Saturday, March 28, 2015

10k: Original Hot Rod: 1922 Ford Model T Speedster

The Ford Model T was the original hot rod.  It was cheap, ubiquitous, and easy to modify -- the perfect recipe for building something for custom.  Ford revolutionized the automotive industry with the Model T and built 15 million of these little machines from 1908 through 1927, so there are quite a few still running around.  Find this 1922 Ford Model T Speedster offered for $10,900 in Monroe, WA via craigslist.  Tip from Jesse B.

It is extremely ironic that every car sold in the USA after 2012 has to include active traction can buy one of these and let your 16 year old drive it around.   Regardless, the Model T offers a vintage driving experience that is similar to riding down a big hill in a shopping cart.  Compared to everything else on the road, steering will be sloppy, acceleration abysmal, and safety is counting on being thrown clear from the crash.  However, there is an undeniable appeal of driving this old jalopy to work on a Friday in April.

This is no Chevy 350 powered hot rod, it is powered by a simple and honest inline-4 with Frontenac OHV conversion mated to a Warford 3-speed transmission (in addition to the 2-speed planetary).  The seller assures us these are period correct speed parts, but I'd just be happy if I can merge into a 25 mph street without causing an accident.

The controls on a Model T will confuse most folks used to driving modern cars; the throttle is the right turn signal looking stalk - timing is advanced or retarded with the left stalk.  Pressing your foot on the left pedal engages 1st and 2nd forward gears, middle pedal reverse and the right pedal is the brake.  There is also some procedures that require the hand actuated level on the left- but its nothing that someone used to driving with a PlayStation controller couldn't easily get accustomed too.

 See a better example of open air motoring that doesn't require a helmet?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Cute stuff in there, looks like a Fronty 'S' or 'T' single-carb head.

    I wonder how hard these things are to find these days...

  3. What an excellent evocation of an early hot rod. Had I the space I'd buy this one just for having all of the right parts on the same car.

  4. I like this thing, even though it would be mostly useless. I have read that the Frontenac conversion meant that a Model T could read speeds in the 70 mph range. I suspect that is VERY exciting.

    Although this T is a little too "primal" to be driven very often, when "The Great Race" came through our town a few yeas ago, I was very taken with the Model A Speedsters. Those look like something you could enjoy quite often.


  5. I like this thing…
    Reported top speed 124 MPH. I don’t know if I have the huevos to do that, but maybe I could build up to it with someone else driving…. Suspension mostly original but tweaked. 250 HP Cosworth Rally Engine!..
    Here is an article about it and the company that built it..
    and here is a video..
    I can’t imagine what this conversion cost, but it would be fun to dream…

  6. Unless you're an eighty year old with vague memories of seeing something similar as a yute during the war, few to no one understand or remembers these. Ergo, it seems to me that it would have been interesting to know more about the original build, what was used, how was it done. If you're trying to sell something like this some background to accompany the great slide show pics would be helpful. Or maybe I'm just cranky.


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