As most of you know last week Ford Australia announced it was stopping local production of cars in the near future.
Newspapers went into overdrive here with every journalist adding their two cents worth as to why it happened, who was to blame, and how to stop it happening.
One journalist, actually he probably is not a journalist in the true sense ( may be why his article is so good) he is the resident daily cartoon artist on the Daily Telegraph published in Sydney N.S.W. who has an interest in motoring.
Some of you may have seen him in a series where a group of antique car owners who drove from Peking to Paris a few years ago or in Top Gear Australia.
His name is Warren Brown and here is the piece he wrote last Friday on the Model T. Its one of the best takes on why the Model T Ford was "The car of the Century."
How Henry's Model T helped open up the Outback.
Forget roads, the sea was how we once travelled from one side of Australia to the other.
A century ago, if you wanted to travel from Sydney to Perth, or to Adelaide or Darwin, you bought a ticket for a steamship voyage. Certainly on the east coast there was a rudimentary railway, but our roads were among the worst in the world, hardly suitable for a horse, let alone accessible by that newfangled contraption the motor car.
Cars in Australia were imported from England or France, where people travelled short distances over well made roads. In Australia, we needed to travel long distances along bush tracks.
Cars were considered a novelty for the well to do, out of reach of everyday Australians, a mystery to operate and extraordinary temperamental. That was until 1908 when a little known inventor from Michigan named Henry Ford unveiled to the world the Model T.
It was well made, simple to operate, easy to maintain and above all, cheap.
That made it unlike any other car. For a continent the size of mainland Europe with a population of a little over four million, it was a godsend.
The Model T resonated with Australians because it had been designed for conditions in the US, a nation criss-crossed with roads equally as appalling as ours.
The model T gave access to the most impenetrable regions, inspiring confidence to tackle the forbidding interior and in doing so forged better roads connecting our cities.
Decades before the 4WD, the Model T was king of the bush - part tractor, part truck and part limousine.
It can also take the credit for playing a large role in opening up the Australian continent.
Peter, thank you for posting that great story. Bob
It's a great pity the the average Aussie doesn't know the debt we all owe to Henry Ford,of course he had his foibles but who doesn't. Without companies like Ford Australia we would have been in very deep s--T during WW11 if not for their ability to produce the goods we so desperately needed we might be speaking another language. Both my wife and myself drive Australian built Falcons they are bullet proof as my previous 92 model Falcon Van was, 511,000K's much of it towing my T. Only reason I am still not driving it my grandson somehow talked me out of it when he turned 17. Some story about I promised him when he was a little boy? For some reason Aussies think 4 cylinder cars revving their tails off are economical, the total maintainence bill for the van over 20 years was just $3000.00. We need a modern Model T not a bunch of riceburners that you throw away into landfill.
The manufacture of these "throw away" cars really waste so much of our resources worldwide and I can't see it changing. Asians pay workers a piddling trifle, no workers comp, no company taxes, no super, there's no way western nations can compete in car production. If only laws were passed to make the manufacturers guarantee a 50 year life on new cars and most other items sold can we save our manufacturing industries. Otherwise we just accept the crap and roll over.
By design, all new cars, cameras, TVs, computers, are throw-away devices. Modern cars are filled with more black boxes than Apollo 14, and eventually you won't be able to keep up with paying the bills replacing them one by one. Replacing the heater core on a newer Mercedes is now a $5K affair, as the entire dash has to come out, with a wiring loom behind it the size of a grown man's arm. We will always be able to keep a Model T, A, old pickup truck, Beetle, MG, Triumph, Camaro, Mustang, Porsche 911 alive, but even a 1990 Cadillac Allante is not going to make it. Some Lincoln Mk 8s are already on the boneyards because of small electrical devices that failed and have become obsolete.