Hello, i am hoping you guys might be able to help me. I am interested in buying a Model T Speedster which i am told is a 1925. I was wondering if someone could please inform my on how to tell what year it is when i go and look at it, and any other hints & secrets that might help me out.
Steve: There are many more experienced people here than me but most speedsters were hand build from a basic Model T. Since most engines were interchangable, there could be a late model engine on an older chassis. So check the engine number which is found on the left side above the water outlet and compare it with published year ID on engine numbers. That will give you the engine year of mfg. Then if the speedster has a brass radiator, it is very likely older that 1916 if done correctly. If not a brass radiator, then it is from a later model. There are also frame stampings but there are so many, it would be hard to give you correct information with out a detailed list. So - all you other guys - give him some help.
Speedsters vary so much in their value and quality it would be best to take some pictures when you go see it, then post them here. That way you will get many more postings and hopefully some secrets revealed.
it is my opinion that a speedster is like any used car in some respects. Who did the work and did they have "other success" Most engine and trans builds look good on the outside. I would try to find out how far the car has traveled without having major mechanical problems. If you have little experience with Speedsters it could be easy to get swept off your feet by the look and feel. Try to find a T person in your area who would be willing to go along and give you a second ipinion.
My speedster was a "rope tow" home car, and I have worked on it since 1980 to get it to where I wanted it to be. It still gets my heart pounding like it did that day on the rope. Have fun and I hope you get a good one.
You won't find a definitive listing on speedsters. They are generally registered to the year of the engine. If you have the engine number you can cross it to the build date. As for the rest just about anything goes as to the taste of the builder. I have seen speedsters called 1915 with a steel radiator shell and 1927 with a brass radiator.
Speedsters are tricky things . Many of them are made up from pieces from many years. Many of them have serious identity crisis, brass era trim and body on a late, late chassis. Many do not represent any proper year or era. Some have so little T era stuff on them that they really should not be called antiques. All of these could be good, fun cars, if that is what you want. There are also many very well restored or re-created speedsters and race cars that are as much an antique as any Pierce Arrow. Some are show worthy and most are the best tour and fun antique auto you could ever own.
My advice has always been, figure out what you want, and what you want it to be, then research a little and go for it.
A good site for speedster information and lots of speedster pictures is the Northwest Vintage Speedsters at
some things that will increase the value considering the car is mechanically sound, tracks and drives well. Expensive Model T stuff are the brass components like headlights, sidelights, radiator, Special wire wheels (although 26 Ford wires are good, they are not big bucks),
Overhead conversions like Rajo or Frontenac etc.,
Special carbs. like winfield. Auxillary transmission like a Warford and a two speed rear axel called a Ruxstell. These are all components you can see and evaluate.
Stopping a T is usually a rear wheel job. Look for external rear brakes, usually called Rocky Mountain.
I hope this helps. Like other guys have said the engine/trans is most often not tied to a year unless a real purist put it together. This too is a more personal thing. Again, have fun looking.