1916 Ford Model T Speedster

As you can well imagine, with more than 15 million Ford Model Ts manufactured over a 19-year model life, many Ts have been modified for more speed (or at least the appearance of it). This “speedster” (the origin of the word varies by source, but the earliest reference I found was in a 1911 Cole Automobile advertisement) has a minimal amount of bodywork and has been lowered for better handling. It’s listed for sale here on craigslist in Pemberton, New Jersey, with an asking price of $10,000 or best offer.

Here’s one obvious point of modification; the T front axle has been moved forward in front of the radiator, allowing the body to be dropped approximately six inches. Not only does this give a rakish look to the car, but it’s obvious someone meant to at least look “the business” to go to this extent of a modification. The classic racing numbers (even though we have no idea if this car ever competed in a race) just add to the overall image. The rear spring shackles have been reversed and the rear spring temper has been altered to reduce the rear ride height appropriately. Thanks to frequent finder T. J. for sending in this vintage find!

The seller states that the roof of their shed has been damaged and they now have no place to store the car, thus the sale. What a shame! We’re told the car has been mechanically modified (for ease and reliability?) to utilize either a magneto or battery and that an alternator has been added as well. The only stated issue with the car is that the oval gas tank needs sealing (sealant is provided).

I can’t read all of the large dash plaque, but I can see that it commemorates the “Birthplace of Speed Centennial,” which apparently was held for the first time in Ormand Beach, Florida in 2003, but has been held several times since as well. This picture also gives you a good view of the fabric fenders. Trivia time: those three pedals aren’t clutch, brake and gas, they are actually, from left to right, clutch, reverse, and brake! I found a great article here on how the Model T transmission and pedal system work; I’m guessing it takes a while for a new Model T owner to become a smooth driver!

In 1916, the 175-cubic-inch four-cylinder engine was rated at 20 horsepower, but more importantly, a comparatively massive 83 foot-pounds of torque, enabling the lightweight car to deal with what at the time were horrible roads. Rated top speed varies from source to source, but you are probably looking at around 45 miles per hour given the lightweight body on this example. Would you like this Speedster? Have any of you ever driven a Model T? Let us know your experiences in the comments!


  1. Dale Nash

    I have owned (6) 1926 Model Ts over a 50 year period. Two have been restored (a roadster and a tudor) and 4 have been hot rods (a touring, a roadster pickup, and 2 coupes). I drove the restored roadster from Rochester, NY to Niagara Falls, Canada. It took 3 hours to travel the 75 miles. A lot of fun!

    Like 3
  2. Ronald E Goble

    The left pedal is not a clutch but the high-low pedal. Clutch is the lever near the left foot. The lever also the parking brake.

    Like 2
  3. Chinga-Trailer

    Cute as a bug even if the red gives it sort of a little fire engine vibe . . .

  4. Ed Casala

    I am in the middle of watching “Cars that built America” on the history channel. This car is all over it. Cool car and I have no idea if that’s a good price and all. Would dropping in a Coyote Motor speed it up? LOL. Cheers,
    But really a cool car and piece of history.

  5. Howie

    It looks cool, but i would not want to go very fast in it.

    Like 1
  6. Jim Mulcare

    A perfect candidate for The Race of Gentlemen

    Like 1
  7. Beel

    The perfect candidate for The Race of Gentlemen

  8. David Kelm

    It’s a 4 door. I had a 1930 Chrysler CJ 6 cyl much like this. Main differences: 1) Wooden wheels, 2) Exhaust manifold reversed, going down in front, in front of fuel pump. Thus frequent vapor lock in hot weather. I installed 6 volt fuel pump at fuel tank. was a great and dependable driver. Used as a commuter summer and winter in Milwaukee WI.

    Like 1
  9. Kenn

    I drove Model Ts all through high school ’cause they were cheap to buy – 1950-53. Ronald E Goble is absolutely correct on the pedals. Panic stops were accomplished by stomping the reverse pedal. Much more effective than the brakes.

    Like 2
  10. Brian

    I would be a serious buyer on this one if it wasn’t for the combination of an overly optimistic asking price and a huge distance away.

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