Ford’s Model T wasn’t just about Dearborn, and here’s the proof

In the universe of mental free association, it’s natural that people tend to view the Ford Motor Company’s early years and the history of Dearborn, Michigan, symbiotically. Makes sense, given that’s where Henry Ford decided to build his clattering Model T by the millions, building the awe-inspiring Rouge Complex out of nothing to do it. And then he built Greenfield Village next door to salute the nation that his cars were doing so much to transform. So it’s easy to sometimes miss the fact that the Model T was the first true global car, both in terms of manufacturing and marketing reach. Ford of Britain was organized in 1909 and within five years, was building 6,000 copies of the Model T annual from its initial factory in Trafford Park, part of the industrial city of Manchester, which immediately made the new Ford into England’s biggest-selling car. Until now, that story didn’t get told very often.

Until now. Porter Press of the United Kingdom publishes some spectacular automotive histories, led by a yawning treatise on the Ferrari 250 GTO, so a work on the Model T is a bit of a break from its common practice. Yet Ford Mddel T: An Enthusiast’s Guide manages to succeed mightily with 180 hardcover pages, first as a condensed technical history of the car with plenty of engineering drawings, a look at its staggering variety of bodies and accessories, but most importantly, a history of the car in the U.K. that’s been largely absent until now. The booked, authored by two luminaries in the orbit of British Ts, tell a story of restoration, resources and even the T’s competition history, which stretched past the American dry lakes and fairgrounds ovals all the way to Indianapolis and Le Mans. This is an admirable effort that’s a solid one-volume telling of the T tale. The price, expressed in pounds, works out to about $41.75.

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