1927 Ford Model T

Unquestionably, the 1927 Ford Model T was better than ever. Unfortunately, however, even the "Improved" Ford wasn't improved enough as far as the public was concerned.

Of 1927 Ford Model Ts, the Tudor was the most popular closed model with more than 78,000 built.
In the 1927 Model T production run, Tudor was the
most popular closed model with over 78,000 built.

It was tough and reliable, and far cheaper than the competition. But it remained rough, noisy, slow, and comparatively homely. In earlier times, the Ford's shortcomings had mattered little. But by 1927, under Bill Knudsen's leadership, Chevrolet was turning out cars that were quieter, better looking, more comfortable, and a little faster than the Ford -- and very nearly as sturdy.

Even Henry Ford was compelled to recognize that it was time for him to offer a new car. Fortunately, thanks in large measure to his son, Edsel, such a car was already under development.

Ford rode on into 1927 with a Model T that was virtually unchanged from 1926, except that effective February 21, 1927, drop-center wire wheels were supplied as standard equipment on all closed cars. Eventually they became available on the open models as well, in a range of colors that included Casino Red, English Vermillion, Green, Straw, and Black. Another running change during the year was the addition of a headlamp tie bar.

Ford sales continued their steep downward trend and late in May 1927, after a paltry (by Ford standards) 356,188 cars had been produced in just less than five months, Ford shut down production in preparation for the Model A, the first really new Ford in more than 18 years. The plant remained shut for more than six months as far as passenger cars were concerned, although trucks remained in production for a time.

Open cars were still the most popular 1927 Model Ts, with the roadster leading the way.
Open cars were still the most popular 1927
Model Ts, with the roadster leading the way.

Replacement Model T engines continued to be built, though in diminishing numbers, as late as August 1941. That was testimonial enough to the toughness of the Model T -- and to the loyalty of many of its owners, some of whom, including noted journalist Arthur Brisbane, had urged Henry Ford to keep at least one Model T assembly line in operation indefinitely.

Still, it had been a sensational run. Between October 1908, when the Model T made its debut, and May 26, 1927, when the last one came off the line, a little more than 15 million of these remarkable little cars had been produced. What an impact it had made! For it was the Model T, far, far more than any other automobile, that had put America -- and indeed the world -- on wheels.

And if Henry Ford had continued for too long to build it, well beyond the time when the motoring public had come to demand something newer, more powerful, more comfortable, and more stylish than the "T," who could really blame its creator for clinging to the car that had brought him such fabulous success, and had, in the process, radically changed the way Americans live?

To see models, prices, and production numbers for the 1923-1927 Ford Model T, continue to the next page.

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