Curious whether folks here may be familiar with the accessory brakes that were made by the late Jess Bonar in Polk City, Florida? These are very similar to both the Bennet and the AC style calliper brakes, and were sold back in the 1970's and 1980's. These are a good looking period correct knock-off, that installs well, and appear to be very durable. Are their others here who are running these brakes, and does anyone have recollections of Jess, and whether there may have been other T aftermarket products also attributed to him.
I knew Jess, but not the brakes.
I bought a set of these for my 25 Coupe. My experience is, they are not much better than the standard Model T brake. Maybe on a 26-27 with a larger brake drum, they may have been better.
Dan: I have a set on a Town Car and they effectively slow that car down but will not lock up the wheels. The heavier body definitely works those brakes hard. A Bonar Brake brochure I have says set-up confirmation for these brakes is where the brakes cause both tires to skid to a stop. Wow! mine aren't there yet. A Touring I'm putting a set on being lighter, I'm wondering what differences (if any) the reduced weight could make?
I had a set on my 1913 Mountain wagon. The folks above are correct about their efficacy. What I liked is that they went on the 1913 8" drums.
One of the adjusters broke when my daughter was out in the car once. She came home and said "the brakes feel weird, Dad". Fortunately I had the transmission brakes set to work when the Bonars failed.
They are a decent auxillary brake for folks who don't want to go to the large drum Rockys. You probably can't lock up on a steel drum.
On my new 1913 I am running a set of 8" AC brakes. I've learned my lesson and am running a set of cast iron drums on the rear which I turned from a VW Jetta set. I suspect that the Bonars will function very well if you go to cast iron drums.
My Mountain Wagon 1913 with Bonar Brakes on the rear and my 1913 Brigade car with AC brakes. Both brake sets work and neither really detract from the appearance :
William. For some stories about Jess, take a look at the recent thread "Replaced roller timer with a New Day, Wow!".
I met Jess Bonar in about 1978 and I took my '26 motor over to his shop in Polk City, FL and had him install his new improved outside oiler on my engine. It went from the top of the hogshead on the driver's side, to the drivers side of the block abut even with the number two cylinder. The fitting on the hogshead was equipped with a scoop inside the hogshead into which the oil was force fed by the revolving magnets and delivered to the front of the block under high pressure through a 3/8" metal tube where it bathed all of the interior of the front block with a spray of oil which immediately flowed back into the oil pan where it was recirculated. This is sold on the market now by Jess's good friend Don Snyder, but back in '78 if you wanted one you needed to go to Jess for it and I'm proud to say I have a Jess Bonar original prototype. Jim Patrick
Many thanks again gentlemen. What a hoot it is to read about the "colorful" folks who have supported this hobby, and sounds like Jess Bonar was one of the best. Matter of fact, I don't think I know a single Model T enthusiast who cannot be considered a character. I thoroughly enjoy the abundance of information published here that pertains to T accessories, as this is such an enormous chapter in the Model T story.
Here is a picture of Jess Bonar's improved outside oil line. It is much better than the mag post outside oil line which only delivers a trickle due to the many obstacles, twists and turns the oil needs to make before getting to the mag post oil inlet fitting. Up and into the restricted opening of the mag post housing, then into the thin space between the mag post and inlet fitting opening, then 90 degrees into the opening and down the tube to the front of the engine. Jim Patrick