gasoline tank mounted directly on frame.
Standard EquipmentSide oil lamps and tube horn.
Price$850, F.O.B., Detroit, Mich.