Prized Possession: 1923 Ford Model T

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The history of this 1923 Ford Model T isn’t clear up until 1950, but after that, it’s very clear. In 1950 the car was offered as a prize in a raffle, and the family that won the car have retained it until fairly recently. The current owner purchased it from that family with a view to restoring it, but this has never happened. Rather than let it sit and deteriorate, he has decided to move the car on to a new owner. Barn Finder Pat L referred this classic with a great story to us, so thank you for that Pat. The old Ford is located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. If you would like to get your hands on what used to be a “prize” possession, it is as simple as handing over $6,300.

Addressing the first and most obvious feature of the Model T: That paint is not original. It also isn’t terribly nice. However, this was how it was painted when it was offered as a prize in a raffle, and it has stayed that way ever since. Even the bulldog on the back of the car dates back to then. The paint is now starting to peal in a few places, so I suspect that taking the body back to bare metal might be a fairly smart move. There is also a pretty obvious tear in the top, but the right person might be able to repair this. Overall though, the car does look to be quite solid.

The photos of the interior are a bit hard to follow, as many have been bleached-out by the light. This one gives a pretty fair indication of the interior condition, and as you can see, the red and black theme continues inside the car. Don’t fret though, because the buttons in the seats and the painted pedals look to be the only real signs of red, and these could be disguised if required. It looks like a good clean would actually bring the interior up quite well, as the seats appear to be free of rips and tears, while the timber on the floors looks solid.

The good news on the mechanical front is that the Model T does appear to be complete. The bad news is that it doesn’t currently run. Apparently, the car has been parked since some point in the 1990s, and that may well be the last time that it ran. These old Ford engines are pretty tough old nails, so it might not take much to kick it back into life. For those of you who worry about the prospect of a broken wrist if you get the starting procedure wrong, you can worry no more. The car has been fitted with a starter motor and battery, so the days of the hand crank would seem to be over. That means that this car sports a feature that old Henry said that you would never find on one of his beloved Model Ts.

This is a great old car, and while my first instinct would be to treat it to a more appropriate paint job if I were to buy it, as I’ve been writing this article and looking at the pictures, part of me actually rebels at that thought. Okay, so it isn’t the most attractive of paint schemes, but the car has now worn it for close to 70-years. I guess that logic would eventually prevail, and it would get a repaint in something more appropriate. But it would certainly grab some attention if it was revived and driven as it is.

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  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    The only ‘Ts I’ve driven were a couple of the last year production cars. They both had starters. Once you got used to the pedals they were a hoot to drive. Bought right it’s well worth getting running and a paint job.

    Like 3
  2. 36 Packard

    A bucket list car for me, but as I am close to kicking a bucket, prob will never happen. Maybe in Heaven, they will have these available all shiny and new with a standard 1920s type oooahhh(!) horn.

    Like 12
  3. Francisco

    Bells peal. Paints peel. Nice Ford.

    Like 11
  4. Butchb

    I looked at a tractor salvage yard for sale located in North Platte, NE back in the 1990’s and the owner kept one of these T’s inside his house. I bet someone on BF’s know’s his name.
    Good fun value for the money. If I lived in a small town again I’d use it for running local errands.

    Like 4
  5. Ken Carney

    Model T’s are fun cars even if they are a bit cantankerous. Just add fuel and spark, and the ol’ gal should kick over just fine. Only thing is that the guys who tinkered with them years ago are dying off, and the young people today just aren’t
    interested in them. Might get a shell of a car and make a Model T EV! Still plenty
    of these left. Redo the paint, top, and interior of this car and drive it. You’ll have
    loads of fun!

    Like 2
  6. Carl

    My first car was T!! 23 as well. but, a derelict roadster pickup. I still have some T parts around!!! It had a starter. I usually hand cranked mine. I know how and have no busted thumbs or wrist!!!

    Three pedals, and a lever. Easy. I could do errands around here. I added a Ruxtel two speed axle to mine. Lots more fun, four forward and two in reverse!!!!

    Paint out the red, clean it up, definitely. I am sure I could get it running….


    Like 5
  7. Kenneth Carney

    Carl, I was thinking more of a maroon body with black fenders and and radiator shell. I’d lose the wood spoke rims for safety’s sake and replace them with wire rims or steelies. I’d also 3-D print the wood floor sections so that I’d never have to replace them again. Next, balance and blueprint the engine and add full-pressure oiling and cooling to it for more reliability, throw on a set of 4-wheel
    mechanical brakes, and Presto! a safe Model T! The idea for an EV is still on the table too. Any way you slice it, you’d still have a fun ride that never goes out of style. Lots of fun when done!

    Like 0
    • ctmphrs

      You would be better off to start with a different car.All that done to a Model T would make it no longer a model T.

      Like 0
  8. KeithK

    So this T is painted in the colors and the old logo of the Okmulgee bulldogs football program. These people take their football seriously and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it sell locally and be revived as is ,bulldog and all!

    Like 5
  9. Peter

    Can someone please tell me how you just fit a starter? Don’t you need a ring gear on the flywheel and an engine block that is cast to fit a starter?

    If not, is it a generator/starter that is driven by a morse chain to the nose of the crank and is inside a sealed case to keep the dirt out?

    Like 0
    • Marv J

      Starters were available starting in 1919. I think by ‘23, most if not all Ts came from the factory with starters.

      Like 0
  10. David Conwill

    I say put a coat of clear over that paint job and try to keep it intact. Then let’s ditch the wood spokes for Model A wires, add a Ruckstell, Z-head, a pair of downdraft carbs, aluminum pistons, free-flowing Model A header (they bolt right on), and a hot camshaft. I’ve always loved the student-jalopy thing and this is a perfect survivor just begging for a little bit “more” and then a lot of driving.

    Like 0
  11. don

    Imagine a prize of a 27 year old car ! – Today , it would be congratulations, you won ! heres your 1992 Taurus !

    Like 2
  12. canadainmarkseh

    First of all it would be a crying shame to EV this old car. When are people going to wake and realize what a load of bull $h!t these EV’s are!!!! Secondly if I lived locally to this car I’d touch up and refresh the paint. If I were to buy it living where I do I’d restore it and i sure wouldn’t put a plastic 3D printed floor in it either. A nice red cedar floor with about 4 coats of semi gloss clear, cedar is very resilient to rot. I’ve never driven one of these but I’d sure like to give one a try.

    Like 3
  13. Ken Carney

    Mark, I respect your opinion and your right to post it. However, here in Florida,
    we have those awful things called hurricanes. After which, the power goes
    out and you’re stuck paying $8-$10 a gallon to some money grubbing Muslim
    who thinks that the no price gouging rules don’t apply to him. Provided you have solar power to keep the batteries
    charged, an EV is definitely the best way
    to go. That way, you avoid the three mile
    lines to get gas at stations that have it.
    And, you’ll be able to get to the store to
    get your share of what food that’s still
    available. Plus, you have a way back and forth to work while your friendly neighborhood power company takes up to three weeks to turn the power back on.
    To me, EV’s are one way to be self reliant
    after a major event knocks out the power
    and leaves you and yours in peril. I’m sure that in Canada, your civil authorities
    too have messages that prepare you for the severe weather events you have there. You know…things like week long
    blizzards that leave ten feet of snow behind. Wouldn’t do it with this car anyway. Not when there are still usable
    shells around to pick and choose from.

    Like 0
    • canadainmarkseh

      Hi Ken I agree that EV’s make more sense in your neck of the woods. It’s not so much the snow that’s the issue here it’s the cold. It’s hard to buy into this global warming crap when you have 6 straight weeks of minus 30c temperatures one of the coldest winters we’ve had since the 1960’s. Fact is you would use up more than half your battary range in an EV just trying to keep the ice off the windshield the other fact is battaries lose 40% of there charge capacity when it gets below minus 10c. My uncle sent me a interesting email a short while ago on the Chevy volt. This was a forward from a California driver. He wrote that his volt went about 50 miles on an over night charge approx 10 hours. When the gas engine kicked in and started charging the battary. He said that he pays about $1.85 per kilowatt hour which means it cost $18.50 to do an overnight charge. That works out to $.73 per mile. An equivilant car on gas would get about $.10 per mile. Frankly Ken I can’t afford a EV car they are to expensive to run and I’d have to park it for the winter and drive a gas powered car. Here’s another little known fact Canada has 167 million acres of forest up here which is capable of absorbing 4 times our annual out put of cow gases 4 times can you believe it yet our government still seams to think it is ok to bleed us dry with a fuel carbon tax. Don’t get me wrong Ken I’m all for reducing pollutants of any kind but this is ridiculous. If I were you I’d keep a reserve of fuel on hand for your hurricane events and just rotate through it to keep it fresh, oh and go plant a couple of trees they love that carbon. Have a great day Ken I always like hearing your views even if I don’t always agree.

      Like 2
  14. Carl

    General response.

    This car is a monument to progress, in it’s day. Any changes are a desecration and serve no good purpose.

    1. Whether EV’s make sense or not this car is just not a suitable platform. Pure or hybrid.
    2. Built by well paid workers. Highest of the car makers at the time.
    3. Priced so that many could afford it.
    4. Easy to drive and fix.
    5. Vanadium steel, best there was.
    6. suspension designed for the rough roads of the time.
    7. Huge parts compatability from the frst to the last.
    8. Resisted planned obsolescence.
    9. Many accessores and options available after market.
    10 Used in work and pleasure.

    No, fitting Model A wires isn’t easy. I did t on one of mine circa 58. But, in 26, wires that fit were an option.

    No. No need for fancy woods in the floor boards. Easily cut and fit. Any specie just fine. My first car was a 23. It came to me at age 16 in 46. The wood floors were just fine. I did make them for the car I built in 58. A T speedster from junk parts.

    The electric starter was of little value for a cold start in cold weather. I jacked uop a rear wheel to make it easier to hand crank. that worked.

    Saving this car as the mascot of the local team? A great idea!!!!


    Like 0
    • David Conwill

      Fitting wires is much easier now than it was in 1958–adapters are readily available from the parts suppliers. It’s much cheaper than hunting down the wire-wheel hubs from 1926-’27 or buying expensive reproductions.

      I’m a glutton for punishment, though, my T is going to use 1931 Chevrolet wheels. The Chevy hubs work on the front spindles, but I haven’t worked out the rear hub situation yet.

      Like 0
  15. Carl

    I did something akin to that to two T’s.

    1. My first, a 23 as a 16 year old in 46. 600 x 16 disc wheels. Crude. Removed the hubs and had a returning GI use his trailer mounted Lincoln stick welder to weld the wheels on to the hubs.

    2. Decade later, circa 58. A local black smith, my neighbor drilled the hubs to match the lug pattern on the 21″ Model A Fford wheels I rounded up, one here, one there. Stick welded in the serrated studs on all four.
    Worked swell.

    I suppose you might find a hub from another car that uses a keyed hub that might be drilled to accpt the six lugs of your old Chevy wires.

    Note: I had a 34 Chevrolet. A Standard. 5 lug wheels and hubs. but 17’s.

    Are you ignoring the threads on the T front spindle?? I did at one time. found a Timken that fit just right except for the threads..



    Like 1
    • David Conwill

      I’m no clear how all this will work out yet, but a friend who was parting out a 1928-’29 Chevrolet chassis (all he wanted were the frame rails) cut me an excellent deal on the brakes. He cut off the axle tubes just inboard of the brakes, so I have the stubs of the drive axles, the hubs, the drums, etc.

      The front hubs were a bolt-on for the Model T spindles–the Chevrolet ball-type wheel bearings have the same internal diameter as the external diameter of the Ford spindle. I’m crossing my fingers that the rears will be the same, but I’ve yet to disassemble anything and check it out yet. I don’t think I currently have a Model T axle shaft around to test them against anyway.

      I actually have the remains of a 1936 Chevy Standard in my basement (also five-lug wheels), but that’s a whole different project that I may get to after the T is done!

      Like 0

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