The First Affordable Automobile: 1926 Ford Model TT

This generously donated Ford Model TT from the height of the Roaring ‘20s is a beautifully restored example of the legendary automobile.

There are so many historical and industrial milestones surrounding the Model TT that it’s hard to keep track of them all. Over 15 million units were produced by the end of the vehicle’s 19-year production run, a record that held for 45 years after. Perhaps only the Volkswagen Beetle comes close to the ubiquity and iconic status of the Model TT .

Perhaps the Model TT speaks most to visionary founder Henry Ford’s all-encompassing formula of making the highest possible quality product, in the most efficient manner possible, for sale at most competitive price possible, all the while compensating his employees with the highest wages possible. Ford pushed every boundary in making and selling the Model TT , and basically everyone won as a result. It was a chain reaction: innovative practices inspired competitors, competition drove prices down and wages up, employees were rewarded well, customers were continually given a quality product in exchange for affordable price, and Ford’s empire was solidified for the ages.

The Model TT was so accessible to the average American that the price actually dropped every year during the production run. This is unheard of, especially in today’s market when seemingly all prices – especially car prices – seem to tick up with the blink of an eye. In 1908 the Model T cost $850, or around $21,340 in today’s dollars when adjusted for inflation. In 1916, the prices had dropped to only $360 for the most basic Model T, or around $7,020 in today’s dollars. In 2012, the least expensive new car is $10,990. Henry Ford still has us beat.

Although earlier Model T cars were available in a variety of colors, by 1914 Ford insisted they all be painted black. By 1918, half the cars on the road in the U.S. were Model T’s.

The Model TT represents the best of American industry, when goods were still manufactured here and everybody benefited. The market took care of itself. Seeing this restored example is mindful of great ideas and innovations, despite the car itself being a relatively simple mechanism. The key was in the way it was produced and marketed. Now that it’s being donated, we’re also mindful of generosity and charity as well.

Other cool donated cars:

Animal Striped Miata

1958 Lyman Boat

1990 Buick Reatta