As I understand it, Ford finished the steering gearbox under the steering wheel in bright nickel plate during the 1923 series cars. I have heard some talk about black paint on the cheaper cars. My 1923 Runabout was Ford's cheapest model but all the factory pictures I have seen show the plated rather than the painted finish. Were some really painted black from the factory?
Here are the changes on the steering gear case from the encyclopedia:
"07-14-16 This case differs from the regular only that it is made out of cast steel instead of W bronze, and is to be raven finished and black enameled.
07-14-16 Removed note which specified drawing to be experimental, and called for use on 1917 cars. Changed material from cast steel to W bronze. Removed note which called for raven finish and black enamel, and specified case to be finished black. Experimental drawings were issued under date of 7-14-16, so we will consider it as adopted that date.
(It would appear that the steel case was either never made, or just experimental.)
09-09-16 Removed note which specified case to be finished black and called for Moodyize, and black enamel. This change is to take immediate effect. All cases on hand to be used up.
04-04-17 Specified this part for use on Model H truck, 1917.
(Note the reference to Model H. Apparently the TT designation came later.)
05-22-17 Specified for use on all cars 1915-16-17, instead of 1917 only. (This part replaces T5029).
06-14-17 Brought drawing up to date by specifying this case to be nickel plated, instead of Moodyized and black enamel."
Yes, this is the way I understand it. Does anyone know of any exception such as the cheaper cars in the early 1920s? My 1923 Runabout is as cheap as they ever got . . .
Does anyone sell new or replated original gearboxes & covers?
Would have been nickel, even the "Rip Van Winkle 1917" had nickel plate gear case. Haven't even seen a gear case in the 20's that wasn't.
Making special finish parts for starter and non-starter cars would be against Ford methods.
Your non-starter '23 got the dash mount choke knob, which seems silly as would be hard to use it when hand cranking too...even the lowest price T did have style.
Yes, that would be my guess as well. That raises a dilemma. Should the project get held yet again while I get the boxes plated or just shoot them black . . .
My car is a driver rather than an accurate restoration, but I have tried to stay pretty close to original spec in most areas.
Vintage Paul, pondering . . .
If painted instead of plating, I'ld go with a silver chrome paint, something to mimic nickle, but that's me.
As you do have the new shiny ss rods to add, that case should shine too.
Even with a tractor T, that gear case and levers shine
Yes, some sort of silver paint might be a good option. Any recommendations on one that will look good for years? I know aluminum paints can be terrific but don't look quite right for this.
You must have the gear case out if you're replacing the rods. Send it to me and I'll plate it for you. There's no sense going "half-fast" if it's out already. Plating will outlast you and the next owner won't be cussing over your grave.
Thanks Ken, email sent to you off list.
Back at ya.