Just as I have a hunch the the VW Beetle will never quite fade away (it is still being made in Mexico and its numbers now exceed 20 million), so that pioneer best-seller-, the Model-T Ford, of which more than 15 million were made between 1908 and 1927, remains clear in the memory. But the myth that Henry Ford said it could be had in any colour provided it was black persists. Yet the other day I came upon an advertisement which clearly disputed this odd distortion of history. The Model-T had been available in other than sombre black up to 1914, after which, black being quicker to dry than other paint, apparently, thus facilitating mass-production of the cars, the famous adage came into being, only to be rescinded by 1926.
This is reflected in the advertisement referred to above. Issued by Ford themselves, from Trafford Park, Manchester, it appeared in February 1926 and after extolling the broader life that ownership of a Ford provided, so that “The broad highway suddenly became theirs, when and where they liked, wind or sunshine, or sure of shelter from the silver arrows of rain, the distant friend a near neighbour — and what charming courtesies to guests,” it went on to add that four-ply, straight-sided cord balloon tyres were now standard and that the choice of colours embraced orriford lake, cobolt blue, and Empire grey. All at prices ranging from £120 for a two-seater to £215 for a “Fordor” saloon, the equipment including electric lighting and starting.
Thus was an attempt made to prolong the life of the Model-T just before the truly sensational advent of its replacement Model-A the following year. WB