So I am going to be picking this 1926 Model T Coupe up this Friday. I am purchasing it as a 40th birthday present for my wife who has always wanted "an old model T". I have tried to convince her that a Model A might be easier to drive but she says "the older the better. I want a model T". So, I haven't really been looking too hard, but I came across this one that looks fairly decent. It is $4500. I have been doing a ton of research online and it looks like I am going to have as much fun restoring it as she will driving it to get ice cream occasionally. I will try to attach a few pictures so you can all see it. I am new to this site but have spent a ton of time reading posts on here.
Here are a few more pics of it.
Congratulations! That's a real barn find. Looks like it was a daily driver before parked. Do the rearend and brakes first. Do as little to the cosmetics as she will tolerate.
That is my plan. I am going to leave it just the way it is. I want to make sure that it is safe for her to drive but other than that we'll leave it looking original. I know it is a bit tricky to master it but she can drive a 5 speed no problem and she has ridden motorcycles before, so this shouldn't be a problem. The only thing I am worried about is the brakes. It seems that the brakes on these suck!
My understanding is the it is only the brake band on the transmission that stops the car. Is that correct? Do the rear drums have any brake shoe material in them at all? Can you use the emergency brake to stop the car in the event that something happens and the brake on the transmission doesn't work? Is the emergency brake metal on metal or is there actually shoes in it?
What are the major things I should do to the car when I get it to make sure that it is safe to operate?
Thanks in advance!
One more thing. Any model T folks here in the Vermont area?
Where in Vermont. I am across the lake in NY near Ticonderoga.
Michael, the brakes on the 26/27 T's are actually reasonably good. The transmission brake drum is wider than on the earlier cars and the drum brakes on the rear wheels are also greatly improved. The drums are 11" rather than 8". They are also much wider and contain a lined steel brake shoe. They are actually fairly powerful and can be used as a service brake. There is an equalizer available that allows you to operate the drum brakes by the brake pedal. The hand lever still operates them as well. I installed this on 2 cars and it works great. One of the things that must be done to make the car safe is to rebuild the rear axle. The axle contains two babbit washers that take the side thrust of the differential. Not if but, when they break apart or some other old worn out part fails you loose the transmission brake. Also, the front axle must be rebuilt and all play removed. The steering column should also thoroughly be gone through.
Val, I am about an hour from you in Huntington. What do you have for a car?
Great info on the brakes Stephen. How difficult is it to install the brake equalizer? I have read a bunch about rebuilding the rear end. That will be my first project. I also plan on new bearings on the front wheels, as well as a once over to make sure that everything is tight in the front end.
A 1926 is a good choice, it has a few improvements compared to the older T's, among them a better lined emergency brake/ hand brake and much less wood in the body.
The main stopper is a brake band inside the transmission - wider on the 26/27, so that's another improvement. You don't need to use the emergency brake much, but it's a good plan to always be ready to grab the emergency brake, should anything go wrong and the regular brake pedal isn't enough. Some use the emergency as the main brake, since changing bands in the trans is a worse job than relining the emergency brake.
Looks like a late 26, maybe even a 27 according to Ford, since it has a bar between the lights and a vaporiser carb. Properly rebuilt the carb should give good service, but many give up and put a regular 1920-26 NH carb there instead.
A safety check on an unknown T is to go through the rear axle and drive shaft. Old babbitt thrust washers can crack without warning, resulting in loss of the trans brake and damaged gears. The pinion bearing sleeve on the drive shaft may also crack, resulting in a ruined rear end. A good modern replacement pinion bearing is sold by the vendors.
Seems the car lacks the hand crank - should be rather easy to find if it's not in the trunk already.
First, buy a few books (and maybe dvd:s) to learn about repair methods - it's fairly easy, but different from modern cars.
A catalog from Mac's is recommended for the illustrations, then you can order from Snyder's, Lang's or some other vendor close to you
The drums on the rear wheels are still pressed steel, not so good for hilly terrain as a service brake - when hot you'll probably risk brake fading. The fix for mountain driving is an expensive set of rocky mountain brakes that contracts on the outside of the drums.
Michael, the equalizer is very easy to install. The suppliers recommend installing a set of return springs. I found the offered set to make the pedal very hard to push and took them off. I have not had any problems by not using them. Also, unless you really get the drums hot the steel drums are just fine.
I'm stuck at the part about $4500........
I see it even has a "fat man" steering wheel.......nice accessory.......
Don't let the brakes talk scare you.
As Stephen mentioned '26 and '27 brakes are actually pretty good.......especially the transmission brake but there is a vast difference in the rear brakes too.
How the improved T's ride is remarkably better too due to "real" tires.
I'm not QUITE sure yet but I THINK the '27 is my favorite car to drive!
Wives don't normally like to drive something that is loud, looks dirty, is dirty, smells of mold and old grease, fills with exhaust fumes and doesn't have nice upholstery in it. You must have a very special wife. Treat her like the special woman she is and fix it up nice for her. It's one thing to keep it original if it is original with all the original parts, but yours is long past original, as a lot of work appears to have been done to her and a lot of shortcuts taken. With someone like that working on her that probably did not have the knowledge or information to do anything he tackled correctly, I would be worried about virtually every system from the engine and transmission and rear end to the wiring. Everyone says "A Model T is only original once" but they originally had upholstery in them, a nicely installed roof, unbroken glass, a spare tire, a hand crank, radiator apron, instruments in the dash and undented body parts. Go ahead and do it right and make your wife proud of her car and of you. Just saying. Jim Patrick
I would agree that it has had a lot of "work" done to it, so at this point restoring or leaving the outside cosmetics as is is up to you. It sorta looks like the original seat upholstery may be under that black covering. The visor and roof job looks funky, think I'd change that no matter what! Also, with the roof off, you can put in the headliner, if you want to have a nicer interior.
If it runs, I'd say you got a "smokin' deal." Pun intended!
I would agree, make it safe to drive, then decide on the cosmetic stuff. Exhaust fumes and ice cream don't mix well!
All great advice. It runs and drives. I talked to the guy quite a bit and he said it had the same owner for 60 years. Since then it has only had a few owners, three more I think. It has been in storage for a few years until he bought it and went through the basics to get it running. He said that it starts, runs, drives, goes forward and back, and stops... He bought it to turn into a rod but soon realized that the body was too nice to hack up. He decided to do a different project instead. Seems like an honest guy.
My original thought was to take the body off, strip the chassis, sandblast and paint it with something like POR15. Then, go through all the four corners of the car, check bearings, steering, the rear end, and replace any broke or worn parts.
I was then going to pick away at the other stuff like the motor, radiator, trans, etc...Then, once I am confident in how it runs and drives, I would pick away at the cosmetic stuff.
Oh, and my wife....She's a special breed all right... soon to be 40 year old mother of two and still looks as good as the day we got married...She has NO idea that I am buying the car for her. I can't wait to give it to her (the car... ) on her birthday.
One more question?
How does the roof and headliner go into these. The plywood roof is going to be one of the first things to go... I have seen the wood kits online for sale but I am wondering how do they attach to the body itself? The headliner goes in first I assume, then the wood, then the vinyl over the top of the wood. Does the wood screw to the body somehow?
Michael.......pretty good roof thread there >>> http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/356138.html?1377253382 .......
I thought the vaporizer carb setup was a 1927 feature? Of course after all these years there is no telling if it was a later modification. If the valve cover doesn't have a hole for the throttle rod, you may have a 1927 car. I suggest checking the engine serial number for year of production. I see the dash already has the hole for a speedometer and you may in time want to go back to a model T switch.
Michael, The wood goes in first and then the headliner.
Michael, I have a '27 Touring up here and '12 Touring and '13 Hack down state. In Florida I have a '10 Touring, '14 Touring, '14 Runabout and a '14 Hack. I am sorry I didn't get back to you sooner but we were away and out of computer range.
Val, A touring is what I was looking for cause she really wants a convertible. I couldn't pass up the coupe and figure if she likes it, we'll keep our eyes open for another project later. I'm sure that I won't lose on my investment with the Coupe... Do you have any pics of the 27? I'll have to come over and check your stuff out. It will be a good excuse to stop at "Goodies" in Addison for some food...
Michael, I will email some pictures. My car is a driver or a 30 as I like to say. Looks good from 30' feet away or when you pass it on the road going 30mph. If I want to see 100 point cars I go to a museum!
Michael, send me your email address and I will get you some pictures
Mike, First you say: "My original thought was to take the body off, strip the chassis, sandblast and paint it with something like POR15. Then, go through all the four corners of the car, check bearings, steering, the rear end, and replace any broke or worn parts."
Then you say: "I'm sure that I won't lose on my investment with the Coupe..."
Wow wee, taking it all apart like that you'll have to invest a lot more than you'll be able to get for it, should you ever want to sell it.
Since your wife really wants an open car, the best idea would probably be to try find one - the're out there, not much more expensive than this one, then put all your expensive efforts into the one you both really wants to keep.
Nothing wrong with restoring the coupé, just don't expect getting all the money back, restoring costs a whole lot if you sum it up..
Mike Peterson in Minnesota makes a living buying cheap 26/27 coupes and tudors, parting them out, since currently and for the foreseeable future unfortunately the demand for good parts is larger than for complete closed late T's.
Yeah, just FYI, I agree with Roger. T's aren't worth a whole lot and unless you have something '14 or earlier that is VERY original and correct, it's just about impossible to do anything but pour money in them and get very little out but your own enjoyment and satisfaction - nobody makes any money flipping T's.
The plan is to stick with this one for a while but you never know what the future brings. I just meant, it shouldn't be a problem if I need to find it a new home...
If its like any of my past hobbies I'll keep the coupe and buy a touring too...
I was into vintage snowmobiles for a while and it was addicting. Buying, selling, restoring, parting, I did pretty well and never really lost on any of them. I'm just kinda bored with the vintage sleds for now, so... on to something new.
I suppose its like anything else, get excited, think of all the possibilities, then once its here and I get a good look at it I'll come up with a solid plan to execute.
I guess the main goal in this like other hobbies is to have fun - then if we learn something in the process it's an extra bonus
The great thing about your coupe is that if you do something to make your wife mad, she can't stay mad at you for long, while in it, for, there is barely room for 2 people which means you have sit right up close to your wife. Since there is no back seat to move to or no room to move away, she can't get away and it's hard to stay mad a someone when they are up close with their arm around you. Jim Patrick
Wow! Looks like it's a pretty nice car with lots of potential, and I think that at $4500, you got quite a deal on it! Keep us all updated. I'm sure that just about everyone here wants to hear what she thinks of it on her birthday!
Coupes and Roadsters seem to be selling like hot cakes on ebay while 4 passenger cars languish.
My experience with the '20 Coupe I had was once I had driven it a couple months I wanted a 4 passenger car so friends could ride along.
With some tinkering & upholstering the trunk can be made into a rumble seat - then anyone who wants to ride an open car can sit back there
Seeing that you were involved with motor toboggans in the past you could all ways make
the couple into a real snowmobile for your wife.
Bob, Though I am in Florida and would never have a need for something like that, I am intrigued by it and would like to see a photo from underneath to see how the rear axle is configured. Jim Patrick