All Original: 1927 Ford Model T

Selecting the right candidate can be difficult for anyone considering tackling a first project build. While the temptation is to choose something desirable that will be worth big money once complete, sometimes a more basic option is worth a closer look. This 1927 Ford Model T is an original and unmolested vehicle that should be a fairly straightforward project. It has recently been unearthed in a Californian barn and appears solid and complete. If this looks like the perfect car for you, you will find it located in Sanger, California, and listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set the sale price at $5,000 OBO.

The 1927 model year marked the final for production of the Model T. The company ceased building these cars before the middle of that year, meaning that with 399,725 vehicles rolling off Henry’s production line, it was also the year of lowest sales since 1915. Our feature vehicle is one of those cars, and it is a complete survivor. The owner recently located it stored away in a barn, but it isn’t clear how long it had occupied that spot. The exterior wears a coating of dust and surface corrosion, but there is no evidence of penetrating rust. If this old Ford has spent its entire life in California, it has probably remained rust-free. We received no underside shots, but the overall impression when looking at the exterior is pretty positive. We also don’t see the state of the vehicle’s timber, so an in-person inspection is probably warranted on that front. Even if the wood is rotten, reproduction pieces are readily available and affordable. Completely dismantling one of these classics is pretty easy, which is one reason why they are a prime candidate for a first-time restorer. That allows the opportunity to complete every task to the highest standard, maximizing the owner’s investment. One task that the buyer probably won’t be able to tackle is restoring the wheels. A specialist will need to attend to these, but the cost is unlikely to break the bank.

Tilting back the hood on this Ford reveals the 177ci four-cylinder flathead engine that would produce 20hp in its prime. That power finds its way to the rear wheels via Ford’s distinctive two-speed planetary transmission. Those figures don’t hold a lot of promise on the performance front, but with a bit of perseverance, a Model T could wind its way to 45mph. When you consider the state of most roads during that era, that would’ve felt plenty fast enough for most owners! While many people dreaded using the hand crank to coax one of these old classics to life, this car features the electric starter introduced in 1919. The owner indicates that this Ford is mechanically complete and that the engine turns freely. It isn’t clear when it last ran, but I think we could measure the time-frame in decades. A spare engine and transmission are included in the sale as a bonus.

This Ford’s interior appears to be complete, apart from the gauge cluster that features the switchgear and amp meter. Locating a restorable cluster is not tricky, and they are easy to find for under $100. If the buyer is prepared to spend a bit more, they can find a nicely preserved original or a high-quality reproduction. The upholstered surfaces are all intact, although they are also candidates for restoration. Locating interior trim is not difficult, or an enterprising owner could purchase the correct material and make the trim themselves using the existing components as a pattern. Following that path would save money on the restoration and add a sense of satisfaction once the job is finished. The wheel looks restorable, while the painted surfaces could be refreshed when the exterior restoration is being completed.

While it could never be regarded as a classic that will be worth huge money, this 1927 Ford Model T looks like it would be a great restoration project. Restored to a high standard, it could potentially command a value of around $15,000. With the owner’s sale price of $5,000 in mind, that would leave $10,000 in the Piggy Bank to perform the restoration work. If the buyer can complete most of the work themselves, that will save a considerable sum on labor. If you are considering a first project build, maybe you need to give this old Ford a closer look.


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  1. Jay E. Member

    While a Model T “CAN” go 45 MPH, it stop is another matter. A panic stop from that speed is anything but, and with only rear brakes and rod adjustment, it can also be an all over the road affair with lots of swearing and over correcting. You will only do that once and will drive like a “little old lady” after that. Its pretty easy to sink 10K with no labor costs. But as a Saturday project it is doable. What to use it for after it is done is the question anymore. 30 years ago I liked Model T’s alot and even used one as a daily driver on nice days. Not a chance I’d drive one on the road today.

    Like 7
    • Chris

      Yeah, at best, tool it around a retirement park and hope you don’t get run off the road by a golf cart.

      Like 5
  2. Rick in Oregon

    My experience selling my modernized drive train, but otherwise stock 26 roadster pick up, there is no real market for these any longer. Although mine did eventually find a good home, the majority of folks who came to look at it were, shall I say, long in the tooth? Most were unable to wiggle into the tiny door and under the massive steering wheel at the same time, nor really able to operate it in spite of updated foot controls like a more modern car. Mine was capable of 75mph all day log thanks to a Datsun motor and trans coupled to a Chevy luv rear end with rear juice brakes. Nice top, upholstery and a patinaed black paint job made for a charming daily driver, far more than what is being offered here but sold for just $8500 to an fellow far senior to my 58 years old. This should be placed back in the barn in hopes of a Model T resurgence that may never come……or bastardize it into a street rod with the $1000 worth of sheet metal present. Just my 2 cents…

    Like 6
  3. PJ

    “Tilting back the hood on this Ford reveals the 177ci four-cylinder flathead”
    Am I missing the picture with the hood included? I don’t think there’s a hood to tilt back.

    • Stu

      Hood is removed and parked in front of the right front wheel in photo number 5

      Like 2
  4. DuesenbergDino

    This would make a great family project to teach the grandkids a few skills. Taking it apart and learning how things are built could be a bonding experience between the generations. Just tinkering around, getting it running, and enjoying the process of auto repair is fun. No, it would never be a big dollar return on investment but that’s ok. Let the kids, grandkids, just have a blast and if they get the bug they can move up to a Camaro or Mustang later.

    Like 3
  5. Kenn

    Refresh and take to car shows and parades, and enjoy the ownership of a collector car for it’s own sake. Certainly there are folks on this site that treat their cars in that fashion.

    Like 6
  6. david R

    I’d love to drive one of these some day. And no “reproduction” parts if it was mine. Immaculate restorations are a dime a dozen, I’d let it show its age.

    Like 1
  7. Mike

    I’ve seen more hot rods than stock configurations, but how about a pro touring version with a hint of steam punk thrown in? Modern drivetrain, suspension, and disc brakes, but done in the style/look of the 1920’s.

    Like 3
  8. George Duran

    The really nice thing about these is that almost all parts,even the muffler, can be relatively easily repaired or rebuilt. I might add pretty inexpensively!

    Like 1
  9. Rw

    A spooky 60s style hotrod, leave the top tall,that would be cool.

    Like 1
  10. Frank D

    Nitrous and Wildwood brakes!

  11. CenturyTurboCoupe

    I just paid $800 CDN for a gallon of generic grey paint for my 1982 GMC. Good luck restoring it for 10K!

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