The Ford Model T was named ‘The Most Influential Car of the 20th Century in the 1999 Car of the Century competition (ahead of the VW Beetle, Mini and Citroën DS). It was hugely successful not only because it provided inexpensive transportation on a massive scale, but also because the car signified innovation for the rising middle class and became a powerful symbol of the United States' age of modernisation.
Records show that the first production Model T was built on August 12, 1908 and left the Piquette Avenue factory on September 27, 1908. On May 26, 1927, Henry Ford personally watched the 15 millionth Model T Ford roll off the assembly line at his factory in Highland Park, Michigan.
In 1908 the range-entry Model T cost $850. By 1916, prices had declined significantly, starting from just $360 for the most basic model. The relatively low price was partly the result of Ford's efficient fabrication, including assembly line production instead of individual handcrafting.
Famously, Henry Ford pronounced that "any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black". This one-size-fits-all approach was entirely acceptable in the early days of motoring as people clambered to own a vehicle.
Black was the only color the Model T came in from 1914 through to 1925, a decision driven largely by economics – not style. Black was the only color paint that could be dried quickly and speed was important at the Ford Detroit plant because of the enormous numbers being manufactured.
The Model T was made available in several practical body styles, not least of which was the humble 2-door/2-seat Coupé as offered here. The Coupé was often referred to as the ‘Doctor’s Car’, which was offered to doctors at special prices as they traversed many miles across a myriad of challenging terrains in order to reach their patients.
Their extensive daily use was testament to the durability and reliability of the Model T. Indeed, the feedback received from doctors was instrumental in the development of the car during its nine-year production.
This Detroit-built 1926 Model T Coupé underwent a full, ‘body-off’ restoration in Germany prior to its importation to the UK in the summer of 2018. Shortly thereafter, it received its first UK registration on 23rd November, 2018.
On its arrival in the UK, the car underwent a number of technical upgrades to make it more useable on modern roads. The electrics were changed to 12-Volt, a starter-motor, distributor and alternator were fitted, along with a new water pump and a new windscreen.
It was gifted to the current keeper late in 2021 and is offered up for sale as the vendor has no room to store the vehicle in the protective manner needed for a vehicle of this age and delicacy.
Aside from its V5c in the current keeper’s name, there is an expansive file of paperwork, books and a Model T workshop/service manual to accompany the vehicle.
The inside is as tidy as the outside, with the bench seat upholstered in durable beige corduroy, with beige door cards, interior panels and roof liner. Both manual window winders are in perfect working order, as are the under-sills of the doors.
The boot is in tidy condition and a de-mountable spares wheel rim is present. Overall, the interior reflects its overall excellent condition and would be a delightful place to spend some immersive old-school road time.
As mentioned, the body received a full restoration, which is evident everywhere you look around and under the car.
The main body is presented in a striking red, with a gleaming black lower half comprising running boards, mudguards and exterior running gear.
The remarkable condition of the exterior is aided by an elegant set of wood-spoked wheels and is indicative of the love and care afforded the car during the past few years.
A cursory glance down each flank of the car shows no evidence of damage to the running boards and even the front number plate, for all its vulnerability, remains blemish free. All lights and indicators work perfectly as intended.
On the brief pootle to the photo location, the Model T sounded in fine fettle…a little loud, but in truly fine fettle. The 2.9-litre, 20bhp engine burbled away nicely during the repositioning of the car for the photographs, and the clutch and gears engaged smoothly during all manoeuvres.
The Model T had a simple suspension set-up with a single leaf spring each for the front and rear suspension which offered good ground clearance, wheel articulation, and a supple ride. It was also easy to look after, while the chassis itself was also designed to flex and help soak up the poorly surfaced tracks the Model T would have to cope with.
Underneath, the car is in a clean and tidy condition and all appears to be in good order.
The Model T Ford 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.
The Ford Model T did more to popularise the car as a means of affordable transport than any other. Its production spanned the pioneering early years of the automobile all the way through to the late 1920s when cars as we recognise them today were emerging.
Buying a Model T is more than owning a car, it’s taking on custodianship of a piece of history, yet it’s surprisingly affordable for a car that is four candles short of its hundredth birthday.
G’won, because you’re here, pop on a cheeky bid…you know you want to!
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1926 Ford Model T Coupé (LHD)
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