Bought my 1927 tudor back in 1967, and the semi-continuous restoration effort is getting down to the details.
This car was said to have been one of the last cars off the line at the Louisvlle, KY, assembly plant, but unfortunately the original engine was long gone. The story was believable because of quirks in the body. For example, the door sills were missing, and they would have been of the late design, resembling the 1928/29 Model A sills. It took me 40 years to find a near-perfect pair.
For decades, I had assumed that the sills had been worn out and thrown away by a previous owner, but close examination of the mounting points revealed that, on the passenger side, one of four holes was incompletely punched, and none of the punched holes were tapped. I concluded that they had run out of sills on that day, and the car was delivered sill-less.
But the strangest part of the car is the frame. It has all the signs of being the improved frame: the large, flanged rear member; the two rivets holding the brake quadrant; the holes drilled for the bumpers; etc. The frame is completely riveted together, and there are no signs of modifications.
However, for some odd reason the frame is equipped with 1925 or earlier running board brackets. (I have bought the wider, improved car brackets, and I will install them next time the body is off.) Moreover, there is no serial number stamped on the frame. I've never seen another 26/27 frame without the motor number stamped on it. (The body number is stamped under the driver's seat.) The running boards were bolted to wooden blocks, which extend beyond the short brackets.
Why would an improved car frame have pre-26 running board brackets? Is my sedan on a truck frame? Why is there no serial number? Was it a replacement frame? Perhaps the original frame was bent in an accident, or was it all they had left at the assembly plant?
Just trying to tie up the details.
Sounds like the body was dropped onto an earlier frame / chassis. Sometimes a person would do this because he could get a good running T from the junk yard for virtually nothing if it had a bad body or even bad upholstery and bad top.
You indicated the original engine was "long gone". This also supports the idea that the body was swapped to another collection of chassis parts. Remember, these cars were absolutely worth nothing for a long time. People did what they did for any number of reasons that may not occur to us today. There is no way your car came from the factory with early running board brackets.
I have been under the impression that there were changes to the frame under the improved car, or the 26/27 model. There was at least one change to the rear cross-member during 1926. This frame has al of these changes except the wide running board brackets. Would an all-steel tudor body fit on a 1925 frame?
The '26-27 running board brackets had extra holes drilled in them so they could be cut shorter to fit the earlier (narrower pre-improved car running boards). Other folks here I think will confirm.
It's a good question why you have a correct frame, long rear crossmember etc and the shorter RB brackets. ??
It sounds like you have a 27/27 frame, just with earlier running board brackets. A 27 body will not fit on an earlier frame. The earlier frames had 6 mounting points for the body - 3 on each side. The 26/27 bodies had 8 mounting points - 4 on each side. They don't all line up.
I think what happened is that at some point the running board brackets got damaged and someone replaced them with an earlier style. As Royce pointed out, at one point these cars were worthless and people did anything to keep them running. I have a 24 coupe that has two washers between the rear running board bracket and the frame. The bracket is riveted to the frame, just spaced down with two washers on each side. I have no idea why anyone would go through the trouble to do that as all it does is throw off the alignment of the rear fender, running board and splash apron - but that's what they did.
The engine number started being stamped into the frame in December of 1925. I'm not sure exactly when the change to the rear cross member was made on the 26/27 frames, but my guess is around March or May 1926 as they seemed to make a lot of changes around then. If that's the case I don't know why it would not have the engine number.
I think you are right. Yep, the body is held down by 8 bolts. The car was probably hit from the side, and the brackets were replaced using whatever brackets could be found. They were, however, expertly riveted and not bolted into place, as I would have expected. Larry had a good theory, that they could have been cut down, but inspection revealed no correct holes.
There were multiple layers of seat upholstery. The bottom layer seemed to have been sewn from the material used to cover mattresses. Cotton, with light-blue stripes. Again, they were using available materials.
I wish this thing could talk. I know it would have some stories to tell. I remain puzzled by the lack of a punched number. I doubt that a new frame would have been ordered from the factory.
Is original upholstery under that "mattress" material? Either way, seat covers made out of that were readily available in the '20s. It was more common than most hobbyists think. The 1927 Paige I have in storage still has them on the bottom cushions both front and back. They were supplied as an option by the Paige factory. I have the original 1928 issued parts book to prove it! If I ever get around to restoring that car, I intend to replace the covers with like material.
Just another little mostly forgotten detail of era history.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
There wasn't any further covering under the matress material. The concept of that possibly being a factory job is intriguing.
I learn something every day in this forum.
Jim, look at the end of the brackets, do they have a 45 degree angle on them, if not, they have been hacked off, MIKE
Yes,they have the 45-degree angle on the ends, and no unused holes.
James, you don't have a truck frame. They are much heavier and longer than a car frame. Dave
Just to take this discussion off on a tangent, that mattress material was commonly called ticking and was often sewn into a mattress shape with one end tied shut similar to how you string shoelaces. Every fall you'd empty your tick and jam-pack it with straw, corn husks, feathers or whatever other filler material you had available in your locale (Spanish moss down south?). You'd start out sleeping on this "hill" on your bed and end up with a mattress that was as flat as a pancake in a year's time.
Thanks for the truck frame info. I was casting wildly for an explanation.
Tangents are welcomed. When I had stripped the seats to the last layer, it had an unmistakable pattern: Old matress. Heavy cotton, with the light blue stripes. If you see it, it immediately brings up memories of old-time bedding.
Down here in Georgia, north of the gnat-line, we filled ticks with raw cotton, but I can assure you that Spanish Moss was used down on the coast.
heres one for you guys, 1926 tudor, 13,9xx,xxx serial numer on the engine, no number stamped on the frame, early 26 rear crossmember, 25 and older style rear radis rods and brake rods, front engine mount is 25 and earlier style, the windsheild side garnish has only one screw holding it to the body, not 2 like every other one i have seen, and the body does not even have a place for the screw to go into. and this isnt a put together car. kinda throws the judging guide lines out the window when it comes to a points judge saying no thats not right, deduct points.
Mike, I am by no means an expert, but I think the windshield side garnish (stantion?) that you describe with only one screw holding it to the body was an early '26 feature, soon replaced with the two screw style. Just something that I learned on this forum. As far as the other features, I have no idea. You may have a transition car, my '25 coupe seems to be one. I'm sure someone that knows for sure will chime in shortly. Dave
There were numerous changes all across the production history of the improved car, particularly in early 1926. Some are well documented, and some are not. The headlight bar, the worm-drive fan-belt adjustment, and the paint on the gasoline overflow pipe, to name a very few. I have seen subtle changes in the touring body, and some radical differences in the tudor. If they are all ever codified, it would make judging standards interesting, at least. It's hard to pin down dates of changes, as it could depend on which assembly plant was involved and what parts they had on hand at the time. On top of all that, there were the replacement parts, which continued to evolve somewhat in the next ten years after production stopped. It's possible to have chrome-plated bumper bars or cast-in dippers on the connecting rods.
The variations just make the old Fords that much more interesting.
I assume James that it's the door sills you're talking about. I had a '27 Tudor that didn't have them and no holes for them either. What was strange was that the set I got from Mac's didn't fit at all.
The early 26 Tudor also had a carpeted rear seat heel panel. If the carpet is missing, there will be holes in the heel panel that were for the carpet rivets. (Steel split rivets)