Lindberg 1/32 1915 Ford Model T Coupelet

KIT: Lindberg 1/32 1915 Ford Model T Coupelet
KIT #: 72147
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Reissue


Henry Ford did not invent the automobile or the assembly line. He did, however, change the world by using an assembly line technique to produce cars which could be afforded by everyone. From 1909 to 1927, the Ford Motor Company built more than 15 million Model T cars. Without a doubt, Henry Ford transformed the economic and social fabric of the 20th century.

Ford is often quoted as saying "I will build a motorcar for the great multitude". At the time it was a revolutionary business model to lower a product's cost and the company's profit margin in exchange for increased sales volume. Up until this point in time the automobile had been a status symbol and cars were painstakingly built by hand for the wealthy. By the end of 1913 Ford's application of the moving assembly line had improved the speed of chassis assembly from 12 hours and eight minutes to one hour and 33 minutes. In 1914 Ford produced 308,162 cars, which was more than all 299 other auto manufacturers combined. By the time the last Model T was built in 1927, the company was producing an automobile every 24 seconds. 

The first production Model T Ford (1909 model year) was assembled at the Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit on October 1, 1908. Over the next 19 years relatively few changes were made to the basic design. By 1926 the design was so antiquated that the cars could not compete with more modern designs from companies like Chevrolet. 1927 was the last year for Henry's lady, the "Universal Car".

In 1906, Ford secretly set up a place to build his cars in a building on Piquette Avenue in Detroit. Ford spent nearly two years designing the Model T, building on knowledge gained from the production of earlier cars, like his Ford Model N.

While Henry Ford and his team were planning for his new car, he attended a race in Florida where he examined the wreckage of a French race car. He observed that it was made of a different kind of steel and the car parts were lighter than those he had been previously seen. He learned that this new steel was a vanadium alloy and that it had almost three times the tensile strength of the alloys used by his contemporary American auto makers. No one in America knew how to make vanadium steel so Ford financed and set up a steel mill. As a result, the only cars in the world to utilize vanadium steel over the next five years would be French luxury cars and the Ford Model T. Ford's use of vanadium steel explains why so many Model T Fords have survived today.

Henry's car changed the world forever. In 1909, for $825, a Model T customer could buy a reliable automobile that was fairly easy to drive. Ford sold over ten thousand Model T cars in the first year of production, a new record for any automobile model.

Ford applied the moving assembly line concept to his production facility late in 1913. His staff constantly monitored productive and relentlessly analyzed the statistical measures to optimize worker productivity. Over the years, Model T Fords came in many different models, all built with the essentially same engine and chassis: the Model T roadster, coupe, coupelet (the subject of this kit), runabout, roadster torpedo, town car, touring, and the fordor and tudor sedans.

No one really knows if Henry Ford ever said that the buying public could have Model T Fords "in any color, so long as it's black", but it is commonly attributed to him. While this saying is true for the model years after 1913, earlier cars were available in green, red, blue and grey. In fact, in the first year, Model T Fords were not available in black at all. The switch to all black cars was likely due to Ford's optimization of the assembly line and to reduce the time lost waiting for the various paints to dry. In 1926 colors other than black were once again offered, in an attempt to boost sales.


Though one would expect this kit to be molded in black, it is, in fact, molded in white, for the most part. There is a nicely done polished brass plated sprue, though much of that nice plating will have to be destroyed if one wants to remove the mold seams. There is also a clear sprue for windows and light lenses, but it is a bit distorted and cloudy. The rest of the kit is very nicely molded with only a hint of flash here and there. I'm not sure how old these moldings are, but they are in really nice shape.

The kit has a full chassis and frame. With so much of the car visible, it would be near impossible to make this a curbside, so there is a full, if not a bit basic, engine included. The base body is in two halves with a firewall. Though much of the rear seam will be covered by the trunk, it will still need to be dealt with. The wooden wheels are nicely done and Lindberg provides rubber or vinyl tires to go along with it. The lone option in the kit is to have the top up or down. With the top up you have an additional brass outer brace to attach as well as a glass rear window. Of course, you have two spare tires as roads and rubber were not as they are today.

Instructions are well done with a full sheet containing two exploded construction diagrams. A step by step construction sequence is written for you with each step corresponding to numbers on the diagrams. A great way to be sure nothing is missed and the way instructions used to be before they went international with pictograms. The instructions are repeated in French. No decals are provided. There are no painting instructions save what one sees on the box top.


I am quite pleased to see Lindberg reissuing some of these oldies and best of all, the moldings are in superb condition. It is also great to be able to buy a kit with the sort of detail provided for such a reasonable price. In case you are wondering, this kit is licensed by Ford.


I bought this one for you as I thought you might like to see what it is like.

April 2008

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