This rolling chassis and engine was purchased by the Museum from the importers, Tarrant Motors Pty Ltd in 1916. It is thought to be a 1911 model car and was sourced second-hand in Ballarat by Tarrant Motors who then sectioned the major components for the Museum. A similar 'split' chassis unit was exhibited by Tarrants at the 1912 Victorian Motor Exhibition at the Royal Exhibition Building with the working parts turned over by an electric motor. This exhibit is likely to have provided the idea for the acquisition of a sectioned chassis for display by the Museum.

This unit represents the form in which many motor cars were imported. Lower import tariffs were charged on cars without bodies to protect the local motor body-building industry. Bodies were made by local firms such as Tarrants who operated several assembly and body-building works in Melbourne devoted to Model T vehicles as well as other makes such as Fiat and BSA. Chassis and engines units for Ford cars were imported from Ford's factory in Ontario, Canada to take advantage of lower tariffs on goods of British Empire origin. According to advertising by Tarrant Motors, Ford Model T cars were usually imported in shipments of about sixty chassis units and an October 1910 advertisement stated that "they sell as fast as we can land them".

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