The Ford Model T was the most versatile car of its age. Most of that, of course, was due to Ford’s ability to maximize production with the introduction of the assembly line but an even greater reason was both its reliability and its vanilla platform. The chassis could be adapted to anything from lightweight racing versions (speedsters) to commercial usage, most famously a pick-up. Among the implementations could be a hearse, like the one here by the Sunset Coach division of Precision Miniatures.
The model has several classic Model T features that are well executed, like the large independently mounted (and wired) headlamps, trademark grille with gold Ford insignia and radiator cap. Rounded fenders offer minimal protection from rocks dug up by the thin treaded tires. The twelve spoke wheels have molded tire stems. And of course it has the salient trademark of any factory Model T – it’s bible black.
Like Precision Miniatures other hearses, there are some elements that aren’t detailed such as the perfunctory suspension, brakes and a hood with a hinged appearance but does not open. Other parts are better than expected, like a vented engine compartment, the flat leathered black top trimmed in enamel or the gold piping and baroque faux gold leaf detailing.
But with a hearse it’s the “junk in the trunk” that counts – I mean, after all you really aren’t buying this to look at the suspension are you? And in the rear compartment you’ll find a big vista window on either side of the …err…passenger department and a real wood bed with metal casters for the fully functional coffin (well it does open) complete with church tray.
This is really a fascinating model because it represents a transition from the world of horse and carriage to the motorized future. The split windhshield, the “horseless carriage” license plates are part of this, but so is the simple box style with ornate carvings and the coach-like doors that delicately hinged on the outside. It’s also just so plain big – eleven inches long and over four pounds that it’s got great shelf presence – which is more than you can say for its intended passenger. A grand addition to the Precision Miniatures hearse line-up and a sound buy for the antique model collector, commercial vehicle aficionado or fan of the early blue oval era.