Sunday, March 22, 2009

President Obama Prefers the Tin Lizzie to the SUV

President Obama Prefers the Model T to the SUV

Last week between a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa and an appearance on Jay Leno, President Obama spoke at an Edison Electric Car plant. Forget the hybrid and the Prius, the President lauded the Model T.

He touted the Tin Lizzie: “The 1908 Model T – Think about this – The 1908 Model T earned better gas mileage than the typical SUV in 1908.” Yes, those were the days a century ago.

Henry Ford introduced the revolutionary, mass produced, 1200 pound Model T in 1908.

The fabled Tin Lizzie achieved a 10-25MPH gas mileage compared to the 18.7MPH of a typical SUV today.

Of course, the Model T lacked such amenities as doors, windows and a roof. Non-existent air conditioning, automatic transmissions, cruise control, and mufflers did not add any weight to the Model T. For exercise, you had to turn the crank to start the car. Charles Kettering didn’t invent the self-starter until 1912; power steering, power mirrors, power brakes and power outlets came much later. Needless to say, the Model T lacked cup holders, radios, 8-track, cassette, cd or dvd players, rearview or side mirrors, windshield wipers, defrosters or adjustable seats.

Gas mileage maybe good, but safety is another issue. Air bags, collapsible steering columns, seat belts, shoulder harnesses, child seats, head restraints, padded dashboards, laminated windshields, safety glass, brake lights, and even reflectors were unavailable to provide safety.

The internal combustion engine spewed out pure air pollution, lacking even rudimentary pollution control measures, much less catalytic converters.

The 4 cylinder engine was underpowered since Ford did not introduce the V-8 until a quarter century later. You might get the Model T up to a speed of 45MPH going downhill, listening to a litany of “Are we there yet?”

Soccer moms would be frustrated with the Model T since it lacked not only cargo space but also a trunk.

The best aspect of the Model T was Henry Ford’s famous option: “You may order the Model T in any color you want so long as it’s black.”

But think of the gas mileage. Give me the SUV any day!

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