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“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black”-Henry Ford

“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black”

Model T came only in black???

It is nothing but the myth that ford model T was only manufactured in black color.

Let’s review the history of Henry Ford first.
We all are familiar with his name and his work, especially in the automotive industry.
He is an American captain of industry and a business magnate, the founder of the Ford Motor company, He was one of the first to apply assembly line manufacturing to the mass production of affordable automobiles.
Ford Model T, his “universal car” was the industrial success story of its age.

It was built by the Ford Motor Company from 1908 until 1927. Conceived by Henry Ford as practical, affordable transportation for the common man, it quickly became prized for its low cost, durability, versatility, and ease of maintenance. The car weighs 1,200 lbs.

19 years Journey of Ford Model T

In 1909, Henry Ford had a vision to scale production. He believed the Model T platform was the best strategy to produce an affordable car for the world.

In autobiography “MY LIFE AND WORK” chapter IV,

He stated that:

“Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.”

It’s somehow confusing for a common man after reading this, that how ford model T was only available in black.

He further added:

“I will build a motor car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one—and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.”

This is absolutely wrong that the Model T was only black in color.
Model T first came into the market with almost any common color except for black.
The first Model T in black didn’t roll off the assembly-line until five years later. It came only in black for 12 out of 19 model years and the remaining seven other model years other colors were available such as green, bright red, dark blue, brown, maroon and gray i-e from 1908 to 1913.
1908 to 1913, the Model T was not available in black.
In 1914 was the “any color so long as it is black” policy finally implemented. This implementation still in force till 1926.

Why black?

Black was the only color paint that could be dried quickly, and speed was an important factor in the Ford plant because of its enormous volume. Black paint was cheap and durable, and the reason was economics, not style.
The cars were painted using a process called japanning, which today would be called baked enamel.
During the lifetime production of the Model T, over 30 types of black paint were used on various parts of the car.
Other colors again were made available for 1926 and 1927, the last two model years for the Model T.

The fact is that the original blue and green were almost black. Often the color cannot be detected except in bright sunlight, and even then seeing the “color” can be difficult. Red and gray were only used prior to June 1909. Green was used from early 1909 (before June) through 1910. Blue was used from 1911 to early 1913. Black was the standard color from 1913 until the 1926 models.
History suggests that it’s just a matter of efficiency.

According to ford:

“you will be meeting a demand which is so large that it may be called universal”,Ford wrote.

The first Model T cost $850 but, by the time it went off the market in 1927, Ford’s efficient assembly-line production had knocked the price down to $260. Over 15 million Model T Fords were sold. It was price, though, that really made the Model T universal.

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One Comment

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