While “speedster” is most-often associated with “bathtub” Porsche 356 roadsters of the 1950s, the term goes back to the Brass Era days of stripped-down sports cars, from pricey Mercer Raceabouts to the facsimiles hand-built from abundant Model T Fords.
The Pick of the Day is a sharp-looking 1914 Ford Model T Speedster that appears to be an authentic example from a century ago, a totally open car with its bodywork removed for lightness and, of course, style.
Speedsters were little more than a pair of seats bolted to the frame, an upright wooden dashboard and a fuel tank mounted behind the seats. While speedsters emulated race cars, the ones built for the road have lights and fenders, as this one does.
“This gorgeous blue Speedster shows well and is very complete,” says the seller, a Kentwood, Michigan, dealer advertising the antique on ClassicCars.com. “The car runs and drives remarkably well and comes to us from a collection of Model Ts.”
The Ford retains most of its factory running gear, including the simple 4-cylinder engine that powered all Fords at that time, though this one has a period-correct tweak for more power. The speedster also has a number of desirable period upgrades on board.
“This car features a Stewart Speedometer, speedster-style windshield, an early brass-era steering column, 21-inch wire wheels, brass radiator and headlights, and even electric start,” the dealer notes. “This Model T also has a set of fresh set of coil boxes and a 6:1 compression cylinder head.”
The photos show a Ford that looks correct is both appearance and mechanical parts. Ford had a terrific sales year in 1914, the dealer notes, when about half of all the cars sold in the world were Model Ts.
While speedsters were not produced by the Ford factory, per se, they were sometimes built by dealers for customers who wanted the sporty look similar to what they might have seen on the race track at that time. Often, though, a handy owner would take an old Ford, toss the body, and turn it into a racy speedster, the predecessor of custom hot rods.
This is a charming example that appears to be in very good usable condition, with some appropriate patina to its wood, brass and painted parts. The wooden trunk mounted on the rear is an attractive addition. The asking price is $23,900.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.