2015 Shannons Sydney Winter Classic Auction

c1911 Ford Model-T Torpedo Roadster




Engine In-line 4-cylinder, 176.7-cid
Gearbox 2-speed manual
Body Work Torpedo Runabou
Colour Red
Interior Beige
Trim Leather
Wheels Wooden-spoke
Brakes Rear Drums only


This lot is no longer available

When Henry Ford began building automobiles in 1903, few could have imagined the impact his cars would have on the motor industry, nor the enduring legacy of his most famous product, the legendary Model T. Ford's earliest car, the original Model A, was a simple, twin-cylinder affair with the engine mounted under the seat and basic two-seater (or runabout) bodywork, but the range rapidly expanded to include both four and six-cylinder cars by 1906 and the Model T, affectionately known around world as the Tin Lizzie, was introduced in October 1908. The rugged mechanicals, strong performance and great value made the Model T a runaway sales success, putting motoring in reach of millions of Americans for the first time. Powered by an L-head four-cylinder unit of 176.7-cid displacement developing 22 horsepower, the Ford employed a foot-operated planetary-type gear change with two forward speeds plus reverse. Suspension consisted of a transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring at each corner, wooden-spoked wheels were shod with pneumatic tyres and braking was carried out by expanding bands on the transmission and hand-operated brakes acting on the rear wheels. With prices ranging from $850 to $1000 in 1909, the Model T offered fantastic value for money and demand soon threatened to outstrip supply. Giving lie to the accepted wisdom that Model T Fords were only sold in black, early cars were actually offered in variety of shades and all 1911 models left the factory's paint shop finished in dark blue. In fact the 1911 Model T saw significant changes to the front and rear axles, engine and new bodywork, now fashioned with steel panels over a wood frame. Ford dropped the tourabout and landaulet but added a sporty runabout (sold in either open tourer or as a torpedo, with doors on both sides). New wings were added to all models, while the brass lighting used gas headlights and kerosene side and tail lamps. Although the Model T is regularly credited with being the earliest mass-produced automobile, Ford's revolutionary moving production line wasn't introduced until 1913, with earlier Model Ts built in the traditional labour-intensive manner. More than 15 million Model Ts were built between 1908 and 1927, helping transform American society and the Ford is rightly regarded as the most influential automobile of the era. With relatively few survivors, brass-era Model Ts - like the example on offer here - are highly prized by collectors today.