1917 Ford Model T Roadster - $17,900
     
  • Overview & History
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Set the spark and throttle levers properly, pull the crank, and this one springs to life easily and quickly without much fuss.

The Model T is still a special car for old car enthusiasts. It’s still the car that made motoring a national pastime, the car that allowed everyone to travel beyond the borders of their home town, and the car that jump-started America’s industrial might, so it remains iconic for a myriad of reasons beyond getting from point A to point B. The fact that it’s still beloved after more than 100 years is a tribute to the enduring charm of the design, the rugged mechanicals, and the familiar styling that’s as welcome as a puppy anywhere it goes. And you probably can’t call yourself a car guy if you haven’t mastered the T’s unique controls, which are a great test of the man-machine interface. In short, if you don’t own a Model T, isn’t it time to put one in your collection?

All Model Ts are not created equal, and there’s certainly a hierarchy within the Model T community. This 1917 Ford roadster is one of the more desirable body styles, rarer than the touring and offering sporty motoring for two, all wrapped in a handsome Henry Ford black package. It’s a nicely done restoration that’s just a few years old, which is remarkable by itself—you find a lot of older restorations, but not too many that were done in the past 10 years. The standard black paint is glossy, the bodywork is straight and well-adjusted, and the many details, from the electric headlights to the single taillight hanging under the trunk, are all in excellent condition. The cowl lights are still kerosene-fired and there’s a jaunty brass horn bolted to the windshield post, an accessory from another era. There’s also a useful tool box mounted to the driver’s side running board. One bonus of owning a ‘teens T is that there’s no brass to polish and no chrome to deteriorate, so the car will always look great with a quick polish and a coat of wax. Talk about a low-maintenance hobby car!

The interior is basic black as well, with a pleated and button-tufted seat that looks a few years old, not a few decades. There’s a correct rubber mat on the floor that isn’t brittle and cracked, and the door card is in excellent condition with no warping or moisture damage (yes, there’s only one door). The beautiful wood-rimmed steering wheel feels great in your hands and makes this T feel agile on the road (yes, we’ve driven it!) and the controls are, well, just what you’d expect if you’re familiar with a Model T’s idiosyncrasies. Turn the key and you can hear the coils buzzing, which means it’s ready to fire if you get the gas and timing just right. Give it a quick pull or two, and, if you did things properly, it fires to life without much drama. Ease the parking brake forward to engage the transmission and you’re off! The view from behind that massive windshield is commanding in traffic, which certainly helps build confidence and it feels far quicker than it is from the driver’s seat. Overhead there’s a beautifully fitted black top that almost looks new and there’s even a small trunk that offers battery access and a bit of storage for the various extras that come with the car.

Mechanically, there’s not much to go wrong on the Model T. The engine is the same rugged, reliable 177 cubic inch inline-four that powered them all, and by 1917, they had all the bugs worked out. Set the spark and throttle levers properly, pull the crank, and this one springs to life easily and quickly without much fuss. It idles with that characteristic Model T soundtrack and it makes enough power and torque to make the roadster feel nimble and sprightly around town. Cosmetically, the engine bay is quite correct, with basic black engine enamel, correct cloth-wrapped spark plug wires, and a standard updraft carburetor, which is fed by a unique funnel device that appears to harvest warm air from around the exhaust manifold. Things like the leather fan belt and hoses appear to be recent and it should be a badge of honor to see that the paint has burned off the exhaust manifold—this car has been driven regularly! It also has a water pump, something the earlier Ts were missing but probably needed and a welcome upgrade for today’s world. There are a few minor signs of age, most notably around the block/cylinder head union, which is endemic to the breed, but it wouldn’t take much to get this T back into top condition. On the other hand, it starts so easily and runs so well that it would make an ideal partner for Brass-and-Gas tours and once you master the operation of the quirky controls, you’ll find that this one really does run and drive well. The transmission doesn’t slip and it’s a lot quieter than most of the Model Ts we’ve experienced with only a muted whirring sound coming from within. The brakes are, well, they’re terrible because it’s a Model T, but with the light weight and modest performance, they’re adequate for the way you’re going to use it. Handsome wood spoke wheels are correct for the era and wear 30x3-1/2 Universal tires, which give the Model T an all-business look that we find very appealing.

The car also comes with a full set of tools, a tire pump, a jack assembly, and various spare parts that you may need out on the open road.

Model Ts have long been a staple of the old car community and they continue to have enthusiastic proponents of all ages. This roadster is beautifully restored, totally sorted out, and ready to enjoy, yet still very reasonably priced. Go find another recently restored Model T roadster in excellent condition for under $20,000. We suspect you’ll have a hard time finding more quality per dollar than this little roadster. Call today!

Vehicle: 1917 Ford Model T Roadster
Price: $17,900
Stock Number: 114126
Mileage: N/A
VIN: 2431717
Engine: 177 cubic inch inline-4
Transmission: 2-speed planetary
Gear Ratio: 3.63
Wheelbase: 100 inches
Wheels: Wood spoke wheels
Tires: 30x3-1/2 Universal
Exterior Color: Black
Interior Color: Black leather
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