The Ford Model T (colloquially known as the Tin Lizzie, Leaping Lena, or flivver) is an automobile produced by Ford Motor Company from October 1, 1908, to May 26, 1927. It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, the car that opened travel to the common middle-class American; some of this was because of Ford's efficient fabrication, including assembly line production instead of individual hand crafting.
The Ford Model T was named the most influential car of the 20th century in the 1999 Car of the Century competition, ahead of the BMC Mini, Citroën DS, and Volkswagen Type 1. Ford's Model T was successful not only because it provided inexpensive transportation on a massive scale, but also because the car signified innovation for the rising middle class and became a powerful symbol of America's age of modernization. With 16.5 million sold it stands eighth on the top ten list of most sold cars of all time as of 2012.
Although automobiles had already existed for decades, they were still mostly scarce, expensive, and unreliable at the Model T's introduction in 1908. Positioned as reliable, easily maintained, mass-market transportation, it was a runaway success. In a matter of days after the release, 15,000 orders were placed. The first production Model T was produced on August 12, 1908 and left the factory on September 27, 1908, at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit, Michigan. On May 26, 1927, Henry Ford watched the 15 millionth Model T Ford roll off the assembly line at his factory in Highland Park, Michigan.
By 1918, half of all the cars in the U.S. were Model Ts. In his autobiography, Ford reports that in 1909 he told his management team, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black."