1914 Ford Model T Pickup - SOLD
  • Overview & History
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Originally a touring car, it was fitted with a Sears & Roebuck pickup truck bed at some point, and it takes on an entirely new personality.

The Model T Ford not only put the world on wheels, it put the world to work, too. Endlessly versatile, they were not just transportation, but also used as plows, stationary power sources for saw mills, and hundreds of other purposes that were driven by necessity, the mother of invention. Companies like Sears & Roebuck offered thousands of parts, modifications, and other upgrades that could take your favorite Tin Lizzie and give it a total makeover into something new, which is certainly the case with this jaunty little 1914 roadster pickup. Originally a touring car, it was fitted with a Sears & Roebuck pickup truck bed at some point, and it takes on an entirely new personality. You can see that the workmanship is a bit crude, but the car has a wonderful honest, blue collar, working-class personality that's the cornerstone of Model T ownership. Some folks prefer restored cars and absolute authenticity, but if I were going to own a Tin Lizzie of my own, it would be something exactly like this.

I don't know who Shepp was or what he fixed in his Fix-It Shop, but it was undoubtedly a long time ago—his phone number only had five digits! Our best guesses put the conversion to pickup truck sometime in the 1930s during the height of the depression, and since that was done, it has not been freshened, restored, or altered. It has a rather interesting story to tell, too, as it is owned by a master mechanic and friend whose proximity to a new bridge being built drew the attention of some steelworkers. One of them, noting the old cars in the shop, remarked that his uncle up in Michigan had an old Model T for sale and would he be interested in it. My friend was interested and headed up there with his trailer and pulled this neat little trucklet out of a garage where it had been sleeping for decades. Now, being the OCD kind of guy he is, he got it running as well as any Model T can run and it's so easy to start that his lady friend often uses it to run errands around town, which obviously causes quite a stir.

At any rate, it's a wonderfully preserved little crumb of history, maybe without a trail but also maybe something that the new owner will enjoy pursuing. There are traces of the original black paint here and there, but the overall look is patina and while it's rusty, it's most certainly NOT rotted. The metal fenders are excellent (the right side has a patch on top, as if something were bolted there and later removed), the wood framing in the body is solid, and the hood and door fit rather well, so it's never been damaged or wrecked. In fact, it's unlikely that it's ever had anything traumatic happen to it (well, aside from the removal of the rear half of the body, I guess). The point is, it's been preserved and deserves to stay that way.

As a 1914 model, the radiator, headlights, and cowl lights are all brass and in very good condition. They aren't all polished and shiny, which would probably be a mistake, but they're in good shape and match the rest of the car perfectly. The radiator has a few patches on it, but isn't a leaker, and again, the patches are character that you just can't restore into a car. Of note, the headlights are fitted with 12-volt halogen bulbs powered by a battery in the bed, so if you do have to go out at night, at least you're not relying on candlelight to get there. Out back, there's an aftermarket STOP light that was probably added before your parents were born and the bed has the most delightfully intricate curved bed rails that were part of the Sears package. Heck, you can even still see the robe rail hanging on the rear of the bulkhead, just where it was when the T was a touring car.

The seat has been reupholstered in black vinyl and the diamond pattern looks correct for the period and doesn't distract from the overall presentation. In fact, I'd argue that it's a nice upgrade over crumbling, hard leather, horse hair, and ancient springs poking your backside. There's a correct rubber mat on the floor which surely can't be original, and the side panel and door card have been replaced with original-looking pieces that fit right in. On the other hand, the steering wheel is unquestionably original and the factory controls are all just the way Henry intended. The pedals show minimal wear, so I'm guessing that this T doesn't have a lot of miles on it, and the coils all fire like they should when you pull the crank. One pull is all it usually takes, by the way. Overhead, the convertible top frame was probably part of the conversion kit, or maybe it adapted the touring car's top to the 2-seat body, but either way it looks suitably ancient and the top itself was probably replaced at least once or twice in its lifetime because it's in very good shape.

The T's 177 cubic inch inline-four really needs no introduction, so I'll just get to the pertinent facts: one, the serial number indicates that the engine was built in December of 1913, so it is most likely the car's original powerplant. And two, it runs superbly. As I said, the gentleman who owns it is the guy that all the other shops send customers' cars to when they can't figure out the problems, so you know it runs as well as a T possibly can run. Set it up just right and it takes only one quick jerk on the crank to fire it up and with the significantly lighter pickup truck bodywork, it's probably a bit more energetic than your average T. The 2-speed planetary gearbox works as advertised and with upgraded dampers on the front spring, it feels substantial. Brakes are, well, Model T brakes so plan your stops accordingly, but you'll surely find that it's easy to drive once you've figured it all out.

This neat little car is the best kind of survivor: lots of patina with totally sorted mechanicals that are ready to go. You probably won't see another one like it, and having a car that people can see, touch, smell, and hear like this one is a real treat. Use it for parades, for shows, or even just as a static display in your general store and you'll find that it puts a smile on everyone's face who sees it. And isn't that the point?

Vehicle: 1914 Ford Model T Pickup
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 111093
Odometer Reading: N/A
VIN: 393034
Engine: 177 cubic inch inline-4
Transmission: 2-speed planetary
Gear Ratio: 3.63
Wheelbase: 100 inches
Wheels: Wooden spoke
Tires: Front: 30x3, Rear: 33x3.5 Universal
Exterior Color: Black
Interior Color: Black vinyl
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