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The Yellow Peril

My 1923 Ford Model T touring car, known locally as the “Yellow Peril”, is bright yellow and therefore, unlike traditional black Ford Model T cars.  It was one of 2,000,000 Model T’s produced that year by the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. The production date of this car was July 2, 1923. Shipped in parts in railroad cars to the Hight Ford Dealership in Skowhegan, Maine, the vehicles were assembled by mechanics at the dealership during the winter and sold in the year of manufacture in Skowhegan. As a courtesy to buyers in the late fall of each production year, these cars were stored at the dealer's garage until the spring when they made their first appearance on Maine roads as a standard black touring car. My car was updated with a starter and spare tire from the beginning of its private ownership.

The history and use of my car from 1924 until 1948 is unknown but in that latter year the car was hauled off Dodge's Ridge in Rockport, Maine without a top, windshield, radiator or any upholstery! While it was in the process of decay, a photo of the car was taken by professional photographer, Kosti Ruhoma, and appeared in LIFE magazine in 1948. Between that year and 1954, the car was brush painted a stirring yellow and some parts were obtained in local junk yards to get the thing going. In 1954 the car was registered to drive in Maine and was driven occasionally by its then owner Alexis E. Knight who had bought it from Forrest “Sonny” Brown for $16.50 in early 1949. According to a letter I received, the adventures of Alex Knight in the “Yellow Peril” took place between 1949 and 1966. Included is a notation that in the 1960's the “Yellow Peril” served as the Grand Marshal's car in the Camden, Maine 4th of July parade. The car, or what was left of it, was put into storage in a shed on the Jordan Marsh estate in Moultonborough Neck, Center Harbor, New Hampshire where it sat until I acquired it in the 1990's. Restoration of the “Yellow Peril” was completed by master mechanic George Sprowl in Searsmont, Maine in 2005 and was used by me as a touring car since that date. In 2003 my wife, Dwin and I drove it to Dearborn, Michigan for the Centennial celebration of the Ford Motor Company.  In 2009 we drove it to Richmond, Indiana for the celebration of the 100th birthday of the Model T Ford!

The car has a four cylinder engine, rated horsepower of 22, 2-wheel brakes, and takes 56 pounds of pressure in each of its tires. There were 929,062 touring cars made in 1923. The cars sold for $295; it was the largest production year of touring cars in the Model T years from 1908 to 1927.    

I think it is altogether fitting that our 1923 Ford Model T has finally found a home here at Waterstone Apartments where, we understand, “remnants of an old Model T car was found on the site” during construction of this new building.

Submitted, by:

John G. Schuler, Apartment 347

November, 2017