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 cars.
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 fellow.
Model “T” Features
Steering gear and control on left side of car.
Engine, transmission, fly-wheel, magneto and universal joint enclosed in same case.
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 top replaced.
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 maximum flexibility.)
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 Planetary type.
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 car around.
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, F.O.B., Detroit.
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 impossible.
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. Vanadium steel.
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 30×3-1/2 inches, front 30×3 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.