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Are Model T Prices Inflated?

This is a comparison of the advertised prices of Model T cars and parts from the past, adjusted for inflation. Their sources are ads from The Vintage Ford Magazine 1966 (i.e. VF0101), a Western Auto Parts Catalog from 1927, and an original Ford Price List of Parts printed in 1915. When we see these old prices it is tempting to feel frustrated that we can't buy them for that amount any longer. If you were around at the time these prices were in effect, you may regret not buying them then!

However, as can be seen, in real dollars some are not much different in price today than they were then, while others are more expensive in real dollars than they were then. That is in part because this comparison does not take into effect the forces of supply and demand. The supply of parts is less than at these various times, and reduced supply, unless matched with reduced demand, drives up prices. On the other hand, the supply of restored cars is presumably greater, which presumably used up part of the supply of parts as they were "bolted" on to a car. So one would expect the prices of restored or complete cars to increase less than the prices of parts, except during times of increased demand.

Another aspect is the difference between original new parts and reproduction replacements. Two factors that would account for this are the limited production quantities of reproduction parts, and the fact that modern reproduction parts may be better made, with higher tolerances and better materials. (i.e. no pot metal!)

Another factor to consider is that in the case of ads for complete cars, it is assumed that they were not in general sold for less than advertised, or not sold at all. In other words, the advertised prices were probably "resonable" relative to the going prices at the time.

The fundamental value in this comparison is not only to justify charging $100 for a very good Model T fender, but more importantly justifying to your loved ones PAYING $100 for such a fender.

VF0103 1966 1925 Roadster Has Ruckstell axle,wire wheels $1,500.00 $ 7,913.12
VF0103 1966 1911 Frame original $ 25.00 $ 131.89
VF0103 1966 1924 Sedan beautiful condition $1,500.00 $ 7,913.12
VF0103 1966 Model T PU bed no wood, good tailgate $ 25.00 $ 131.89
VF0103 1966 1926 T Sedan good condition for restoration $ 395.00 $ 2,083.79
VF0103 1966 1914 Roadster Complete restoration, AACA 1st prize $3,600.00 $18,991.48
VF0103 1966 1920 Centerdoor excellent original $ 900.00 $ 4,747.87
Western Auto 1927 Laurel-Roof 40S Valves In Head new $ 67.95 $ 646.51
Western Auto 1927 Locking steering wheel new $ 7.95 $ 75.64
Western Auto 1927 Replacement Fenders new $ 9.85 $ 93.72
Western Auto 1927 Hood new $ 3.95 $ 37.58
Western Auto 1927 Midget motometer new $ 2.58 $ 24.55
Western Auto 1927 Std size motometer new $ 8.45 $ 80.40
Western Auto 1927 Bosch distributor new $ 9.95 $ 94.67
Western Auto 1927 Kingston carb. new $ 2.15 $ 20.46
Western Auto 1927 AC speedometer setup new $ 8.75 $ 83.25
Western Auto 1927 26-27 Stewart Speedometer setup new $ 8.75 $ 83.25
Western Auto 1927 30x3 tire new $ 7.95 $ 75.64
Ford price list 1915 Exhaust manifold new $ 1.00 $ 16.59
Ford price list 1915 Radiator new $ 20.00 $ 331.80

(c) 2001 AntiqueAutoArchive
Inflation Sources:
NASA CPI calculator,
westegg CPI calculator

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