The Model T was a completely different car than the vehicles Ford had produced to date. It had a 2.9 liter 175.6 cubic-inch four-cylinder generating 22 horsepower and was capable of carrying the vehicle to a top speed of 42.3 MPH at a maximum 1800 RPM. The engine started by a hand crank located at the front of the vehicle. Early 1909 Model Ts, (Oct. 1908 -Apr 1909, vehicles #1 – 2500) were almost unique and had built in water-pumps. The first 800 came with 2 foot pedals and 2 control levers instead of the usual 3 foot pedals and 1 control lever that was standardized in the later 1909 models.
After several false starts, the Ford Motor Company began producing the original model A in 1903. In search of his dream “universal car”- a vehicle that could be made cheaply and exactly the same every time, Henry Ford created the N, R and S models from 1906 through 1908. These models led him to his goal, the Model T. The first Model T’s were introduced in October 1908.
The 1909 Model T had headlamps that were lighted by acetylene gas that was produced by a carbide generator. The generator was made of brass and had a lower chamber that held calcium carbide and an upper chamber that held water. A valve on top of the generator could be opened to allow the water to drip onto the calcium carbide, creating the acetylene gas. The gas was carried to the headlamps via rubber hoses. In order for the headlamps to work, someone had to open the covers and light the lamps inside the housing. The side lamps, also seen on the Model T mounted next to the windshield, ran on kerosene.