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Questionable 1908 Ford Model T Sells At Auction Today For $246,400


Trulyvintage
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906E7A0B-4DC1-411E-9ACF-27C9D884FA7C.jpeg.8751d3b9796200dd46cf57484bcf49e3.jpeg

 

The consensus on this vehicle that sold today was that it most likely not as represented:

 

https://www.mtfca.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=26851&p=206561&hilit=1909+don+hess+%232#p206561

 

Yet it sold today for what is likely a 

record price for a Model T

 

F0348055-11B5-4FFF-AFF3-A715AE5234A2.jpeg.35f5e271cc710f044102a46a19ab8dfc.jpeg

 

The Auction Link:

 

@  https://www.bonhams.com/auction/27329/lot/281/1908-ford-model-t-touringserial-no-2-see-catalog/

 

 

Jim

Edited by Trulyvintage (see edit history)
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  • Trulyvintage changed the title to Questionable 1908 Ford Model T Sells At Auction Today For $246,400

There seems to be a developing trend of Uneducated Money setting record breaking prices at auctions.

 

This particular Model T was discussed in great detail in advance of this auction

on a public forum by knowledgeable folks.

 

I provided the link to the latest discussion 

in my first post.

 

 

Jim

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If you ever wanted to go down the rabbit hole and spend hrs and hrs reading about a car and its authenticity, one that is as important to the model T community as one of the first potential car ever produced follow that link that Truelyvintage posted, and then all the other sub links in that post, and go on the wild ride. I am no expert so I have no opinion on it's authenticity but it sure is a pretty car. 

I also remember it at Hershey when Don Hess brought the car out and took all kinds of pics of it at the time. 

Edited by coachJC (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, Dandy Dave said:

Nice to see the price on Brass T's going up. I have a 1915 here someone can have for $100,000 today. No low ballers. I know what I got. 😜 Dandy Dave. 

Dave, I have 2 brass T's.  Will let them go for $150,000 for the pair.  Price negotiable.             John

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49 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

My grandfather taught me the value of the eternal search for the uninformed buyer.

Wall Mural statue of Diogenes - PIXERS.HK

The search must not be that hard because if the T got bid up that high there must have been at least TWO uninformed bidders.  Unbelievable.  

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43 minutes ago, Ed Luddy said:

Is money really that meaningless? 

Unfortunately it is.  Yesterday, I ventured out of my home for the first time in 10 days to go to the grocery store,,,,holy cow the food prices sure went up since last visit. 

 

Also, on the way there, I saw the gas price at a station on their electronic digital sign out front, and was shocked at how much it was up to in just the last 10 days... but going back home a half hour later, that same digital price sign had now gone up 10 cents more!.  This is not really inflation at this point, it is devaluation/total collapse of the currency, IMO. 

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In trying to figure out why someone would spend that much, the only logical conclusion I can reach is - the new owner can afford what he wants, and he really wanted that car.   Isn't that typical of auctions though?

Terry

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17 minutes ago, F&J said:

Unfortunately it is.  Yesterday, I ventured out of my home for the first time in 10 days to go to the grocery store,,,,holy cow the food prices sure went up since last visit. 

 

Also, on the way there, I saw the gas price at a station on their electronic digital sign out front, and was shocked at how much it was up to in just the last 10 days... but going back home a half hour later, that same digital price sign had now gone up 10 cents more!.  This is not really inflation at this point, it is devaluation/total collapse of the currency, IMO. 

The people got what they wanted and now they're getting it....... good and hard.....Apologies to H.L.Mencken.............Bob

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This happens all the time. Auction companies have only one interest...getting the maximum amount for anything they sell. I like auctions...but they are NOT appropriate for the uninformed buyer. My saying is that "if you need the auctioneer's description, you are not qualified to buy at auction." That is not the popular notion and people get burned every day. I know of another sale (not a car) recently that has resulted in a large lawsuit. Most often the auction description will be worded to make the potential buyer "think" he understands it...when in fact a closer look will show it being ambiguous. Read the fine print! Another auction company I'm familiar with specifies that "only the bold type in the description is guaranteed"....in other words, it could say 1930 Rolls Royce followed by an outrageous description full of errors and omissions but the company is not responsible for any damages.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, coachJC said:

If you ever wanted to go down the rabbit hole and spend hrs and hrs reading about a car and its authenticity, one that is as important to the model T community as one of the first potential car ever produced follow that link that Truelyvintage posted, and then all the other sub links in that post, and go on the wild ride. I am no expert so I have no opinion on it's authenticity but it sure is a pretty car. 

I also remember it at Hershey when Don Hess brought the car out and took all kinds of pics of it at the time. 


The Informed Living Knowledgeable Consensus  …

 

This is a “ made car “.

 

That matters because the link I provided

was in the Public Domain prior to the

auction.

 

Jim

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1 hour ago, 41 Su8 said:

Dave, I have 2 brass T's.  Will let them go for $150,000 for the pair.  Price negotiable.             John

Soon as they buy mine I'll send them right over John. 😉 Dandy Dave!

 

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1 hour ago, JV Puleo said:

This happens all the time. Auction companies have only one interest...getting the maximum amount for anything they sell. I like auctions...but they are NOT appropriate for the uninformed buyer. My saying is that "if you need the auctioneer's description, you are not qualified to buy at auction." That is not the popular notion and people get burned every day. I know of another sale (not a car) recently that has resulted in a large lawsuit. Most often the auction description will be worded to make the potential buyer "think" he understands it...when in fact a closer look will show it being ambiguous. Read the fine print! Another auction company I'm familiar with specifies that "only the bold type in the description is guaranteed"....in other words, it could say 1930 Rolls Royce followed by an outrageous description full of errors and omissions but the company is not responsible for any damages.

How is the auction company responsible? Absolutely they have one interest and that is to make money. I have the same interest with my business. Personal responsibility seems to have fallen out of favor. Its easy to blame others for our own faults. 

I will add, I know nothing about the model T in question and did not read the story. Unless it was described as something that it wasnt then buyer beware. Educated or not. Should there be a test before one can buy a ticket to participate? 

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1 hour ago, Bhigdog said:

The people got what they wanted and now they're getting it....... good and hard.....Apologies to H.L.Mencken.............Bob

Not meaning to engage in verboten political discussion but it's a perfect storm of covid (with attendant supply chain problems), Ukraine, and mismanagement by recent administrations (yeah, plural).

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2 hours ago, CHuDWah said:

As I'm less than knowledgeable about Model T, especially early ones, please educate me as to what a "two-lever" is.

 

The earliest T's had two pedals and two levers as controls, rather than the three pedals and one lever we all know.

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3 hours ago, CHuDWah said:

Not meaning to engage in verboten political discussion but it's a perfect storm of covid (with attendant supply chain problems), Ukraine, and mismanagement by recent administrations (yeah, plural).

I guess you could call the lack of existing 2 pedal- 2 lever Model Ts a "supply chain issue."

Terry

Edited by Terry Bond (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, TAKerry said:

How is the auction company responsible? Absolutely they have one interest and that is to make money. I have the same interest with my business. Personal responsibility seems to have fallen out of favor. Its easy to blame others for our own faults. 

I will add, I know nothing about the model T in question and did not read the story. Unless it was described as something that it wasn't then buyer beware. Educated or not. Should there be a test before one can buy a ticket to participate? 

That's my point. It would only be important if they tell an egregious lie....say an aluminum head PI identified as an Iron head PI. As far as a test is concerned...it would have to be one that eliminates the potential buyers that know what they are doing! Auction companies, like dealers, can't be expected to know everything. In fact, the dedicated enthusiast almost always knows more than they do.

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31 minutes ago, Terry Bond said:

I guess you could call the lack of existing 2 pedal- 2 lever Model Ts a "supply chain issue."

Terry

I suppose, although "supply chain issue" implies interruption of ongoing production/distribution.  AFAIK, Ford isn't producing any more 2/2 T - the current supply is all there is or will be.

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2 hours ago, Bloo said:

 

The earliest T's had two pedals and two levers as controls, rather than the three pedals and one lever we all know.

Yeah, I got that but does the second lever just replace one of the pedals?  If so, which one?  Or is the functional layout of the pedals and levers different?

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10 minutes ago, CHuDWah said:

Yeah, I got that but does the second lever just replace one of the pedals?  If so, which one?  Or is the functional layout of the pedals and levers different?

 

As I recall it just replaces one of the pedals. I have only driven three pedal ones. I read all the sordid details about the differences in some book, probably a Floyd Clymer one. That was a long time ago. Someone in here will know though.

 

18 minutes ago, CHuDWah said:

I suppose, although "supply chain issue" implies interruption of ongoing production/distribution.  AFAIK, Ford isn't producing any more 2/2 T - the current supply is all there is or will be.

 

One thing I do remember reading in a Clymer book was something along the lines of "In 1915, Henry Ford made a little over 300,000 Model T Fords, but only twice that many are still registered".

 

I'll show myself out now...  😛

 

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Is it the real number two?

 

In the world of big boy toys.....just look at the evidence in front of you.

Auction venue....why this one?

Auction description.........doesn’t say it’s number two, and specifically says we don’t know..........

What is the written guarantee......none.

Where is the iron clad provenance........photos from pre war......none.

 

The above says it ALL.

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It's a beautiful, decorative piece.

 

If you started collecting parts, making parts and building this car today, it would  take years to complete and cost far above what this example sold for. The selling price was commensurate of its value given the Instant Gratification Factor and the car's Eye Appeal (and this car has LOTS of Eye Appeal). The  Instant Gratification Factor is the driving force behind a lot of  vehicle sales at the moment.....

 

If it was the real #2 Model T-and had supporting evidence since day one-it would have sold for A LOT MORE than this example.

 

There are lots of recently constructed Shelby Cobras (specifically the high quality "continuation" series cars) that have sold well into 200K range that don't have a single 1960s Cobra component on them.

 

 

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)
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40 minutes ago, Bloo said:

As I recall it just replaces one of the pedals. I have only driven three pedal ones. I read all the sordid details about the differences in some book, probably a Floyd Clymer one. That was a long time ago. Someone in here will know though.

I've never driven a T regardless the number of pedals/levers but I do understand the functions of the 3-pedal controls.  My uncle who drove them "back in the day" said, "Ya gotta be a damn octopus to drive one!"  🤣

 

40 minutes ago, Bloo said:

One thing I do remember reading in a Clymer book was something along the lines of "In 1915, Henry Ford made a little over 300,000 Model T Fords, but only twice that many are still registered".

My Ford experience is pretty much limited to Model A, especially coupes and convertibles - I'm sure way more of them now have rumble seats than Henry ever installed.  😁

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Not wanting to start any debates about this car. There are enough of those already. And, if one wishes to follow the links provided ? (I have not at this time?) One could likely read the same arguments over and over again. And, probably see my name in several of them. 

So just some clarification for anyone wondering, but not wanting to spend half the afternoon reading old arguments.

As far as I know, I have never been within a hundred feet of this particular car. Although it would have been very possible about fifty years ago when the car was still in Southern California, and I spent some time down there at meets it may have been at? But I hadn't gotten really interested in early model T Fords at that time, I was mostly looking at other horseless carriage era cars.

I am not mentioning names, you can follow the links if you want to know them.

I have listened to the stories as told by the family that had and "restored" this car back in the 1950s and 1960s. I know what they say and believe. I also know a few of the doubters personally, and I have no reason to "doubt" their doubts. So, I am not taking sides.

 

In my view, there is little doubt that this car is one of the best restored and "most correct original era parts" earliest Ts in the world. But IS it car number "2"? THAT is where the doubt is.

The fellow that restored this car, AT THAT TIME, was one of the most knowledgeable people on the planet about the first year of model T Fords. But remember, at that time, most knowledge in the hobby was from faulty memories! People in the hobby just didn't really know one tenth of what we know today. The early Ford archives were buried in filthy warehouses, none of it sorted or cross referenced in any way. People like me hadn't yet spent thousands of hours studying era photographs, looking for all the little details, trying to sort out time lines.

On the flip side, in those days, real genuine first year parts showed up at most hobby swap meets! I remember some of the swap meets I went to in those days having a dozen sellers with piles of 1909 and 1910 parts! And the fellow that restored this car knew what he was looking for.

 

Unfortunately. The fellow that "restored" this car was guilty of a mistake that I am also very guilty of. NOT taking enough photos or documenting the facts and details as he went along. To make that matter worse, several of the photos (his and other people's!) claimed to be car number 2 before restoration? Have been studied enough, in spite of poor quality, to determine that they were in fact photos of a different car! This WILL be a problem for anyone reading old discussions about this car, and ironically to a lesser extent also car number 222 (currently on display at the Ford Piquette Plant Museum). Over the years, several people got their photos mixed up, along with a couple other very early unrestored model Ts. So if you decide to read through a bunch of past discussions? Keep in mind that not all photos are correctly identified.

 

The car's story goes that it was discovered, purchased and resold, eventually going to the fellow that restored it. It was claimed to be car number 2. It was restored as such. But a lot of pieces on the car were wrong, or in poor condition. The fellow that "restored" the car already had most of the proper pieces to replace the wrong parts. I suspect that he also may have replaced some correct pieces simply because the original was in poor condition and he had better ones.

There weren't many people in the world at that time better suited to do the restoration, and do it properly. If only he had kept a lot better documentation of the work done and parts replaced.

 

What it is? Is one of the finest examples of the early "two lever" model Ts on the planet. That alone is enough to justify (to some that can afford it?) a lot of dollars. What it is not? Is well enough documented to truly support the claim to being any specific early two lever Ford.

I said I will not take sides on this. But I will say, it very well may have some amount of car number two in there. Or it may not? I just do not know.

 

 

The second lever replaces the reverse pedal. As I understand it, for reverse, one needs to operate the clutch by either pressing the low/clutch pedal, or pulling the brake/clutch lever halfway back at the same time as pulling the reverse lever! Switching to the three pedal one lever method was a considerable improvement! And you should look at the convoluted conglomeration of cams, detents, rods and levers it took to make that system work!

Edited by wayne sheldon
I hate leaving typos! (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, motoringicons said:

It's a beautiful, decorative piece.

 

If you started collecting parts, making parts and building this car today, it would  take years to complete and cost far above what this example sold for. The selling price was commensurate of its value given the Instant Gratification Factor and the car's Eye Appeal (and this car has LOTS of Eye Appeal). The  Instant Gratification Factor is the driving force behind a lot of  vehicle sales at the moment.....

 

If it was the real #2 Model T-and had supporting evidence since day one-it would have sold for A LOT MORE than this example.

 

 

 

 

I don't know the history of the two pedal two lever car in the Henry Ford collection, but think the restoration predates #220. The Swigert '09 sold back 8-10 years ago and was untouched. These three seam to be the best two lever cars IMO. Bob 

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Bob- The Henry Ford Museum car is #839 from memory. Also, from memory, it is possibly the latest serial # (newest?) of two pedal/two lever cars in existence. The car came to the museum's collection in the late 1950s and was restored by 1959 as part of a Ford Motor Company promotional stint commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Model T Ford. (1959 was also the year Ford Motor Company built it's 50th Millionth car-a Galaxie sedan- and toured the "new" 1959 car along the same route as the 1909 transcontinental race alongside a 1909 racer).

 

The  #839 touring car was a very good, complete, correct and original car prior to its restoration. There are lots of photos of the car in "as found" condition and it was a nice one. I believe the legendary brass car dealer Jack Skaff unearthed the car and sold it to the museum. If memory services correctly, Leonard Davis (legendary brass car restorer) did most of the restoration work on this car. Prior to acquiring this car, the museum had another later 1909 "three pedal" car that was modified to look like a two pedal/two lever car.

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)
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I guess it depends what you're into as a collector, some people it's early production cars that are their thing, maybe a celebrity car or cynically purely as an investment. Each to their own 

 

Personally I'd be more interested in having a couple of different cars (e.g there is an american underslung for the less than this)  

 

 

Then again I don't have 250k to spend on a car either...

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10 hours ago, prewarnut said:

Without reading hours of the linked thread: What's that crap on the casting to the right of the "2"? Did someone grind away the "7"?

 

 

I don't even need to look back at the photos again. I looked at all the listing photos a few weeks ago, and if you are referring to what I think you are referring to? It has been discussed on one of the few recent discussion threads about this car.

There are actually two number "twos" on the right side of the block.

One, a "cast in place" number two is almost an inch tall, and can be seen in a couple of the photos, down low on the cam side of the crankcase, just forward of the carburetor. That one is a mold number. Used by the Ford factory to track the quality of castings, molds, and patterns used in the casting process. I do not see any "crap" there.

The other is shown in closeups, without good size references, and is rather small. It is a stamped numerical "2", and actually in this case double-stamped. The hammer and stamping die bounced, leaving a close over-strike "two". There is some "garbage", discoloration, to the right of that number two. That discoloration was discussed on recent threads (there are a few recent threads!) about the car. I did not participate in that discussion. However, their general consensus was the same conclusion as mine when I first looked at the photos. Clearly, it is discolored. Most likely a spot of rust that didn't get cleaned up in prepping the car for sale, because it is a small minor spot in a difficult small and almost impossible to see place. What you cannot tell in the photos, is that "2" is about a quarter inch tall, in the space about an inch and a half wide between number two and number three exhaust ports! That area, due to the exhaust heat, is prone to surface rust! The fact that that area would have some minor rust discoloration on a sixty year old restoration of a hundred and ten year old car is not surprising.

 

Relevant historic details. Only the first few (fifty to maybe a hundred? I don't recall the actual number offhand?) model Ts had the serial number located between the manifold ports! The error was corrected very early, putting the serial number boss down front behind the timing gear where it remained until early in 1912. 

 

The cast in place mold number down on the side of the crankcase was in that location through most or all of 1909, and some or most of 1910. It is one of the first details purists look for in determining real from "fake" early engines. There are nearly a dozen details people like me look for in photos or in person to spot the real ones. 

Although some people have gone to great lengths to fake a later early block and pass it off as a real one? This one is almost definitely a real and very early block. Again, lack of adequate documentation when the car was restored has some people believing it was a somewhat later block and may have been altered? It would require some mount of invasive investigation to determine definitely one way or the other.

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I have no axe to grind in this argument..........every car, every make, are to be considered fake, altered, and assembled until PROVEN otherwise........mostly by photos and published information on the car backmwhen the hobby was young.......seems to me a real number two Ford car would have a pile of documentation from the very early days........say pre 1950. Sure it’s possible a late find occurred......but real proof is needed.

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58 minutes ago, edinmass said:

 

I have no axe to grind in this argument..........every car, every make, are to be considered fake, altered, and assembled until PROVEN otherwise

 

Especially for something like a T when you’re paying a big premium for it over others that are available 

 

Then again it’s not a market I’m playing I 

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Ed, Your point is well taken, and I agree with you. It is unfortunate, that a lot of genuine cars will not get the respect they deserve because while a car may or may not be real? The documentation for them simply does not exist. But that, is a fact of life.

As I have said, on this particular model T? I will not take a side. In part because I am frankly a bit too close to it. I personally know a few people very passionately on one side or the other. And I wasn't close enough to make a solid commitment to either side.

My somewhat lengthy posts are intended to put the car, and its issues, in some reasonable framework for those here not familiar with it. It is not a "fake" nearly in the sense of hundreds of "brass era" model Ts built out of a bunch of 1920s parts and modern reproduction nearly half of it. More of this car is original 1909 pieces than nearly half the brass model Ts on most HCCA tours are their genuine year pieces.

But is this particular car the true earliest model T in existence? I know people that passionately believe that it is! And I know people that absolutely believe that it is NOT! Adequate documentation does not appear to exist (and several people have been looking for it for a long time now!). And I do not know the answer for certain either way. I do know that a lot of original pieces were, and needed to be, replaced when the car was restored. But that is true for a lot of even the finest collector cars. And most of those replacements for this car, were proper era correct parts. (Excluding of course tires, paint, upholstery materials etc etc etc.) 

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With All Due Respect Here …

This Can Be Laid To Rest With

One Critical Fact ….

 

Not one living person with

firsthand experience - knowledge

or association ( direct or indirect )

to this car will verify that it is #2.

 

No further discussion is warranted.

 

 

Jim

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