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The Ford Model T Torpedo Runabout: An Affordable Classic Car

The Ford Model T Torpedo Runabout was an affordable classic car produced by the Ford Motor Company from 1911 to 1912. It featured a distinctive body style, a 2.9-liter inline-four engine, and a two-speed planetary transmission. Now a valuable collector's item, the Torpedo Runabout is a classic car enthusiast's dream.
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The Model T, Henry Ford’s affordable automobile invention, seems extra affordable by today’s standards. At the Miller Brothers Automobile Supply House at 1105-7 14th St. NW, the base price for a new car was $750 in 1911. In today’s dollars, that would be a little over $18k.

Model T advertisement
Model T advertisement in the Washington Times. Source: Library of Congress

The Ford Model T Torpedo Runabout was a variant of the Ford Model T, which was an automobile produced by the Ford Motor Company from 1908 to 1927. The Model T Torpedo Runabout was introduced in 1911 and was in production until 1912. This model was designed to be a sportier and more stylish version of the standard Model T.

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The Torpedo Runabout had a distinctive body style, featuring a longer, more streamlined design compared to the regular Model T. It also had a lower seating position and a rounded rear deck, which gave it a more aggressive appearance. The Torpedo Runabout was initially offered with a two-passenger capacity, but later versions also included a folding rear seat for additional passengers.

1911 Ford Model T Torpedo Runabout
1911 Ford Model T Torpedo Runabout | Source: RM Sotheby’s

The Ford Model T Torpedo Runabout was equipped with the same 2.9-liter inline-four engine as the standard Model T, which produced around 20 horsepower. This engine was paired with a two-speed planetary transmission, and the car had a top speed of approximately 40-45 miles per hour.

Though the Torpedo Runabout was not as popular as other Model T variants due to its higher price and limited production, it is now considered a valuable collector’s item among classic car enthusiasts.

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