T Party

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While I generally find The New York Times news coverage and editorial positions to be badly skewed to the left, the still carry wonderful feature stories. Such as this little gem describing some of the ways people customized their Model T automobiles. The Tin Lizzie turns 100 this year, so this is a fitting tribute to American ingenuity, both on the part of Henry Ford and of his customers.

No duty was too mundane or extreme for the wildly popular T, which became known by the nickname flivver. By jacking up the rear end and replacing one wheel with a pulley and leather drive belt, the Ford made a fine stationary power plant for milling grain or spinning the saw blade of a mobile lumber mill.

Even years after its heyday, the T continued as the Swiss Army knife of automobiles. In the 1930s, a group of New England ski enthusiasts created the first tow rope on the slopes of Woodstock, Vt. Their initial source of power was a well-worn Model T equipped with a Pullford tractor conversion, its huge steel drive wheels turing at just the right speed to reel skiers up the mountain.

Even when the original bodies and frames had rusted away, T owners would swap out the nearly unburstable Ford engines and drive axles to power boats, oil derricks, stationary pumps and other devices .

The car’s do-it-all utility sprang from a combination of stout basic design and widespread availability, said Robert Casey, curator of transportation at The Henry Ford museum and Greenfield Village, in Dearborn, Mich., and author of “The Model T: A Centennial History” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008).

There are some great pictures along with the article. Here's The Henry Ford Museum's pages on the Model T. This is the Model T Ford Club's website. And here is a short illustrated history of the Model T.

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One Response to T Party

  1. Love the blog look, but is that Obama descending from the clouds up there? … LOL!!
    NYT’s still good for a lot of reading, though we can do without the editorials on both the front page and back…

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