Category: Ford Model T

A Visit to the Model T Museum in Richmond, Indiana – Michael Milne @Hemmings

A Visit to the Model T Museum in Richmond, Indiana – Michael Milne @Hemmings


When Henry Ford developed the Model T and refined (not invented) assembly line production methods, he transformed the automobile from a plaything for rich people into a tool for the masses, changing not only transportation, but the world. The breadth of the Model T lineup is on display at the Model T Ford Club of America Model T Museum in Richmond, Indiana, generally just called the Model T Museum.

The collection is hosted by the Model T Ford Club of America. It’s the largest Model T club in the world, with chapters in the United States, Canada, Europe, Oceania, and South America, bringing Model T fans together. The club was founded in 1965 and opened the museum at its current location in the historic Depot District in 2012. The 40-plus vehicles are displayed in the main building and in the annex across the street, which includes the Vintage Garage that houses a working machine shop to keep these cars running.

While there are car museums devoted to individual marques, it’s unusual to find one focused on a single model, but no other model was announced in 1999 as the “Car of the Century,” beating out the Mini, the Beetle, and others, and could rightfully be called the first global car

More than 15 million Model Ts were produced by the Ford Motor Company from the autumn of 1908 through the spring of 1927. During the early 1920s, more than half of the cars in the world were Fords. As Henry Ford said, “There’s no use trying to pass a Ford, because there’s always another one just ahead.”

True Colors

The colorful display here belies the myth that all Model Ts were painted black. According to the Ford Motor Company archives, the Model T was offered only in black from 1914 through 1925. Admittedly, that’s a huge swath of production, enough to give the Model T a reputation as a car that came just in black, but in the years prior to that, and after, there were a range of colors available, making those versions interesting collector pieces.

One example is a red 1909 Touring, the 6,413th car to roll off the assembly line. During that first full year of production, red was available only until mid-year, when Brewster Green became standard for all cars.

Despite the model’s reputation for being utilitarian, they also made for sporty Runabouts that featured longer hoods and lower seats to create a racing effect. The 1911 Model T Torpedo Runabout had doors, unlike its brother car, the Runabout.

A 1921 Model T speedster with an Ames aftermarket body.

A 1921 Model T speedster shows off the versatility of the revolutionary lightweight, but strong, vanadium-steel chassis. Many owners attached aftermarket bodies to make the car suitable for other uses, in this case an aerodynamic Ames speedster body was perfect for road racing. Ames was the largest aftermarket producer of bodies to repurpose Model Ts. The Frontenac overhead-valve conversion kit was provided by the Chevrolet brothers.

A 1926 Model T Touring is among the first offered with a driver’s door, as well as larger, heavier fenders and running boards.

The 1926 Touring is one of only two models that were offered for the entire 19-year run of Model T production. For this year a driver’s door was finally offered. After 11 years of only black Model Ts, the car came in several colors, like the Windsor Maroon, seen above.

On Tracks and on Wings

From left, a 1923 Model T snowmobile and a 1923 Model TT tow truck.

The versatility of the Model T platform is on display in the annex building across the street with several models that weren’t run-of-the-mill daily drivers.

In inclement weather, rural mail carriers made their rounds in the 1923 Snowmobile. The front Snow Bird ski attachment was a kit sold by Farm Specialty and Manufacturing Company of New Holstein, Wisconsin. Their advertising claimed the conversion could take only two hours. The aftermarket body on the 1923 Ford Model T depot hack made it suitable to haul passengers and luggage to and from the train station, making it a predecessor to the station wagon.

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A Runabout with Period Modifications in Search of a New Owner at Hershey – David Conwill @Hemmings


“Have you heard the new Fords? They’re much quieter since they took the brass band off the front.”

World War I-era humor aside, a lot of people feel that the best-looking era for the Model T was 1915-’16, when the old brass radiator was joined with a streamlined metal cowl. This created a transitional step from the era when the T was new and coveted to the period when it would simply be too cheap not to own. Those more utilitarian Ts used a stamped-steel radiator cover painted the same black as the rest of the car. It wouldn’t be until 1925 that Ford once again brought some color back to the nose of the Tin Lizzie, adorning some cars with nickel-plated radiator shells from then until the end of production in 1927.

So how do you make a collectible, brass-era T even more coveted? Try accessorizing it with some of the 1920s aftermarket’s greatest hits. This car, seen on a street corner in 1925, would appear to be the property of someone who bought it new and, instead of trading up, just spent the decade making it a better car.

The centerpiece is a Rajo cylinder head, mounted to the original 1915 block— meaning this is a crank-start only car, but a real ’15 for sure. Rajos of various types were produced in Racine, Wisconsin, by ex-racer Joe Jagersberger and still today they have a reputation on par with or ahead of period competitors like Roof and Frontenac. In this case, the Rajo is an F-head, or “intake over exhaust” as they say in motorcycle and British-car circles: The intake valves are overhead and the exhaust valves remain in the block, flathead style, maximizing the real estate available to both.

Equally coveted, as Model T accessories go, are those wire wheels. The sign indicates a certain uncertainty as to their real pedigree: Houk? Maybe Pasco? In any event, they were said to have new rims and spokes, and along with the all-white tires (still factory equipment as late as 1924 on new Fords), make a strong visual statement alongside the brass radiator.

Other upgrades included: aftermarket auxiliary brakes working on the small parking drums (Ford furnished the T with only a transmission brake); a taller 3:1 ring and pinion, in place of the 3.63:1 gears, for higher cruising speeds; and a Ruckstell Axle that added underdrive gearing for quicker starts or climbing hills.

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Ford Model T and Jappaning


The Ford Model T was painted using a process known as “Japanning.” Japanning is a traditional method of applying a durable and glossy black finish to metal surfaces. It was commonly used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for a variety of products, including furniture, clocks, and metalware.

In the case of the Model T, Japanning was used primarily for practical reasons. Black enamel paint was a cost-effective and durable option that provided a uniform finish across all Model T cars. Additionally, black paint was less likely to show dirt and grime than lighter colors, which made it easier to keep the cars looking clean.

There were also some technical reasons why Japanning was used for the Model T. The enamel used in Japanning was resistant to chipping and corrosion, which was important for a car that would be driven over rough and dirty roads. Japanning also provided a smooth, even finish that could be applied quickly and efficiently.

Another factor that may have influenced Ford’s decision to use black Japanning was the availability of materials. Black pigment was relatively cheap and abundant, making it a practical choice for a car that was designed to be affordable for the average consumer.

Overall, Japanning was a practical and cost-effective way to paint the Model T, and it helped to contribute to the car’s success and popularity.

What Was a Ford Model T Doing at the First 24 Hours of Le Mans? – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


And how did it manage a 14th place finish?

Among the Bugattis, the Bentley, the Chenard-Walckers, the Excelsiors, and many other continental Europe racing standbys of the interwar era that had lined up for the inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans sat a lone Ford Model T. It wasn’t described as such on the entry list and it sported a number of modifications that almost made it unrecognizable as a Model T, but a Ford it was nevertheless, making it the first one to race at Le Mans, long before the GT40s that ran in the Sixties and the Mustang that Ford wants to enter there next year. So how did a Model T get there?

Charles Montier is hardly a household name these days, particularly here in the United States, but in a way, the Frenchman was an analogue to Carroll Shelby, Colin Chapman, or Sydney Allard, all of them adept at transforming common cars or their components into sports cars that could compete on the marketplace as well as on the racetrack. While Henri Depasse had staked a claim as the first Ford agent in France and leveraged his success to build a factory for assembling Fords at Bordeaux, Montier took on Ford’s second French franchise around 1911 not necessarily to sell to the masses but to sell to the sporting set.

Who Was Charles Montier?

As Chris Martin wrote in his book chronicling Montier’s exploits, Montier was a gifted mechanic who built a steam car with his father before the turn of the century and who “acquired the nickname of ‘Le Sorcier’ (‘The Sorcerer’) long before that name was revived later for the better known Amedee Gordini, for his similar ability to extract performance from equally ordinary Renaults.”

First based in Tours then later in Paris, Montier appeared to take great inspiration from the catalogs full of American speed parts for the Model T, Martin suggested. “The Fordia magazine circulated to all Ford agents published a list of accessories that APCO Manufacturing Company located in Kansas could supply: Ruckstell axles, Ricardo or Diablo pistons, special camshafts, high compression Milwaukee cylinder heads, and above all modifications to lower the chassis and front axle,” Martin wrote.

Rather than buy the parts from APCO, however, Montier decided to engineer and manufacture his own, starting with a complete system for lowering the front and rear of a Model T by six to seven inches. The system, which consisted of a spring-behind-axle conversion in front and Z’d frame rails in rear, even earned him a patent in 1921, about a decade and a half before Ford did something similar by moving the axle behind the spring rather than underneath it. Another modification he made – a taller radiator for increased cooling capacity – also made its way into production Model Ts not long after he introduced it.

Around the same time he decided to prove his modifications by entering cars equipped with them in hillclimbs and other competition events. He won the first race he entered, at Boulogne-sur-Mer, in June of 1921, with an average speed of about 80 MPH. By the next year, he’d developed a model specifically for conforming to the Touring Car class and its requirement for four seats which he called the Gaillon. Not just lower, it also produced more power thanks to an overhead-valve head similar to Louis Chevrolet’s Frontenac heads, larger valves, aluminum pistons, a sidedraft carburetor, and a tubular exhaust manifold. Montier even swapped out the Ford planetary transmission and Ford axle for a Sinpar three-speed gearbox and Ruckstell. He upgraded the brakes first with larger rear drums then later with drums at all four corners

Montier and Ouriou at Le Mans, 1923

Photo via Chris Martin

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THE MODEL T @FordMotorCompany



The Model T was introduced to the world in 1908. Henry Ford wanted the Model T to be affordable, simple to operate, and durable. The vehicle was one of the first mass production vehicles, allowing Ford to achieve his aim of manufacturing the universal car. The Model T was manufactured on the Ford Motor Company’s moving assembly line at Ford’s revolutionary Highland Park Plant. Due to the mass production of the vehicle, Ford Motor Company could sell the vehicle for between $260 and $850 as Henry Ford passed production savings on to his customers.

The Model T was first tested by Henry Ford himself who took the vehicle on a hunting trip to Wisconsin and northern Michigan. The Model T became famous for the stunts it could perform including climbing the stairs of the Tennessee State Capitol and reaching the top of Pikes Peak. After the test of his own product, the vehicle was shipped to its first customer on October 1, 1908.

The revolutionary vehicle saw the placement of the steering wheel on the left side, allowing passengers easy access to and from the cars. The vehicle was also the first to have its engine block and the crankcase cast as a single unit, the first to have a removable cylinder head for easy access, and the first to make such extensive use of the lightweight but strong alloy known as vanadium steel. The Model T’s agile transmission made shifting gears easy for everyone. These improvements and innovations allowed the world to move towards a more urban way of life. The early Model T came with a tool kit, packed the gas tank under the front passenger seat, provided a windshield as an option (before it was standardized), and had to be cranked to get it going.

A common myth is that all model T’s were black. While Henry Ford did say “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it’s black,” the policy was in place solely for efficiency and uniformity. The car was only offered in black from 1914-1925, however before and after that various models of the vehicle could be purchased in a variety of colors including blue, red, grey, and green.

The vehicle also became famous for its unique nickname—Tin Lizzie. There are various accounts of how this nickname was acquired by the Model T. Possible origins include the popularity of the female name “Lizzie” during that period to a famous Model T racecar named Old Liz. Despite the popularity of the nickname Tin Lizzie, the Model T had dozens of nicknames.

The Model T was so popular Henry Ford once said: “There’s no use trying to pass a Ford, because there’s always another one just ahead.” By the early 1920s more than half of the registered automobiles in the world were Fords. More than 15,000,000 Model T’s were built and sold. In May 1927 a ceremony was held to honor the end of production of the Model T. It was the end of an era.

While the vehicle is more than 100 years old, its legacy is timeless. The vehicle had many new features that were unique for its time. The low price point allowed many people to become a Ford owner, should they choose it, and caused Ford Motor Company to be a household name.

Source Ford Motor Company

Restored 1914 Ford Model T replicates early motorized ambulance – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


Perhaps more than any other vehicle, the Ford Model T’s ubiquity and versatility meant that its owners put it to a wide variety of uses. For collectors, that means it’s still entirely possible to either restore one to the exact same specifications as a million other restored Model Ts out there or, alternatively, to find some historically accurate way to stand out from those million other restored Model Ts.

The seller of this 1914 Ford Model T listed on chose the latter by re-creating one of the first motorized ambulances employed by the hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. We’re sure there’s a story behind that very specific decision, and we can also appreciate the research that went into the ambulances and the effort that went into applying that research to a Model T that, based on the photos alone, would likely do well in points judging at an MTFCA gathering. From the seller’s description:

This 1914 Model T-Touring was built as a historically accurate replica of the two ambulances used by Yale New Haven Hospital in 1914. It has the original 1914 frame, period-correct headlights, cowl lights, tail lights and running boards. The fenders are from a 1915 T. The car was painted around 2016 and shows in great condition. Since restoration, it has always been kept in climate controlled storage. Under the hood is the later 2.9L inline 4-cylinder engine equipped with a 6 volt generator and electric starter. Making roughly 20HP this is a great touring car and runs like a sewing machine.

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Ford Model T Buyers Guide (1908 – 1927) –


In this video a UK Ford Model T specialist discusses what they look for when buying a Model T, giving hints and tips about what you should look for when buying one of these cars.

Richard Rimmer is the owner of Model T Ford Specialist, The T Service, based in Weston on Green in Oxfordshire, UK.

The Ford Model T was in production from 1908 to 1927, it mobilised the US middle class and is today the car credited with putting America on wheels. Over 16 million were produced in nearly two decades and with many Model T parts either re-manufactured or available second-hand, the Model T is probably one of the easiest veteran/vintage cars to own and drive in the 21st century.

DISCLAIMER: This video and the information within it is intended for guidance purposes only. Neither or The T Service Ltd shall be under any liability in respect of any information/views contained within this video. Please be advised to always consult a qualified specialist before making a decision to buy a car. Find out more about Ford vintage, classic and sports cars and other interesting classic and modern cars at

FIRE IN THE HOLE! Mighty Model “T” Race cars along with a Brief History of the Sport in Alberta – Strong’s Garage


Found these guys on YouTube, excellent vintage stuff!

Gentlemen Start your Engines! We’ll take a tour of two barn find survivor race cars from Alberta’s Racing Past. Take a gander at the ingenious modifications that turn these Tepid T’s into Fire Breathing Dragons!