To the Model T owners and enthusiasts:
One hundred years ago Henry Ford wrote, “I will build a motor car for the great multitude, it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one.” In an age where automobiles were the exclusive playthings of the rich, it was an audacious statement.
Yet our great-grandfather did exactly that. And the product with which he did it – the Ford Model T – became a staple of history books. Together with the television and the personal computer, it became a 20th-century product that absolutely and conclusively changed the world. Within a few years of its introduction, one out of every two cars in the world was a Model T. Looking back on it, the moving assembly line on which it was built, and the middle-class workers who built it, Will Rogers said of his friend, Henry Ford, “… he certainly didn’t leave us where he found us.”
Families all over the world have stories about the toughness and dependability of their “Tin Lizzie,” which in most cases was the first car anyone in their family had ever owned. It was a product of unpaved roads, utterly reliable under all sorts of conditions. Little wonder that, a full century after it was introduced, the Model T still attracts collectors and aficionados.
We are proud of that and also proud that the Ford Motor Company of today is committed to the creation of world-changing products. One of these is Ford’s next global car, the Ford Fiesta, scheduled for North American release in 2010. Like the Model T, the Fiesta will be affordable, efficient and fun to drive. And like the Model T, it will set the tone for its times.
No great company rests upon its laurels. But at moments such as this, it’s good to reflect back on a world-changing product. And it’s better still to know that we – as a company and as an industry are poised to do it all over again.
Over the past year we’ve been touched by the thousands of Model T owners and enthusiasts, like you, who’ve dedicated tireless amounts of time and energy to celebrate the centennial anniversary in communities around the world. The personal stories and photographs you’ve shared, your families and friends we have met along the way and of course, the beautiful cars that each of you proudly display – the Model T centennial celebrations have been nothing short of spectacular. Today, isn’t just about celebrating the Model T it is also about celebrating you, the extended Ford family, who have helped us achieve this great milestone.
On behalf of the Ford family and our larger family, the men and women of Ford Motor Company, thank you for carrying the Ford banner. Thank you for your support and efforts in helping preserve the heritage of a Company that means so much to not only our family but to the millions of Ford employees, retirees, dealers, and supporters around the world, you make Ford Motor Company very proud.
We wish you all the best as we head down the road together, into the next 100 years.
Edsel B. Ford II
Ford Motor Company