I've always said "Why steal a Model T when you can steal a Lincoln". [;o)==
I always heard Lincolns were a favourite of gangsters and bootleggers.
I guess they figured if they were good enough for Ness, Rico and Youngblood.........
The biggest thing about cars from the 20's right up to the early 70's is you did not need to be a rocket scientist to hot wire them. It wasn't until the invention of the factory locking steering wheel that first deterred any small time hood. A simple wire from the battery to the coil and then depending on which car it was just a matter of jumping the starter. Today's cars you almost need a PHD just to open the hood! Oh, And no I never stole a car!
Stealing cars . . . a friend showed me a book not long ago of reprints of "old West" wanted posters. As inter-agency law enforcement bulletins were a 20th century innovation for the most part, the reprints dated from 1900-1917. Probably half noted automobile theft as a major offense along with horse thieving and cattle rustling. Old style bad-men were making an easy transition into the motor age.
Will, you imply that steering locks are a late development. I had a '29 Buick with a steering column lock, a feature I believe was introduced on that make in '26 (?). Prior to that, Buick offered a lock on the transmission. I'm not sure of the years, but Ford V-8s 1934,'35 at least, also had steering column locks. I don't know what other makes used them, but I'll bet there were more than a few.
There are dozens of devices offered to Model T owners over the years to provide some kind of theft security. I guess grand theft auto has always been a problem . . . I wonder when the first horseless carriage was stolen ? No one got away with Henry's quadricycle anyway. ; )
Today I think a model T is safe from most thieves. If they manage to get it started without knocking teeth out or breaking and arm, they have to figure out how to drive the darn thing. And who are they going to out run in a T? A bycycle cop maybe. Watch out for your T buddys tho!
Just for fun, the lincoln owners club serial number registry that I maintain for the club does not have any of these cars listed. We have only about 1% survival rate for model L lincolns which is pretty low.
My 26 Buick has both a steering wheel lock and a transmission lock, I don't have a key for the transmission lock but I'm told it could either lock the transmission in low or reverse.
For whatever it is worth? My '27 Paige has a steering column lock. That made for some fun when my dad bought it fifty years ago. Steering was locked, and key hadn't been seen in about a decade. Fortunately, in those days, there were still some really good old locksmiths around.