Model T Body Modification
July 31, 2008 7:50 PM   Subscribe

Ford Model T owners "transformed the cars into tractors, pickup trucks, paddy wagons, mobile lumber mills and power plants for milling grain."

Add to this list school buses, snowmobiles, railway locomotives, firetrucks, and military ambulances. One man turned his into a cottage on wheels "complete with its own sunroom and back porch"; an itinerant minister in the Midwest turned his into a church: "He installed a pint-size organ inside and designed the steeple to fold down so the road-going chapel could be garaged."

The production model wasn't built for speed, but modified "Fronty Fords" performed well at Indy. This aeromodded Model T could reach 70 mph with its original engine.

And let's not forget the Comedy Ford—a "sawed off bug" that was "funny just to look at."
posted by Knappster (8 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
That's one thing I believe is missing from modern high-tech rides, this kind of uber-hackability. You take something like a Tin Lizzie, Deux Cheveaux, an air-cooled Bug, Land Rover, Jeep, etc., and the potential exists for anyone with some relatively simple tools and a big enough stash of ingenuity to convert it into almost anything motorised. Try that with your H2s or your Priuses or what have you...
posted by arto at 7:57 PM on July 31, 2008

I want to smack myself, the New York Times, society, or SOMEONE for this (sadly, perhaps not incorrect) consideration of the least bit of DIY as so rare and precious that people using their Model T Fords for whatever has to be called a mashup and treated like some superimportant phenomenon.

I mean, I just acquired a table by putting a tabletop left next to the dumpster on top of some table legs left next to another dumpster. Where's my NYT article?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:13 PM on July 31, 2008

That's one thing I believe is missing from modern high-tech rides, this kind of uber-hackability.

Or, like, any-hackability.

I got a call a while back from a bloke (who shall remain useridless), because he had received a call from a friend in distress, and he was too scared to offer a jump-start, because of all the fancy-schmancy electrics in his car. Happily, my (manual, naturally-aspirated etc etc) old bomb is just fine for such a case.
posted by pompomtom at 9:06 PM on July 31, 2008

(but yeah, cool post!)
posted by pompomtom at 9:28 PM on July 31, 2008

The Model T Pump. A few cool pictures.

Good post!
posted by Mblue at 5:05 AM on August 1, 2008

Model Ts didn't just some as cars. You could buy cab and chassis or chassis alone and then send that to your coach builder of choice.

One of the things that made the T great, despite the modest engineering, was there were just so bloody many of them. Everyone knew how to work on them and parts and spares were readily available where ever you went even past WWII.
posted by Mitheral at 7:20 AM on August 1, 2008

IIRC, one of the factors that helped Model T modders was the availability of blacksmiths, who were being put out of business by the assembly line, but were still available to make custom parts.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:58 AM on August 1, 2008

The Model T Spark Coil, a wood-encased high voltage transformer about the size of half of a carton of cigarettes, was at the heart of many electrical experiments and inventions. It was usually the first item on the list of parts for a Tesla Coil.

Pretty good for zapping the heads off plastic army men, too.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:56 PM on August 1, 2008

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