Boyd Coddington’s 1st Mag Feature: 1915 Ford Model T

The owner of this 1915 Ford Model T claims that it is one of the early cars built by the legendary Boyd Coddington, and has featured in a number of magazine articles during the 1970s. It is now in a pretty sad state of repair thanks to the fickle hand of Mother Nature, and it will take a lot of time, effort, and money to bring this car back from the dead. The Ford is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has now reached $1,968, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

If this is indeed the genuine Boyd Coddington “Center Door” Model T, then time hasn’t been kind to it since it appeared in the February 1976 edition of Popular Hot Rodding magazine. The body seems to demonstrate many of the traits that were a signature of the Coddington car, but the body itself received massive damage as the result of a shed collapse brought on by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. While the lower sections of the body, including hand-painted pinstriping and what appears to be the correct Zenith wire wheels, are present, the top half of the body was destroyed in the shed collapse. It looks like the car has then been left to the elements because while the frame is claimed to remain undamaged, it is now quite pitted with rust. Any attempt to resurrect the car would require a complete nut-and-bolt restoration.

After years of exposure to the elements, there is nothing left of the car’s interior trim. What is present is a vertical steering column and wheel. This has the same type of spark advance lever that operates the C4 transmission as was fitted to the Coddington car. In this shot, you can also see just how badly the car has deteriorated since 2005, and just how much work the next owner is going to be facing.

The original Coddington car was fitted with a 302ci V8, but this car has a 289. It does wear the distinctive exhaust manifolds and valve covers the same as the original car, but that’s as far as the good news goes with the engine. It is now full of water, and consequently, is locked solid. The car also features a chrome front axle and chrome brake calipers, which were also hallmarks of the original car. If this is the original car, there have also been some changes made along the way. It originally featured a Ford live rear axle. It now wears an independent setup which looks very similar to those fitted to later Coddington cars. The fuel tank has also been changed, and this is said to be to accommodate air conditioning.

As you can see from this last photo, when the Coddington Model T was in its prime, it was a pretty stunning piece of machinery. The weight of the evidence suggests that this car is the real deal, that it is the Boyd Coddington Model T, but the question remains of just what value that would add to the car in its current state. If it is now stripped down, restored, and then reassembled, will it then return to being that car, or are those days now over for it? The owner makes some pretty bold claims about the potential future value of the car and throws around possible six-figure sums in his estimates. If this was an unrestored, unmolested, and original Coddington rod, then I would agree with him. To me, it is no longer that car, but if restored, it would be a Model T rod that contained some Boyd Coddington parts. Do you agree with me, or am I completely wrong?

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Comments

  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Absolutely agree-this was a masterpiece of its time created by a innovative artist but has very little value now, akin to using a Remington bronze as an ashtray or mounting a velvet Elvis picture the backside of a Bierstadt painting.
    You’d think his insurance would’ve taken care off the damage, and I think Coddington was still around in 2005 so he’d have been able to direct the restoration!
    Seeings how Chip Foose was on Coddingtons team at one point, maybe he’d help out the new buyer though it wouldn’t be cheap..

    Like 4
  2. JACKinNWPA JACKinNWPA Member

    In my opinion it wouldn’t matter if it was a Coddington custom or a classic coach built it would remain as built. A Freestone and Webb Rolls Royce restored is still a F and W valuable classic. However I also believe that even being Boyd built, cost to restore this model T would exceed the expected value. Too bad it had to end up like that.

    Like 3
  3. Steve R

    It would be worth more if he hadn’t damaged his image with his TV show. He came off as a petty tyrant and lost a lot of respect among enthusiasts.

    Steve R

    Like 37
    • Nate

      Steve, What was the show?

      • Fred W

        That would be “American Hot Rod”. One of the few shows I couldn’t stand to watch due to the overt “staged” feel. Who knows if Boyd was really a tyrant- he could have just been a good actor! For the truth, ask someone he hung out with.

        As far as this car goes- a cryin’ shame. Note to sellers: If you want to get top dollar some day- don’t push it out in the rain!

        Like 5
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I watched American Hot Rod although there were many episodes that left a bad taste in my mouth. To see him take an irreplaceable icon and butcher it beyond recognition really upset me. Cars like the ‘Junkyard Dog’ were great because they came from something that had been used and neglected. But to take a complete Model T and make a rat rod out of it, or take a complete ’36 Ford 3-window coupe and make it into roadster with an SBC. Or the worst: take a ’40 Ford woodie with a show pedigree and destroy it. His arrogant retort: “I build Hotrods!” almost made me quit watching; I wanted to slap him up alongside the head–with a crowbar. I sometimes wonder if the Maker decided ‘That’s enough.’ Truth be known, I love some hot rods. But I also love restored and preserved vintage cars and trucks. I think you should be careful about what you build because it’s very difficult to cross back over the line…

        Like 16
      • Steve R

        Nate, many of the episodes or available on YouTube, search Hot Rod Builds.

        He didn’t come across badly in the early episodes, but as the series progressed he didn’t come across as someone I’d want to be associated with.

        Steve R

        Like 9
  4. Rovinman

    ”This is my Grandfather’s Axe” …….. springs to mind.

    Like 3
  5. Mark

    You know at the time this car left Boyd’s possession it went for big money……how something that expensive with such pedigree ends up like this is beyond me.

    Like 6
  6. JBD

    Another win for Insurance Companies? I have never had a good experience with any of them! So sad to see any hot rod end up like this.

    Like 1
  7. Michael

    The cost to restore this T back to its original beauty is more than I can afford. Would it be a sin to buy this car only for the parts? I do have tremendous respect for Boyd Coddington but that frame and suspension, especially the rear end would be amazing on my Roadster Rat Rod project. If the price is right I am seriously considering it. I hope the Street Rod gods forgive me

  8. SquirrleyGig

    Boyd Coddington, love him or hate him? The majority of the population only knows him from an “original” reality show. Oh & I guess the numerous builds a lot of us remember reading about in the rags back when.
    I do believe this car should be brought back to what he built.
    I think Mr. Foose should be the guy to do it. Also, I think if you want an honest opinion of BC’s true demeanor in “real” life, perhaps CF would be the guy to ask?
    While I realize it’s (not entirely) just another “reality” show, I have to say, I always (almost) enjoyed Overhaulin’. A big part of that being that CF’s (& crew) attitude seemed down to earth & honestly enjoying what he was doing @ the moment. Whether we viewers liked it or not.
    Many episodes he looked extremely tired? I do believe he spent many late nights for the love of doing it. It’s what we car guy’s do! LOL!
    If this was an original Barris or otherwise custom, it would see all kinds of love.
    Again, love BC or hate him, there is no denying that he was one of the premier forces that drove the era & those to come. RIP BC.

    Like 1
  9. AMCFAN

    My take on American Hot Rod show was pure genus. It had little to do with actually step by step how to build….this is my secret. It had everything to do with If you think it is so easy to build custom cars as a profession. This is what happens.

    Coming up with a concept from start to finish working with a deadline on when it will be done and as we can clearly see Hell bent it will be done. Having talented people you depend and rely on and know your secrets leave and go to the competition (Charlie leaves to work with Chip Foose that seemed a breaking point.) People getting hired. Not working out then getting fired. It was clearly a monumental show to see. Never before and people missed it entirely.

    It’s easy to beat the man down now 20 years later as most everyone does. Like some on here by saying he took an original car and ruined it. Back then a Rat Rod was in style. He took a car worth $4000. and reworked it and made it a $50,000 car. Sounds awesome to me. But as an example you can’t please everyone. That is what car building is about. Taking risks.

    It is interesting to watch as you can actually see death coming for the poor man. He was under a huge amount of stress and you could feel it with each episode. He still worked with his older ex wife and his beautiful new wife. You could feel the tension between them. How much more can you pile on? It was his reality. I enjoyed the show for everything it really was. Rest in peace Boyd. You were a true innovator.

    Like 2
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      You’re a class act, AMCFAN. It’d be a blast doing a rebuild with you I suspect.

      Like 1

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