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NYTimes on some nicely modded Model Ts

Thousands of people gathered last week in Richmond, Ind., for the centennial celebration of the Ford Model T, the machine that made the automobile a Main Street technology, with 15 million produced from 1908 to 1927. As a product, the Model T has long been seen as a classic example of no-frills, mass-produced standardization. It had no gas gauge. Even a windshield was an extra-cost option originally.

Yet the gathering in Indiana showed another facet of the Model T’s history — how much owners tinkered with and modified the car. Among the 800 vintage automobiles brought by collectors were ones that had been converted to snowmobiles, racing coups and tow trucks. That was only a glimmer of the many innovative changes made by Model T owners, for uses Henry Ford never had in mind. They transformed the cars into tractors, pickup trucks, paddy wagons, mobile lumber mills and power plants for milling grain. An itinerant preacher converted his into a four-wheeled chapel.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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