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N.C. Transportation Museum celebrates Model T’s 100th birthday

SPENCER ó The North Carolina Transportation Museum and Ford Motor Company will celebrate the Model T’s 100-year anniversary at an annual gathering of Ford enthusiasts this Saturday.
Festivities will begin at 10 a.m. and both vehicle registration and attendance are free.
Glen Graves from Ford Motor Company will present the Director’s Award, as well as the first-, second- and third-place Best of Show People’s Choice Awards at about 2:45 p.m.
Nearly 100 Model Ts and their owners from across the region are expected to come to the museum, 411 S. Salisbury Ave. in Spencer.
The Aug. 2 event will feature a host of family activities, including a kids’ vehicle assembly line. Weather permitting there will also be an appearance by a special Ford hot air balloon. Attendees will have the opportunity to get up-close and personal with the historic automobile while meeting owners of the classic car, each with their own story to tell.
Marjorie Kendall Bell, president of the Carolina T’s Club, counts riding in a Model T as one of her earliest memories. Her father purchased two 1923 Model Ts after World War II that remain in her family to this day. The Carolina T’s Club was her father’s dream, and Marjorie happily has carried the mantle. Other Model T enthusiasts will travel from as far as California to attend.
“For awhile growing up, the Model T was the only car we owned,” Bell said. “I can’t imagine life without it ó my heart is in those cars.”
The Model T chugged into history Oct. 1, 1908. Henry Ford called it the “universal car.” It became the symbol of low-cost, reliable transportation that could get through when other vehicles and horse-drawn wagons were stuck in muddy roads. Affectionately dubbed “Tin Lizzie,” the Model T won the approval of millions of Americans.
The first Model Ts sold for $825 (for a two-door roadster) óan unexpected bargain compared to other cars. But even more remarkable is that during its 19 years of production, Ford continued to steadily lower its price, thanks to manufacturing efficiencies including the moving assembly line introduced in 1913.
In addition to its affordability, Model T stands out as the industry’s truly first global car. By 1921, it accounted for almost 57 percent of the world’s automobile production.
“One-hundred years ago, the Ford Model T changed the way Americans lived and enhanced the nation’s prosperity by providing a simple, affordable and reliable means of transportation,” said Ford Representative Glen Graves. “Ford views the Model T centennial as a reminder of Henry Ford’s commitment to quality and innovation. We’re proud to honor this iconic vehicle with the dozens of Model T enthusiasts in North Carolina, and to share with them the spirit of the Model T that lives on today at Ford.”
Ford Model T facts
October 1, 1908, marks the anniversary of the first Model T built for sale.
The Model T was the first low-priced, mass-produced automobile with standard, interchangeable parts.
The Model T was equipped with a 20-horsepower, four-cylinder engine with a top speed of approximately 45 miles per hour, weighed 1,200 pounds, and achieved 13-21 miles per gallon.
The moving assembly line for the Model T revolutionized manufacturing in 1913.
More than 15 Million Model Ts had been sold by May 26, 1927, when a ceremony marked the formal end of Model T production.
Henry Ford called the Model T “the universal car,” a low-cost, reliable vehicle that could be maintained easily and could successfully travel the poor roads of the era.
On Dec. 18, 1999, the Ford Model T was named “Car of the Century” by a panel of 133 automotive journalists and experts who began with a list of 700 candidates in 1996 and sequentially narrowed the nominees through seven rounds of balloting over three years.
In keeping with the Model T theme, the museum will also offer a T-bone steak dinner, including tossed salad, T-rolls and tea, in air-conditioned comfort just across the street from the N. C. Transportation Museum.
Cost for the dinner is $25. Those wishing to buy tickets for the dinner must register by Friday, Aug. 1, by calling 704-636-2889, ext. 232.
For more information, visit www.nctrans.org.

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