Ford Model T's sold for $690 in 1912. Now they're worth much more, but Louis and Joan Eyerman of the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society gave away their 1912 Model T for free.
Ford Model T's sold for $690 in 1912.
Now they're worth much more, but Louis and Joan Eyerman of the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society gave away their 1912 Model T for free.
They donated the car to Grove City. City council members approved a resolution to accept the donation July 20.
The car will go in the city's museum, which used to be a Huntington bank at 3378 Park St.
The Model T will be one of the museum's first pieces. The Eyermans will drive the car into the museum following the Grove City Community Parade Sept. 19, which also will signify the opening of the museum.
The Eyermans said they donated the car for posterity.
"The car has always been in the community," said Joan Eyerman. "That's why we want it to stay here. If we were to sell that car, who knows where it will go."
"We can go visit it every once in a while," Louis added.
The Eyermans said they bought the Model T in 1985 from Earl Trego, who bought the car in the summer of 1941 from Carl De Long.
"He might have bought it new," Joan Eyerman said of De Long's purchase.
She said De Long was from London, Ohio.
Trego, who was from Grove City, used to drive the Model T in parades and community events all over Franklin County, the Eyermans said.
Most notably, the Model T was driven in the city's centennial parade in 1952 and its sesquicentennial parade in 2002.
It has never been restored.
"It's been repaired as needed," Louis said. "You can't put a price really on that."
He said 1912 was the final year Ford manufactured the car before mass production practices. By 1913, Model Ts were fashioned through an assembly line of workers, making production time quicker and decreasing the price.
"The number of cars produced in (1912) were not near what (Ford) produced in later years," he said.
He added the price of the Model T was lowered to $375 by the 1920s.
"(Ford) put a lot of people on wheels," he said.
Joan Eyerman said Grove City was home to at least one Ford dealership at the turn of the century.
"A lot of people around Grove City drove Fords because they were locally available," she said. "It still took an effort from people to afford an automobile."
The Model T gets about 20 miles to the gallon, Louis said.
The car is started through a turn of a crank and precise movement of a choke lever in front of the car.
"I always carry a brick," Louis said. "That's to keep the car from running over you when you start it."
Louis said the Model T driver controls the speed of the car through three pedals labeled C for clutch, R for reverse and B for brake. A throttle on the steering column is used for adjusting speed, as well.
"It's different," he said. "But for people who had never driven, it's probably the easiest thing they could do."
"I've never tried to drive it," Joan said.
Louis said he learned to drive a Model T when he was kid working at a filling station during the mid-1940s.
The Model T's 22 horsepower produces a maximum speed of about 35 miles per hour, but Louis said he prefers to go about 20 miles per hour because of the car's tendency to "shimmy."
The car's sidelights are kerosene lanterns and its headlights are similar to mining lanterns, a mixture of carbide and water that is lit with a match.
"They're not very bright," Louis said. "So, if you wanted to go somewhere at night, you didn't."