Time for T
On Wednesday afternoon, I was wandering around the corners of the Internet when I came across an ad for a Model T. It wasn’t a whole car, not even close. Instead, it was a body, a grille shell, perimeter frame, a front axle and a pile of nicely drilled out backing plates. I’m no early T expert, but it looked like it may have started life as a roadster pickup or a touring.
At first glimpse, I didn’t think too much of it. “Nice backing plates,” I said to myself. Then, as I looked closer at the cowl, I spotted traces of hand lettering. There’s definitely a “B/…” What’s the rest? “MR.” If that’s the case, was this the remnants of a competition car?
I continued digging for clues. On the lower edge of the cowl, you can clearly see the sun faded early Jahn’s pistons decal. Above that, there’s the “Equipped with Champion Spark Plugs” logo. Both of these put the car in the early-’60s timeframe.
So, what did I do from there? I started searching. I popped over to George Klass’ site and began scrolling. And scrolling. As the rest of the neighborhood slept, I sat in my living room examining each and every drag car on the page. Some I knew, some I didn’t. I didn’t even put on a record. Instead, I let my mind wander as I studied cowls and class designations.
I looked through “Roadsters.” Nothing. I looked through “St. Roadsters.” Nothing. Although I wasn’t able to dig up anything significant, I certainly got a feel for the era. I watched street machines transform into purpose-built drag cars. I watched weekend warriors turn pro. I saw whitewalls and beanie caps morph into mags and slicks. Simple, solid paintjobs went psychedelic. Twenty years of evolution and innovation, all revolving around drag roadsters.
Sure, nothing came up in my search, but I was happy to go down that rabbit hole. I love seeing these old cars with old paint and decals. I often wonder who built them and where all they’ve been.
I asked the seller, Tim, if he knew anything about the T. The next morning, he replied. “Hey sorry, no history at all.” Who will write its next chapter?
Note: To add some more visual excitement to this thread, I collected some T roadster and roadster-pickup inspiration from George Klass. Ad photos by Tim Abarca