Expensive Tin: 1909 Ford Model T Touring

This Model T is listed here on eBay and has already been bid up over $23,000 and the reserve has not been met. It’s surprising to see any Model T bid up this high but it is a survivor of sorts and a first-year production car, although not one of the earliest. Production actually began in 1908 and the first  750 cars had only two pedals (low and high gear and brake) and two levers (rear wheel brakes, reverse and neutral). The body is in original condition but the motor and chassis were rebuilt in the 1990s. It is being offered by F40 Motorsports and will appear in a future episode of “Chasing Classic Cars”. The brass cylinder on the running board is an acetylene generator for the headlights.

Red was available only on touring cars, although green was also available on the touring cars, as well as other models. It wasn’t until 1913 and mass production that all Model Ts were painted black.

Here’s the engine, an early version that changed little over time. The first few hundred cars had water pumps, but they were eliminated on later cars. In keeping the engines as simple as possible, they relied on thermal convection to circulate water through the cooling system. If you could find a road smooth enough, this 20 HP engine could get you up to 40 MPH on gasoline, ethanol, or even kerosene. A gallon of fuel might even get you as far as 25 miles on a smooth level road.

The transverse leaf spring suspension remained unchanged on the model T although the radiator shell changed over the years. You often see a version of the script that rises to the right but that is not authentic. This Model T is unique enough that the value is impossible to guess. The seller has a value in mind, but it’s hard to imagine an eBay shopper willing to pay that much. Perhaps a live auction with some wealthy collectors in the audience might be more successful. We have a 1908 Model T at the museum that’s one of the very first Model Ts built. It’s said to be a 6 figure car, but it’s restored and a very low serial number car. It will be interesting to see if this car makes reserve and sells.

Fast Finds


  1. jw454

    It’s going to cost a bundle to make into the brass beauty it should be. If you go for it, my hat’s off to you. It would be nice to see it completed.

  2. Alan (Michigan)

    Doesn’t make sense to me that someone would restore the car, then let it sit and rot to this condition. There must be a reason why it is in this shape now.

    As for it being a “survivor of sorts”, no way that red was put on over a century ago. The black parts may have been the survivor part when the red was redone? With the exception of the one headlight’s lens, the brass certainly looks good, like a polish would bring it right back.

  3. glen

    If the body is truly original, I couldn’t refinish it. It took 108 years to look the way it does, I just couldn’t mess with it.

  4. Brian C Member

    What museum are you referencing, David?

    • jdjonesdr

      I was wondering the same thing.

  5. Steve

    Can someone with more experience please give me some insight into pre WWII cars, especially the model T, but not only the T. They made a bagillion-gazillion number of these cars, I understand that, but everything not in current use made of steel was recycled during WWII. There cant be too many of these things around, yet I see early Fords, Chevrolets, and Dodges all the time for what I consider cheap. I see running restored cars of this era all the time for 10/12K. What am I missing?….. this era car just does not seem to appreciate in value.

    • Jeff

      A lot of it has to do with lack of interest. A lot more people dream of owning a ’64 Mustang than a Model T (not to disparage the Mustang).

      • Michael

        In large part, that segment of the population typically interested in owning a Model T ( and for that matter..folks in the old car hobby who proudly own a Model T ) are aging out…which of course is a polite way of saying ” dropping dead!”

        I’m beginning to observe fewer car enthusiasts who are interested in standard shift vehicles.

        Time will tell where this great hobby goes next. As for keeping an interest in the old T’s ( and for that matter any collector cars and trucks …consider attracting young people to car shows and car club meets . That can be great fun for old timers and newbies.

  6. Joe Nose

    GLWTS Mr. C. Though the shows indicate reserves and estimates are often higher than the market would bear, I hope this gets your price. Neat machine though not a Stutz.

  7. michael streuly

    Sold for $25,200.00.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.