In those days of unpaved roads and one lane bridges, these cars came to the dealers unassembled. The motor was encased in a wooden crate, which turned out to be the floorboard, both front and rear. If you accidently destroyed this wooden boxing you would be without a bottom for your car.
The rear tires were larger than the front ones. These were the days before white wall tires. Although you could buy a set of solid red tires, made by Fisk Tire & Rubber Co., one would often see one red tire mounted on the car along with three black ones. A mixture of tires was a fairly common thing. You did not worry too much about color as long as they did not go flat. One tire at a time was about the extent of tire-buying back then.
To check the oil, a long rod was made especially to turn a valve on the oil pan underneath. If some oil ran out, you were OK. If not, you added oil. The gas tank was under the Front seat. When gas was purchased, the passengers in the Front had to vacate. The amount of gas in the tank was checked with a stick.
Regardless of weather conditions, occasionally you could turn on the switch and the motor would start. Then, at other times, the back wheel had to be jacked up to act as a flywheel to make cranking easier to get started. If you did use the crank you had better be sure the spark lever on the steering column was pushed up. If not you would have a broken arm. If you saw a model "T" owner with his arm in a sling you knew, right away, he forgot to push up his spark lever.
The motor and transmission were all built together. This was the heaviest part of the car. On the transmission there were three pedals---one for brakes, one for reverse, and the other for low gear which was primarily used to get up enough speed to let a left hand lever down to put you on your way.
Most of the Model "T"s were the open-air touring model. When not in use, they had to have some sort of shelter In the old days we called them car sheds. They went out on the edge of town, at various places, and built a series of car sheds--sort of like we see storage places these days.
The main reason for these early away-from-home garages was to spare residents their much-needed home garden space. Aside from a garden, the typical yard already had a smoke house, a place for wood and coal, a wash place---consisting of a wash bench, a wash pot and two or three wash tubs to take care of the family laundry. Many yards also had a place for chickens. So the car sheds had to be placed elsewhere.
After unloading groceries at the home, usually on Saturday and Pay-day, there was no immediate use for the car. So, they were driven back to their assigned shed, rain or shine. The owner would then walk back home, knowing his transportation would be safe and dry until it was time to ride again.
Model T Coupe with a Rumble Seat in the Back
In the early 1930s, my uncle Fred Tosi owned one of these.