Encouraged by the success of the Model N, Henry Ford was determined to build an even better “car for the great multitude.” The four-cylinder, twenty-horsepower Model T, first offered in October 1908, sold for $825. Its two-speed planetary transmission made it easy to drive, and features such as its detachable cylinder head made it easy to repair. Its high chassis was designed to clear the bumps in rural roads. Vanadium steel made the Model T a lighter and tougher car, and new methods of casting parts (especially block casting of the engine) helped keep the price down.
The manufacturing process required almost as much design consideration as the vehicle itself; and that design includes handcrafting and simplification as well as some high-tech approaches. The assemblers work in build-station teams to foster team spirit and mutual support, and parts are stored in modular units called creform racks of flexible plastic tubes and joints that are easy to fill and reshape for different parts. On the high-tech side, each station is equipped with one torque wrench with multiple heads; when the assembler locks on the appropriate size of head, computer controls for the machine select the correct torque setting for the fasteners that fit that head.