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Ford Model T

Published: 27th Apr 2011 - 2 Comments

Ford Model T 1912 Town Car is a real rarity
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By modern standards, the Model T Ford of 1908- 27 is quirky, even eccentric, with a driving system so different from accepted practice that some American states even had "Model T only" driving licences. However, in its day, the Model T Ford was the world's most popular car and at one time more than half the cars in the world were Model Ts.

History

Though it had been designed in Detroit, the Model T Ford was first seen by the public at the 1908 Olympia Motor Show in London. The Model T was Henry Ford’s vision of a “Universal Car” that could be built in large numbers by mass-production methods that were new to the motor industry and it quickly became a motoring legend. The first of a worldwide chain of factories established by Ford to build his Model T for the developing markets outside North America opened at Trafford Park, Manchester, in October 1911. Mass-production not only meant that the Model T could be built by a relatively unskilled workforce but that the more that Ford built, the cheaper it could be made.

Despite that, the Model T was made of first-class materials, most notably vanadium steel, a tough alloy that was used to make the armour-plating for battleships. So the Model T was sturdy and affordable, and because it was built for a market sector that had previously been unable to afford a new car, it was easy to service and spares were cheap to buy and easy to fit. But Ford had believed that his car for everyman could continue in production indefinitely with only minor styling updates and by the mid-1920s it began to be overtaken by more modern designs. When Ford was eventually persuaded to end production of the Model T in 1927, some 16 million had been built worldwide.

How practical?

The fact that some 100,000 Model Ts are believed to survive worldwide means that there is outstanding spares support, with every part you are ever likely to need available and affordable. Add to that a superb club for Model T owners and a number of dedicated specialists offering sales, service and restoration support, and you can see that the Model T owner is well catered for, making it an ideal starter classic

Driving

Driving a Model T is like nothing else; the only thing the controls have in common with any other car is that the steering wheel is round and turns the front wheels. You change the gears (just two of them) with your left foot, the centre pedal engages reverse and the right hand pedal operates the brake. The handbrake is also used as a clutch and the throttle and ignition controls are stalks beneath the steering wheel. But once you’ve mastered the controls, driving a Model T seems very logical. After all, it was designed for people who had never driven a car before - and if they could manage, 21st century drivers should be able to cope easily!

Prices

By old car standards, Model Ts are amazingly affordable. You can buy a restorable 1920s Model T car or truck for anything from £2000 upwards, running cars start about the £5000 mark, and the early brass radiator (pre-1917) models currently peak around the £15,000 mark, although coachbuilt town cars may cost more and the super-rare two-pedal, two-lever 1909 models - the first 500 to 800 (the experts are divided!) production cars - can be very expensive indeed.

Verdict

This is an oldie that ticks all the right boxes (you can even find go-faster speedster conversions that offer quite surprising levels of performance) and is the ideal entry into veteran and Edwardian motoring level. But be warned - Model Ts can be addictive, and there are many owners who have bought Ts as starter vintage cars and never let them go!



User Comments

This review has 2 comments

  • Which issue is the photo showing the 1912 Model T Towncar and how can I get a copy
    -Don Watson

    Comment by: Don Watson     Posted on: 05 Sep 2011 at 08:36 PM

  • Hi Don,

    This article was taken from the May 2006 edition of Classic Cars For Sale Magazine. We will pass your message onto the Editor who will able to answer your query about acquiring back issues.

    Many Thanks,

    Classic Cars For Sale

    Comment by: Admin     Posted on: 06 Sep 2011 at 02:34 PM

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