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Searching for America's Next Cult Car
CNBC.com | January 06, 2012 | 03:22 PM EST

America’s first cult car was likely the Model T Ford in the early 1900s.

“That car really captured America’s imagination and that of the world’s,” says Casey of the Henry Ford Museum.

Model T Ford

More than a century after its debut in 1908, the "Tin Lizzie" still inspires admirers and collectors.

“It’s the car that truly put the world on wheels,” says Jay Klehfoth, chief executive of the Model T Ford Club of America , based in Centerville, Ind.

The first Ts, actually called 1909s, were manufactured in many regions including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Europe and Japan.

The Model T Ford Club celebrated its centennial in 2008, when 3,500 people from 50 states and eight countries showed up in Richmond, Ind., with 1,000 Model T Fords.

“We had a whole week of driving back-country roads and had a great time,” Klehfoth says.

The iconic car’s accessibility and affordability lures fans. Collectors can fetch a T for $1,000, with a well restored model available for under $10,000, Klehfoth says. They originally sold for about $850. Ford brought the cost down to about $290 by 1925, roughly $3,700 in today's dollars.

Such staying power has automakers trying to crack the cult-car code. It’s one reason why luxury, sports cars are featured in blockbuster films.

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