Don't know if folks heard the end of this or now. but here is what I learned this summer in Greenfield Village & the new Model T's.
Chatting with a older driver at Greenfield Village and here is what he informed me- if you ride in the 1914 touring in their rides- you are riding in a $250K Model T- one of the modern reproductions.
The backstory is this- the government told Ford that if you mass produce (make 100-300) Model T's they have to adhear to the same new car rule about safety and emissions, so they ended up knocking down the production to avoid the hassles. Greenfield village bought 3 of them and the rest got spread about. So, go to Michigan and sit in a hush-quiet '14 T and enjoy the ride.
I have not heard that story. A few years back a different reason was posted. I believe is was the high cost of each T. I was under the impression the figure for modern rules was 10,000 and over.
My understanding is that when Ford's legal department heard that the company was considering the manufacture of a significant number of 2003 Model T Tourings with the same lack of safety features as the 1914 model year — no air-bags, no crumple-zones, no shoulder belts, no energy-absorbing steering column, laughable brakes — and the accompanying, astronomical liability exposure all of that would entail, they immediately (and prudently) put the kibosh on the project.
Then somebody said, "Well, okay. But what if we only made a small handful and never, ever let them operate on public streets?" And the rest became automotive history — at least according to what I've been told. The only thing I can actually swear to is that I'd really like to own one of 'em!
I believe they also called them a "tractor" or "service vehicle" or something other than an "automobile."
: ^ )
Ford Motor Company built 6 T-100 automobiles. One is still in possession of FMC-US, one is in England, and the Village has/had 4. I was there when they got 4!
When I got involved, early 2001, the plan was to make 100 to mark the 100th anniversary of FMC. Shortly there after if you remember Firestone had trouble making tires that would stay together on Ford pickups and suv vehicles. Sales plummeted, law suits climbed, expenses had to be reduced. One of the budgets to be cut was the T-100. They had already spent a significant amount of money on 6 vehicles and then the legal department got involved- the cars could not go public for obvious reasons.
Emission testing was done with the use of a Harley-Davidson catalytic converter inside the muffler. I was told (at that time) the cars passed testing. Maybe true maybe false.
Five of the cars have counterbalance crankshafts and one has an original Ford crankshaft. You won't notice a difference in your village ride. Crankcases were the most difficult part to reproduce and were not serviceable in every day use. They were changed to later production crankcases and electric starters were added. Without the electric starters the cars were not shut off during the day as drivers would have to hand crank them. Something they did not want to do. The cars either idled or were driven at 10 mph all day. All 4 of the village cars required cylinder sleeves at an estimated 30,000 miles (3 years?) due to soft cast iron used in the block casting and poor lubrication. There was no significant babbitt wear at that time on either main or rod bearings.
If parts were available from suppliers those were used. If not they had to be made--rear axle housings, front fender irons, steering columns, driveshaft tubes, connecting rods, transmissions and rear axle gear cases to name a few. These were made by the Proto-type development department of Ford Motor.
It was a good gig to do. I was there but your information may vary.
Jack Putnam, T-100 engine builder.
Thank you Jack. Very interesting, and good to hear the story from someone who was there.
I believe the full story is told in one of the older forums - 2003 or 2004 maybe. So go searching :-)
Yes,It was four and when i parked our 14 alongside the only way for me to tell was our dash was more blond or less red.Everyone i know hopes to see Jack and his [Self commincing] T at the OCF in Sept!Bud.
i figured as these were never actually used on the road they wouldnt have to adhere to said regulations... kinda like a four-wheeler.
The Self Commincing 1914 will be there!!
Isnt it true that one of the T100 engines were left unpainted? I know that I saw that article with the photos in either Vintage Ford or the Times which showed the unpainted engine. It also said within the article that the others were painted for preservation reasons.
So with respect to our previous conversations about engines painted or not painted, wouldn't the fact that one of those engines were left unpainted mean that the Ford Company believes that the engines were unpainted?
If you did those engines , did someone tell you not to paint one of them and why?
Final engine assembly was done by Ford. I cannot comment on what was painted or not. I would not read anything into a story about painted or unpainted T-100 engines. The Greenfield Village is a "test tract" for many things related to the Model T. It is a very abusive environment for the cars, high usage nearly 24/7 for the non winter months, different drivers, slow speeds ie poor lubrication.
T-100 #4, next to our 14 at the Centennial. Ken Kennedy was nice enough to drive #4 over by our car so I could get a bunch of pictures of the two cars together. It was a pleasure talking to him, super nice guy.
I am kinda surprised you guys have not read or delved into the lengthy research done by Trent Boggess with regard to motors being painted or not. He really really got into the research on this subject. Search for that.
There is also a rumor going around that one of the reasons the cars were so quiet is the transmission gears were not straight cut, like they were on all the Model Ts and the early camshaft gears.
Another rumor says they all failed and had to be replaced with the original style gears.
Does anyone know or want to share the real story?
James, I remember reading that the gear profile was a modern one, so they wouldn't be compatible with original gears. The modern cut was supposed to be quieter--but I think I also read that they now have original gears in them.
I believe one of the six still has the reproduction transmission in it, but I could be wrong.