1921 Ford T Tourer


National Motor Museum, Australia

National Motor Museum, Australia
Birdwood, Australia

Blue Tourer style body built by Duncan & Fraser. It has a 4-cylinder 2.9 litre engine with electric starter.

The Model T illustrates a turning point in motoring history, when cars stopped being a luxury item for the wealthy and became more accessible to the general population. In 1908 the purchase price for a Model T was US$950, although it actually fell much lower than this, as Ford developed and refined his production line techniques. Once more people had cars, cities changed dramatically, as people could live further out of town and further away from work, creating suburbs and highways.

The Model T also had the second longest production run in history – the VW Beetle in Germany was the only vehicle with a higher production run. More than 15 million Model T Fords were made in the US between October 1908 and 1927.


  • Title: 1921 Ford T Tourer
  • Date Created: 1921-01-01/1921-12-31
  • Provenance: The Ford Model T was produced by the Ford Motor Company between October 1908 and May 1927 and was the first vehicle made on a production line. Henry Ford’s business goal was to produce a car that was more affordable than its competitors, which meant that he needed to find cheaper ways of manufacturing. Ford’s production line approach, introduced in 1913, meant that each person only needed to be able to perform one small part of the vehicle manufacture process rather than undertake the entire process. He also realised that it was quicker if the parts rather than the people needed to move, so he introduced a constantly moving assembly line. Using this philosophy, Ford was able to reduce the time it took to manufacture one chassis (the framework of the car) from 728 minutes (more than 12 hours) to 93 minutes (about 1½ hours). In Australia Ford cars were supplied by Ford Canada to avoid extra import duties imposed on non-Empire produced goods. They were originally shipped virtually complete, but as the number of local body building operations grew motor cars were increasingly delivered as a chassis and parts. By 1907 Australia was Ford Canada's largest single export market and soon Ford agencies could be found across the country. Since production was spread across a variety of operators, non-standardised practices were used and production quality suffered. Despite the success of the Ford car, distribution in Australia was also in a poor state with little management or co-ordination. Between 1923 and 1924 Canadian representatives Hubert French and Mel Brooks toured Australian dealerships and were shocked by the methods of production and sales. French's report recommended that the Ford Motor Company of Australia be established to manage the business. On 31 March 1925 manufacturing and sales companies were incorporated with their headquarters at Geelong. This 1921 Ford Model T has a plated radiator rather than a brass one. During the First World War brass was required for the war production and manufacturers had to find alternatives. The plating technology used on this radiator had only recently been developed. It also has a locally built body by Duncan & Fraser. Established in 1865 originally as carriage builders in Adelaide, in 1900 Duncan & Fraser built a motor car body for the Vivian Lewis Cycle Works and within a few short years had secured agencies for Oldsmobile, Orient Buckboard, Argyll, Standard, Singer, Chalmers and BSA. In 1909 they became sole distributer for the Model T in South Australia and Broken Hill. In 1927 the company closed when Ford ended the production of the Model T with the replacement Model A which was unavailable for 12 months.
  • Rights: History Trust of South Australia, CC-0

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