May 26, 1927, marked the end of an era of automotive history. On that day, Henry Ford waited with his son Edsel for the last car of the day to roll off of the assembly line. After it was completed, they got in, drove it off the lot, and shut production down. The Model T had come to the end of its production run.
The Model T was not only the first affordable automobile in the world, but it was also the most popular automobile in the world. Before the Model T, autos were seen as toys or curiosities for the wealthy, poorly functioning things that would never replace the horse. The Model T, though, not only worked relatively well, it was cheap enough for ordinary people to experiment with, and experiment they did. Thanks to the Model T, driving became so popular that the government made building new roads one of its top priorities in 1920.
It also became so popular that it gave rise to other affordable cars produced by other companies. And these competitors were able to learn from the Model T and produce better cars. By 1927, Ford had to recognize that the Model T could no longer compete and bring its production to an end.
As the factory was shut down, Ford delivered a eulogy for the legendary car. In this eulogy, he said, “It was the car that ran before there were good roads to run on. It broke down the barriers of distance in rural sections, brought people of these sections closer together.” It also started America’s love affair with the automobile, a love affair that is still burning strong today. Ford would go on to make many other popular cars and became one of the biggest automotive companies in history, but it never had another hit quite like the Model T again.