In reply to the letter on Special T Fords by Mr. H. F. Spong, it is probable that I owned one of the sporting Ts that he used to gaze at.
Whilst living in Devon I bought (for £22) in 1927 a two-seater T Ford painted red and of very sporting appearance. The body had a long tail and the top of the tail could be lifted off like a box lid to expose a quite useful boot. Twin aero-screens were fitted and an outside exhaust pipe of considerable size with a (quickly detachable) silencer at the rear end.
As bought, the car had wide and flappy wings, all of which I removed in due course as they used to break their stays and were tiresome to repair. It was, of course, legal to drive without any wings at all in those far off days. The suspension was somewhat lower than standard, the wheels were very large diameter beaded-edge discs and the brakes were lousy. Rapid stops were performed with the assistance of low gear, or even reverse, and I not infrequently had to reline the bands. The engine was perfectly standard save for a Bosch ZU.4 magneto driven by a long cycle chain which used to break from time to time. I always carried spare chains and could time the engine very rapidly indeed by the aid of certain paint marks! In the end the mag gave up the ghost and I reverted to the standard four-coil system hut with a Runbaken commutator.
In those days a 25% reduction in the Road Fund Licence was allowed for pre-1914 cars and I fitted a cylinder block from a 1913 Ford T and so qualified for the concession.
I had a great deal of fun with the car and, save for the frequent replacement of big-end bearings with second-hand rods from local garages, I had little trouble. The end of the car was a disaster. It was assaulted in Exeter by a Morris Cowley driven by a lady, completely out of control. My Model-T was driven against a pillar box whereupon it fell apart everywhere and I sold her on the spot to a scrap dealer for £5. I never got any compensation and went off to London to buy a Belsize Bradshaw two-seater for £27.10s., but that is another story.