1924 Ford Model T Hydrogen Turbo-T

The vehicle featured in this article is a unique one. Here is a 1924 Ford Model T Depot Hack that is powered by hydrogen and natural gas, either separately or in combination. As explained below, this vehicle is also capable of burning several other fuels.

ford depot hack

Hydrogen powered Ford Depot Hack

Model T Depot Hacks

The Ford Model T of course was an automobile icon which was in production for almost twenty years. During this time about 15 million were produced. The Depot Hack’s were designed to transport people between train stations or between train stations and hotels and resorts. As the railroads expanded 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 vehicle here was not entirely built by Henry Ford but was converted to these fuels by a man named Ben Jordan. The engine itself is a Ford engine. The only changes to it are the necessary conversions to burn the aforementioned fuel. A turbo-charger was added to provide added power at altitude. Ben Jordan converted the engine in Denver, Colorado which is roughly 5,000 feet above sea level. Automobiles at that altitude are known to lose about one-third of their power.

hydrogen car engine

Modified Ford engine

Ben Jordan

Ben Jordan, in addition to being a pilot during World War Two and then spending 42 years in the U.S. Air Force, set seven land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Jordan built his first hydrogen engine in 1932 at sixteen years of age. He spent much of his time converting engines to hydrogen power and did testing at Bonneville. Speed records were attained with Jordan's "Bockscar" at Bonneville powered by hydrogen. The 1924 Ford Model T Depot Hack shown here was dedicated to the San Diego Automobile Museum in 1995.

Gone Racin’...Automobile Dictionary with Lagniappe

Ben Jordan authored a book titled, Gone Racin’...Automobile Dictionary with Lagniappe. The complete name of the book is Ben Jordan’s Automotive Jargon for the Car Owner; from the Shade Tree Mechanic’s Automobile Dictionary with Lagniappe.The book is soft cover 8 ½ by 11 inches with 416 pages. The publisher is Windmill Jouster Books in Denver, Colorado and was printed by Clements Printing, copyrighted in 1995.

Jordan's book covers everything from automobile history to where the industry is headed to the engineering of highways. Lots of editorializing. The book is an automobile dictionary with quite a bit of humorous car jargon. One story in Jordan's book declares that Otto Benz is not the inventor of the internal combustion engine and the father of the automobile in 1885.  Jordan says that honor goes to a Swiss engineer, Isaac de Rivaz, whose patent in 1805 is duly recorded.

1924 Model T Depot Hack Specifications

The specifications for this converted Ford engine are impressive. The four cylinder 176 cubic inch power plant delivered 11 horsepower with hydrogen and 14 using natural gas.

ford model t turbo

In addition to the natural gas and hydrogen fuels, Ben Jordan's converted Ford engine could also burn corn cobs, cow chips, wood, ethanol and methanol. Needless to say, Ben Jordan has never been an advocate of fossil fuels. He felt that all fossil fuels are wasteful and inefficient. He shows how much of the gasoline that we use is not burned in the engine but lost through the exhaust back into the atmosphere as pollution.

As of this writing, there has been many advances regarding alternative energy to power motor vehicles. Tesla and others are producing electric cars and hybrids have been around now for several years. The situation with gasoline is complicated. Gas has been the fuel of choice for motor cars for well over a century. The infrastructure is here and to make changes away from gasoline usage will take time.

See additional Auto Museum Online / Muscle Car Journal articles on the links below...

1931 Chevy Woodie Depot Hack

All Electric 68 Mustang Fastback / 0-60 Under 3 Seconds

Model T Serial Numbers and Registering Antique Vehicles

turbo t ford depot hack

Dashboard on the hydrogen powered Ford Depot Hack

As far as gasoline prices are concerned, which has in the past been an issue, gasoline at this writing is far too cheap to cause a widespread cultural driving change. Investment in alternative fuels are alive and well and will continue but it may take a $7 / gal. gas price for private industry to expand the use of fuels such as natural gas, hydrogen and electricity.

As mentioned above, the featured 1924 Ford Depot Hack is unmodified except for the engine modifications regarding the different fuels used.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1922 Ford Model T

The Model T “Tin Lizzie”, "The Universal Car" put the Ford Motor Company on the map and made Mr. Ford a very wealthy man.

1922 Ford Model T

1922 Ford Model T

A Car For Everyone

The Ford Model T made it possible for the common working man to own an automobile. This was very much Henry Ford's plan. If you're going to mass produce a product be certain that many can afford to buy it. The story is that Ford paid his workers a wage that would enable them to buy the type of automobile they produced in his factory. Many would go on to comment that the Ford Model T "put the world on wheels". Henry Ford himself called the Model T the "Universal Car".

Much of Ford’s success had to do with the development of the moving assembly line. History will show that Ransom E. Olds actually developed the first mass assembled vehicle with his early Oldsmobile but it was Henry Ford who was credited with devising the moving automotive assembly line. Ford's assembly line was so efficient that by the early 1920's a Ford Model T sold for less than half the price of those built ten years earlier.

Ford Model T simple dashboard

Ford Model T simple dashboard

The 1922 Ford Model T featured in this article is the car model that made Henry Ford famous. The Ford Model T Touring Car was by far the most popular Model T. The Model T itself was on the market for almost twenty years. This was quite a success in as much as there were perhaps about two hundred automakers in the very early 1900's. During the Model T's lifetime many changes were made over the years. The Ford Model T's were considered durable cars which could take a lot of punishment. This was a good attribute considering the condition of early roadways.

For the 1922 model year Ford Motor Company produced 1,301,000 vehicles. The vast majority were the Touring Model with a starter. This model would remain the leader for years afterwards. These accounted for over 500,000 units in 1922. The next largest figure that year was the Coupe with a starter. These totaled just under 200,000 units. After 1925 the Ford Model T was being phased out. All in all, Ford Motor built over 15 million Model T's. It's level of success could never have been imagined by Henry Ford when he built his first Model T in 1908.

1922 Ford Model T Touring Car

1922 Ford Model T Touring Car

The Ford Model A was then produced from 1927 to 1931. This is not to be confused with the very early Model A Ford which was produced in 1903.

1922 Ford Model T Specifications

The Ford Model T came in five styles. There was the five passenger Touring, the two passenger Runabout, the seven passenger Town Car, the two passenger Coupe and the seven passenger Landaulet.

The 1922 Ford Model T was built with a 177 cid (2.9 L) four cylinder engine delivering 20 horsepower.

The 1922 Ford Model T had a transmission system which operated with a pedal rather than a clutch with a sliding gear. There were two forward gears.

1922 Ford Model T carriage top

1922 Ford Model T carriage top

The brake system was interesting in as much as there were no drum type mechanisms. The brake system operated with a contracting band within the transmission.

The average weight of a Model T was between 1,200 and 1,500 lbs. The wheelbase was 100.0 inches and the range was about 200 miles based on it's ten gallon fuel tank.

The ignition was from a 6 volt battery and a magneto. The cars top speed was about 40 MPH. Wheels were made of wood spoke.

Below are links to additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you may enjoy.

The Ford Model TT Truck

The 1903 Ford Model A

1927 Ford Model T Coupe

Collectible Ford Model T's

The Ford Model T has always been a popular collector's automobile. It's also been one of the most modified old cars seen on the highway. Old Model T's have also been known to work on the railroad. Some had their wood spoke wheels replaced by rail car wheels and were used as both railroad inspection vehicles and even switcher engines.

The Ford engines were so durable that people found uses for these as twenty horsepower power sources for tasks outside of transportation. There has never been a car built that had so many utilitarian purposes than the Ford Model T. Many believe that the Ford Model T started the car aftermarket trade.

Ford Model T wood spoked wheels

Ford Model T wood spoked wheels

Today you'll see Ford Model T's restored to their original condition by avid collectors. You also may come across Model T's that have been modified into street rods. As far as collector auction prices for Ford Model T's they can be found in a wide range. As always, degree of restoration and modification if any influences price. A car like the 1922 Model T shown in this article may sell at auction in a range of from $15,000 to $25,000 and above depending on the current market. Because so many Ford Model T's come modified, the price range can vary quite a bit.

An excellent book about the history of the Ford Model T is  Model T Ford: The Car That Changed the World by author Bruce McCalley.

(Content and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)


1927 Ford Model T Coupe


Henry Ford's famous and well accepted Model T "Tin Lizzie" put the Ford Motor Company on the map and made Mr. Ford a very wealthy man. At the same time, the Model T made it possible for the common working man to own an automobile. Much of Ford's success had to do with the development of the assembly line.

1927 Ford Model T Coupe

1927 Ford Model T Coupe

This helped keep costs relatively low. While Henry Ford wasn't the inventor of the assembly line he certainly knew how to adapt it to automobile manufacturing. As  an example, the first Ford Model T sold for a little over $800. Largely due to the efficiency of the assembly line, the 1925 Model T could be bought at under $300. The Ford Assembly line which Henry Ford perfected was the main reason car process came down as much. Henry Ford touted the fact that the Model T was a reliable low cost automobile that could easily be maintained. This type of car was what people wanted during the early days of automobile travel.

An interesting fact is that Ford Motor Company had the distinction of being the first American motor car being manufactured simultaneously in many foreign countries. Another widely held belief was that the success and public acceptance of the Model T convinced the federal government to make road construction a high priority.

ford model t interior

The 1927 Ford Model T was historic for several reasons. First, it was the best Ford Model T produced to date. Secondly, it was the last year for the historic Ford Model T.

The only problem for the 1927 Ford Model T was that times were changing. During the period of the Model T, 1909 to 1927 about 15 million of the models were built. There was no question that the car was improved as it headed into 1927 however it appears that the car buying public wanted something more.

A Simple Car

If there's one description to place on the Ford Model T it was simplicity. This was a simple yet extremely useful automobile. The engine was cast in one block and the four cylinder engine delivered 20 HP. Three pedals and a hand lever operated the transmission. In a large way, the simplicity of the Ford Model T was something cherished by the elder Ford. Henry Ford was a man who generally resisted change. As an example, during the 1930's when competitors were adding technical improvement to their cars, such as hydraulic brakes, Ford resisted until the last. Much of the credit for convincing the elder Ford to eventually agree to changes was given to his son Edsel Ford.

1927 Ford Model T

1927 Ford Model T

In regards to the transmission, Ford widened the transmission brake band from 1.125 inches to 1.75 inches. This gave it better stopping power and a substantially longer life. The three pedal arrangement worked as such. The left pedal was used to engage the gear. When the car was in neutral, the middle pedal was used to engage reverse gear, and the right pedal operated the transmission brake.

1927 Ford Model T Specs

The engine for the 1927 Ford Model T was a 2.3 liter four cylinder delivering 20 HP.

The brakes were contracting bands in the transmission with a separate parking brake on the rear wheels.

The transmission was a three speed planetary design using the three foot pedals mentioned above. The car had a 100 inch wheelbase with an overall length of 134.5 inches.

Model T decorated for the holidays

Model T decorated for the holidays

The 1927 Model T weighed about 1,200 lbs and the car speed was generally between 35 and 40 MPH with a top speed of 45 MPH.

Links to two additional photo articles on this site you'll enjoy include the 1930 Ford Model A Roadster and the 1929 Ford Model A.

The Last Year For The Model T

As mentioned above, times were changing during the 1920's. Ford's Model T managed to become the best selling car year after year however their share of the market was shrinking. Competition increased and General Motors made a lot of progress with their assembly line production methods. The car that was first built in 1908 at the Piquette Avenue plant in Detroit Michigan would finally make way for another model in 1927.

In 1927 Ford sold about half the number of units compared to Chevrolet. This alone was enough to convince Ford Motor to come out with something new, thus the Ford Model A.

Ford Model T hand starting crank

Ford Model T hand starting crank

The "Tin Lizzie" was a huge success any way you look at it. It was the car that allowed the average worker to become a car owner and that changed society enormously. The Model T helped people cover long distances much quicker. This helped change the rural lifestyle. Neighbors in effect were now closer together. The Ford Model T was considered to be an automobile that ran before there were good roads.

The Ford Model A started to be rolled out in December of 1927 and it was accepted quite well.

One of the best books available on the subject of Henry Ford, the Ford Model T and Ford's influence on early 1900's society is Wheels For The World by author Douglas Brinkley.

Another good book on the Ford Model T is The Legendary Model-T Ford: The Ultimate History of America's First Great Automobile by author Tom Collins.

(Photos from author's collection)