Ford built the first 2499 Model T Fords with water pumps. The brand new 1909 above is one of the first 2499 cars equipped with a water pump. The crank ratchet is made to hold the crank in either up or down position, a feature that was deleted during the redesign for all Model T’s serial number 2500 and subsequent. While the water pump idea didn’t work out for most Model T’s, it does make the earlier cars more interesting and valuable to collectors. Few were built, fewer exist, and those that do exist for the most part are never driven. The ones that are in private hands do get used, some more than others. As a result many of these cars that are driven have to be repaired frequently because the water pump design is not very good. Let’s take a look at what it takes to rebuild one.
The control system of the 1909 Model T Ford was different than all previous Fords, and different from all other cars on the road. First of all Ford placed the steering wheel on the left side of the vehicle, an unusual feature not shared with many other automobiles, certainly not the same as any of Ford’s top competitors. Fords reasoning was sound on this change; Americans drove on the right side of the road. Typically driver and passengers would enter and exit the car from the curb side, thus they would not be stepping out into traffic or into a muddy road. Also the left position of the driver meant a better view when passing a slower moving horse drawn vehicle, something that was more common than encountering another motorist.
The chassis parts of the early 1909 Model T Ford were the beginning of 15 million other Model T’s. Yet in nearly every component there is a difference from what came later. Let’s take a closer look at them to see what happened and maybe understand why it happened too.
This early postcard shows a pre – 2500 Model T Ford with brass plated hand crank, flat “no bill” front fenders, and early front axle assembly. Note that this is a runabout that has an additional runabout rear seat added, making it a “tourabout” which was not officially offered in 1909 model year but was obviously possible. Also note the linoleum covered brass trimmed running board.