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1927 Ford Model T Roadster

By Jeremy Wilson

This ‘27 Model T Roadster is really a restoration of a re-creation. It was built from a Speedway Motors 1927 Track-T Roadster Kit and although you can see the outlines, there are no doors and no trunk; you just hop in. The grill is styled after a 1932 Model A but chopped four to six inches.

Besides his reputation for championship Baja Bug racing in the 1980s, Norm Schmidt is known for getting good deals on the cars he buys. And the roadster is no exception.

“I’ve had the car one year. I bought it at the Labor Day swap meet. I wasn’t looking for the car--it didn’t have a For Sale sign on it, but it had one in it, not where everyone could see it. It just caught my eye. And you couldn’t build the car for even twice the money I ended up paying for it,” says Schmidt.

Part of the art of smart car buying is being able to spot a diamond in the rough--a car that will be worth significantly more with a few modest changes.

“The people I bought it from got it as a rat rod in hot rod primer. They painted it and installed the new interior,” says Schmidt. “The transmission had just been rebuilt and all of the pieces were there but they weren’t really period correct. I took a lot of the things off that were modern, like the billet taillights, and put 1941 Chevy taillights in it. It had low-profile tires and they just didn’t look right. I put much taller tires on it right away. I just changed it around until it looked proper.”

The appeal of this particular roadster is its color scheme and pin striping. It looks just like a hot rod from the early 1960s.

“When I first saw it I thought it was very striking. The PPG gold is very popular right now and so is the white naugahyde,” says Schmidt. “The kid I bought it from was going to college and had decided it was time to sell it. He had always wanted it pinstriped so I had it pinstriped at the car show. I let him pick his design and I paid for it. It was one of the things he wanted to do but never had the chance.”

You might think that with a V8 and three twos the roadster would be gas thirsty, but looks can be deceiving.

“I call it my gas mileage car. It’s the economy cruiser. Nobody knows it but it’s a 305; it’s just about the smallest V8 they make with the least amount of horsepower. It runs on one two barrel, the other two are not functional. It’s so light you can lay rubber and go fast but I just drive it as a little putter. I don’t hot rod it around. It stops well and drives beautifully on the freeway. It also corners well but because of its 120 inch wheelbase, it’s hard to make a sharp turn. It’s very comfortable and really just a fun car to drive. It gets a lot of attention and people really like it.”

And here’s Schmidt in the winners’ line, accepting a trophy for best home-built, traditional hot rod at the 2010 Del Mar, California car show.

Businesses Used in This Restoration
Speedway Motors has over a dozen kits available. Look under Street Rod->Body. Or search for part number 97390100.
Recommendations
Click on any item below for more details at Amazon.com

Ken Wickham
Standard Guide to Building Street Rods and Custom Cars: How to Get the Most Car for Your Money
Krause Publications, Paperback, 2002-08

This well-reviewed and generously illustrated book tells you how to build a hot street rod without going broke. Enthusiasts will learn step-by-step how to plan for and undertake a custom street rod project. Includes practical advice for the entire process, such as how to assemble a budget and a game plan.


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The Kit Car Manual: The complete guide to choosing, buying and building British and American Kit Cars
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Tom Collins
The Legendary Model-T Ford: The Ultimate History of America's First Great Automobile
Krause Publications, Hardcover, 2007-12-19
This book includes 300 superb color photos and historic black-and-white images, production data and technical specifications, and collector pricing. The classic design, and rich photography of this reference offers you a unique and useful commemorative of the 100-year anniversary of the car that changed the world.

Sandy Randsford
Building Guide for Basic Hot Rods
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This book gives you ideas for building your own retro-rods, rat rods, or nostalgia rods. interesting building scenarios. The description that has come to the fore within the ranks of experienced rodders today is to call these cars “Scrappers,” as in cars that are made up of scrap parts from various vehicles. Contains photographs featuring hot rods from the annual Bonneville Salt Flats Speedweek event.

Robert H. Casey
The Model T: A Centennial History
The Johns Hopkins University Press, Hardcover, 2008-07-02
In this excellent book, Robert Casey captures the remarkable story of that car’s history and development and of its long-lasting impact on America. Here are the people who built the Model T and how, the folks who purchased it and why, and the profound technological leaps in mass production and mass consumption that we rightly associate with the Model T.
History and Production Notes

Speedway Motors has produced dozens of 27 Ford Track T kits since 1984.

Specifications

Make 27 Ford by Speedway Motors
Model Track T
Engine Chev 305
Transmission Chev 350
Wheelbase 120”
Rear End Ford 9”
Steering Corvair
Brakes Wildwood front disc/rear drum
Tires Firestone Champion Track

Unlike the Speedway replica, the original 1927 Model T roadsters had only 20 horsepower and the wheelbase was only 100 inches.

PRODUCTIONNOTES Production Notes...

The following information is from the Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942:

After 19 years Model T production came to an end on May 31, 1927. Fewer than 380,000 Model T’s were sold in 1927, compared to over 1,500,000 in 1926. This was due to the fact that the assembly lines did not restart for six months while Ford retooled for the Model A.

In 1927 six body types were offered and the most popular was the roadster, selling 95,778 worldwide. Prices ranged from $300 for a bare chassis to $545 for a four-door sedan five passenger. At $360, the roadster was the most reasonable, just $60 more than a chassis.

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