1910 FORD MODEL T TOURER
COACHWORK BY BAKERS MOTOR BODY WORKS
Registration No. AC 1886
Engine No. Not found see text
Blue, with black wings and black upholstery.
Engine: 4-cylinder monobloc, 3¾ins x 4ins bore & stroke (2,892cc) side-valve (L-Head) water-cooled by thermo-syphon, flywheel magneto to trembler coil ignition; Gearbox: two-speed & reverse planetary (epicyclic) gearbox, shaft drive to bevel back axle; Suspension: transverse leaf front and rear; Brakes: hand lever to rear wheels, foot pedal on transmission. Right-hand drive.
The ubiquitous Model T Ford was first revealed to the public in October 1908 and from 1909 it became the only Ford model of motorcar available for the next eighteen years. Using the experience gained from over ten years of experimentation and then a series production of motorcars from 1903, Henry Ford envisioned the T to be simple but effective, and to reap the benefits of mass production in terms of both output and price. That he succeeded far beyond even his wildest dreams is now part of history - not just the motoring history - with over 15 million Model Ts eventually being made and by 1920 every other motor vehicle in the world was a Ford Model T. Coupled with the rapid increase in production, from ten and a half thousand cars in 1909 to over half a million in 1916, came dramatic reductions in the sale prices: $850 initially, down to $360 seven years later, and steadily rising wages for those that built them. The Model T became the workhorse of the world, a star of numerous American silent comedy movies, and the generator of many a myth.
The first Ford Ts came to Britain in 1909 in crated form, were assembled on the Thames side at Vauxhall and then sold from premises in Shaftsbury Avenue. Four hundred found customers in 1910 and the need for a proper assembly became paramount. A suitable factory was found on Trafford Park industrial estate that was close to the Manchester Ship Canal, with the additional benefit that the old-established coachbuilding firm of Scott Brothers was nearby and they contracted to make bodies for the cars.
This car, although right-hand drive is probably not a "Manchester T" as the Trafford Park factory was not fully operational until October 1911. Indeed, apart from its American Mechanicals, the car had a distinct West Midlands accent, with its late 1910 Warwickshire registration and the body made in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, by Arthur Baker that remained in operation under different titles and at various addresses in the town for over fifty years. Even the headlamps carry the trade name 'Botton', being made by Bomford & Co. of Birmingham.
Whilst the origins of the car are reasonably clear, its later history is not known, although it had various owners in Surrey in the early 1960s and was last taxed in 1965. It seems that at some stage in its life the car has had its engine and transmission replaced - by no means an unusual occurrence for a Model T. On inspection, no engine number was apparent and that shown on the paperwork with the car (A 562) may be a part number since it is not a Ford T engine number, and the tapered transmission cover with the Ford name on it is of the type fitted from early 1911 for about three years. Immediately apparent to the untutored eye are such items as the lettered foot pedals, the early pattern steering column levers with their hard rubber ends, and the unadorned Ford script on the radiator header tank.
Surviving early examples of the Model T are no means common, and those with bespoke English bodywork even less so. As well as restoration, a new owner also had the intriguing challenge of unravelling the car's history, in part from the clues that the car itself supplies.