Featured in this article is a 1914 Ford Model T Depot Hack. The Depot Hack's were designed to ferry people between train stations or between train stations and hotels and resorts. As the railroads laid their tracks across the country it became the primary mode of transportation for people who had to travel any measurable distance.
The original depot hacks were horse-drawn wagons with seating to carry the passengers and some room for baggage. Many referred to the motorized versions as "auto buggies".
The Coach Builders
Ford Motor Company was producing Model T chassis and engines. The job of making this into a depot hack (taxi) was left to the coach builders. There were several coachbuilders involved in this from the teens well into the 1920's. Today, these vintage vehicles are considered the progenitors of the modern SUV/crossover. As far as station wagons were concerned, they had their start in 1929 and Henry Ford basically modeled then after the depot hack.
York Body Corporation
Ford would outsource to coach builders for their automobile bodies.
Sometimes the vehicle bodies were manufactured in a "knock-down" form and later assembled at the dealer location. Another way was to have the manufacturer ship the chassis and the then body builder would then assemble the vehicle at their factory.
Some of these coach builders that produced depot hacks for Model T's included a company by the name of York Body.. The company started in business as the York Wagon Gear Co., founded in 1892 by Peter Keller, a York, Pennsylvania carriage maker. The business supplied bodies to the areas buggy and wagon builders.
It's a fact that some of the very early Ford trucks were sold with commercial bodies complete. Ford Motor however discontinued the program in 1913 and that essentially created a windfall to enterprising commercial body builders. This lasted through 1924 when the first factory built Ford Model T pick-ups were produced. In 1917 the automotive body building was doing such a robust business that York changed it's name to the York Body Corp.
Another enterprising coachbuilder in York Pennsylvania was George W. Hoover & Sons. Hoover made a name for itself building mostly ambulance and hearse bodies. In 1928 the two companies merged into what became the York-Hoover Body Company.
Today's Coach Builders
There are a few select companies around the country, most quite small, that today can reconstruct a depot hack body based on old plans, mostly from York bodies. A few of these are cabinet makers. Not that the fitting of these on a Ford Model T chassis is a walk in the park but many of them have been done and done well. Depot hack bodies today might cost in the range of $4,000.
Some auto enthusiasts build depot hacks from scratch and put them up for sale.
You may also enjoy the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...
1914 Ford Model T Depot Hack Specifications
The mechanical specifications for a Ford Model T Depot Hack were essentially the same as for the Ford Model T car.
The 1914 Ford Model T Depot hack came with the Ford 2.9L 177 CID Inline 4 cylinder engine.
Transmission was the standard Model T 2 speed planetary gear transmission.
The Ford Model T was built before standardization of controls. The early Model T's used the planetary gear transmission for braking. A band would go over a drum in the transmission thus braking the rear wheels.
Old Ford Depot Hacks For Sale
Some of the authentic Ford depot hack restorations have gone to auction with some of the larger vintage vehicle auctioneers.
In general the selling prices for restored depot hacks might be in the $10,000 to $15,000 range. There are a lot of qualifiers for a selling price today. Obviously, the degree of restoration and the vehicles condition is most important. Others would be if the vehicle is an original brass part restoration or if the body was a modern day reconstruction. What part of the country the vehicle is for sale might effect it's price. Depot hacks are generally not considered as popular as other Ford vintage vehicles but by the sale token you might come across a buyer who is particularly looking for vintage Ford depot hacks.
(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)