Tuesday, June 07, 2005


The guys that stay true blue to a single marquee don't have the opportunity to see how things evolved over time, by region and by cost. Though I had closely examined Model A's for years, I really had no idea how they were put together. The leaf spring encased inside the frame cross member is ingenuous, simple, cheap to manufacture, strong, cheap to manufacture, sound and most importantly, cheap to manufacture.

The assembly line engineering economics is at least as interesting as engineering for pure performance. The richness that it affords the owner is an attribute that has all but disappeared from modern automobiles. In effect, you get an assembly line in your driveway, as that value minded design extends real benefit to the owner. It pays dividends. It is durable and easy to hop up. It is upgradeable over time. The doodad aftermarket was massive and is still big by any measure. And improvements continue to be made. The Model T's and Model A's were not for disengaged owners and they had huge manuals to prove it. And if you couldn't fix it, no matter. All your neighbors had Fords too.