Hershey | Lot 115

1911 Ford Model T Open Runabout



$49,500 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania

10 October 2013

Engine No.
  • Racy Open Runabout
  • Authentic restoration
  • AACA National Junior and Senior First awards at Hershey

22 bhp, 176.7 cu. in. four-cylinder inline L-head engine, two-speed planetary transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, and a transmission brake and two-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 100 in.

For 1911, Ford restyled the Model T. It had a new radiator, fenders, and wheels, and the bodies now used steel panels over a wood framework, as opposed to the earlier all-wood construction. Cars were previously offered in red, grey, or green, but, for 1911, dark blue was selected as a standard color (“any color as long as it’s black” still lay in the future).

Some body styles, like the coupe, were phased out, but two new ones also were offered, the torpedo runabout and the open runabout. These two differed from the others, as they had curved rear fenders, a longer hood, lower seating, and a round 16-gallon fuel tank on the rear deck. The torpedo runabout had doors, while the open runabout did not. The late Les Henry, a renowned Model T historian, wrote that these runabouts “had undoubtedly the best performance and greatest speed of all Model T Fords ever produced.”

There were mechanical changes as well. A new rear axle with cast iron center housing was introduced, and the front axle received new spindles. Most prominent was a mid-year change to the engine. Replacing the earlier exposed valves were new valve chambers that were cast into the block, but they had steel doors to enable adjustments when needed.

This handsome Open Runabout is painted the correct Ford Blue with grey pinstripes, and it was restored with Rootlieb sheet metal. The engine and drivetrain were rebuilt by renowned specialist Hugh “Sandy” McTavish, of Milverton, Ontario. Upon completion, the car was awarded Antique Automobile Club of America National First Junior status at Hershey in 2003, with medallion number W16449, and it achieved National First Senior designation in 2009, also at Hershey.

It has a black leatherette top with a matching boot and correct black leather upholstery. The coil box is an authentic Heinze unit that is superbly varnished. Other equipment includes a Stewart speedometer, a brass bulb horn, a brass windshield, and an accessory trunk mounted behind the fuel tank. The car has been maintained in scrupulous condition, and it presents very well, with its brass highly polished and its sheet metal and paint in excellent condition. It runs and drives very well. At the time of restoration, a ring gear was added to the flywheel, making the addition of an electric starter very straightforward, should a new owner wish to do so.

Very few open runabouts and torpedo runabouts were built in 1911, and as a result, it is hard to find good examples of these most desirable models. This tidy Open Runabout is one of a very few to appear on the market, and it represents an uncommon opportunity. It will be a welcome addition to any collection.

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