I have obtained copies of Ford's invoices for Model T's delivered to the "Auto and Service Co." of Copas, Mn. These range from Sept. of 1919 to July of 1920. In many cases the name of the original purchaser appears, as is the case of the one illustrated. If anyone out there (especially in the midwest) would like me to check to see if their car matches one of my numbers, just e-mail the first four digits of your engine # or title number. There are 24 vehicles accounted for, several on the same invoice. Very interesting reading!
It would be nice to have the T's, but I'd also take the 30 gallons of gas for $8.79!
Let's see; in 1920, $8.79 would be about a day and a half's pay. I think maybe I'm glad that we don't have to work a day and a half for 30 gallons of gasoline even at today's gasoline prices!
And 50 or so octane.
Fascinating.Thanks for posting.Interesting period in history. That gas price figures out to just over .29 a gallon.Post WWI inflation. I have an interesting picture dated 1917 of a tiny rural gas station and gas is .13.There was also a nasty recession set in about this time.Banks were failing especially rural ones.Crop prices had collapsed after WWI but many other commodities remained high.Ford closed down the main plant for the whole month of January of '21.Sound familiar? And if that wasn't enough,a bunch of old spinster women had succeeded in taking the beer and other libations away. Legal booze,anyway...
Thanks, Jeff; you come up with the best goodies. . Aren't you the one who sold me the gas gauge? Sorry my memory isn't better...
Thanks so much for posting the Ford Invoice for “Auto and Service Co.” Copas, MN. I did a quick comparison of the engine numbers on the invoice with the engine production numbers listed on page 523 of Bruce McCalley’s book “Model T Ford.” The first T touring and the roadster engine number both fall in May 26, 1920 and the second T Touring was listed as May 19, 1920. And the stamped paid date on the invoice was Jun 8, 1920. Not a lot of lag time between engine production and sales. And if the engine numbers were shipped to the Assembly Plant in Minneapolis MN and the engines were assembled there from parts and the engine numbers stamped there, then the time between engine assembly and sales would have been even less. (Bruce discusses how blocks of engine numbers would be sent to the assembly plants to be used on engines they assembled – se page 501.)
You might also want to send a copy to one or more of the Minnesota Historical societies such as: http://www.wchsmn.org/research/communities/scandia/ . If you are really lucky that may produce some additional leads. Probably not – but it may still help others in the future learn more about Copas, MN -- you never know.
If the Copas, MN on the invoice is in the same general area as the one on today’s Google Maps, it was about 40 miles by the current highways from Minneapolis/St Paul (Twin Cities) MN which had a Ford assembly plant. [Note at least one Copas may have disappeared around 1963: The Historical Society link in the paragraph above has a sentence that says, “In 1963 the Copas depot was moved away. The last building was razed that same year, and Copas disappeared.” I didn’t find an easy answer to which Copas is there today.] From looking at the invoice I could not tell how the cars were shipped and/or delivered from the assembly plant. I don’t think it was by rail as the “R. R Car and initials” area was left blank on the invoice. I would guess that would have been used if the cars were shipped in a railroad car – but that is just a guess.
If you have a chance, please post and/or e-mail (you can click on my name above and my e-mail address is the third line from the top) some of the other invoices. I am always looking for additional reference points to learn more about how Ford assembled and delivered cars around the country.
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.
The inflation calculator says $8.79 in 1920 is worth $93.36 in 2008 money. That's $3.11 per gallon for those thirty gallons. Makes the current local price of less than half that look pretty good.
Hap, I would be happy to mail you copies of all the invoices. I will contact you by e-mail for address info. Copas is now just a bend in Mn. Hiway 95 between Marine and Scandia (Marine is keen, Scandia is keener, Copas is keenest!) along the St. Croix River..... RDR, do you remember the brass plate I sent you that was on a "factory" picup box that was made in L.A.? Perhaps that is how you remember me. Years ago you also sent me plans for a copy of the box on your picup. I made one, it worked good but I turned that P.U. into my Model T "Jalopy".
Thank you so much -- I forwarded my address to you.
In my opinion, the inclusion of 30 gallons of gas and 3 gallons of oil on the invoice indicates that the cars were driven from Minneapolis to Copas.
Driving cars from the assembly plant to the dealers was a common method of delivery.
If the cars were shipped by rail, I very much doubt that they would have left the assembly plant with full tanks of gasoline.
Also, note that the invoice says "SHIPPED VIA Deld." (Perhaps "Deld" is shorthand for "delivered"?)
If it's the Copas I'm familiar with it is located on State Hwy 95 which runs along the St. Croix River, the border between MN & WI. There is a restaurant there, and that's it. Would have been one of several small whistle stops between Stillwater and Taylors Falls, MN that disappeared as the railroad pulled out, highways improved and cars range improved.
Warren..... you are right about the location except Crabtree's, for the past 5 years, has been a junk/tourist shop. Do you know of any 1920 T's in the T Totalers?
In July 1952, my dad purchased a "barn fresh" 1920 non-starter touring for $25.00 from a farm near Red Wing. He sold it one month later for $75.00. The car still resides in Minneapolis and is currently in storage.
The motor serial number of the car is 3348761 which relates to a 09/02/19 assembly date for the engine and makes the car an early 1920 model.
This is a long shot, but does the above serial number correspond with any of your invoices?
Sorry I cannot match one for you Erik. Closest I have is 3385132, 9-15-1919. I do have a total of 26 now as I found two more invoices in my highly organized and detailed file. (yeah, sure!)
Dang, Crabtree's used to be a decent little eatery. Well, a lot happens in 20 years.