1925 Ford Model T Brochure, Cheapest Car in the United States, The cheapest car, ever?
1925 Ford Model T Brochure

If you were watching TV back in 1971, you might have seen a McDonald’s commercial in which a slightly fatigued-looking customer is pleased to learn, after tendering a single dollar bill for his lunch, that he had change coming back to him.

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For just one dollar, the lucky lunch goer scored two burgers, fries, and a Coke. Oh, and change. And, while fast food might have been a little less expensive in decade or two preceding this commercial, it probably wasn’t a lot less expensive. I think we can say that 1971 was, historically, the year of peak burger value.

1925 Ford Model T Ad, The Cheapest car, ever?

Much like early Seventies McDonald’s, there was a time when Ford devoted serious time and energy to selling the most-affordable vehicle it possibly could. That amazing effort reached a value crescendo in 1925, when the base price of a Ford Model T was lowered to just $260. That’s about $4600 dollars, inflation adjusted.

Ford Model T advertising was always packed with pricing information, and the ad seen here is one of the few created which lists the Runabout—a bare-bones open-air two-seater, and the least expensive Model T—for just $260.

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It’s likely that, given how often Model T prices were adjusted that the ad’s copywriters were not aware they were making history when they penned this magazine advertisement. We’re prepared to suggest that $260 is the lowest price ever advertised for a brand-new mass-market automobile in the U.S.

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1925 Ford Model T Ad, The cheapest car, ever?
1925 Ford Model T Ad

Over its lifetime the Runabout ranged in price from $260 to $900 (1910). The most expensive Model T, the Town—a closed 4-passenger car with a landaulet-style retractable rear-roof section, retailed for $1200 (about $21,000 today) in 1910 and 1911.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Yugo GV, which retailed for $3990 in 1986, its inaugural U.S.-market model year, would cost about $11,000 today, inflation adjusted.

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1925 Ford Model T Gallery

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