Someone who was born in 1909 could have buy a brand new model T
in 1927, however a 104 years old fellow in 2013...
Model T first owners is a lost generation by now... or not?
Who was the last model T first owner you ever met? How old was he/she
and when it happened?
We're in our early 60's with a 1917 touring. At a recent car show a 20's something asked my wife if she was the original owner? I can't begin to tell you how impressed she was!
Does that count?
The closest I can come is the coupe I just sold. I bought it from the second owner who bought it in 1958 from his father-in-law.
That lady is sitting in my wife's '24 Touring. She toured the old Dearborn Engineering Lab which others may know as EEE or POEE. It was great being able to talk to her. We let her visit her old office on the second floor and it was neat to be able to hear her descriptions of what used to be here and who sat there. Yes, I gave her and her family a ride.
That's a great photo! My great aunt was born on a farm in 1909. Her family never owned a car until the 30s. She had a story about her and high school friends running for cover the first time they saw an airplane. The hills of Arkansas are pretty remote.
She's Betty McGurrin Sullivan. She didn't quite make it to the centennial as she passed away in January 2008 at 102+. They used a cameo of the above photo for her obituary.
I brought the '24 into work that day because I had beforehand knowledge that she had owned a '24 Tudor. She told me that in spite of a "Fox lock", the car was stolen one evening in Detroit. Apparently she was a speed demon as well; she passed Henry Ford on Michigan avenue enroute to the lab and Henry sent word to her that she was a skilled driver. At that time, she was driving a Model A roadster.
The late Vic Labantschnig, one of the first members of the St Louis Model T club, was born in 1910 and got his first Model T at 14. In those days, though, I'm sure Vic and his family couldn't afford a new car, so I doubt he was ever the first owner of a T. He owned a great many of them throughout his life, as well as being the go-to guy for that part you needed in a hurry. (He gave me hell one day when he found out that I had ordered a headlight lens from a parts supplier. "Why didn't you come to me?") He died about four months short of his hundredth birthday, and his sons threw a party for it anyway. Great chance to reminisce. One of his sons now has a major Ford dealership in Rolla, MO.
Here is Vic when he was 90.
Some of my uncles, born in 1899 and 1900, had T's. But I don't know if they bought them new.
My grandfather bought a new Model T Touring in I believe in 1924.
He had 5 children and my Mother was 3rd from the oldest kid in the family.
She also happened to be the one who learned to drive the T the best so she wound up taking her brothers and sister to school and being the chauffer when the need arose.
She got her drivers license at the town square a while after she began driving.
I remember her telling us it was on a Saturday and there was a guy at a table who was selling Texas drivers licenses. My grandfather bought her the license for .25 cents.
She was 14 years old and felt really grown up as she was the kid who got the drivers license!
We may have run out of people who bought a T new, but I'm sure we have several who owned a used T as a first car.
When I was growing up no one that I knew would admit to buying a NEW Model T. If they could afford a new car it would be a Dodge. Those that could not afford a new Dodge would buy a used T.
My grandfather (1895-1965) drove nothing but Model T's. (He tried a '37 Chevy in about '42 with disastrous results due to unfamiliarity with a sliding gear transmission and never tired any other car again.) But he was of limited means, so I doubt if he ever bought one new.
I have a TT 1924 truck that my dad and his brother bought new. Dad was born in 1901 and followed his dad in the cotton gin business.
The truck replaced horses and wagon to haul cotton bales and cotton seed. In the off season, the truck was used to haul fire wood for the steam boiler. (steam engine powered gin)
We lost Dad in 1965, but the TT truck still runs good and gets driven a lot. The truck used to have removable side boards. No cab ever.
The white trucks in the background were from a seismic exploration crew.
Sort of. My father in law's- father bought a touring in the mid 20s. My father in law, a very small boy at the time, remembers the smell of the roll down side panels as he napped in the back seat.
My grandfather, Jesse Severn (1867-1949) was the first owner of a 1923 Model T Ford Four Door sedan. It was purchased new in December 1922 from Butler Ford, Mt. Airy, Maryland. It was the first four door sold by that dealership. The car still exists and is in that region somewhere. I would personally love to own it.
The photo shows Jesse (Pop) on the right, my grandmother Mamie on the left, and me on the bumper of their 1935 Ford. Photo taken in about the fall of 1937.
In South Jersey, the late Ernest Baals (1924-2011) purchased his first in 1938 as an early teen for chump change, drove it back and forth to high school in the era and locale where the police didn't care as you somehow were related and then as soon as he was old enough to drive he and friends took off for a round-trip to Texas and back in that T, part fun, part endurance run for his 'fixes'. Growing up his family car was a T and his father Ernst (1888-1969) did all of his own and neighborhood repairs for the town.
Ernie started as a garage mechanic just into his teens after school, stayed as a mechanic for his working life, became the local area 'guru' on how to keep T's running, kept T's right up until he passed in December 2011, and in a bit of irony...his Coupe which was always a turn the key and go, never let him down or anyone down even once in the previous 40 years, went to his funeral service on its own and 'missing' a bit...and then refused to leave the funeral home on its' own! Had to leave it there and go get it later with a trailer because none of the newer T guys could get it running! (The car was willed to my son and after messing around with it for over a year, I finally got it running again last week...and I'm still NOT sure exactly what the final fix was!)
The town I grew up in, Lore City, had a population of about 250 people. Clyde Symes was the local barber, first person to cut my hair. When I bought my T and got it running I was driving down main street and Clyde was setting on his front porch. I stopped and asked Clyde, was this the first car you ever drove, knowing he was born in the era. He said "no, first was a Plymouth" but he remembers when he was 7 yrs old his dad bought a new 1914. His family lived in a little town to the West, Kipling. One evening someone came to the house to let Clydes father know his Model T came in. His father walked the 4-5 miles down the tracks, to the depot in Lore City to get his car. He had bought it from the local agent, the general store. Clyde said after a practice lap around town his father drove it to Kipling, first time his father ever drove a car.
Clyde was a WW2 vet who was stationed in Africa, and passed away a few years ago at 99.
Good story George. Sounds like it finally got over its mourning period.
Dunham F Conger, Sr. My father's father. Most memorable "T" memory relayed to me years ago, occurred on his first visit to see his girl friend and meet his future in-laws. When leaving, he backed into the clothes line full of clean clothes and proceeded to drive off, dragging 1/2 of the family's wardrobe behind.
He still managed to win my grandmothers hand, in spite of his in-laws' serious reservations.
I fit that description.
I bought my '26 Touring in 1957, and it was my first car, but it had already had four owners.
It is interesting to me that when I bought the T, it was 31 years old, but when I bought the XK120 32 years later, it was 37 years old.
My second car, which I co-owned, was a 1934 Studebaker, and the third, also co-owned, was a 1954 Ford Crestline convertible.
When I was young (er) and in the service we would
go to the local wrecking yard and for $25.00 buy an old car to drive, never a T but A's and on up. we would drive them (Using drain oil from the service station for free). Drive them tell they dropped and leave them along side the road and go to the next wrecking yard. I wish I had some of those cars today. But you know young and foolish.
Ooo, the cars I have seen in junk yards! The crowning example must have been a fire damaged, but restorable, Lancia Lambda touring, but what is a poor high school student to do?.