1927 MONTGOMERY Ward/Model T Tractor

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1927 MONTGOMERY Ward/Model T Tractor

Background

During its heyday, at least a dozen different American companies offered kits designed

to convert Ford’s ubiquitous and thoroughly adaptable Model T into a serviceable,

inexpensive farm tractor. Two of the best known could be found in the catalogs of mail

order giants Sears, Roebuck & Co. and crosstown Chicago rivals, Montgomery Ward.

More than 15,000,000 Model Ts were built during its historic 1908-1927 production run,

during which time its price dropped from (an already highly affordable) $850 to just

$360. The car’s epoch-shifting popularity gave rise to a massive aftermarket industry

catering to even the most esoteric need; caterpillar tracks and skis for the snowbound,

exotic twin-cam heads for the pioneering hot rodder, and tractor conversion kits for the

ambitious, forward-thinking farmer.

The Vehicle

Advertised for $98.95 and touted as doing “...the work of two horses!”, Ward’s

conversion kit was broadly similar to its competitors in concept and construction. In

essence a large rear subframe or “Utility Unit” incorporating tall steel drive wheels, a

single, sprung seat, and attachment points for various farm implements, these kits

bolted to a partially stripped Model T donor car retaining only its factory front wheels,

engine, cowl, and basic controls. Fitting of the Utility Unit required no new holes to be

drilled in the donor Ford’s chassis.

This particular example, aside from its cleanliness, is fully representative of the type

used by thousands of intrepid American farmers throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

On the Outside

Viewed head-on, the tractor closely resembles an early hot rod, with its clear Model T

DNA and removed hood, fenders, and headlights. Even the windshield is gone, and aft

of the dashboard there’s very little factory Ford equipment intact, excluding of course

the chassis rails, transmission, and rear axle.

Rubber blocks cover the large steel wheels’ integral metal treads, and these were used

in order to prevent damage to paved surfaces during on-road use. Though capable of

pulling a variety of farm implements, this tractor is currently fitted with a simple plow

that’s lowered or raised via the long, red lever situated ahead of the right rear wheel.

On the Inside

The operator sits on a sprung steel saddle similar to those fitted to virtually all antique

tractors, and faces a Ford dashboard retaining magneto controls, an ammeter, and very

little else.

As was typical for tractor conversions, even the original wooden floorboards are absent,

allowing the driver’s feet to dangle in the breeze. For heat, there’s a bare, conveniently

unshielded exhaust pipe resting inches away from the pedals.

Underneath

Exposed to the breeze, the Ford 177ci, flathead, 20 hp four cylinder runs, however

missing rear primary drive gears (which mesh with sizable ring gears within each of the

large rear wheels) currently prevent the tractor from moving by its own motivation.

At the time of the photoshoot the drive gears were missing, but according to the seller, their mechanic has since installed drive gears and report to us that the tractor is ready to drive.

Overall, the vehicle’s mechanicals present as period correct, down to the leather fan

belt and lack of a commonly retrofitted alternator. Starting is via one of two methods:

either cranking a front-mounted handle, or by rare Ford factory optional eclectic start as

offered from 1919.

History Highlights

Nearly all Model T’s left the factory without a chassis or serial number, and are instead

referred to by their engine number. In this case, engine number 12395284 identifies the

donor car as having been built in September of 1925, or unusually close to the 1927

model year of its adapted Wards tractor kit. Typically, these kits were fitted to older,

often heavily worn donor cars that were commonly available secondhand for as little as

$10.

What We Think

Relatively few of these unusual Model T/Tractor mash-ups survive, regardless of make,

model, or condition. This one’s unusual level of completeness, good condition, and

period accuracy further add to its appeal. Whether the new owner chooses to fabricate

replacement rear drive gears, or simply trailer the vehicle to vintage tractor and car

shows, it’s sure to draw enthusiastic crowds at either.

Bidders MUST ensure they are aware of the registration situation of a car in auction, and whether it will be possible to export/register a vehicle in their country BEFORE they bid.

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If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage can offer you options, plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping both domestic and international.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using basic cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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Seller

AUSTIN COLLECTION

  • Location: Newberg, OR, United States
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: TMU
  • Chassis Number: 11704776
  • Engine: 177 cu in. Flat-4
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Steering position: Left-hand drive
  • Colour: Black / Red
  • Interior: Black
  • Estimated Price: $6,000 - $10,000

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