I am now the proud owner of Ralph Ricks 1912 Touring body. Ralph brought it up to my place the other weekend and we had a great time together. Anyway, being essentially 100 years old and original wood, it is a bit floppy in the back section so the doors do not close tight. Lifting the rear of the body solves the problem. My plan is to glue the cracks in the wood and lift it to the proper position and let it bond.
However, this is not enough so I am currently welding some supports that can be attached to the frame to support it, thus holding the position. My question is: What suggestions or experiences has anyone had regarding this and how have they treated the condition? I do not have pictures to post yet. I have already welded the parts and am finishing them so they look decent. The result can be as little as a 1/4 inch piece painted black like the frame and essentially unseen under the edges of the body: one on each side and two in the back, lined with leather to minimize the wear on 100 year old metal skirting the wood of the body. Or (my creative side comes out here!) to create something that can be seen but is brass.. such as a small brass scroll attached to the true support but showing against the red of the body. Hey, the more brass the better, right?
Also, I am of the opinion that any modification of the original, done cleanly with class and creativity, will, in another 100 years be a valuable item for a collector at that time! I don't think anyone having a 200 year old car with 100 year old tricks would complain!
Suggestions? Experiences? Thanks all ! Michael
The couple of bodies I have stored, were much more “solid” and the doors worked much better when they were mounted on a square frame. If the wood is loose/cracked, as long as it is solid it probably can be glued or the bad section can be removed and replaced with a new piece. In the case of the lower wood sills, they can have a bad section removed and a new sections spliced in. If you use a properly designed and glued scarf joint the repaired area is actually stronger than the original wood. With a properly designed and glued scarf joint , if it is overloaded the board will break at a different location rather than the joint (all other things being equal).
Note you do NOT want to glue all the joints in the wooden body skeleton. They are designed to allow the body to flex as the frame flexes etc. But you may need to repair individual stringers, posts etc. And you may need to remove some of the screws, build up the screw hole or use a larger screw to rebuild your body. You may also need to build up some of the joints so they fit better.
If you did not have the body off the frame already, I would consider slipping a metal brace under the body to stabilize it. But with the body already off the frame – this is the ideal time to replace any bad wood and tighten up any loose joints etc. It will probably take you a little longer – but you will be much happier with the final product and long after you are gone it will still be going strong. And if the car stays in your family they will be able to share with pride that Grandfather etc. restored or repaired the body.
Are you building up another T or planning to convert the roadster to hold more folks?
Hap l9l5 cut off
I used kwik poly to tighten up selected areas on my body. I only had to deal with a couple of places. I spoke once with a guy who had done a number of T's who swore by the stuff. Said he would wire the body up tight...everything positioned as it should be, then kwik poly the wood as required...remove the wire, and voila. I have never seen it used that extensively but I was impressed with my limited use/results.
Thanks guys. Hap: When I got my first T (1912 Roadster set up like a Torpedo) I was told that these things tend to multiply. Since the first one, I was GIVEN a 27 TT and then some friends who's dad had died 10 years ago saw my Ts and gave me two more. I paid them fair prices for the 20 Roadster. There was also a chassis, 12 or 13, with all new brass stuff to build up the car, but no body. When I got the body from Ralph he and I thought that since the 12 roadster body was built in the 50s and not of the era, that I should remove the roadster body and put the genuine 12 body on that chassis. This is what I am doing. I plan to use the roadster body on the chassis I got from my friends and turn it into a pickup using the repro brass (the brass on the now Touring is all genuine). So that is what is going on. The body is easily removed and put back on. I am, as stated above, designing and welding some brackets to support the rear of the touring body but plan to fixate and reinforce the rear of the body itself by methods mentioned above.
However, Hap, what do you think of placing braces attached to the frame designed to support the body by resting the body rim on them. In other words, to support the body on the lower edges with braces attached to the frame. The body would only rest on these braces: two on the side and two on the rear. Even though the body can be glued and screwed, lower support seems to be a good idea unless the twisting of the frame will overly tweak the body but since the body would only rest on these braces and we are very near where the body is bolted to the frame, it would seem that the braces as described would be relatively static with the body as the frame moves.
What do you think? Steve, thanks for the KwikPoly suggestion. I have heard that is great stuff.
I used KwikPoly on my '12 years ago with and have had no problems since doing that repair. I also scarfed a piece of angle iron in a section of the main stringer where it had cracked half way through.
As previously suggested, check how much mounting the body on a chassis will improve the situation. Ford had a similar issue in 1913, when touring bodies were redesigned to the point that the body sills were too weak to support the rear seat section when there were passengers seated there.. Ford had to supply reinforcing brackets: (from the encyclopedia) http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1913H.htm
"The initial 1913 Touring bodies were built on wooden sills about 2-5/16 inches thick. The front and rear sections of the body were separate, with the doors extending to the splash aprons to give the body a one-piece appearance. These thin sills proved to be too weak, allowing the doors to open as the rear of the body flexed, particularly when there were rear-seat passengers. Early in production the sills were reinforced with a a strip of wood which was glued and screwed on top of the existing body sill. Later a formed-steel bracket which coupled the two body sections together was installed over the body sill. Then additional body brackets were installed ahead of the rear seat section, and finally the sills were increased to 3-1/4 inches but the problem was still not solved. The ultimate solution, however, was the change to smaller doors with a connecting body panel (the 1914 style body) in later 1913"
Here is a post with pictures of a unrestored 1913 body with some typ of reinforcement added: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/118802/153978.html?1281133058
that is most interesting. So the fix would be sort of "period correct" but for the year model.
How are things in Sweeden? Was just telling my wife we need go somewhere for Christmas. Got an extra room?
All of the suggestions lead to reinforcing the body and not creating brackets to support the lower body rim. Perhaps I need to rethink the situation. My thought was to reinforce the body with glue and/or KwikPoly and create FURTHER support with brackets attached to the frame. Thank you all for the suggestions!
I assume this car has all original wood. Does anyone know what types of wood were used? if its that original i cringe a bit at welding on the frame are there any factory holes nearby to bolt your bracket to?
My 2 cents worth.
What would be the best situation always is to keep the structure "as it was". The body should be at its best as far as panel fit etc when it is mounted as it was from the factory.
If you set up the frame on stands so that is level with no twist and first of all check that is straight and square by taking diagonal measurements from same points to check its not out of square and also that the mounts and rails are straight and not bent as they often are then the body can be mounted to check it out.
A lot of times people are so keen to get started they rush out get the frame painted and start adding the bits to it only to find months or years later they now have problems with door, windscreen, hood or radiator fitment as the chassis is throwing things out.
If the chassis is OK then any faults in the fit of the body can be addressed. Its not possible to tell how good a fit the body is until its bolted down onto a good straight chassis.
As Hap stated any weaknesses then can be addressed, rescrewing or replacing poor timber would be the prefered way to tighen up the body. Adding an extra brack inside to the back of the timber so it is hidden from view when the upholstery is fitted would also be a better option also.
Such work requires more skill than the "quik Poly" which most would think a poorer repair method and possibly a factor in decreasing the value of the vehicle ( which you may or may not consider important")
Weak timber replaced with new material to return the frame to its original strength is always a better option than packing up areas to get the body to look and work as it used to be originally.
Even today what I discribed above is what modern repairers do when repairing smashed vehicles. They first return all areas of the body back to their original place ( by pushing and pulling with hydraulic or other means) before they put on new doors, hoods or trunk,. If they don't the bits can't fit properly.
I tend to think the structure was not strong enough, or it wouldn't have broken. The area is covered in heavy black paint, but it appears there was a single support board on each side, aft of the frame attach, maybe 1" x 3", widening to about 1" x 6" . It has split lengthwise where it widens, all the way to the back end, allowing sagging of the rear quarter.
My first thought was one or two carriage bolts run vertically to close up the split. That would require careful, lucky drilling, for sure. I would put a super glue in the crack before closing, of course. Resorcinol is best, but I am using Titbond III on kitchen cabinets I'm building, as it's more convenient.
An alternative to drilling might be a C clamp of sorts to catch the top and bottom, and pull it shut. A piece of maybe 1" x 6" channel of 1/8" steel could be used, filling any excess width with Maple glued in. The body is Maple, per info from John Regan. Then the channel could be attached from the side with wood screws.
If you don't have a hardwood lumber yard nearby, Michael, I can mail what you need. If you like the channel idea, post the dimensions, and I can scour the local metals warehouse.