The Ford Model T is a machine that ranks as one of the most significant and important inventions of the 20th century. Henry Ford’s development of the moving assembly line was so significant that he is oft compared to the likes of Alexander Graham Bell and Eli Whitney as the most influential names in American Industrial history. As the first product to roll of that assembly line, the Model T became one of America’s proudest industrial successes. Much of the historical focus is paid to the way the Model T was assembled, and how Henry Ford ruthlessly revolutionized mass manufacture. But even when viewed apart from the ingenious production methods, the Ford Model T could stand proudly as a truly remarkable and versatile machine that was a smashing worldwide success. Because Ford was able to build so many Ts so quickly, the price was low and suddenly the automobile was accessible to millions who never dreamed of owning one before. Its popularity even spawned an aftermarket industry that allowed the T to be adapted to virtually anything: From racing cars to farm implements, the Model T could do it all. Ford was enough in tune with his customer needs to offer a wide variety of bodies to meet demand. Touring cars and Depot Hacks moved people, while the Pickup and Commercial Roadster offered versatility for tradesmen. One of the most unusual and interesting variants was the “center door”; officially known as the “Two Door, Five-Passenger Sedan”. Styled along the lines of the traditional Doctor’s Coupe from the carriage building days, the simple yet roomy body featured two doors mounted – you guessed it – in the center of the body sides. It offered comfort and protection in all weather conditions, and the roomy cabin was comfortable for longer journey. This was Ford’s first sedan and one of the first fully closed mass produced cars in America. In its day, the center door was the most expensive Model T passenger car available, at nearly $950, meaning it was also one of the least popular with buyers. Today, the rare and quirky center door is a favorite among collectors and Model T aficionados. This tidy 1921 Ford Model T center door is a nicely restored example of this rare and desirable model. Finished correctly in all black, this nickel era Model T is a nice, honest and usable motorcar that would be a fine choice for the collector or entry level hobbyist alike. Wearing an older restoration, it presents in good order with attractive black paintwork on a good and sound body. A few minor blemishes can be found in the paint, which do little to detract from the overall appeal of this fine Model T. It is correctly fitted with a black radiator, Ford script running boards, wooden artillery wheels and minimal bright adornments, as a great deal of new-old-stock parts were sourced for the restoration. The black headlights feature nickel trim rings and lovely fluted lenses as original. The tall, upright windscreen is split to allow for better airflow through the cabin, and the doors feature opening carriage-style windows. We particularly like the elegant oval rear window treatment, which lends the basic Model T a degree of formal appeal. The five passenger cabin (two individual seats up front with a 3 person bench in rear) on this example is a real highlight of the restoration; trimmed in lovely blue/gray tweed wool fabric to a very high standard. The stylish and high quality fabric covers the seats and interior panels, while a complementing headlining and wool squareweave carpet are extremely well executed. Details such as a privacy blind over the rear window and a running-in instruction decal on the windscreen add a welcome bit of period charm. The restorers even went so far as to hand weave the windlace in the factory correct patterns. As part of the restoration, the chassis and undercarriage have been very well detailed, still presenting in clean condition with good quality, hard-wearing finishes on the major components. Ford’s bulletproof four-cylinder engine also presents in good order, having been rebuilt as part of the restoration, and while it is showing some signs of regular use, it is generally tidy and correctly detailed. As a later model, it features a handy electric starting and charging system, making this Model T much more user friendly and practical than earlier examples. This 1921 Model T Center Door Sedan is a very well-presented, usable and enjoyable example that would be finely suited for regular touring and enjoyment.
For nearly as long as the automobile has existed, owners have been tinkering with them to extract more speed, better handling and reliability. Prior to the advent of mass production, automobiles were generally a luxury item and any customizing was done on a bespoke basis. However, once Ford’s ubiquitous Model T hit the scene, suddenly the market was flooded with affordable automobiles that could be tweaked, modified and adapted to just about any imaginable job. As the Model T’s popularity grew, so did the aftermarket that supplied tools and parts to service it. Fords were converted for use as farm implements, work trucks, saw mills, delivery vans and inevitably, racing cars. Pioneering petrol heads found numerous ways to extract more power, better handling and usability from the omnipresent T. Decades before Colin Chapman “added lightness” to his Austin 7 to make the first Lotus, Model T owners were shedding weight by tossing away heavy factory steel fenders and bodywork and replacing them with lightweight and simplified speedster bodies. As the T evolved, so did the concept of the speedster. Early examples were simply cut down roadsters, while later examples got custom bodies designed to cheat the air and ditch the pounds. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, the Roose Manufacturing Company offered a wide variety of accessories designed to make live with a Model T a bit easier. Their main product offerings were practical items such as insulated hood covers, weather proof coil box covers and convertible tops. However, they did offer a handful of rakish speedster bodies named “Speed King”. In addition to modified bodies, performance improvements could be made to a T with thanks to a burgeoning speed equipment industry. The leaders in the market were none other than the Chevrolet Brothers (Louis and Arthur) who’s highly advanced Frontenac overhead valve cylinder head had proven itself in the “Fronty-Ford” by finishing in 5th place in the 1923 Indianapolis 500 mile race at an official average of 82.58 MPH; a remarkable achievement in the face of much larger and more powerful competition. This fascinating little 1918 Ford Model T is a wonderful period piece, wearing a Roose Mfg Co. Speed King body and accessorized with an array of period speed parts. The all-steel body is very rare and quite interesting, with an unusual custom grille shell up front, sweeping back to a close-coupled cockpit and a sharply tapered tail. The body is in solid, sound condition with heavily patinated white paintwork contributing to the fabulous character. The red chassis and black radiator combine for a wonderfully racy look. The cockpit is spartan, with just enough room for a driver and ride-along mechanic. This T does have some go to match the show, with a Frontenac cylinder head greatly improving breathing, and an add-on water pump fitted to help keep things cool at the higher engine speeds allowed by the overhead valve setup. The engine appears in good order, tidy and clean needing little to bring up to full song. We are quite fond of this unusual and charming Model T speedster. It offers real rarity thanks to its period speed equipment and high quality steel body, and it presents with a certain charming honesty that encourages enthusiastic use, whether around the block or around a vintage race paddock. It is sound and complete, and we could even see it prepared for vintage rallies – so long as the crew doesn’t mind the weather! Whatever the use, this is a fascinating piece of early American motor sports history that is sure to charm its next keeper.
This very rare French four door Model T was built in 1923. On arrival of the chassis in France, Paris coach builder Henry Binder built this four door Torpedo body. The first owner was Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Bordeaux. We sold this wonderful motor car to its last owner in 2009, a pre-war enthusiast based in Stoke on Trent. Prior to delivering the Ford to him six years ago, our workshop stripped and rebuilt the engine. A photo record of the work is with the vehicle's history file. Over the past six years the car has been treated as a museum piece on only driven on a handful of occasions. It was transported back to us in 2011 for a full service and MOT and further work to include re-conditioning the speedo drive and stripping and setting the carburettor. Since the engine rebuild just a few miles have been completed and as a result the unit is in excellent order. In 2009 we imported the Model T from Germany. It had been with the same owner since 1975, a Graf of Germany, similar to an Earl. His family are collectors of historic motoring, antiques and general history. On original purchase in 1975, the family had the Model T restored and have kept a comprehensive history since. Th