The English Model T Ford - A Century of the Model T in Britain


Volume 1 - The English Model T Ford - A Century of the Model T in Britain

Chapter by Chapter


Chapter 1 - 1903 – 1908 Ford in Britain Before the Model T
The early years of Ford in Britain.  Ford Models A, B, C, F, K, N, R, and S with British variants.  Early import arrangements, people and dealers. 

Ford in Britain
1908 Model N Double Phaeton from UK Agents Perry, Thornton

1903 Model A. The First Ford sold in Britain


1908 Model N Double Phaeton from UK Agents Perry, Thornton and Schreiber


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Chapter 2 - 1908 – 1911 The Early Years

The Model T is launched and seen for the first time anywhere in the world at the London Motor Show at Olympia on 13th November 1908.  In 1911 a Model T is the first car to climb Ben Nevis.  The first European Ford factory opens at Trafford Park, Manchester.

Two early 1909 Two Lever Model Ts in Britain
Edinburgh Ford Dealer Henry Alexander rounding a tight corner

Two early 1909 Two Lever Model Ts. LB 8674

was probably the Ford Showroom

Demonstrator

Edinburgh Ford Dealer Henry Alexander rounding a tight corner on rough scree during the successful climb of Ben Nevis in May 1911


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Chapter 3 - 1912 – 1913 English Years
Production gets moving at Trafford Park and unique models are made for the British market.  Model T sales quadruple.  Ford becomes Britain’s largest motor manufacturer.  Henry Ford sponsors a race for Ford Cars at Brooklands.

1908 Model N Double Phaeton from UK Agents Perry, Thornton
Boy Driving 1913 Square Petrol Tank Chassis at Trafford Park

Ford Stand at Olympia, November 1912

showing the new 1913 Runabout

Boy Driving 1913 Square Petrol Tank

Roadster at Trafford Park Works


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Chapter 4 - 1914 – 1917 Moving Assembly Line
Following massive investment, Ford installs the first moving assembly line in Europe for the mass production of English, brass radiator, right-hand-drive Model Ts at Trafford Park. 

The New 1914 English Delivery Van for 1914
Trafford Park Assembly Room, Late 1914

The New 1914 English Delivery

Van for 1914

Trafford Park Assembly Room,

Late 1914


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Chapter 5 - 1914 – 1919 War and Austerity
Trafford Park turns to the production of specialist Model Ts including ambulances, water carriers and service wagons.  The new black radiator models are released in 1917.  The first Fordson tractors arrive in Britain.

Military Ambulance in Trafford Park Works Yard, 1915
Model T Military Water Carrier in Trafford Park Works Yard

Military Ambulance in Trafford

Park Works Yard, 1915

Model T Military Water Carrier in

Trafford Park Works Yard


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Chapter 6 - 1917 – 1923  Low Black Radiator
Back to Model T mass production for peacetime and the Model T evolves.  Selling prices fall and sales increase.   The Ton Truck (TT) version of the Model T appeared in 1919.  Electric starters and lighting are introduced and 1920 also sees the peak production year for the Model T in Britain. 

1908 Model N Double Phaeton from UK Agents Perry, Thornton
A Well Used 1920 'Flat Front' Delivery Van. The wooden winds

First English Illustration of the new 1918 Ton Truck

A Well Used 1920 'Flat Front' Delivery Van


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Chapter 7 - 1924 – 1925 English Drop Frame 
Independent of Ford USA, Trafford Park produces another uniquely English range of Model Ts known as the English Drop Frame models.  A lower chassis and sleeker, more modern looking style with nickel plated brightwork.  At the 1925 British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, the Model T production line is demonstrated; and Trafford Park produces the 250,000th English Model T.  Sales of Model T commercials outstrip car sales.

1908 Model N Double Phaeton from UK Agents Perry, Thornton
HM King George V & Queen Mary on the 1925 British Empire Exhange

Period picture of a 1924 English Drop Frame

Touring Car

HM King George V and Queen Mary on the Ford Stand at the 1925 British Empire Exhibition


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Chapter 8 - 1926 – 1927 Improved Models

Ford of Britain follows the USA with the Improved Model T but sales continue their decline.  The Model T is out of date and overtaxed.  Commercial sales continue to grow, whilst car sales decline.  Trafford Park production ceases for Model Ts in August 1927.

1924 Ton Van in use with a Chesterfield laundry
Sheffield registered Late Ton Truck with spare wheel mountin

1924 Ton Van in use with a

Chesterfield laundry

Sheffield registered Late Ton Truck
with spare wheel mounting


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Chapter 9 - 1928 – 2008  The Immortal Model T
The last Model Ts are sold from the dealers.  Trafford Park starts to produce the new Model A before transferring production to Dagenham.  During World War II Ford produces Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engines at Trafford Park.  The era of the Model T Ford collector and enthusiast commences in the 1950s.  The Model T Ford Register of Great Britain is formed in 1960 and continues to grow and thrive into the 21st Century.  In 2000 the Model T Ford is voted the world’s Car of the 20th Century!

A relaxed photo of Edsel Ford and Sir Percival Perry
1908 Model N Double Phaeton from UK Agents Perry, Thornton

A Relaxed photo of Edsel Ford and Sir Percival Perry with Henry II seated on top of the first pile driven at Dagenham, 1929

Seventeen Model Ts give scale to a second world war Lancaster Bomber during a
Model T Register Rally in 2000


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Appendices

Appendix 1
Sales and Production. Statistics mainly taken from original Ford, Trafford Park factory business records.
Appendix 2 
Prices. Selling prices from advertising and dealer records.
Appendix 3
Time Line. A timeline showing key events for Ford and Ford in Britain from the birth of Henry Ford in 1863 to the production of the very last Model T engine in 1941.
Appendix 4
Serial Numbers used in Britain. Collated from Ford USA and UK production records as well as those of the Model T Ford Register.
Appendix 5 
English Innovations. A summary of English Model T innovations.
Appendix 6 
Early Model T Dealers. A list of early Ford dealers as published in 1912.
Appendix 7 
Percival Perry, Biographical Notes. The greatest British influence on Ford before, during and after the Model T era.  Respected by Henry Ford as well as the British Government.
Appendix 8
Ford Management in Britain, 1919 – 1927. A summary of Ford of Britain management and the surrounding issues during a difficult time.
Appendix 9 
Abbreviations, Nomenclature, Bibliography and Sources.