Time capsule – 1915 Model T Hot Rod

Many moons ago a young Sparky and his friends came across a pile of old car parts abandoned in the forest that excitedly stirred our imaginations. While someone looked at this collection of junk as unwanted garbage to be dumped late at night, we saw it as the foundation of our future Hot Rod and spent several weeks over that summer vacation rearranging the parts, and discussing, sometimes arguing about how we we going to build the world’s greatest Jalopy.
Sadly, one day our stash was discovered by “the man” (evil grown ups) and disappeared shortly thereafter. Heartbroken, we soon moved on to newer adventures, eventually trading in our old Schwinns for BMX bikes, and then inevitably our first real cars. But none of us ever forgot about that ghost in the forest, the car that wanted to be…
There are many stories out there like this one, be it a pile of Model T parts in the forest or the hulk of  a much newer steed gathering dust behind a shop or grandpa’s old shed. Many of us have been effected by the spirits of another time that tend to stick with us, haunt us, make us do crazy things.
In recent years there has been a trend to try and recreate vintage Hot Rods close to the original “period” they would have been built in. In some cases these include modern twists and interpretations or compromises in technology, while others are strict in using only vintage parts and techniques that were available back in the day in an attempt to be as “correct” as possible. Some are more successful than others, and many give a good feel for how it could have been done, but nothing can beat finding an actual half century old Hot Rod survivor.
Sadly, not a great many of these original beasts remain, most having been long discarded, rebuilt, modified or otherwise lost to the sands of time. Our clues and fuel for our retro imaginations come from faded photographs, wrinkled magazine articles and old memories from the folks who were there.
Here however we have a genuine Hot Rod survivor, a 1919 Ford Model T Touring built back in the early 50’s with what appears to be 1948 Ford running gear. This one just feels right because it is how they actually did it!

The old gal sports newly powdercoated wires and re-pop tires, plus a general going through of the basic parts that make it go and whoah, but otherwise it sits untouched, and a tribute to the decades-old dream that created it.

The vintage custom interior still appears usable with just the right amount of wear and patina, and looks incredibly cozy and inviting. You can almost feel and smell yourself siting in the otherwise simple and uncluttered cockpit. And it you find it too cramped, as a Touring it has a second seat available in the rear, just underneath that tonneau cover.

A Flathead Ford V8 provides both forward motivation and one of the world’s best audio tracks, with just enough original aftermarket goodies to make a Rat-Rodder Jealous.
According to the listing

Originally built in Los Angeles in the early 1950’s. The car somehow ended up in Texas in the 1960’s before finally ending up in long term storage in New York where it was found and sold to the owner in California. The current owner replaced all hoses and fuel lines, cleaned the gas tank out, replaced the fuel pump and got the car running. The electrical was converted to 12 volt and he installed new bias-ply tires on the powdercoated 1935 Ford rims. The car received all new brakes including; lines, hoses, wheel cylinders and master cylinder approx. 3 years ago.
It appears the complete running gear including; engine, transmission, column shifter and rear (3:78 gears) all came from a 1948 Ford donor car. The steering box is from a Ford F-100. Steers great. The engine has Edelbrock heads and a two pot manifold with one carb blocked off with a vintage Cragar block-off plate. The engine runs great but does have some lifter noise and an oil leak. Functional as-is. Transmission shifts smooth. New radiator (no overheating). New safety glass windshield.
The body is original 1919 Touring with Lacquer paint that was applied in the 1950’s. There is the expected patina from a 60 year old paint job that adds to the vintage nature of this car. There is some rust in the car (see pics). Original 1950’s black Rhinohyde interior. Tonneau cover for the rear seat. The car runs and drives good. A very fun car and a steal at this price.

The bodywork does show it’s age with a fair amount of crazing, scratches and spots of rust in it’s 60 year old paint, but that just adds to the appeal. Unlike those new builds that try so hard to recreate the look, this one is perfectly aged like a bottle of fine wine. And for crying out loud it’s real Lacquer! We wouldn’t change a thing, and hope the next caretaker of this time capsule keeps it in its current state, and treats this beauty with all the care it deserves; Regular haunting of the cruise scene and the occasional smokey burn out.
It is being advertised for $13,950 on Craigslist, which is a cool $3K under their website listing. At this price, the car is an absolute steal and if not for an uneasy parking-space truce between super-spouse and I, this thing could easily haunt my own driveway for all eternity.
So, would you spring for the chance to own this blast-from-the-past Hot Rod Tin Lizzy? And what was your automotive ghost?
(View the entire listing and 59 photo gallery at http://www.carbuffs.com/modelt19black.htm, or the Craigslist post at http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ctd/2444829621.html)

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  1. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Nice price. It's not my genre, but this will make someone very happy. Maybe almost as happy as the guys who built it. It's a fine piece and shows a great deal of love and care, and a healthy desire to do crazy things.

  2. muthalovin Avatar

    That is remarkably clean. Color me impressed. I am sure it has seen its fair share of love and abuse, and has gobs of character for it.

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    The Honest Charlie sticker made me say, "Holy crap!".

    1. P161911 Avatar

      But it has "new safety glass", so that sticker has to be new too.

  4. OA5599 Avatar

    My "abandoned car found in the woods" story actually took place in the parking lot of a convenience store/bar/washeteria a block away from my house when I was in second grade. It was a Chevy of unknown (to my 8-year-old self) vintage, and I suspect someone was in the process of converting it to a race car before they lost storage. It had no engine or transmission, and the floor and trunk pan had been cut away, perhaps to facilitate cage construction.
    All the exterior sheet metal was still intact, and it might have still had all the glass, too. A couple of us used to open the trunk lid (the latch and springs were removed) and climb into our "fort" which was in the passenger compartment.
    The fun came to an end not long afterwards. We had climbed into the trunk right as a policeman happened to be cruising by, and he thought we were about to get locked into the trunk and baked under the summer sun. He was relieved he didn't have to break into the car to "free" us, but not long afterwards the car was permanently removed.

  5. dukeisduke Avatar

    I think I get what you're talking about. The wheels should have less backspacing, right? They should have a sort of deep dish look. I've seen wheels like that, just wish I could find a picture.

  6. Feds_II Avatar

    Coulda, woulda, shoulda…
    My parents bought a farm in 1979, shortly before I was born. within a couple of weeks, a local gentleman came by and asked if he could store some cars for a couple of months. My dad said sure, why not.
    Later that week, this gentleman brought a 396 Chevelle, a 429 Torino, and 3-4 other fairly desireable muscle cars. Months went by, and the gentleman never cam back. Months turned to years, and the OPP paid the man a visit with their dogs and found 4-5 of the man's former business associates in long term storage under his back yard. Needless to say, he went up the river, and the cars remained on the farm.
    By the time I was old enough to figure out what they were, they had spent 13 years in a field behind the barn, and had trees growing through pretty much everything. We moved off the farm a few years later, and had a couple of collector friends come and haul away the bones. Those 4-5 cars are each a ghost in my past. If only 3 or 4 year old me could have convinced my dad to give up a few head of cattle and move those stolen-and-dumped cars into one of the barns…
    That said, between the mass murderer, and the people he ripped them off from, they probably would have been more trouble than they were worth.

  7. AteUpWithMotor Avatar

    Having ridden in a 1915 Model T (not a hot rod) fairly recently, calling the cockpit "uncluttered" is apt, "simple," maybe less so. Watching it in operation, I understood why some states required a separate driver's license class for Model Ts…

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      A buddy of mine has a '21 Model T, and he moved off to another town. I unsuccessfully bugged him to teach me to drive it, and all he could say was, "I actually should, because if it ever gets stolen, I'll know who to track down and shoot."

  8. mdharrell Avatar

    "The electrical was converted to 12 volt…."
    Well, with any luck the next owner will convert it back.

  9. CptSevere Avatar

    I'd love to have this car. I'd never change a thing on it. The Tucson T Bucket club would worship me when I showed up in it to their meets. This, people, is what a Hot Rod is all about. Very nice car.

  10. Deartháir Avatar

    Argh. Someone thumbs-up that comment for me? I just pulled a Number_Six and thumbs-downed it accidentally.