As you know, my friend Chris and I were building this T speedster for his father, Bill, as a surprise Christmas gift this year...Her is a recap of the back story:
"My good buddy Chris and his family have become like family to me over the years and it was actually his dad Bill that sold me the little '26 roadster that would become my lil' black roadster that you all know and tought me everything I know about how to make a project like that work. Both he and Chris helped me put the roadster together and it wouldn't be on the road had they not been there.
Bill has unfortunately been dealing with heath issues (poor joints and leg problems from years of commercial sand blasting) and major depression over the last year or 2 and, as a result, has not had any interest in the cars at all (a total 180 from his usual manor) which has been hard on all of us. Chris also has a wife and little boy of his own now, so does not have much time to help service all the cars up for Bill as he used to do, so I volunteered to handle the maintenance on all the cars in the Becker collection.
This year we were very surprised to see him become excited about car season! I made an effort to get all cars (the 1917 Hupmobile, 1919 Model T, 1906 Holsman "Auto-Buggy" and the '34 PII Rolls-Royce) ready, repaired and tuned for him to start driving again only to discover he can physically no longer get in or drive any of them safely, even his 1919 T touring...a car he has put more mile on then I can fathom! His poor joints and medications prohibit him from even getting his feet on the pedals or even getting behind the wheel of them...which was a big blow for him.
He doesn't really have a problem working the pedals so much as he simply can't get into the cars period...and if he did, they are tight enough that he can't lift his feet up on the pedals. Bill is a big boy and those cars are tight up front (I'm a young and slender guy and I have problems getting in 'em). If the seats were moved back a ways, he wouldn't have a problem. His 1909 Brush has plenty of leg room and he has no problem working the brakes.
Because of this, Chris and I are wanting to but together a another T for him, something simple and low to the ground that he won't have any trouble getting in or out of and be able to drive comfortably. We have a large amount of T stuff already (frame, front/ rear axles, springs, wheels, etc) so we should have a pretty good start
...Oh! and I should mention that this is also going to be a surprise for him...he has no idea we are putting this together for him! :-)"
2 months ago, Bill suffered a choking accident at a church breakfast and, as a result, lost consciousness and both his breathing and his heart stopped. The EMT's were quick to the scene and were able to get his heart and breathing started once again...making him safe for transport to the ER...he did not however, regain consciousness. As much as we had hoped that Bill would return to us, he passed away about October 13th. He had been brought back to normal body temp after the cooling/re-warming procedure was complete...but showed no change. It was determined that he was no longer breathing on his own and had suffered irreparable brain damage and swelling with no chance of recovery. The family made the choice to remove life support and he passed away peacefully surrounded by his family, loved ones and very close friends.
his son Chris and I will continue to work diligently to complete his T as we had planned in his honor.
So sorry to here about Bill. Will make your car that much more special.
First, condolences and prayers to the Becker family. Been following this one over on the HAMB...great job!
If you don't have plans for the spring/summer, I could use your handiwork down here in Texas putting together a fabric-bodied speedster
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. It was a shock to us all and a major blow to Chris and I to loose our mentor...and more so before his T was finished. He never saw it or even knew we were building it.
A cloth body T huh? Don't know what my plans are quite yet, but we might be able to work something out
Clayton, many thanks for sharing this. My condolences on the loss of Bill, and it is quite something to have such a memorial to him.
You are becoming quite the speedster designer and builder!
Good on 'ya, Clayton, I've been wondering what happened to you. I got a chance to meet Chris and his little guy at the Portland swap meet a year ago. Nice young fellow and that boy will be swinging his own wrenches in another year.
Looks like an interesting speedster. Cool color. You guys going to the Speedster run this spring?
Is your car still down in Ca in the museum??? I wanted to get down there this fall but went to Minnesota to work and try to make some money instead.
Sorry to hear about Chris's dad. It comes to us all but no one is ever ready to have it be one of ours.
Keep in touch. More pics when you have time. Stop by if you get out this way, it isn't that far.
Thanks kindly Stan!
I was sorry that I missed you! Chris told me that he had run into you, but I did not get the chance.
The color is 1968 Pontiac GTO "Vedaro" Green....with bright orange pin stripping
My T is back home finally, has been since July. I have not hardly touched it thought because of the "Becker Special" project. There will be plenty more picture coming in the next little while as we get closer to firing it for the first time.
Chris and I would like to take both T's on a run, might be this spring....not sure yet.
"Now in the arms of Angels"
Our sincere condolences to The Becker Family.
Harvey & Karen Decker
It's nice to have a couple of younger guys like you in the hobby.
Harvey & Karen,
Thank you kindly. He truly is. We know he will be right there in the passenger seat when we take her out for the first time
Thanks! I know Chris and I are a "rare breed", but I hope to inspire more young people to get into this hobby and "Tin Lizzies"
Sorry for the loss of your friend.
I tried to get my TT finished to take my grandfather for a ride but it didnt work out either.But at times I feel like he rideing right along with me anyhow.
You 2 are building 1 neat looking car.Please do start a thread telling about the grill and other details as time goes by.All very interesting setup for sure!
Like Stan I'd be wondering where you've been.
Sorry to hear of you loss. It always leaves a big knot in the heart when someone close goes.
Speedster looks Great! You guys better not forget to smile when tou take the "BECKER SPECIAL" out for it's first go!!
Sorry about my "hiatus". That "odyssey" to California and the "Special" project really ate up most of this year....have not hardly touched my T since I got it home.
We are so close to starting the "Becker Special" for the first time within the next 2 weeks. The design of the front suspension eliminates the ability to use a hand crank, so I have to rely on a starter. Last week I ordered a starter Bendix assembly from Lang's, but got the email that they are...... BACK-ORDERED.
I'm not raggin' on Lang's by any means (they are a fantastic company to deal with), I just CAN NOT start the "Special" without a Bendix
Does anybody in "T Land" have one they can spare? I need the entire assembly (lower "body", spring, drive head, drive key, ect.)
Hi Clayton, what you and Chris did in such a short time really looks great. I am sorry Chris's dad didn't get to see what the two of you had accomplished. I think I have a usable Bendix in my spare parts pile and I'll take a look tomorrow morning. I'll let you know by E-mail. How did that engine and trannie work out for you? I certainly hope it was mostly usable.
Thank you! I am also quite pleased with the amount of progress we have made in the last few months, but it truly is sad that Bill never got to see "her".
The motor appears to be in great shape, but due to the deadline for this project we were forced to use the ready-built T motor from Chris's T speedster. Your engine will power our next T project, a replica of Noel Bullock's No. 24 Pike's Peak car......"Old Liz"
If you have a Bendix, that would help us out GREATLY!!! I look forward to your email.
Bill will see her now and I know he must be smiling down upon you all.
We know he's up there, shootin' one of these down at us right now:
Hey Clayton, I checked my used parts stash and I do have a Bendix unit. It looks to be in servicable condition and includes the woodruf key. That surprised me but any decent hardware store could provide the appropriate woodruf key. The spring is intact but a bit worse for wear. I think it is still usable but you might want to replace it. Let me have your mailing address and I will get the Bendix on the way to you. Just contact me by E-mail with the necessary information. Cecil email@example.com
Thank you so much! I have sent off an email with the needed info.
I probably have a good spring if you need one. shoot me an email.
I love those headlights. They look like they could fry a chicken at 100 yards.
I'm pretty sure they will....once I get them wired up for 12v and lighted with Halogen bulbs
...looks like we'll be havin' fried chicken allot more from now on then!
"Jalopy Kid Fried Chicken"
If you deliver?
Put us down for one order and some fix'ns !
I think I just found a good way to make some extra "Model T money" .....the delivery bill might be a bit steep though.
Great story Clayton, and so sorry to hear of your loss.
I'm sure that Bill, will be right there, to hear that baby roar to life. I'm even willing to bet, that he's gonna look just like you, as he drives it, for the first time.
To all who have followed this thread, offered so much support with Bill's passing or just said a kind word....Chris and I thank you.
We are also very pleased to announce......
THE SPECIAL LIVES!!!
Yeah it was very cool to hear the motor run for the first time. I just wish dad could have seen it. Ive got the perfect road in mind to race Clayton some time! Still need to fix some major oil leaks on the trans mission and put the brake band back in. Would anyone have emergency brake shoes for t a large drum model T axle? Or even better a set of Rocky mountain accessory brake for a 26 -27 T axle? We are having an open house and firing party for the Special on January 9 and hopefully drive it around the building as victory lap! Hopefully I can start doing the body and paint side soon. I am getting rather burned out on fabrication. Saturday was huge and thanks to Clayton and friends at the shop we were able to here it run.
That motor sounds sweet!.
Very nice. I love that exhaust rumble.
Chris and I were quite pleased with this big victory on Saturday. We both could not help getting a little choaked up hearing it fire off for the first time.
"The Special" was a little "grumpy" at first to say the least, but as soon as I could keep her running long enough to adjust up the "94" we have on it....she smoothed out real nice.
I still have some more tuning work to do and would like to let her run for a good amount of time.
Next up.......A victory lap around the shop
The Tractor Supply Company had that exact size Woodruff key last year. I was surprised and bought some, but they soon got lost.