The Model T was Henry Ford’s 8th car design. All eight models were assembled at the Piquette Plant but the Model T is the one that changed history. It was designed in a “secret room” on the 3th floor. The Model T was rugged, had a high ground clearance, a flexible frame, and springs that allowed a lot of wheel movement, all helpful characteristics for driving on the often muddy, dirt roads. It was so popular that 15-million were built between 1908 and 1927.
Most were not built at the Piquette plant because the company quickly outgrew the building and manufacturing was moved to Highland Park in 1910. Even so the plant played an important role in Ford automobile history. This is where Henry Ford and his men experimented with the assembly line by pulling a chassis on skids until the axels and wheels were installed. Parts were attached as it moved through each work station. It took a few years to perfect but by 1913 a car could be built in 90 minutes. The price of a Model T dropped by more than 50%, making it affordable to almost everyone.
Two floors of the factory are filled with early Fords and other Detroit area cars. Take the guided tour or wander around on your own. A short video is shown before the start of each tour. Ford’s office and the “secret room” have been reconstructed on the third floor.
Wheelchair access uses the original freight elevator that delivered finished Model Ts to the storage yard. A phone number is posted so that an employee can be called to operate it.
Parking is on the street or in a gravel lot right across from the museum. If you’re adventuresome take a walk around the block to see the abandoned Fisher Body Plant and a very cool deserted rowhouse. Museum 42.3686, -83.0651