Buying a friend's family owned runabout


Thanks for setting this forum up. I have the bug to build a pickup truck to promote my furniture company (side business). I’d like to participate in parades, car shows, etc. I have included a picture of a completed model t pickup I’d like to copy. I’ve also seen runabout trucks that keep the runabout seat and use a convertible top. I’m ok doing that, too.

My buddy’s family has had these two model t’s in their family. They purchased them new. They have newspaper articles showing the touring model in parades. The touring model is definitely the nicer of the two, has matching serials, original leather, the works. I’d rather leave it for a collector (if anyone’s interested it’s for sale). The runabout on the other hand, I’d like to turn into a pickup truck.

What is your advice? Is $1,500 too much for the runabout? What are the top ten action items in order to get it started? What are the top ten “gotchas”. I’m looking to keep the total price to $7,500~ I can build anything out of wood and I’m planning to use my wood CNC machines to make it really special.

Am I in over my head? Is it too far gone? Thanks for your advice and assistance!



The touring looks to be 1911 or 1912 - a desirable car either way. Those can be fairly expensive to restore. For example, a replacement radiator is $1400. Upholstery kit $2500. Top kit $1200. Rebuilding the wheels $1000. New tires and tubes $1000.

I think $7500 is likely plenty of cash to use to make a wooden bodied pickup out of the other one. Steve Jelf’s website shows a lot of the steps needed to get it running. I would suggest joining a local Model T club as perhaps the best first step that you can take. You will be inundated with offers of help and free / cheap / inexpensive parts.

The best advice I ever got regarding Model T’s - you need a new radiator, good wheels, and good tires. The rear axle needs overhauling.

A good book on overhauling the rear axle is written by Glen Chaffin. It’s available here:

Thanks for this! :slight_smile: