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Where have all the cars gone?
As you have driven into the parking lots of a big box store or down the main street of our community have you noticed that most of the vehicles parked are not cars, but SUVs and pickup trucks?
Why is this, you might ask? Well I blame those people we have elected, and sent to congress. Some time ago they thought they were doing the American driving public a favor by passing laws that required car manufactures to build cars that got better fuel economy.
It was back in 1975 that the first of a series of laws to increase fuel mileage was passed and they took effect with the1978 model year. The requirement was an average of 27.5 miles per gallon. They have since passed more rules that further increased the mileage figure.
How did the carmakers, respond? First, they installed smaller, less powerful engines and then the cars started to be built were smaller and lighter.
Remember, the family car was a large four-door vehicle that had room for six passengers and a trunk that was a three-body affair. Now, you need to be contortionist, just to get into a new models, and they have room for only four people and a trunk that is so small that it holds only a couple small suitcases.
So, the American buying public would have none of this and instead starting buying pickups and large SUVs. A couple of years ago Ford announced the end of car production, focusing instead on pickups and SUVs. The only cars they are making are the Mustang and the GT super cars. They are also producing some electric powered vehicles.
While I am talking about a Ford, I came across a piece on “Today in History” about Ford and I would like to forward to you some interesting items about the Model T Ford.
“On August 12, 1908, the Henry Ford Company built the first Model T car. The new model was the fruit of a long and arduous journey of the invention that led to one of the most iconic cars in history. That date is considered by many to be the beginning of the Americans’ love for automobiles.
The Model T was an affordable vehicle. It was also easy to use for daily trips. It also came with an innovated 2-speed planetary gear system, which made it easier to drive and control.
The Model T car had many features that set it apart from its competitors, such as being the first car to have a tachometer and an odometer, it also had a gasoline tank installed in its frame, in contrast to earlier cars which relied on a removable gas can underneath.” The gas tank was located under the front seat.
To drive the Model T, it had three pedals on the floor. The left pedal, when depressed put the transmission into low gear, allowing it all the way out put it into high gear. Pushing it halfway in was in neutral and the center pedal was for reverse and the right pedal was the brake. There was no gas pedal; a lever on the steering wheel controlled the gas and another to control the spark.
The production of the Model T came to an end in May of 1927 after more than 15 million Model Ts having been built.” I had heard a story about people having sex in the back seat of a Model T and when Henry Ford learned about that, he had the back seat made smaller. I wonder, if that made any difference to those young lovers?
I would like to give you a little information about the Ford Motor Company, from the book by Richard Bak, titled “Henry and Edsel.”
“On Tuesday, June 16, 1903, three days after the first stockholders meeting was held, incorporation papers for the Ford Motor Company were filed. The automobile industry’s newest player was capitalized at $100,000 (1,000 shares at $100 each)
“The treasurer of the Ford Motor Company was James Couzens. Stern, methodical, tenacious, and tireless, the Canadian-born Couzen had kept the coal dealer’s books for several years. Couzen had a hair-trigger temper and was so humorless it was said of him that the ice on the Great Lakes broke when he cracked his annual smile. Couzens had managed to scrape together $2,500 to buy twenty-five shares of Ford Motor for himself. His sister, Rosetta, after much soul-searching and debate, lent him $100, half of her life savings. The frugal schoolteacher received a single share in return. Buy the time she sold it back to Ford sixteen years later, she had netted $355,000.”
Thanks for reading! ~Carlton