Down Mexico Way: 1927 Ford Model T Hot Rod

One day, a doctoral student will do a thesis on the hot rod movement. From its birth to today, this flamboyant part of car culture has gone through many different phases. All of them are interesting, and you can pretty much carbon date a hot rod from the “look” that it has. Like a grizzled time traveler, the look of this 1927 Ford street rod tells us a lot about its past. While this style of hot rod looks dated today, sixties and seventies hot rods like this one represent one of the high water marks of the movement. Is this unique 1927 Ford Model T worth the $9,950 price tag here on eBay though? Do any of you want to load up and head down to Santa Teresa, New Mexico with me to pick up this old street racer?

The first thing you need to know is that the paperwork, which I assume they mean the title and registration, are from Mexico. This should come as no surprise to some, as the area encompassing Southern California all the way down to Tijuana was the nucleus for the birth of customizing and West Coast hot rodding. Many of these cars were driven down to Tijuana for upholstery, and the south of the border influence showed up in not only low riders, but in the lines and styles that graced the old school magazines such as Hot Rod, Speed Age, Rod and Custom, and Custom Car. Unfortunately, we don’t know the early history of this hot rod, but it has that Southern California look. Some of these So Cal hot rods that had lived out their show years ended up in Mexico, such as Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s Orbitron.

This one likely isn’t a famous rod, but it is a glimpse into the world of hot rod and custom car builders during that time. Hot rodding was, for the most part, radically different than today’s highly polished world. First off, there were a lot more old cars around in great condition. They were also cheaper, and the dry climate of Southern California (usually) ensured that rust wasn’t too big of a problem. Second, there were a large number of people in the area employed in industries that required craftsmen skilled in disciplines that crossed over into custom work. Third, the boom economy provided the necessary funds for many of these people to enjoy the hobby. Fourth, and most important, the whole area was saturated with aftermarket companies that provided the necessary parts.

Looking at this T, the first impression is that it has, of course, seen better days. It looks like a car that has languished in a run down part of town. Looking past the “patina,” we see that the body has been channeled to lower it on the frame, and it was given a slight rake. However, the chopping of the top that was so common on hot rods of the era never happened here. It kind of makes me think of a guy with a top hat. It also has that George Barris Munster’s Coach look to it as well.

It is hard to get an idea of what this one looked like when it was new due to the deterioration and overall rough condition. However, these old school rods can look cool if freshened up by someone who appreciates this era and has the artistic chops to make it look great. If you go to your local Wal-Mart and pick up a copy of Car Kulture Deluxe, you will see that rods of this style are still being built today, and they can be really cool if done correctly. Whoever purchases this street rod could probably find a lot of ideas there on how to restore, paint, and improve it from its current condition. If it were mine, the first thing to go would be the atrocious side pipes, with the Mickey Thompson valve covers close behind.

Adding to the suggestions, maybe a silver metallic for the body with black accents, or even a dark metallic electric blue with pearl white accents. I would keep the mag wheels and slap on a fresh set of wide whites front and rear. Yank the small block Chevy, paint the block the correct orange for an early small block, and build it back up with vintage components and top it off with Corvette valve covers, Edelbrock three-deuce intake manifold, and the carburetors of your choice. The interior would be treated to a tuck and roll job, with new glass tinted in a color to match whatever you decide the body should be. Finally, add to the build some chrome for the front end, a set of Buick finned drum front and rear brakes, and maybe a Winters Quick Change rear end.

Regardless of the current condition, the car has potential in the right hands. It runs and drives now, but it could be so much more if properly rebuilt. What would you do with it?

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Comments

  1. Tuck646

    That was a mouthful.
    I’m thinkin it looks so good right where it’s sitting,there in New Mexico the best thing to (JMO) do is either leave it there or better yet send it back to old Mexico ( where to would be paperwork is) and call it a day ¡

  2. Tuck646

    Not even the slightest bit tempted to click the eBay button on this one.
    Does that make me insensitive ¿¿

  3. Joe Haska

    Having lived in Mazatlan, Sinaloa MX. for 8 years and being a car guy, gear head etc. and what I saw of the Car Culture in Mexico, I don’t think this car was built in the 60’s. The Motorcycle culture is much larger in Mexico than cars. Although, I have gone to the drag races many times, but never went to a large car show, as they were usually in the larger cities. I did attend several big motorcycle events ,and a few Hot Rods would always show up. They were mostly, what we would call Rat Rods, and many were fairly well done, much like this T Coupe, only better To me with what I saw in Mexico, there are just too many current pieces on this car to indicate it was that early a build, especially if it was actually assembled in Mexico. The fact that it is in the U.S. makes it buyable, buying it in Mexico, and bringing it to the states could prove to be a challenge, with Mexico you can never be sure!

    • Bob

      Joe Haska: You do realize it’s in New Mexico, and not Mexico???

      • jackthemailman

        So Joe used a comma when he should have used a semi-colon. He knows it’s in Nuevo Mexico.

  4. Wayne

    Fantastic REAL hot rod. No fibreglass, no billet. The extractor exhaust is perfect. True home built, like they should be. Love it. Glad it’s not chopped.

    • Edward

      I love the exhaust. I wouldn’t change anything major. Paint it with candyapple and metalflake,maybe some flames,or a mural. Something really old style.

  5. Thomas

    There’s a pinch of George Barris to her. Me like.

  6. Rodney

    So great to see a T-Rod that doesn’t look like every other one built. I love the tall greenhouse, I suspect a very tall builder who just wanted to be comfortable. Totally unique and totally great. Clean it up and look cool driving it.

  7. JW

    Myself I would get bodywork done and painted matte black then maybe a grim reaper theme, yes the red roll & tuck interior sound’s great and so does keeping those mags with fresh wide white wall tire, now for the Ford in me as I would yank the chevy drivetrain and drop in a 347 stroker with webber carbs with a 4-speed. If those side pipes and headers are still good with no holes I would blast them and repaint then reuse them. But the price is too high for all that work.

    • Edward Clark

      $2500

    • Mark S

      I am not fan of Matt black, I know it’s a personal choice but for me I think the only place for Matt black is on the hood of a school bus. JMHO.

  8. healeydays
    • LAB3

      My thinking when I read the original post was there probably had been several already written.

  9. Kevin Lee

    I like it, but I’m sure it rattles like CRAZY! I’d take care of that matter first, then drive as is for awhile while deciding the next step. Nice entry level rod!

  10. Curt

    I hate seeing a ford with a chevy motor or vise versa just my input…thanx

    • Andre

      Vice versa? … can’t think of many Ford powered Chevs rolling around.

      Maybe there’s a reason for the heart transplant……….

      • John C Cargill

        Easy and cheap. Chevies are like the herpes, on everyone’s mind. This car would be more authentic with an early Buick nailhead or Olds.

    • Mike

      Me too…I’m so over that crap!

  11. Steve R

    Thank you for not calling it a rat rod.

    Steve R

  12. jdjonesdr

    Remember when side pipes were mandatory for hot rods? Amazing how much they’ve fallen from grace. I still love em, especially on something like this.

  13. Sirpike

    Leave as is , perfect !

  14. David Ulrey

    Wait a minute! What’s wrong with the M/T valve covers?????

  15. Cris Carver

    I like it! Though it does have more rust then I would think that a car from that area would have.

  16. Dennis M

    At the time this was probably a top notch example of the home-built hot rod. Right down to the home-built headers and traction bars! The unchopped Flat-Top T was not that unusual in the ’50’s and ’60’s, but sedans might have been more common than coupes with this treatment. The 1950 Pontiac taillights were fairly common on early Ford hot rods.

    A real cool piece of hot rod history that takes me back to the good old days!

  17. rbtempe

    Get it running put some new tires on it and away you go leave the rest as is.

  18. Ronnie Black

    i really fell in love with this TALL T when i saw it,,,So i bought it…It now lives in Amarillo Tx , its doing fine i have added a tunnel ram with two four barrel holley 450’s changed the seats and added a metal floor Fun Car to cruise on 6th Street (part of RT66 here in Amarillo Tx

    • ANDREW P AIELLO

      Just bought one. I plan on leaving it unchopped, lowering and raking the body like the one shown. I’ll do a steel roof with maybe some beads running front to back. I’ve got a 350 with a 6-71 blower, a 8.8 chevy rear and either a 4 or 5 speed for it. Front end will be 4″ dropped I beam, suicide style. It will be an orange/gold/bronze color with black interior. Thanks for the article!!!

    • ANDREW P AIELLO

      Very cool!! I’ll be building one like yours, soon.

  19. glen fink

    Anyone know where I can find this car $$$ I want it badly.
    312racing@cox.net

    Like 1
    • Ronnie Black

      Hi Glen, this 27 Ford gets so much attention, I drive it often some to work… But mostly cruising up and down Route 66 here in Amarillo Texas a group of my friends have old cars and we will hang out on Saturday nights on Route 66… Give me a shout my email is ibjeeping@yahoo.com Ronnie Black

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