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75 Year Dust Collection: 1916 Ford Model T

right rear

Interest in pre-war cars has really dropped off in the last few years and prices have fallen. There are a lot of cars from the 1920s and 1930s that were restored years ago for sale and that and driven down the prices as well. Model Ts are not as drivable as later cars and are can be purchased very inexpensively. Running, driving Model Ts in decent shape sell for between $6000 and $10,000. Can this Model T listed on Hemmings be worth saving? I hope so. They are asking $3995 for this Model T. It’s said to have last been run thirty years ago. I wonder what’s under all that dirt. If the wooden body frame and wheels are good and there’s no serious rust, it might be possible to get this one running and driving for $3000. That’s not including any body or interior work of course. There are lots of parts available and they are inexpensive. Thanks to Tristan C for the tip on this T.


If the engine turns and there is decent compression, the engine rebuild shouldn’t be too bad. If this still has the original two piece valves they would needed to be replaced with the newer style single piece valves. The radiator will need to be re-cored or more likely replaced for about $800. That’s for a four row radiator with the necessary cross brace and the hose outlets in the right places. Replacing any wiring is relatively easy.

left rear

That rear end probably has the original babbitt bearings which should be replaced with bronze bearings. It would be bad enough to have a freewheeling rear end and no power, but you would also not have any brakes. (The brakes use bands on the transmission, through the rear end to stop the car). The tires and tubes will need to be replaced and that will cost at least $800. This seems like a project for someone who would really enjoy the work. For a little more you can buy a running Model T. It will be interesting to see what you think of it.


  1. Roselandpete

    I’d just as soon get one already done.

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  2. Fred

    I bought this one (which is a Chevrolet 490 but looks identical) from the RM auction at Hershey for 8K. No way you could make this one look like the one I had for the price difference.
    I got rid of the car for exactly the reason you mentioned- not really practical to drive today, other than in parades or around the neighborhood. And mine had a conventional gearshift, the Model T is very un conventional.

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  3. Van

    Don’t touch it.
    Put a skeleton in the front seat,
    maybe a dog skeleton in the back.

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  4. Bill

    I’d buy it, but I’d probably modify it with mid century up parts. Then i’d use it a LOT.

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  5. Texas Tea

    I’m not a Model T Ford expert, but I’m sure this is not a 1916 model. It would be a later year model. The front fenders are the first clue this is not a 1916.

    I’m sure someone out there is an expert and can tell us what year model it is. Still, a neat old car and I like them all. Save this old gal and get her running again.

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    • z1rider

      I agree with you. While I don’t know what year it IS. I do know that 1916 was the last year for the brass radiator. The 17 and later years had the black radiator shell like this one.

      Also, the VIN/engine number listed is way too low. Ford passed that mark (41,419) between 1910 and 1911 model years.

      Based on the cowl I’m going to say it is 1919 or later.

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  6. hearsetrax

    I’m with “Van” on this one

    screams halloween decoration/full time mailbox

    if nothing else rebuild the drivetrain and rig the starter and lights to remote control jejeje

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  7. Jim Benjaminson

    Not a ’16 – that would have a brass radiator.

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    • Al8apex

      The 16 brass radiator was an early production thing

      Most 16’s were black radiators

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  8. Lion

    At least it was stored inside. There is a similar one in our neighbourhood that was in as good a shape but has been sitting under an apple tree for 4 years now. It is not for sale. Kid inherited it and there it sits, going down fast.

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  9. Jim

    It could be cool to drive with some upgrades, I drive my cars, no trailer queens or lawn ornaments. Juice brakes, wheels and tires from Cokers and a later model Ford rear(40-50’s) and clean everything, make sure the engine-trans is ok and have fun.

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