Troubled Model T Owner
In 1999, Ford's Model T was voted Car of the Century. It won out over the Mini of Britain, which took runner up, followed by the Citroen DS, the Volkswagen Beetle, and the Porsche. The pick was made by a board consisting of 126 auto experts from 32 different countries, calling themselves the Global Automotive Elections Foundation, and they also included a public vote online. It was a close race, though as the New York Times reported, the decision was the logical choice, because the Model T “did, after all, find 15 million buyers; put the motorcar within reach of the common man; made America a mobile society; set the stage for modern assembly-line manufacturing; and cemented Detroit's place at the center of the auto universe."
Produced between 1908 and 1927, and selling for a low price, the Tin Lizzie as it was often called, provided jobs for thousands of Americans in the Detroit area. In 2012, AutoGuide.com listed the car as one of the top-ten selling cars of all time.
However, John L. Cass of Stanton, North Dakota, editor of the Mercer County Farmer, would likely not have put the car at the top of any favorable lists. In 1925, he had recently procured an old Model T, but instead of reaping the benefits of the Car of the Century, he found himself immersed in trouble.
On this date, when he drove to Hazen on business, the Hazen Star looked into the issue and would later report:
"John held his head down and looked a trifle disturbed, and upon investigation [we] learned there was a reason. A short time ago, John tied up with a Tin Lizzie, and he seems to be having a terrible time trying to make her behave. The other day she ran off a grade with him, then to cap the climax, as he drove over to Schow's garage in Stanton Monday, to give her a little feed of gas, she became so unruly as to knock the gas stand off its pinions and broke a plate glass window before stopping. John says he is going to carry his own gas tank and pour it in himself hereafter. ...Dare say, he thought she might be something like a horse and would know enough to stop at the filling station."
Perhaps it was a car like John’s that put the "tin" in the name Tin Lizzie.
Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker
Hazen Star, September 10, 1925, p1