Henry Ford didn't invent the automobile, or the assembly line (although he was the first to apply the technique to building automobiles). Ford was a mechanical genius, a stern taskmaster, a bit of a grump by all accounts and the 15 million Model Ts he built from 1909 to 1927 put America on wheels. Ford pledged, "I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one-and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces."

After World War I, board and dirt track events were held at just about every fairground in the country, and thanks to their availability, Model T Fords became the affordable racer of choice. By the early '20s, an entire industry was born-all the parts and accessories necessary to turn a Flivver into a competition car were available-overhead valve conversions, chassis parts, complete bodies could all be sourced from any number of suppliers. And it didn't stop with race parts. There were kits to turn Ts into speedsters (the street rod of the day), tractors, snowmobiles-T engines were even adapted for use in airplanes and industrial applications. The Model T not only fulfilled Henry Ford's stated vision but also was, indisputably, the foundation the automotive aftermarket was built on.

While the Model T was the basis for the original hot rod craze, the fact is they do have some limitations in a contemporary context-most notably their diminutive dimensions. Today most roadster builders opt for something that is roomy, comfortable, and deep enough to sit down inside the body, which means the T isn't often seen as a viable option. But thanks to Jon Hall, of Shadow Rods, the T's shortcomings have been addressed, and to prove the point we offer this year's AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour roadster pickup. Based on Shadow Rods new XL27, the passenger compartment is 3 inches taller and 4 inches longer than an original '27 T providing an interior that is similar in size to a '32 Ford. Produced to current OEM specifications, the body is made of galvannealed steel that is reinforced with a stamped inner structure and is equipped with stainless steel door hinges, bear claw door latches, and upper and lower seat supports.

The Ford Model T XL27 is available in two configurations: with or without a turtle deck. Without is perfect for modifieds and pickups while with offers the convenience of a spacious trunk compartment. Another option to add fenders for an entirely different look. Regardless of the combination, Shadow Rods XL27 retains the character of the original Model T in a larger, user-friendlier package. We're sure Henry would agree, this is the ultimate T.

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