“We certainly find lots of things when we acquire these homes, but nothing like this before,” said City Manager Fred Latham. “In this case, it has a significant level of value.” The Model T, painted in the standard black, is in nearly perfect condition, city officials said. Two kerosene lamps are affixed near each of its two doors. A small lever manually controls a single windshield wiper. A larger lever connected to the car’s engine cranks up the motor. The Model T’s retractable top is also intact. And while its body needs some polishing, the car is otherwise in good working condition, officials said. “It’s just got a few oil leaks,” said Tod Gordon, a city fleet mechanic, who spent last week fine-tuning the car and learning to drive it. The vintage car reaches a top speed of 45 mph, he said. “It’s in incredibly good condition when you consider that this car is 90 years old,” said Paul Ashworth of the city’s Planning and Development Department. Officials said the car is currently appraised at $12,000. On Wednesday, City Council members approved money from the city’s general fund to purchase the Model T from the homeowner. Ashworth said the Motel T’s last owner was a longtime Santa Fe Springs resident who was a vintage car aficionado. When he recently died, his widow and family sold their home to the city. Model T Ford Club International Inc. board member Frank Fenton, 64, of Texas said the car is not very rare, compared to other, pricier vintage autos, but it is “priceless” as a piece of history. “When it comes to something like that, it’s hard to establish a value. You can’t replace that particular piece of history,” he said. City officials said they plan to repair the car, then either display it at Heritage Park, or sell it to an antique car dealer. Latham said the city also might use the car in its 50th anniversary parade on May 12. Even if the Model T never gets on the road again, restoring it means preserving a piece of American history, Ashworth said. “I just think it’s cute,” he said. “It sputters and coughs, but once it gets going, it sounds like a Model T.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3024 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! • Video: 1917 Ford Model T “Runabout” • Slideshow: 1917 Ford Model T “Runabout” SANTA FE SPRINGS – When the city took ownership of a home recently, officials found a piece of history sitting in the garage. There, covered in dust, was a 1917 Model T Ford Runabout. And it was in running condition.