Visiting the birthplace of the Model T is worth the trip to Detroit, Michigan. In this edition of Car Coach, Lauren Fix takes a closer look.

The Ford Piquette Avenue plant in Detroit may be the most significant auto-heritage site in the world. Built in 1904, the plant is the birthplace of the Model T. The New England mill-style structure is the first building built for Ford Motor Company. Here is where Henry Ford and his team built the first 12,000 Model Ts.

Prior to the Model T, Henry Ford produced a series of “letter” cars including the Model N – perhaps the most underrated car in Ford Motor Company history. The Model N made the three-year old firm the highest volume producer in America. And it served as the prototype for the Model T.

The plant is located in an area known as Milwaukee Junction, the emerging auto industry’s central location after the turn of the last century. By the 1920’s, Milwaukee Junction was Detroit’s industrial heartbeat.

Henry Ford was 40 years old when he built his Piquette Avenue plant. He was a simple, friendly man, who spent most of his time in the shop, the experimental department, the drafting room or the power plant. He was at work frequently before eight and would return after supper, often laboring late into the night on mechanical problems.

Detroit’s Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is the birthplace of the Model T. Today, it is the only example of an early Detroit auto factory open to visitors. You can see where Henry Ford designed the Model T and built the first 12,000 “Tin Lizzies”, as they were known.

Other models Fords were built at the Piquette plant between 1904 and 1910. The Piquette set the world’s record for car production, making Ford Motor Company the world’s largest manufacturer of automobiles in less than four years. The typical autoworkers in 1908 – worked ten-hour days and six-day workweeks; this is the way they built cars before Henry Ford introduced the moving assembly line, which he invented.

Preservation of the building, public tours, and automotive events at the plant are a part of the increased interest in Detroit’s rich automotive heritage.

Visit Detroit and learn about the US auto industry and its historical roots that have changed multiple times to create the vehicles of today. Its pivotal role in history gives this unique site potential for education, and encouragement of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Courtesy of YNN/Time Warner Cable
Aired: December 13, 2013

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