Few cars can touch the Ford Model T for sheer historical importance. Over fifteen-million Model T’s were built in 23 different factories that stretched from Detroit to as far as South America and Australia from 1908-1927. To say that the Model T is an important car is an understatement as it is an integral part of our industrial history as well as our folk culture. The T is the singular machine responsible for bringing motorized transport to the common man.
With such a vast number of Model T’s produced, it is easy to see why they remain a popular choice for hobbyists. They are mechanically simple and fun to use with plentiful parts and community support. Thousands of like-minded enthusiasts share the same passion for the Tin Lizzie, and are happy to share their knowledge.
There are, however, a few standout Model Ts that rise above the hobby level into the realm of serious collector cars, and this 1913 T Roadster happens to be one of those examples. It comes to us via a long-time friend and customer, and with it comes a fantastic history – one that would be hard to believe if we didn’t already know him as well as we do. He has owned the car since 1957 and recalls its history in exceptional detail. Here is how he tells the first part of the story:
“The car was found in its original condition by a close boyhood friend. He restored the car to a pretty decent degree for a teenager in his dad’s garage. In 1955 the Antique Automobile Club of Indiana was having a tour from Indianapolis to Louisville, KY. Since my friend wasn’t 16 yet and I was, I went along as the driver to be seen through towns and wherever one might notice him driving. We took turns on the trip from Bloomington to Indy, and then from Indy to Louisville. While descending one of Indiana’s steepest and curviest roads going into New Albany, IN, a pin that connects the driveshaft to the engine sheared off. We had quite a ride down that hill as the only brakes a Model T has other than the engine and transmission are steel shoes against small steel drums meant for a parking brake. At the bottom of the hill we lucked out, finding a nice smooth grass area before crossing the Ohio River into Kentucky. Someone pulled us into downtown Louisville, we parked the car in the Brown Hotel Garage and bought Greyhound tickets home…”
From there, the little T found its way back in Indiana and was disassembled again. The gentleman purchased the car from his friend in 1957 for a rather steep (for the time) $500. He and his father then restored the car, and it was an integral part of his family for 58 years. More recently, it was restored yet again, but this time it was done to an exceptionally high standard, which is how it presents today.
Every nut and bolt was torn down and very carefully restored using original parts. The mahogany “dash” board is stained in the exact same way Ford did it – using grape juice! The metal was primed and then stored so it would thoroughly cure, before being painted, then wet sanded by hand with 1200 grade paper and hand rubbed with ultra-fine compound. The quality of the paint work is simply outstanding. The factory wood work was restored by Dan Shady of Huntsville, AL and the engine rebuilt by Model T experts Rochester Machine of Rochester, IN. Nearly everything used on the car is proper Model T, little to no reproduction parts were fitted. The ignition coil box is the original early 1913-type, an extremely rare item that is hardly seen on any running Model T.
This T has a correct windscreen frame, early 1913 cars having an inward folding screen, as opposed to the later outward folding mechanism. The “turtle back” trunk is yet another exceptional detail – this one is a New-Old-Stock unit found at an old Ford dealer in Montana! It came in the original Ford crate with the original part number- totally correct for a 1913, and believed to be the only year this style was used. Even the spark plugs are special as they are Champion branded plugs with period Ford script. They are highly sought after by collectors and extremely rare.
Since completion, it has earned a national 1st place at the AACA National in Birmingham, Alabama. It was shown again at the AACA Hershey Fall National and awarded a 1st place Senior. It received yet another 1st place at Greenfield Village, the spiritual home of Ford Motor Company. Rolling on a set of all-white tires and with mirror-finished brass and gorgeous leather, this is an exceptionally beautiful Model T. It is very rare to see a Model T restored to such exacting standards, but with a history as rich and delightful as this car’s, we can’t think of a more deserving candidate.
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