The other day, someone called me up about a model T they were interested in selling. The story went as follows: it was a purchased from the son of the original owner after he passed on, and has been in storage for around 80 years.
I went and looked at the car, and am unsure of the value of it, or whether it is worth my time. The new owner has had the motor rebuilt. I asked whether it had new babbit poured or not, he said no, and said all he had changed was the rings, gaskets, and pan. From inspection, one head bolt is missing and there is silicon "spoo" pushed out from most of the gasketed surfaces. The motor has a low number and a casting from 1915.
The owner said that the radiator holds water, and was full of antifreeze, but when I unscrewed the cap, it was completely empty.
It has demountable wheels, but other than that most of the parts go along with the details in Bruce McCalley's book. The interior is badly weathered, and I don't know the condition of the springs. It has all of fenderes, splash pans and the hood.
I don't know if it has the correct rear as it looks like the later ones.
The main problem I saw is the lower portion of the body is rotted, mainly along the very bottom edge, to about 2" up. The wood seems fair, I tried to sink my nails in, and it didn't seem to give.
The car seems all original, but I unfortunately don't know how fixable a car would be in this shape. I am interested, but would like your help and advice before making a decision I might regret.
Do you want the car bad enough to commit to it's restoration? If you can buy it right,it is fixable.
These cars are fun, but what is fun to me may not be to you. You don't have to be a mechanic to own and operate a car and the car doesn't have to perfect. You can join a local club and get advice and help for your car. Last Thursday night at our weekly garage night of the Milwaukee Model T club we pulled the hogs head from a members car to replace a badly leaking felt. Everybody helped from disassembly, cleaning parts, holding the lights, learning new vocabulary when the going gets tuff. The car was repaired and everyone learned something and had fun. This is a big part of Model T's. If you don't like it you can always sell it to the next guy. It's a committment of various degree's, but I find it enjoyable, maybe you will too.
1. Anything can be repaired.
2. It only cost time and money.
3. If possible, it is normally more fun to purchase a car that runs and drives rather than a project. Usually the project has a lower initial cost but a higher long term cost if you count your time.
4. If you count your time working on the car a pleasure (some of us do that) then in theory the more work the more fun.
5. Recommend you take a club member with you to look at the car. As Jack pointed out, if the price is very good you can afford to fix it up. Note you can also go the speedster body and/or depot hack until you get the body fixed. Also if the wood is good in the body -- the sheet metal provides very little support -- i.e. you can drive it with rust (a uni-body car that is not safe to do -- depending on where the rust is).
6. If you go back and take another look -- see if there is a body number on either the front seat frame in front of the gas cap or on the right front floor board riser.
Good luck (and based on another recent thread I read -- if you are married -- be sure to discuss it with your significant other).
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout, Sumter SC
I would agree with all of Hap's advice. the central issue is to answer this question:
What do you want out of this purchase. Its trus anything that sbroken can be fixed, your choiuces revolve around your expectations. I've seen museum looking "T"s that didn';t run well as well as the reverse. One thing to remember is that there will be other "T"s
Edward R. Levy
It sounds like a very fixable car to me. It also sounds like it's always been a car and is not an assembly of miscellaneous parts. there's value in that. Believe me, it's a lot more enjoyable to restore or maintain a car that's largely unmolested since it left the factroy. It can be very frustrating to get a rolling parts collection trimmed up and running cohesively. Many "restorers" just cobble things together into a big mess and make odd makshift repairs that just don't work very well and are tricky to correct.
Don't let him fool you into believing that replacing the rings and pan gaskets constitutes an engine rebuild. Whenever I purchase a T, I assume that I'll need to rebuild the engine, transmission and differential. I also figure in the cost of replacing or recoring the radiator. It seems that all Model Ts need those four things addressed before they're any good for touring. If any of these items were previously and properly fixed on the car, I don't deduct from the value for the repairs. But, I'm very careful not to give credit for amatuer, hack job repairs that will need to be done over.
Post some photos and we'll try to tell you where it ought to be priced.
Ask yourself ...
Am I looking for a car,
Am I looking for a project?
This is a project. Odds are, unless you love the restoration process, you would be happier buying a car you could drive and enjoy immediately.
I wanted to thank you all for your responses. I think I'm going to try to go for it. Just need to make some room and it can come home. Also, I forgot to take pictures of the car when I got there, so I can't post any pictures. I brought the camera, just forgot to use it.
Eric, the owner also said he had the tranny done, and only made mention of the bands. Right now the car is sitting on four stands, and he said the rebuilder said that it should only be run in low for while. What else would be entailed in the rebuilding of a tranny? Also, what do you think I should expect to have to do with the driveline if I get it?
Not quite sure what is meant by running it in low for a while, you sure he didn't mean drive it "slow"?
Richard, I bought a car fully operational. Took it apart and because of 'time' it took me forever to put it back together. I got so frustrated because I wanted to drive it but couldn’t. Bottom line: buy a driver and buy a project car later.
That's only my one cent. Sorry, but I need the other cent for a new horn flex hose.
Transmission rebuilding is pretty straightforward. But, there are a few pitfalls. You'll need to check all the drums for cracks and their gears for excessive wear and pitting, replace the bushings and have them reamed to fit, have the flange of the mainshaft trued up by a machinist, recharge and reset your magnets, replace your worn ring gear..... Most guys update their clutch with a T400, Jackrabbit or Watts assembly. Many will also balance all drums and the flywheel assembly. There is much debate over turning the drums or leaving them a little uneven with band wear. I'm of the camp that belives that thet're too thin to begin with and I skip having them turned down. If you rebuild it yourself, figure $300 for parts and machine work and about 15-20 hours labor. Rebuilders charge $500-$750
Most Ts still have babbit thrust washers in their differentials. These are dangerous and need to be replaced with brass, bronze or roller style washers. When the babbit thrust washers fail, you'll have no brakes. Belive me, it's no fun to sail thrugh a red light with your foot pressed firmly to the floor, your left hand pulling back on the parking "brake" and listing to the whine of mis-aligned ring and pinion. It's even worse when you family is in th ecar with you...Don't ask how I know that.
Thank you for all of your advice.
I think I'm going to go for it...
Can you post some photos? Would be great to see some!
Actually, although I brought my camera with me. I was too excited to see the car and forgot to take pictures.
I will try to get some though.
Cool! Keep us updated, we'd love to follow along as you bring the car up to snuff and get it back out on the road where it belongs.
Well, I got back to the car today, but forgot my camera, but the owner had some photos from when he had bought it several years ago.
Now I just have figure out how to upload these things....
Thanks for the pictures !! I love it !! Much has been said about restoration but few speak of preservation. I would encourage the latter in this instance. You may want to install a new top however and, depending on the performance of that radiator, try and find a good, usable $300 swap meet original. If the upholstery is also original; throw some $20 antique quilts over it to thwart future deterioration. Make it safe and bring the entire running gear back up to specs and take it on tours !! The most difficult thing I would have to encounter is to resist the temptation to add the '15 brass to the 5 lamps. Most brass tourers unfortunately upgrade to the demountable wheels. You already have a very interesting era accessory in square wood felloe demountable wheels. Is the wood tight? Its a lot of work but consider dismounting the tires and soak the wheels in boiled linseed oil and denatured alcohol . .. NOT paint them and remount the tires. I would definitely pore over your preserved touring at a tour rest stop much longer than I would a $10,000 restoration of a similarly gorgeous original. Thanks again for the visuals !!
Forgot to add - First thing would be to replace the original babbit thrust washers with the new bronze. If its been sitting as long as you say, that babbitt is/will be goo globs in your housings. Shoot, while you're at it, rebuild the entire differential. If it isn't a specifically '15 - early '16, find one to rebuild. Advertise here (classifieds) for one. But don't drive it too far if you're unsure of the babbit washers . . . . .
Like to get a better shot of the spare tire carrier on the left side running board if you have the chance to take some more pictures.
Have to agree with George on keeping it as a preservation vehicle before jumping into a full bore restoration. The pictures don't show the rot and may not be that bad to require a body off repair. Just a guess. Bob
Congrats!!! It looks mint compared to the one I have. I agree with George. I'd do some restoration on the drivetrain to make it safe and leave the rest like it is. You don't see many original cars anymore.
1916 touring in KY
Thank you all for your responses, and I have decided to go for it. Other than Mr. McCalley's Model T ford book, what be a good books or manuals to start with?
I think I am going to go with your suggestions, and keep her in original (as found) condition, just get what's missing and make sure it is safely operable.
Anybody out there have any mostly original (and weather beaten) T's out on the road? Any suggestions?
Get the Ford service manual & a reprint instruction manual. They're both available through the vendors.
As far as the Vendors get all the catalogs, they're free, Mac's, Snyders, Lang's, Chaffin's & some others you'll run across. They all have web sites
Gotta say I think you've have a keeper.
perhaps an inappropriate question, but when I see T's change hands, I always wonder - how much did you pay?
Great find. It looks much more a historical treasure than a project. Several of the clubs have a "Historical Preservation Class'' for cars and that one is a good candidate. I encourage you to join one of the local clubs and/or find some knowledgeable folks near you. You can learn everything about a T on your own. But it is a lot safer and more fun to find out what some of the known "gotcha's are" from others. Geroge's concern is very valid about replacing the "babbit thrust washers" in the rear axle. When they let go (and they all will eventually let go -- it is a matter of time and wear -- some sooner than others -- but in enough time and wear they all go) you no longer have the original brakes. Another good example -- what type of hot water heater do you have? If it is a gas model and is located in the same area you plan to park the car -- that is a known way to loose the car and the house. Old cars tend to leak gasoline. The vapors travel along the floor. Your car may not leak. Mine doesn't leak except every now and then when something sticks and I forget to turn the gas off.
Yes, please post and if you don't mind please send me some of the photos (you can click on my name at the top of my post and it gives you my e-mail address). You can only post them at 200 kb/or so and most cameras take them at a higher resolution. If you send the higher resolution it lets me use the zoom feature to see things I couldn't make out in the lower resolution photo. That is extremely helpful for the body numbers if you find them. If you look at the right front floor board riser you may see a body number. See the photos below for where they are often but not always found.
below is a low res picture of a 1918 Beaudett body number. A little fuzzy. But with the high resolution photo you can make out most of the numbers etc.
If you don't see one there, lift the seat and look in front of the gas filler cap. They can be on a metal tag or stamped into the wood. If you do not have the wood framed seat as shown, you will normally not find a number located there.
Also please take a look inside your car above the coil box. Do you see a row of seven rivets as shown in the picture below?
And finally please look on the front and back heel panels (where your heel would hit if you were sitting in the seat). Is there a letter of any sort stamped into the panel as shown below? (This was supplied by Chris Paulson from his car)
For additional info see http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/7861.html and go down until you see the "letters" embossed on the heel panel pictures -- and you might also enjoy the parts on the body tags. http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/6661.html is a second thread with body number, casting number, dating info on it.
Again, congratulations on a great find. I would encourage you to preserve it as much as possible and have a lot of fun with it.
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC
I will try to get some more pictures of it once I pick it up.
Richard, I'm glad to see that you took the leap. It looks like a wonderful original car. I think those five-lug accesory wheels are really cool. A great period item that may have been added while the car was still very young.
Yes, the wood fellow demountables were available at least as early as 1914, maybe earlier. Those are fantastic! Nice car Richard!
So... These wheels aren't just newer model T wheels, but actually accessory? What is the difference?
Uh, Firestone started selling demountables for Fords in 1909, so they are era correct, and a great thing for trumping the "experts."
The first is a 1909 Firestone ad.
The Firestone demountables from the 1909 - 1918 (approximately) period had a wood fellow and five rim lugs.
The later Ford supplied demountable wheels (1919 - 27) had a metal fellow and four rim lugs. Firestone was one of Ford's suppliers for the later demountable wheels, but these later wheels are completely unlike the earlier wheels as shown on the '15 touring being discussed in this thread.
rdr and Royce
Thanks so much for clarifying the wheels. I figured that I would have to get appropriate wheels for the car, but if they were available as accessories at the time I would like to keep them.
I have been holding off on picking the car up because I have to make room for it, but one of my friends offered me the use of their garage for a little while. Since the car is kind of far from me, I cant measure it to see if it will fit. How long is a 15 touring?
Richard -- It's about 11'-4" long with the top up, and about another foot long with the top down.
Thank you I can go measure tommorow.
And if space is tight and the door is low -- just lower the top while you drive through and then put the top up. Be sure there is room for the top to clear the door (and automatic door opener if there is one).
If I had my files -- I would gladly tell you how tall a T with the top up is -- but they are on the computer that is on the blink at the moment.
Mike -- I think he will want to know how tall is a 1915-22 with the top up (varies a little with spring sag, how heavy the driver is etc.)? Thanks.
Hap 1915 Model T Touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout
They are about 7' tall with the top up. I say "about", because as Hap says, there is some variation from car to car. Mine clears our 7' garage door by about an inch and a half. Have someone watch closely the first time you try pulling it through the door, just to be sure it will clear. (The middle of the top is taller than the front or back.) If the garage door isn't opening all the way, you'll have a problem. The door opener should have an upper limit stop switch, which is adjustable. If it's not opening all the way, you can move the limit switch to get a bit more clearance. (When I had my shop building built, I had an 8' door installed. No problem there!)
Hi Mike and Hap
Thanks so much for getting these measurements for me, i wasn't able to get into the garage as of yet, and will do it tommorow. I bought the car, just have to bring it home. I looked at the serial number, according to Mr. McCalley's book, she was built March 10 1915.
I hope to get her home soon so I can see what I have to work with. I would like to keep her as original as possible.
Once again, thanks to all who posted and helped me make what I believe to be the right decision. When I get her home I'll try and post a pic in current condition.
Forgot to mention, the seller showed me the spedo which he took off when he got it. The odometer showed 490 miles. I wonder how many times it rolled around.
Richard, Don't let the mileage on the speedometer be any indication of how far the T was really driven. Many era speedometers are easily taken apart for repair or to put in new decals, if present, and resetting the odometer is easy. Whenever I have an engine rebuilt for a Model T or Model A I automatically re-set the odometers so I know at any given time how many miles I have on that particular engine. I have seen one later Model T type speedometer with a tamper "seal" on the back but do not know if it was original to the speedometer or not.....Michael Pawelek
Here's a factory sealed Stewart stamp on one of my 490 heads.
I've been trying to find a spare for my car since I have the carrier, but as of yet have had no luck. Is it difficult to come up with these accessory wheels?
What kind of accessory wheel are you looking for??
1. For a spare, all you will need is a rim (and of course the tire, tube, flap, etc) – but not an entire wheel. With the demountable rim wheels, the wheel stays attached to the car, but if you have a flat, you remove the rim with the flat tire and replace it with the spare rim.
2. Recommend you remove one of the rims and take some photos and measurements of it. There were several different makers who produced several different styles of rims. If there are any makings indicating who made the rim (often stamped on the lugs or the rim) that can be helpful also. Pictures with a ruler next to the part can help folks tell what size it is etc.
3. There is a good chance that more than one make of rim will fit. Even for the original 1919 – 25 Model Ts, you could adapt some Chevy rims to fit some (but not all) Model T rims by moving the valve stem hole to match the Model T Wheel.
4. Below is a shot of some Stanwell (or something close to that) lugs on a 21 inch balloon tire – but they help you see where to look for a name.
Doug posted that at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/16369.html From your photos your car appears to have the clincher 30 x 3 ½ rims but the idea is the same. You just need to find the ones that will fit your wheels. Ok – check and make sure all your wheels are the same – sometimes over the years someone will have a flat and replace the entire wheel if they can get it with a good tire for less than purchasing a replacement tire. In 1950 my Dad got an entire T with 4 new Montgomery Wards tires for $85 and those tires and wheels went on a lot of his different cars. A lot easier than moving just the tire, tube, and flap (actually those old Montgomery wards don’t have a flap – but that is a different thread).
5. Good luck and we look forward to seeing the photos of what type you are looking for.
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC
Richard I have a NOS 30 x 3 1/2 rim, that I sold the NOS carrier last spring and kept the rim, however it does not have the 4 clips made into it, it is a KELSEY that uses the figure 7 clamps to install it on to the wheels via bolt and nuts 125.00 plus UPS firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your responses. All I know about my wheels is that they have the 5 fasteners from the carrier to the rim, and for some reason the rear wheels have very odd pancake style hubcaps. I'll try to get to the car this weekend to see if I can find any distinguishing marks or at least get better pictures and dimensions. At this point the best pictures I have are posted at the top of this thread.
John, I'm not sure if that would work for the current wheels I have on the car.
On ebay I found a pair of Perlman 5 fastener wheels. They are listed as being "Set of TWO Vintage 1920s Black Wall Model T tires. 30 x 3 1/2". 24" rims. Oak wheel steel spokes which were made by Perlman, please see photos. Montgomery Ward's Riverside tires, world's biggest tire dealer in 1928.Stored upright position."
The have the same configureation as mine, but unfortunately I was supposed to move my car again (finally to my house) this passed weekend but snow stopped that from happening. Although they are tempting, I probabally should wait....
If they are the same brand as the ones on your car -- I would encourage you to research their condition and if the rims are good -- purchase them.
Even if they are the same brand -- depending on when they were made the rims may or may not interchange/fit properly. That would also be true for a different brand (although some brands bought out a previous maker and the items fit fine they just have different names).
Ideal situation, you lived close enough to the seller and you could put them next to each other and compare them side by side and take the rims off and try them out. But that probably won't happen.
It is not usually a problem of the rim not fitting onto the wheel BUT RATHER THE PROBLEM IS the rim still does not properly fit onto the wheel. I.e. it is not correctly supported because it was designed differently. That is also true for the several different 30 x 3 1/2 demountable clincher rims that came new with the Fords. The Kelsey rim would fit on the hayes wheel but not properly. See http://mtfca.com/encyclo/U-Z.htm#wheels for a discussion of which original Ford rims, wheels, and parts would or would not interchange.
If they are the same brand as yours -- I would try to obtain them to check and see if they fit or not.
If they are a different brand from the ones you have, I would not try to obtain them unless I had a lot of surplus Model T spending money. (I don't -- kids - college). Then you could compare them to see if you "lucked out" or if you need to relist/trade them. If they are a different brand, I think it would be a long shot that they would fit properly -- but you never know until you compare them. A photo of your rim off the wheel and their rim off the wheel might give you additional clues -- but in general you won't know until you get them next to each other.
Seller has local pickup only -- so you would need to coordinate that (finding a friend near by to hold them until you could pick them up or make arrangements to ship them).
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford Touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.
Thank you, I didn't even notice the local pickup only thing. Ohio isn't too far from NY, but I don't know if I'd like to drive there and bring them back only to find they won't work for me.
Since they have no bids, I guess I can keep an eye for if the seller relists them. Hopefully I will have gotten to see my car in the interim. It's kind of sad, I've owned the car since August, and haven't seen it since the day I picked it up.
I'll take a look in a two weeks (hopefully) and finally know what I am looking for.
Thanks again Hap, and when I find the info on the wheels I'll try to find body numbers and rivits etc.
Please remember to take a camera with you (digital is best -- but the one time use camera for $6 at Wal-Mart and developed on the CD for $5 will capture many details. Sample shown below from one of those (we are still learning how to work the digital one...))
And the pictures are easier to take while the car is out of the garage (assuming the weather cooperates).
Please see the earlier part of the posting for a reminder of which areas to photograph to help identify the body maker. Also, if you would e-mail me the photos -- CD from Wal-Mart (probably other also) provides low resolution for posting and high resolution for printing. If you would e-mail me the higher resolution shots -- that allows me to zoom in and look for clues. For example recently someone shared their body number -- but in the photograph they sent I noticed a "M" which we think is for a Monroe produced body -- but we still need to find additional information to move it from theory the factual or to correct the theory. "The earth is flat -- folks who sail out of sight fall off the edge" to fact "The earth is curved and it is possible to sail beyond the sight of land and come back ok."
Lots of folks have seasons in their life when they don't have a chance to work on their cars. The car is stored somewhere else, the garage is not heated, we just had our second child etc. From the photos of your car, it looks like you have great start for a really nice car. I would encourage you to consider keeping it original -- mostly as found and make it safe to drive/tour. I.e. make sure the brakes, tires, steering, thrust bearings also called thrust washer (part number 2528) in the rear axle are bronze (old babbit thrust bearings can fail without warning causing you to loose your brakes, low, high, and reverse gears). A 1915 could have come with either a bronze or a babbit thrust washer/bearing (see: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/P-R.htm#rax1 ) .
Have you had a chance to find the local club or members near you? They can be a lot of help and encouragement. And they will also be encouraged seeing your car as it comes back out of hibernation. Many of us are looking forward to hearing/seeing your discoveries – thanks for sharing.
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford Touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.
I would definately use a digital camera, but the pictures will probabally be taken inside as it has been awfully wintery here lately. Last time I was supposed to move the car we had 8" of snow.
Just prior to purchasing the car I spoke to a guy who shows up a one of the local cruise nights with a 14 touring. I asked him some questions and he gave me his number, saying that if I get it I should give him a call as there is some sort of local T club. He said they don't really have any sort of outings, but they do get together for meetings.
Also, I was wondering, what do you do with the body numbers? I have been trying to collect sequence numbers for 65 impalas in an effort to determine build dates and from my informtion have learned a great deal about my car. Are you doing something like this?
I just brought the 15 home today, but had to devote a good portion of the weekend for studying for a test tomorrow. Although I did sneak a little time after bringing it home to rummage through everything I didn't get to get a real good look at much. The main reason being that apparently all of the door latches have seized.
I did see a metal tag on the wood where the front seat is that looks similar to the photo you had posted on my earlier thread, but it was too rusted to read anything at this point. Also, I looked at the cowl and saw no rivets.
One thing I have noticed is that the last owner may have lost a few things when he took it apart. I am just glad that it's home and I can finally figure out what to do with it. I see many questions in the future. Many Many questions....
Good luck on your test! I’m glad to hear you got your car safely home. There is no rush on sending me information -- we have been working on this for at least 7 years. I've gotten over the "let's hurry up and find the answer" phase a while ago.
When you have time please send photos and post photos etc. Posting will only allow you to post 200 Kb since you are a member (100 Kb when we sign on and are not registered). So if you would also e-mail me some at a higher resolution, I would appreciate that. And put a ruler or quarter etc. next to things to help show the size if it isn’t obvious. Sometimes if the tag is rusty, you can put a piece of paper over it and do a pencil rubbing and maybe see what the numbers are underneath. Or lightly rubbing with a “scotch bright” nylon pad will probably leave the numbers (letter?) rusty looking against the cleaner tag surface. We are looking forward to your discoveries, questions, and where you go next with the car.
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford Touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.
Here are some pictures (hopefully) of the T once I got it home this weekend. I cleaned it out real quick and set the fenders, apron, and wooden running board on it. I realized afterwards that I put the apron on backwards.
So, I see I have a pretty long road ahead of myself, but I am quite excited. Some of the wood should be replaced, it need some patch panels (mainly the passenger 1/4). The rear wheels have the wrong steel rims and are more of the 5 lug centers some how attached to 4 lug rims. I have to figure out how to free up the door latches and windshield. The front wheels have wards riversides, and the rears are hard rubber tires.
When I get home for spring break I can play with it some more, just a few more weeks.
Also, it seems to be a magneto horn car, that answers my question a long time ago:
Thanks for all your help.
Your 15 looks a lot better than my 16. The good thing about my 16 is the motor. It is nice and clean on the inside and should run with a little tinkering and some gaskets. The body needs new wood and the rear section rebuilt. My good frame needs to be riveted back together. The fenders I have will need some work, but I think they can be saved. I don't know if I have a good set of wheels or not, but I was planning to have some rebuilt anyway..... it's a safety thing.... I plan to drive the wheels off of this car when it is restored....
Good luck with the 15 and keep us updated on progress.
I had a 1914 very rusty but original T in similar condition as the one you are interested in except, the engine and chassis were restored and the radiator looked like yours. It ran smoother and better than most of the T's in our club. It had no starter and would hand crank and run on the mag. No one questioned it's originality! It was a real head turner on tour and especially at car shows. I had people come up and tell me "Never Restore It"....leave it just that way...."You don't see them like that anymore. It is true....they are only original once. Ours also had rusted out places along the bottom part of the body but the wood was sound. At one car show, another member also had a 14 restored touring and we parked the cars next to each other. A little old lady carefully looked over my rusty T and then walked over to where we were standing and said..."That original one sure looks better than the other one"....they never shined like that! You should have seen the looks on my friend....we both then laughted. You put an original car next to restored cars and see which one draws the most attention. Before you take it all apart....first take it to a local car show where most of the other cars are restored and see for your self. You will have lots of fun. Yours will get the most attention. If possible, make it run so it can be driven in and out of the show. Les
You have a real treasure there and I’m sure the car has found a good home. As suggested above, it appears it may be in good enough condition to keep “as found” – ok some reassembly required – but the potential is there. Depending on what needs repair to make it drivable – etc. you could “de-restore/age” the replacement firewall, repainted hood former, and go back completely to the barn find. Even if a lot of the structural wood needs to be replaced that is still a possibility. At the other extreme you could restore it as a show car. It is up to you, but remember, once restored you cannot really go back to the “as found.” You can restore it to look as found – that has been done also. But put some thought into it before you charge off in one direction or the other.
Please take lots of photos no matter which way you decide to go. They can be very helpful to figuring things out later. The old “how does this fit?” As well as in 2018 wondering what was originally there 10 years ago.
If you would like advise on how the car probably came from the factory – that is an area I am trying to document and would love to discuss / pursue further with you. I’m not saying you should necessarily put it back that way – actually I would recommend keeping the accessory wheels and 5 lug demountables etc. It makes the car much more “touring friendly” and will encourage you to drive it more. If you would prefer not to receive inputs on how it likely originally came – that’s fine also. It drives the same and is a lot of fun no matter how you assemble it (ok -- safely assemble it). Actually, I prefer the drivers primarily because they are such a good ambassador for our hobby. I’ve felt free to let the 5 or 6 fifth grade classes take turns sitting in my T and if I was going for a national show car that probably would not have been recommended. But with a driver – it is easier for you to let your kids and others “be kids” and not be as worried about the car. But if you would prefer I not offer any comments on how it might have originally been produced just let me know.
Welcome to the start of the discovery process. Remember when you were in math class and they first told you about “Pi” that number you could multiply time the radius of a circle squared and obtain the area of the circle? The usually first told you Pi was 3.14. And in a later class they expanded that and shared it was 3.14159. And later still they finally shared it could not be represented in our decimal number system no mater how many decimal places you carried it out. That is similar to your car. Some things will just go on forever without coming to a final conclusion. Fortunately many others will have a conclusion or a high probability of a conclusion. For your horn question – I think you just got to the 3.14 answer. One of the photos you shared takes us to the 3.1415 as it clearly shows the 1917 or later horn button on the steering column. See the circled area below:
Now what? [all page numbers refer to Bruce McCalley’s “The Model T Ford”.] If you want to pursue it further, check to see if there is a horn wire tube on the bottom of steering column. If so – is the late 1915 – 1917 style or the later 1918-26 horn wire tube style? Is there a horn with all the parts you received? Do you have the original dash in the parts you received? If so, is there any indication of a horn being mounted on it? Check out the driver’s side fake door. There is a block of wood that the bulb horn usually was mounted to. Are there used holes in that block of wood? Although they also mounted the bulb horn to the steering column sometimes – is there any indication a different bracket was once on the steering column? Is there an original 1915- 1917 horn button on top of the steering column (see page 214)? By the way – my Dad would have fitted the later electric horn and horn button to our 1915 – he just never got around to doing that one.
For the door locks – Kroil penetrating oil [http://www.kanolabs.com/google/ ] it is really good at helping to loosen rusted items. I would NOT recommend using WD-40 for that purpose. You can also obtain other brands of penetrating oil at Walmart or any of the automotive stores. Soaking the latches (i.e. reapply the penetrating oil) over a week or so should probably do it. The car has not been sitting at the bottom of the ocean so I think it will loosen up great for you. Also, push in on the side of the door at the latch. That helps take the pressure of the latch. My latch on my 1918 works ok, but the door fits poorly so it is hard to open if you forget to push in on it. On a different car you might not need to apply any pressure.
Also from your photo it appears you do NOT have the carriage bolt in front of the rear doors. That normally indicates you have the wooden seat frames. --
Again, thank you for sharing. And if you want the ramblings to stop – just let me know. But please send photos either way it goes.
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring, cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.
Thank you for the long and thoughtful response. If you would prefer I can e-mail you some pictures of slightly higher resolution. I'm still up in the air about what to do with the car, but it occurred to me today that it would probably be a disservice to the car to leave it with the rot and the heavy rust that is forming on it.
Of course new paint wouldn't be original, but after closer inspection I don't think the current paint on the car is original as all of the parts seem to have a coat of yellow beneath the black. With some better pictures the rust becomes more evident. I guess I'm not ready to make the decision, but I recognize that although a car can only be original once I can do it more harm than necessary by leaving the sheet metal in the current state.
Pressed the send button too soon....
I would love to further pursue how the car came from the factory and perhaps gain an insight into its state as created. Actually before I bought the car, I had though that the car had the later ford demountable rims, actually I believe I stated that earlier on this thread too, and I had mentioned this to a model T owner who brings his cars to one of the local cruise nights each week. I had mentioned that I would probably need to get a set of non-demountable, and I am pretty sure he gave me the evil eye on that one. After about a 10 minute explanation it became clear to me why demountable is so much better.
In regards to the horn, I received no horn with the car, nor one of the cowl lamps, and all of the speedometer equipment is long gone. I put a call into the past owner about the cowl light and he is supposed to look for it this weekend. I also don't have the original dash, as it was "broken" when the engine was removed from the car about 10 years ago for the rebuild.
I looked at the wooden block by the dummy door remembering a past thread about its existence and do not recall seeing any holes, but there is always a good chance I was looking in the wrong spot.
Good eyes, I do not have the carriage bolts in front of the rear doors, that is one thing I Do remember from the first time I looked at the car. I believe the seat frames are wooden. There will definitely be more photos in the future as long as no one is opposed.
Yes, when you have a chance please e-mail me copies of any photos you have of your car. Normally they will be higher resolution than the ones we compress down for posting. A good digital camera will actually allow us to zoom in on a photo take 5 feet away from an engine and read the engine serial number (ok -- the lighting has to be good, the number has to be visible and not covered in grease etc.). You can click on my name at the top of any of my postings and my e-mail address is there. I think we are limited to 2-3 megs that my e-mail service will allow on a single e-mail -- but I'm not sure about that? I always get that confused with the megs/Kbs/ etc. But you can send a photo 10 times higher resolution than we can post and it will go through fine. But try a few photos first and if they get through we can a
Have you had a chance to contact any local T folks near you? They can add a lot because they will be able to see the car and discuss some of the options with you. Sometimes you can "preserve them" and other times you best choice is to go ahead and restore/repaint etc. And like anything else -- some people would say one thing and others another thing. It is your car -- but recommend you get some good inputs so you can make a better informed decision.
I'm looking forward to learning more about your car as we go along.
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford Touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.
Richard, I'd keep those accesory demountables on the car. They are not later T wheels. They are accesory demountables which are very rare and very desirable. They were likely installed on your car before Ford offered demountable wheels for the Model T.
Thanks for the posting of the wheel ad's.I have 2 of those wheels and thought they werent T and had been converted.mine are 21 inch though.
They are going on my TT.
I like the project.It must be nice to find a fairly complete car to take apart and build back.
I will send some photos today.
I would really like to keep them, but the two rear wheels have the wrong steel rim part, as they only have four receptors for the wheel's 5 lugs. Perhaps other rims could be altered to fit my wheels.
Also one of the wheels has some sort of "repair" where the wood rim near one of the spokes looks blown out but was somehow repaired. I don't really know how to approach that one but after learing the the joys of wood wheels in bad shape from earlier forums I would want to make sure these things were safe before continuing on with them.
Thank you, I hope I can build it back. I have realized in the past, I excel at taking things apart it's the putting back together part that ususally doesn't go well. I've been working on it, so this should go smoothly.
There is an good chance that one of the wheel wrights could rebuild one or all of your wheels. You would need to confirm that the front rims are in deed the proper ones for your wheels. If so -- you could use them to locate 3 additional ones or to request someone to fabricate 3 more. Ford offered several different styles of rims, one of those may be able to be modified to duplicate the ones on your front wheels. Or, you may need to obtain 5 matched good rims and have the wheel wright rebuild the wheels so those rims (with out permanent lugs) could be used.
As an short term solution -- you could always obtain another set of wheels until you could locate the proper rims and/or have the wheels rebuilt. (Unless you are trying to restore a national show winner, I would recommend the 30 x 3 1/2 Hayes / Ford style demountable wheels with the rims with the permanently attached lugs. While they are not original for your car -- they make changing a flat a lot easier. New rims are also available for those wheels.)
No rush on the photos -- but please put "Model T" or something similar in the title.
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.
Pictures are on their way