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History

May 31, 2014

HISTORICAL TREASURE: The ‘new and improved’ 1926 Model T Ford

TERRE HAUTE — Our Historical Treasure this week is an invoice for a Model T Ford sold in 1926 to Fred W. Rausch. Creston Paine Co. was the dealership on 637-49 Ohio St.

Interestingly, the seller offered a whopping $75 for the 1922 model trade-in. Sale date was Aug. 11, 1926. Model style was a Coupe, which was likely a two-door with a hard top. Added to the bill was a vital “Guardian” lock wheel, a feature that when locked by a key on the middle of the steering column, would prevent anyone from absconding with one’s vehicle, much like the trusty “Club” of infomercial fame.

Of course, it might be more accurate to say whether it was steam, electric or gas-powered (all of which were offered at the time), they wouldn’t be able to get too far.

Additionally, the 1926 Model was advertised as “new and improved,” though so was the 1925 Model T. Ever since 1908 (the first year the Model T came into production) the “Tin Lizzie,” as it came to be known, was jokingly described as coming in every color you could want as long as that color was black. However, 1926 introduced grey, maroon, brown, green and of course black to the line. On a side note, the term “Tin Lizzie” is thought to either derive from a common name for horses (Lizzie-short for Elizabeth) or hired household help affectionately known as “Lizzies.” As the Model T was advertised to assist with any chore one could dream up, this also could make sense.

Mr. Rausch apparently paid for his new vehicle with the security feature and minus the trade-in value at once, with a subtotal $468.29. In 1922, prices were roughly the same and Model Ts did get cheaper as the years went on. Mr. Henry Ford was famous for saying that he wanted to design a car that his manufacturers could afford to buy themselves. It goes without saying, a great business man was he.

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