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Sharon Manduley's 1997 Mustang Cobra
One of our newest members Sharon Manduley, is one very lucky lady. Not only is she the new mother of a healthy baby boy but she is also the enthusiastic owner of a beautiful Cobra. As if that wasn't enough, she is married to a man so wonderful he is the barer of both gifts! Yah, makes me sick too. haha! Brian Manduley brought Sharon to my attention, telling me of the graduation gift he built and gave to his adored wife, a 1997 Mustang Cobra. As her cool vanity license plates tell, Sharo...
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[06/14/2003] Remarks by David Thursfield during "The Road Is Ours" 100th Anniversary Celebration


The following are remarks, as prepared for delivery, by David Thursfield, executive vice president, International Operations and Global Purchasing, during "The Road Is Ours" 100th anniversary celebration, in the Piquette Tent, Henry Ford II World Center, Dearborn, on June 14, 2003.

"Welcome, everyone, and thanks for joining us. Bob Hope was 100 years old last month. Now, it''s our turn. So, welcome.

Yesterday, was North American Product and Technology Day and its focus on the future and what it means for us.

We are surrounded by some 150 acres and some 3,200 vintage cars and trucks -- one of the largest collection of Ford vehicles in one place.

In front of World Headquarters are 100 cars and trucks -- one for each year of our history -- starting in 1903 and continuing to the present year. Each is these is no museum piece. Each is a working, drivable machine. And all of them are here because their owners wanted them to be here. So we also want to thank these special people who, at their expense, have contributed to making our Centennial celebration extra special. Their cars and trucks grace our grounds and add a dimension that only they could provide. We are touched and very grateful to them.

A 1903 Ford Model A starts off the show. It was brought by its owner Dennis Huron of Port Perry, Ontario, and was purchased new by his great-great-grandfather and has been in the family ever since.

The 1939 Lincoln Zephyr, owned by Robert Anderson of Houtzdale, Pa., is the restored prototype owned by Edsel Ford. So, there''s a story behind each of these.

In addition to these 100, there are 25 "heart and soul" cars and trucks lined up on the walkway that leads into the main entrance of our headquarters. These are special cars and trucks that have helped define our company, contributed to automotive design and history, and hold special places in our hearts. I''d like to talk a bit about some of the cars and trucks that got us to where we are today.

I don''t have time to talk about all 25, but I do have time to talk about some of my personal favorites. I''ll start not at the beginning but at the end -- the end, that is, of the hand-built era and the start of mass production, the 1914 Model T.

1914 Model T
This is the car that put the world on wheels and did more than any other to build the company whose 100th birthday we celebrate. Up until the 1914 Model T, cars had been mostly hand-built machines that only the wealthy could afford. Henry Ford borrowed the moving assembly line idea from other industries, and combined it with the use of standardized parts to bring the work of assembling the car directly to the worker. He was able to lower prices, improve efficiency and quality, and literally create a new kind of customer who had never existed before.

The reliable Model T was truly a car for the masses, and was a virtual overnight success, with more than 15 million builtbetween the fall of 1908 and 1927. It was remarkably affordable when it first appeared in 1909, and its price actually decreased over subsequent years.

When Ford Motor Company started selling its first 1909 Model T''s in October 1908, the price was $850, or equivalent to about $16,700 in today''s dollars. At the time, that was an unexpected bargain compared to other cars recently on the market. But even more astonishing was that over the subsequent 19 years that the car was produced, Ford Motor Company continued to steadily lower its price. In 1922 the price of a new Model T even dipped below $300! There were a few small increases in certain years when new features and improvements were introduced. But the overarching trend was of lower prices, and a car that more and more people could afford.

You all know about "any color so long as it''s black." Well, in fact, the Model T had been offered in many colors between 1908 and 1914 but the moving assembly limited the choices since the line speed required a paint that would dry quickly enough. At the time, only a black enamel met the standard, but the black-only policy continued until 1925.

The Model T''s success can be summed up along these lines: In 1914, Ford Motor Company had 13,000 employees producing about 300,000 cars. That same year, 299 other automakers with more than 66,000 employees produced only 280,000 cars. By 1922, Ford was producing a million cars a year and claimed more than 56 percent of the world market.

But as tastes and demand changed, so did Ford, and it was eventually time for the Model T to go and a new car to be introduced.

1928 Model A
After discontinuing the Model T in 1927, Ford Motor Company closed down operations for almost six months to develop its next effort: the Model A. Responding to a more affluent consumer market, the car was more powerful, more luxurious, and more equipped with features than its predecessor, sporting a faster engine, modern chassis with four-wheel brakes, improved steering, and safety glass. It went on to sell about five million models over the next few years and enabled Ford to recapture sales leadership from Chevrolet.

This was the first car built at the Rouge and became a symbol of what the Industrial Revolution could do. Coal and iron arrived at one end of the mighty Rouge plant and a finished automobile came out the other. The Rouge, of course, was not a plant but an entire manufacturing complex with its own coke and steel-making facilities, engine, stamping and assembly plants, and even its own railroad to move everything around. At its height, more than 100,000 were employed there, and it remains today one of the world''s largest industrial complexes, ready to serve a new century.

While the Model T had been available only in black for more than ten of its 19 years of production, the Model A came in a wide range of eye-pleasing colors with such poetic-sounding names as Niagara Blue, Arabian Sand, D

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