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1926 Ford Model T: Can You Drive It?

1926 Ford Model T

This Model T has been in storage since the 70s! The seller has done the work needed to get it running again and mentions that it “qualifies for preservation status”. It does look pretty good in the photos so it might be worth some consideration if you are in the market for a tin lizzie. Although primitive and antiquated, the Model T is on my bucket list of cars to own someday. If you want one too, this particular car is listed here on Hemmings with an asking price of $21,000. It’s located in Wilsall, Montana and the seller is a pro at finding these old Ts. In fact, we featured another one of their finds last year around this same time.

Model T Pedals

The method of operating a Model T is unlike anything we are accustomed to today. There may be three pedals and what looks like a shift lever, but none of them do what you probably think they do. The brake pedal is on the right and the one on the left is the gear selector. The middle is for reverse. The lever is for the handbrake and neutral. The throttle is on the steering column… See, this isn’t something you are going to be able to jump into and drive without some practice. It was complicated to operate, but it was a lot better than having to ride a horse or pedal your own bike for long distances. Here’s a video about the history of the T which includes some details on how to drive it.

Simple Four Cylinder

Even though this car is getting close to a century old, the parts supply is still good and there are plenty of specialists out there so keeping it on the road should be no problem. Well, as long as you can figure out how to drive it down the road. Some say a manual transmission is a good theft deterrent, but I think a Model T could be the ultimate way to keep bad guys away. Most people wouldn’t even be able to figure out how to start the darn thing, let alone drive it! With some practice, I’m sure you could master the technique though and just think how satisfying it will be to be able to say that you can drive a T!

Privacy Screens

The Model T is important because it introduced the masses to motoring. Before the T only the most well-to-do people could experience what it was like to cruise down a country lane. They were simple, tough, and cheap. Hey, where can I get a new car like with that combination of options today? Talking about options, this one has some cool ones. People make a big deal about privacy screens on luxury cars today, but this T had them in the twenties. There isn’t any air conditioning, but you can always fold the windshield up to get some more airflow. Well, there isn’t much more to say about this one, but that’s the beauty of a Model T.


  1. Mike

    I have driven a Model T, it belonged to a Friend of my Dad’s and he showed me how to drive one, and I drove it a few times in the Desloge Labor Day Parade.
    They are fun to drive, the one good thing is hat they don’t go very fast, because they don’t stop fast at all!!!

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    • Dean

      You also had to plan for how to handle steep hills when driving a Model T. They didn’t have a fuel pump, and instead relied on gravity, with the tank mounted somewhere that was above the carburetor fuel bowl (I see on this one there is a small tank mounted directly over the engine. A lot of models had the tank in the cowl). If you came upon a steep hill, you had to reverse up it in order to ensure a supply of gas.

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      • Jeffstag

        This is a ’26. Tank would be in the cowl

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  2. Jeffstag

    It doesn’t take long to master, especially if someone shows you. Owner thinks highly of it at $21k

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  3. David Frank david Member

    Model Ts are indeed fun to drive. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take too long to get used to the pedal arrangement. It’s sad they aren’t worth much, but like most cars of the 1920s and 1930s, people just aren’t interested. The asking price for this one is, well, really high. It is worth perhaps $5000 at the very most. Nice, older restored cars are selling for about $10,000. The museum sold a restored Model T recently priced at $8000 and sold it for much less. And take a look at the 1927 T (pictures) that Marty wrote up in March with an asking of $11,000.

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    • R Kroon

      You might notice the advertised car is a 4 door, a much rarer model.

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  4. JW454

    So…. it “qualifies for preservation status”. Ok…. what would “disqualify” it for preservation status?
    That statement ranks right up there with “Ready for restoration”. Spoken as if there is some rule book that identifies what cars are ready to be restored and what ones are “not ready”.
    What if he’s wrong? Does that mean if I buy it, it can’t be preserved? People are so funny!

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  5. Chas

    $21,000 for a “black” (as opposed to a brass trimmed T), late, non-Brass Model T is outrageously high, especially in this condition.
    Yes, they are a whole lot of fun, but they just aren’t that desireable or valuable. The desirable models, like any cars, are the roadsters, open touring cars, and some of the truck models.
    The two door sedan and four door sedans are just not worth anywhere near those prices, perhaps $5,000 to $10,000, or maybe $12,000 if it didn’t require paint. The brass cars command higher values and are much more desireable, but still a low teens dollar value car, and that is for a very nice example.
    I bought a basket case 1913 brass Roadster when I was fifteen years old,. Knowing nothing about the unusual pedal arrangment, I reassembled the car and got it running, and was preparing to take it for it’s maiden voyage.
    I stepped on the left pedal which I thought was the clutch (which is actually low gear when pressed all the way to the floor on a Model T), and the car lurched forward.
    I got scared and stomped on the middle pedal, which I thought was the brake (which, when pressed together with the left pedal, actually engages reverse on the Model T), and the car lurched backwards.
    So I took my feet off of all of the pedals, (which puts the transmission in high gear on a Model T), andf the car took off down the street very fast!
    I was finally able to pull the hand brake up, (which also pushes the left pedal half way down and engages neutral on a Model T), and I was able to stop the car.
    I never even touched the right pedal because I thought that it was the throttle (the right pedal is the brake on a Model T!).
    If I had stepped on that right pedal, the car would have stopped. The throttle is a lever on the steering wheel quadrant!

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  6. Howard A Member

    It’s $21g’s BECAUSE it’s from Hemmings. Don’t get me wrong, I like Hemmings, it’s just people seem to think people who read Hemmings will automatically pay more. I heard, because of the single band brake, people in a panic stop would engage reverse, and take out the reverse band. Just amazing how we’ve changed in a hundrd years.

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    • z1rider

      Not exactly. People would use reverse when their brake band was worn out. No matter what you did, it all happened in the transmission, then in turn the driveshaft and then the rear wheels. You only got braking at the rear wheels regardless of whether or not you pushed the brake pedal or reverse.

      Rule of thumb if you forget which was which. Step on any two pedals and you’ll stop. You won’t hurt anything either.

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      • Chas

        Not exactly. If you step on left and center pedal, you get reverse (low gear), and not braking.

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      • z1rider

        But you will still stop with the reverse pedal pressed, and then you will go backwards or stall the engine. Then you will surely be stopped.

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  7. Chas

    Actually when I look at most old cars, it amazes me just how LITTLE things have changed in 100 years!
    Ain’t really nothing new under the sun, including automatic transmissions, fuel injection and electric cars and hybrids.

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  8. Barry T

    Is that a battery I see? I am too darn old to use the crank to start it. I would hate to drive this thing anywhere with a speed limit over 25 mph.
    Thanks, but no thanks.

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  9. John Moss

    I just recently got a 1926 Model T Coupe in great shape. Anyone learning to drive had better study it and get in a wide open space to practice.

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