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MAHWAH, N.J. - To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Model T, a 1909 “Tin Lizzie” was assembled on the line at Ford’s Mahwah, N. J., assembly plant.
This Model T, completed on Oct. 23, 1958, was built by Ford Division to dramatize the 50th birthday of the famous “Tin Lizzie” – the car that gave the company its start and shaped the automotive destiny of the world.
No assembly plant had produced a Model T since production ended in 1927. So it was a strange contrast with the 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 ahead of the Tin Lizze and the two-toned 1959 Ford Custom 300 behind it on the assembly line that day.
The parts for the Golden Anniversary Model T assembled that day came from points across the United States. Most of the body came from a Flint, Mich., furniture dealer, the wheels were reconstructed by a New Jersey firm and fenders were made in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
The 1909 Model T was 2¼ feet taller and six feet shorter than the 1959 Ford, weighed 1,200 pounds and had a four-cylinder engine with only 22 hp.
After coming off the final assembly line, the Model T participated in a fuel-economy contest with a 1959 Custom 300 six-cylinder sedan. The cars sped around a circular course at the assembly plant to determine how much farther the new Ford could go on one-tenth of a gallon of gas. No record was found of how far the vehicles went that day. In a similar contest weeks before, a Model T averaged 13 mpg and a 1959 Ford posted 24 mpg.
At the ceremonies marking the re-appearance of the Model T on the assembly line were Plant Manager E.L. Duquette, a veteran of Model T production days as well as other Mahwah employees who had helped assemble the original “universal car.”
After appearing at a variety of corporate events, the vehicle was donated to the Henry Ford Museum, where it still resides today.
• In 1909, the Model T cost $850, an amount that would take the average American at the time 86 weeks to earn to purchase the new vehicle. By contrast at the time, the full price of a 1959 Ford Custom 300 V8 could be earned by the average American in only 26 weeks at $2,125.
• Model T production began in 1908 and was so popular that when production of the vehicle ended in 1927, Ford had built almost as many cars at the time as were made by all other automobile manufacturers combined.
• Gasoline tank capacity of a 1909 Model T was 9 gallons. The capacity of a 1959 Ford Custom 300 V8 was 20 gallons.
• The 1909 Model T had no fuel gauge, battery, windshield wipers, heater, radio, trunk compartment, spare tire, bumpers or rear view mirror.