Today’s car is a 1915 Ford Model T Runabout owned by Richard Tupper. The body is finished in a color that is hard to describe and the typical black fenders with a black interior and black top. I saw this car at Caffein Cruisers Cars & Coffee in Torrance, CA. It is powered by a 1926 ford 176.7 cu in, 2.9 Liter in line 4-cylinder, with a Holley single barrel carburetor, producing better than the original 20 hp. The engine has other modifications that are Model A crankshaft, Model A connecting rods, domed high-compressions aluminum pistons, Oversized intake and exhaust valves, custom Intake manifold, Delco Remy distributor. Transferring that power to the rear wheels is a late 1940’s 3-speed manual transmission with overdrive, that was built by Orville Enyeart, and delivering that to the rear wheels through a Ruckstell 2 speed rear axle with 4.0:1 and 3:63 gear ratio. The transmission was custom built by Orville Enyeart of Long Beach, CA. The transmission consisted of Model T drive shaft and torque tube with the transmission and the overdrive unit grafted in the middle. He produced them during the 1970’s and 1980’s. The Ruckstell 2-speed rear axle is supposedly the only aftermarket accessory that Henry Ford approved of for Model Ts. Helping slow this baby down is a hydraulic drum brake setup that was sourced from a 1958 Nash Metropolitan. The front suspension look to be the stock with the solid axle with the transverse semi-elliptical spring, but the “Float-a-Ford” coil spring shock absorbers are very unique addition. The rear suspension looks to be complete stock with the transverse semi-elliptical spring. The wheels are spring steel wheels. Take a closer look. The maker is unknown and only 5 sets are were know to exist from the pervious owners father. The previous owner, Les Mac Willie’s, father had 3 sets of them and each set was different than the other sets. Not only were the spokes made of spring steel to cushion the ride, but they were pitched to act like a fan to help cool the engine.
There were more than 15 million Model T’s produced from 1908 to 1927. The total number of 1915 Model T’s produced was 501,492 of which 47,116 were Runabouts. The original MSRP of this Runabout was $445.00. While this car has some very unique accessories, I think the wheels are what really caught my attention. This is such a very cool car that captures the custom work of the time. The question is do you leave it as is or restore it? Either way, truly an great car for any car event. Thanks for riding along. Frank