Museum Find: 1911 Ford Model T Touring

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Henry Ford’s Model T’s impact on America and the world cannot be overstated.  Debuting in an era when cars were the play toy of the rich, Ford’s simple but reliable Model T made the automobile a mainstream necessity that we still cherish today.  Yet, the early days of the Model T were a period of flux as the car was both refined and perfected.  Cars like this 1911 Ford Model T, for sale on eBay in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, are a window into that period.  Currently housed at the famous Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum, this amazingly interesting Model T has reached $20,600 with three days left in the auction.  Is that a fair price to pay for an early and very correct Model T?

The Ford Model T was produced from late 1908 to 1927.  As you know, over fifteen million of these efficient cars were produced.  Contrary to popular belief, they all weren’t black, and the first one off the line wasn’t identical to the last one.  Henry Ford was fanatical about constant improvements in efficiency and durability.  Changes began with the second car off the line, and when Ford made a change, the old parts were used up before the new parts took their place.  As Model T restorers can tell you, determining which parts were correct for a given production date is an achievable goal.  It is also a frustrating one.

The car you see here is in a very unique place.  It is currently on display at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum.  This was where the Model T got its start.  The Detroit area was overwhelmed with car manufacturers, parts producers, and companies that turned raw materials into the metals used to produce these items.  It was a boomtown in every sense of the word.  Ford had to do something to separate himself from competitors, so he focused on building one car and doing it well.  Once the car began to sell after its debut in 1909, it wasn’t long before the demand for the car forced Ford to build a bigger factory in Highland Park.  The move was made in 1910 after nearly 12,000 Model Ts were produced at Piquette.  Today, the factory houses a museum dedicated to the Model T.

This car is an early Highland Park-built car.  However, it is still very much an early Model T.  From the green paint to the acetylene lights and brass radiator shell, it is from a time when Ford’s mass production techniques were just warming up.  The seller tells us that his father restored it in the early 1960s.  There are recollections in the ad of polishing brass and going to countless car shows.  We are told that the judges at the time informed the owner of a few flaws.  One of these was that the car still had some of its decades-old leather upholstery.  The fact that it has been on loan and displayed at this particular museum under the scrutinizing eyes of thousands of Model T enthusiasts speaks well for the car’s originality.

It is kind of sad to read the seller’s recollections of the car when he was a youngster.  It seems to have been a very big part of his life with his father.  We are told that the car collected boxes of trophies and ribbons, with a number of these for being first in its class.  Back then the car hobby’s participants were, on average, a lot younger than the average age today.  It wasn’t uncommon for whole families to assist in the restoration of such a vehicle.  They were also around for the show and the family-friendly events that went with them.  The larger Model A Ford clubs seem to be the only ones that push whole family involvement anymore.  Perhaps that is what we need to bring the hobby back to full strength.

There is another aspect to consider about this car.  If it was a winner on the show scene in Detroit during the sixties and seventies you can be sure it faced some stiff competition.  Model T Ford was a popular car to restore, and the area was filled with people with incredible skills due to their day jobs.  To think that those skills, and the skills of their friends, followed through to their hobbies is an easy assumption to make.  Original parts were also more plentiful then, especially in that place.

As you can see, this is a very special car.  If you are looking for an early Model T, then this may be one of the best examples currently on the market.  The seller tells us that the car is welcome to stay at the museum indefinitely, but you would have to make the proper arrangements for that as the new owner.  With a previous appraisal of $38,000 in 2018 being the benchmark, the fact that the seller has listed the car at no reserve also demonstrates the confidence that this is a very desirable car.  Whether it stays in the museum or hits the road again, hopefully, this special car finds the right owner.

Would you like to own this early Model T?  What would you do with it if you won the auction?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Jay E.Member

    In a perfect world, this Model T would spend the rest of its life right were it sits. It has the perfect blend of patina, provenance and price. But that is not how it works these days and rarely are these donated to the museum, but rather sold. For a Model T, this one is the desirable Brassie era, which makes it a bit more special and it blends perfectly with the color, which is wonderful. Although it may have run in 2015, but 8 years of sitting are not going to go without some starting pains. It is far too clean for Model T, which pretty much leak everywhere. The upholstery was tired before and it is going to be difficult to keep it from cracking. I doubt the top will fold and then re-attach without damage. It is certainly worth more than the current 21K bid, but I can’t see it reaching 38K. Somewhere between the two would be well bought and sold. I can’t imagine it won’t find another nice display somewhere to reside, but it sure would have been nice if it stayed right where it is.

    Like 7
  2. Maggy

    If I only had a huge private estate down south kinda like a Forrest Gump one with acreage and lots of smooth roads I’d putt around in it on beautiful summer spring and autumn days and enjoy nature….with a 6 pack cooler next to me. Otherwise I’d leave it in the museum for folks the few that are left that actually appreciate the history of the automobile to enjoy.

    Like 8
  3. TheOldRanger

    I love these old cars, and I agree with Maggy, plenty of money and space and level ground to putt around in one of these.. but these (in my mind) will never go out of style, and it is amazing that people back in that day built these, and they’ve lasted all these years.

    Like 3
  4. Cobra Steve

    The first and last (1926-27) iterations of the T were available in colors other than black.

    Regarding popularity, I bought my ’23 Touring less than two years ago and have been having a blast driving it as often as I can. Last fall my wife and our beloved GSD (dog) went on a tour with the Space City T’s (Texas) and had a ton of fun…over 95 T’s showed up! True, many T owners are older, but the touring events are always family-friendly. The daily events involve driving 80-120 miles per day on back roads and always involve stopping at interesting sites, usually historical in nature. We saw a number of families on the tour so perhaps there is a resurgence of interest? T ownership is a great way to “unplug” and escape the crazy world we live in today.

    Am I excited about T ownership? You bet! I highly recommend anyone who is considering buying a T to join a local club, attend some meetings and events, and join in on the fun!

    Like 5
    • maggy

      Bet you know an old friend of mine that just retired from at&t few years back that loves these cars.He has a t hack that he took me and my daughter out with about 12 15 years ago cruising around the local neighborhood . It was a blast! he’s got a couple of t’s and a”s and other old relics. Great guy.Retired to wisconsin on some property he bought last I heard.God bless him.

      Like 3
  5. Troy Goodman

    My family had one just like this all the way to around 2010 and it was maintained in its entirety original parts and upholstery, I wonder if it is ours?!! I would love to see it back in our family if it is!!!!

    Like 2
  6. Keith M Howard

    Wow… awesome..just awesome

    Like 0
  7. Jay E.Member

    Sold for $31,400.00. Buyer and seller should both be happy!

    Like 0

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