The Model T is making a comeback.
Ford Motor Co. is building six Model T's to mark the automaker's centennial celebration in 2003. But the work is not being done on an assembly line like the one Henry Ford created that built more than 15 million units between 1908 and 1927. Instead, two American car enthusiasts are completing the work, with the help of Ford employees and outside contractors. So far, three Model T's have been built.
The enthusiasts are veteran Ford engineer Bill Leland and vintage car expert Guy Zaninovich. They are assembling the Model T's in a building west of Detroit.
The project began three years ago. Ford's original designs were supplied by the Henry Ford Museum near Ford's world headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Dear-born. Leland and Zaninovich also acquired an original Model T to use as a guide.
Getting parts was not easy. Original Model T's had about 750 parts, but only about 500 were available through catalogs. That meant the men had to construct the remaining parts. So the wooden wheels were made in Canada and the bodies came from Sweden. Experts at the University of Michigan in nearby Ann Arbor, Michigan, used computer technology to generate the engine.
'All new parts were replicated in true fashion,' says Ford spokesman Tom Hoyt.
The Model T's will be donated to museums after Ford's centennial celebration.