Pick of the Day: 1912 Ford Model T

What could be more appropriate for the 4th than a defining car?

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Model T

For all his quirks, Henry Ford was a great American. He loved Americana. He gave the American middle class a new way to travel and in so doing, complete freedom of movement – affordably. He was friends with other great inventors, including Thomas Edison. Reluctantly, he helped Roosevelt beat the Axis powers in WWII as part of the Arsenal of Democracy.

The Pick of the Day for the Fourth of July is a 1912 Ford Model T Runabout roadster with a pickup box offered on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in Norwalk, Ohio. This is the car that revolutionized the way goods are manufactured with the everyday owner in mind.

The first year of the conveyer assembly line was actually 1913. Ford incorporated it, but some of the credit must go to Ford employees Clarence Avery, Peter E. Martin, Charles E. Sorensen, and C. Harold Wills for conceptualizing the process. By 1927, when production ended for the Model T to make way for an all-new Model A, the first mass-produced car represented nearly half of all cars on the road.

Ford actually lowered the price of the car each year because of realized savings in manufacturing, which was passed onto the consumer. He sold the cars through a network of franchised dealerships and came up with creative financing to get people behind the wheel. The result was 16.5 million Model Ts sold. Its record for the best-selling car in the world stood for 45 years.

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In 1914, Ford also paid his assembly-line employees nearly double that of his competitors. A $5 a day wage seemed crazy, but it helped Ford attract the best workers – who in turn would be consumers of the product. His competitors would then need to raise the pay rate for retention of their best employees.

According to the seller’s description, “This is a spectacular brass-era Model T. Frame-off restoration to very high standards. Finished in proper red. Black button-tufted seat. Black cloth top. Speedometer. Clock. Brass Moto-Meter with Dog Bone. Brass Ford script step plate. E&J brass headlamps, side lamps and tail lamp.”

The dealer also says that a modern acetylene tank is mounted behind the seat and provides gas for the working headlamps. There are a few other “modern features” including an accessory electric STOP lamp,  a running-board-mounted tool box and both battery and magneto, making for easy crank starts. The powertrain is a 177 cid 4 -cylinder engine through a planetary transmission.

 “This Ford would be great for HCCA (Horseless Carriage Club of America), AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) and MTFCA (Model T Ford Club of America) shows, tours and club events. Ready to drive, show and enjoy,” the seller notes.

It’s a real slice of ingenuity. Grit. Americana. The asking price is $55,900. A far cry from the $800 sticker nearly 110 years ago.

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To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. An absolutely beautiful piece of Americana. I imagine the demographic for the buyer of a vehicle like this will be in the high 70s to 80s, unless there is a museum collection out there that doesn’t already own a T for display.
    These machines are fascinating, but potential buyers are aging and it would be interesting to know when this is sold, where it lands and how it will be used. Hopefully it won’t become a display piece at an Americana themed restaurant somewhere that will put its fate in the hands of a novelty loving, selfie-obsessed public.

  2. Tom,
    A great article and presentation of one of the most iconic vehicles.
    I see myself touring down Main Street Ventura, trying to figure out how to drive the beast while the whole town stops and revels in this beauty and sweet sound of the 177 cu. in. 4 banger. Going to the local hardware store with my runabout would be so sweet.
    Good job!

  3. Absolutely beautiful. I would love to have it but unfortunately, perfectly restored Model-T’s are everywhere and at 1/3rd the asking price of this one. Bummer.

  4. You printed…” Reluctantly, he helped Roosevelt defeat the axis powers… ” may be a bit off subject of the fine car, but you brought it up. Please explain Roosevelt’s ‘reluctance’ !!

  5. Hi Ralph. Henry Ford had to be persuaded by Roosevelt. But when it finally happened, Ford built a factory on a vacant piece of land and were producing bombers inside of seven months. It should be noted that Henry Ford initially supported Hitler and Ford Germany was producing vehicles for the Nazi war effort. Its a bit of a tangled web, but you can read all about it in AJ Baime’s Arsenal of Democracy. https://www.amazon.com/Arsenal-Democracy-Detroit-Quest-America/dp/0547719280

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