Developed by Henry Ford the Model T entered production in 1908 and 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the first mass-produced car to be made on a production line. Ford aimed to develop a car affordable to the masses and through this goal the Model T changed the world and turned America into an industrial economy and mobile society. Buying a Ford Model T in 1908 cost half the price of its rivals and would help drive the change from horse to automobile. The Model T was produced until 1927 by which time more than 15 million models had been sold.
Early Ford Model T’s had no doors, the windscreen was braced with leather straps and the styling was typically formal and upright as is usual with cars of this era. There were changes made, the 1915 model for example has a single passenger side door but the driver’s side was covered by the spare wheel where the door would be. Also the back seat is set over the rear axle, allowing for plenty of leg room but no allowance made for carrying luggage.
What will your Money buy you
With a some sixteen million made there are plenty to choose from when Buying a Ford Model T. Prices today depend on the condition of the car and you can expect to pay around $5000 for a project car and over $10,000 for a car in good running order. Specialist companies can supply most if not all parts that maybe required for any restoration or small service that maybe required. In 1910 a Model T cost £220 and by 1919 the price had reduced to £170.
It’s important to remember that you’re buying a car with very little in the way of accessories with four wheels, a steering wheel, an engine, basic electrics and weather protection. Hard to believe however that leather seats and wood trim came as standard. In 1915 if you were lucky enough to have a car the basic equipment the Ford Model T came with was a luxury!
If you’re planning on buying a Ford Model T then forget everything you’ve learned about driving. The controls look standard with three pedals, a handbrake and the steering column has two stalks. Despite the apparently normal set up, about the only thing that is vaguely normal is the brake pedal on the right. The other two pedals control the two-speed and reverse transmission. The middle pedal selects reverse gear while the left pedal – in conjunction with the handbrake-like lever – selects neutral, low or high gear. The left hand stalk on the steering column is the throttle with no return spring and the right-hand control manages the ignition timing. The hand lever has three positions: fully back the transmission is in neutral and the rear wheel brakes are on. In the middle position the brakes are off and the transmission is in neutral. The forward position gives a choice of low or high gear – press down on the left pedal for low gear, release it for top gear.
The Ford Model T travels along at about 20-30mph. It is strange experience at first as you are driving with your feet off the pedals. At these speeds the upright windscreen keeps the wind off and the exhaust acts as a heater for the drivers feet in winter conditions.
When buying a Ford Model T it is worth remembering that it was designed and built for a massively different driving experience. The roads back then were dirt tracks at best, there was much less traffic on the roads, driving was an entirely new skill and motor mechanics were thin on the ground. The brakes were designed for stopping you at your destination, you needed plenty of ground clearance and your local blacksmith was your local mechanic. Given these details you must be careful when taking a journey as driving a Ford Model T in modern traffic is a challenge and it won’t dodge and weave through traffic like a modern car. The high driving position offers a good view and if you do hit anything the Model T is pretty solid.
Owning a Ford Model T should give years of satisfaction as a hobby and few cars can match this experience considering the age of the vehicle.