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Lawrence Tech students take Ford Model T University Challenge

Release Date: May 14, 2008

Southfield, Mich. Lawrence Technological University is one of five universities selected by Ford Motor Company to compete in an international university challenge to design a vehicle for this century that will recapture the attributes that made the Ford Model T the most revolutionary vehicle of the 20th century.

In conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the Model T, the Ford Motor Company has challenged five university teams to design a vehicle intended for the global market that shares the Model T’s attributes – simple, lightweight, practical, compelling and inexpensive. The goal is a vehicle that can be priced below $7,000.

The other competitors are Aachen University in Cologne, Germany; Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.; Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia; and the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Teams of both undergraduate and graduate students will work to create revolutionary concepts that address transportation needs of the future. 

Each university received $75,000 in funding from Ford Global Technologies LLC to support the creation of a vehicle concept through sketches, models, research papers and potentially even working models.

The teams have until Sept. 1 to design the Model T for this century.  Five judges from Ford Motor Company will determine which two concepts best embody the Model T spirit, personify the Ford brand and meet the challenge criteria On Oct. 1, the official centennial date of the introduction of the Model T, two teams will be awarded $25,000 in scholarship funds for their universities.

The competition was announced at a press conference at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn on May 12 by Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s vice president of Engineering for Global Product Development.

“The Model T is a true product of an engineering genius.  Although simple and practical, it changed the way we live, work and play and met the needs of millions,” Mascarenas said. “Through this challenge we’re looking for the students to push the boundaries and deliver an alternative transportation concept for tomorrow – and beyond.”

The teams are challenged to create a vehicle that is simple, durable and lightweight.  Each vehicle must accommodate at least two passengers and offer solutions that address assembly, power train and sustainability.  The vehicle must have a range of at least 200 kilometers (approximately 125 miles) and a base price of only $7,000.

The competition will be a major test for the first class of students in Lawrence Tech’s transportation design degree program who enrolled as freshmen last fall. They are joined by three engineering students and an architecture student.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to bring together knowledge and concepts from both design and engineering, which is also the underlying goal of our transportation design degree program,” said Lawrence Tech President Lewis N. Walker. “Combining academic disciplines should produce the revolutionary thinking that the Ford judges will be looking for.”

Working on the Lawrence Tech team are David Boehmer, William Consiglio, Jamie Dobrowolski, Ben Graf, Jason Falenski, Scott Lindberg, Taylor Manuilow, Christopher Nichols, Kyle Post and Jeffrey Saunders.

The faculty advisors are Keith Nargara and Vance Hanna, co-directors of the Transportation Design degree program; Kenneth Cook, director of the Technology Engineering degree program at Lawrence Tech; and Thomas White, an adjunct faculty member.

Lawrence Technological University,, offers over 80 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes 75 years ago, and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, with education centers in Lansing, Livonia, Clinton Township, Traverse City and Petoskey. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Ford Global Technologies LLC (FGTL) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. As a member of the Office of the General Counsel, FGTL is responsible for managing intellectual property matters for Ford Motor Company and its affiliate companies. FGTL manages patents, trademarks, copyrights, licensing matters, research and development contracts and trade secrets.  FGTL is located in the United States and is supported by intellectual property offices in the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and China.

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 244,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, Mazda, and until completion of their sale, Jaguar Land Rover. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit