Before the Model T became a production reality, Ford and his engineering team built around 20 prototypes before debuting the car in 1908, naming each design after a letter of the alphabet. By the time the team had reached what would become the Model T, the revolutionary features they had designed worked together to make it durable, reliable, and easy to operate. The Ford Motor Company’s internal naming scheme stuck, and Henry Ford agreed to the Model T production name — naming the car after the 20th letter in the alphabet.
The Model T earned a collection of nicknames since its debut — from Tin Lizzie to T Model — but what about its successor, the Model A? If the Model T was supposedly the 20th prototype, why didn’t Henry Ford call his second production car the Model U instead?
As it turns out, the Model T’s successor was a clean-sheet design, and Ford wanted a fresh start with the Model A. Ford sold three million Model A units by 1930, three years after its debut, and introduced the Model B in 1927 before abandoning the alphabet-based nomenclatures and debuting the Ford Model 18 and Model 40 by 1932. This, of course, would only be the beginning of the many historic and iconic Ford models produced over the following century.