c.1910 FORD MODEL 'T' FIRE TENDER
Chassis No. 22837
Engine No. 12515
Red with red seat, wheels and fenders
Engine: four cylinders in line, side valves, 176.7 cubic inch (2890 cc), 22bhp at 1800 rpm; Gearbox: two-speed and reverse epicyclic transmission; Suspension: beam front, live rear axle, transverse half-elliptic leaf-springs front and rear; Brakes: contracting band on transmission. Left hand drive.
The Ford Model T appeared late in 1908 and thereafter the world's motor industries were never the same again. Small, weighing a mere 1500lb, but powered by a seemingly indestructible monobloc four-cylinder engine, it coped equally with paved city boulevards, dirt-roads, desert and jungle tracks, at a respectable 50 mph if need be. A basic Model T was affordable - $850 in 1910 for the four-seat tourer - but nothing was skimped. Henry Ford's mass-production methods brought economies of scale and he insisted on only the best steel alloys for construction. From the very beginning he took every care to ensure that wherever in the world one of them ventured, new parts, and somebody who knew how to bolt them on, were available. Not least of its appeal was the unique two pedal transmission, simplicity itself, with one pedal to go, another second to stop.
Although the durable 'T' was used as the basis for many different styles of bodywork, such is its following that even in modern times people customize chassis in a variety of forms, and this rather jolly 'T' has been styled as a period Fire Tender, we are told using a circa 1910 running gear. Resplendent in red, the car is complete with bell tanks, siren, lights, hoses and even a helmet. It is also appointed copiously with brass brightwork including head, side and tail lights.
The car wears a sticker proclaiming use at the 1982 Imperial Palace Auto Run, and another certifying membership of the Ford Model Club, which should assist further research by the successful purchaser into this car's history.
In condition terms, it presents well, though close inspection would suggest that the restoration was more about cosmetics than thorough mechanical attention, and this combined with the lengthy period of the car's display storage mean that we advise the sensible precaution of re-commissioning prior to road use.
When prepared, the car would no doubt be an entertaining and welcomed entry at the variety of 'T' parties that will take place during next year's centenary of the model.