10-11 October 2013

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Lot 115

1911 Ford Model T Open Runabout

  • Engine no. 63154

Sold for $49,500

22 bhp, 176.7 cu. in. four-cylinder inline L-head engine, two-speed planetary transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, and a transmission brake and two-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 100 in.

  • Racy Open Runabout
  • Authentic restoration
  • AACA National Junior and Senior First awards at Hershey

For 1911, Ford restyled the Model T. It had a new radiator, fenders, and wheels, and the bodies now used steel panels over a wood framework, as opposed to the earlier all-wood construction. Cars were previously offered in red, grey, or green, but, for 1911, dark blue was selected as a standard color (“any color as long as it’s black” still lay in the future).

Some body styles, like the coupe, were phased out, but two new ones also were offered, the torpedo runabout and the open runabout. These two differed from the others, as they had curved rear fenders, a longer hood, lower seating, and a round 16-gallon fuel tank on the rear deck. The torpedo runabout had doors, while the open runabout did not. The late Les Henry, a renowned Model T historian, wrote that these runabouts “had undoubtedly the best performance and greatest speed of all Model T Fords ever produced.”

There were mechanical changes as well. A new rear axle with cast iron center housing was introduced, and the front axle received new spindles. Most prominent was a mid-year change to the engine. Replacing the earlier exposed valves were new valve chambers that were cast into the block, but they had steel doors to enable adjustments when needed.

This handsome Open Runabout is painted the correct Ford Blue with grey pinstripes, and it was restored with Rootlieb sheet metal. The engine and drivetrain were rebuilt by renowned specialist Hugh “Sandy” McTavish, of Milverton, Ontario. Upon completion, the car was awarded Antique Automobile Club of America National First Junior status at Hershey in 2003, with medallion number W16449, and it achieved National First Senior designation in 2009, also at Hershey.

It has a black leatherette top with a matching boot and correct black leather upholstery. The coil box is an authentic Heinze unit that is superbly varnished. Other equipment includes a Stewart speedometer, a brass bulb horn, a brass windshield, and an accessory trunk mounted behind the fuel tank. The car has been maintained in scrupulous condition, and it presents very well, with its brass highly polished and its sheet metal and paint in excellent condition. It runs and drives very well. At the time of restoration, a ring gear was added to the flywheel, making the addition of an electric starter very straightforward, should a new owner wish to do so.

Very few open runabouts and torpedo runabouts were built in 1911, and as a result, it is hard to find good examples of these most desirable models. This tidy Open Runabout is one of a very few to appear on the market, and it represents an uncommon opportunity. It will be a welcome addition to any collection.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver


+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht


+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig


+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose


+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould


+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry


+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut


+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin


+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill


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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher


+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden


+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more