Meet our 1924 Ford Model TT
- 24 June 2020
No, that's not a typo.
Not everybody can spout off facts and details about every car and truck under the sun. But ask anybody on the street for the name of what they think the most iconic model of car ever created is, and chances are more than a few will respond with the Ford Model T.
About the Ford Model T
The Ford Model T brought motorised transport to the everyday American family in a way no other vehicle had done before. It enabled doctors to get to patients faster, helped sales-people reach their clients easier; it sawed wood, pumped water, ploughed fields, and even took the family on a Sunday drive. It made the world more efficient. Affordable and reliable, the Ford Model T is arguably the vehicle that brought the car to the masses.
Bill Richardson's mate Jim Cooper - a transport business owner like Bill, who called Darwin in Australia home - was as much of a fan of the American manufacturer as Bill himself was. While Bill collected vintage trucks, Jim collected significant Fords. His museum in Darwin boasted seven of the eight Ford letter cars and many Ford V8s. Transport World was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to purchase them, and bring them all to New Zealand, back in 2015 - and they've been a major feature in Bill's Shed, the very first glimpse visitors have to our spectacular Invercargill car museum.
The Ford Model T is well-known: but did you know about the truck version?
About the Ford Model TT
The story behind the Ford Model TT - of which there are a handful among the collection at Invercargill truck museum Bill Richardson Transport World’s - is an interesting one, that not too many people know. Way back in the early 20th century, vehicles were much more versatile than they are now. People could even convert their cars into trucks. People began doing this themselves, but soon companies were clever enough to notice this happening. So they invented "Truck Maker" conversion kits which helped people convert their Model T passenger cars into trucks!
They made trucks by creating a deck. Most of these kits had a frame extension and a chain-driven rear axle. The rear axle was where the most change happened. The chain-driven rear axle was connected to the original car's drive axle which had driving sprockets attached in place of the rear wheels. In other words, the original rear-drive axle just became a jackshaft, extending the power from the engine down the extended chassis to the rear wheels. People really had to understand what was under the body for these “Truck Maker” vehicles to work.
Henry Ford himself quickly worked out that people wanted Model T trucks. In 1917, a year after the 1916 Ford Model T Truck Maker truck that can be found within our collection was converted, Ford officially introduced the TT. The Ford Model TT used the same 4 cylinder engine and planetary transmission as the Model T car but had a heavier worm gear drive axle and featured a 124" (315cm) wheelbase, 24” (61cm) longer than the car. Only the chassis length and axle had to be changed, the power from the engine was perfect for a car or light truck. Talk about versatile!
Bill Richardson Transport World is home to a few of these lesser-known, but equally interesting, vintage Ford vehicles. Among these? Our 1924 Ford Model TT. Bought new by G. Miles and Sons, a sawmilling operation based out of Ashley Clinton in the central Hawkes Bay, it chugged along until it was purchased by a man named Peter Nightingale, from Levin, in about 1965. He gave the 1924 Ford Model TT a spruce up, and it ended up catching the eye of a certain vintage truck collector - by the name of Bill Richardson. Bill moved the truck south and it became part of the collection of classic American trucks that blossomed into what is today Bill Richardson Transport World.
Come on in and check out our Ford Model TTs for yourself - and don't forget to let us know which one you like best.