What No One Tells You about the Ford Model T
- 4 July 2017
A vintage vehicle blog is not complete without a post on the most famous of all vintage vehicles: the Ford Model T.
Line of early Model Ts in New Zealand. Courtesy of Wairarapa Archive.
The Ford Model T was produced in Detroit, America from 1908-1927 and Trafford Park in Manchester, England from 1911-1927. This was an extremely long production run for a time when technology was evolving so fast models were changing constantly. Most Fords had a simple inline 4 cylinder 2.9L engine and a unique planetary transmission. This simplicity convinced Henry Ford that he had made the perfect car. Rumour and time has shrouded the Ford Model T in myth, but luckily we have six beautiful Model Ts to help us rediscover what these vehicles were really like.
Three Ford Model Ts on display at Bill Richardson Transport World.
About the Ford Model T
The 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 then took the family on a Sunday drive. It made the world more efficient. Ford Model T’s have been remembered as an affordable and reliable car.
Wairarapa family going for a drive in their Ford Model T around 1910. Courtesy of Wairarapa Archive.
About our Ford Model T Cars
All of our classic Ford Model T cars came to Bill Richardson Transport World from a good friend of Bill Richardson’s (for those who don’t know, Bill was a southern businessman and the original founder of this amazing collection). Bill’s friend was Jim Cooper, a transport business owner like Bill. Instead of collecting vintage trucks, Jim collected significant Fords. Jim Cooper’s museum in Darwin, Australia had 7 of the 8 Ford Letter Cars and many Ford V8s. Transport World was lucky to purchase them and bring them all to New Zealand in 2015.
1910 Ford Model T at Bill Richardson Transport World.
1915 Ford Model T at Bill Richardson Transport World.
1922 Ford Model T at Bill Richardson Transport World.
About our Model T Trucks
But wait, there’s more! The Ford Model T was also a truck (known as the Model TT). Bill Richardson Transport World has several in our collection.
About the Model T "Truck Maker"
Bill Richardson Transport World’s earliest Ford Model TT has an interesting background. 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” to work.
Our 1916 Model T "Truck Maker" truck has been converted with one of these kits.
1916 Ford Model T Truck Maker at Bill Richardson Transport World.
About our Ford Model TTs
Henry Ford quickly worked out that people wanted Model T trucks. In 1917, a year after our Truck Maker truck was converted, Ford 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. It really was a versatile vehicle!
1924 Ford Model TT at Bill Richardson Transport World.
1925 Ford Model TT Replica Police Wagon at Bill Richardson Transport World.
Comment below on which is your favourite Ford Model T and let us know if you want to read more about these iconic Model Ts!