trying to make it easier for more people to enjoy the model T. some just can't get the hang of using the pedals. so I am trying to find a automatic transmission that would mount to the T engine. any ideals?
What would you use for brakes?
The T transmission is almost an automatic.
The only difference is that your foot switches from low to high!
To enjoy the Model T is to drive it as it was designed. The Model T experience will not be the same if you alter the equipment. A model T is an automatic transmission once your in high gear it also cruse control.
Chuck: My dad has two (2) Model T engines with automatic transmissions for sale right now. See above post...
They were built for the Long Beach Shell Hill Climb back in the early 1970s. No need to re-engineer this concept. Already done
I know this is no help at all but if you simply must it would probably be easier to just go the complete "resto-mod" route and find a mated engine & trans. I'd keep the orig. eng & trans for re-installation as the resto would be worth squat in the model T world.
No personal offense intended but -
Besides the obvious removal of what many consider the heart of a Model T, this has been done a few times. Never heard of a very satisfactory conversion though. I've driven a speedster with a Ford 2 speed automatic (not sure which one) and it really sapped an otherwise strong Rajo overhead motor. That transmission messed up what should have been a really fun car.
Naturally, you need to begin with a new or highly modified pan, an oil pump, and more power from the motor to overcome that inherent inefficiency of an automatic as well as some kind of braking system. It seems like a lot of work for at best a bit of ease of driving.
Unless there is a physical disability that prevents use of the pedals, if the person can't figure out how to use them properly, do you really think they will become proficient dealing with the various other idiosyncrasies of a Model T? I recommend getting them a Prius and leave the Model T's to those who want the experience.
I see this is your first post. Nice looking touring in your profile. How about introducing yourself and tell us about your car.
I just tell people a Model T has an automatic transmission only it it controlled by your feet. While automatics have been adapted to the Model A for people that were unable to use a clutch it would require a lot of money and time to re-engineer the T engine for an automatic. I am sure it has been done by someone.
I've had no exposure or experience with the motors you referred to other than the photos your dad has shown, Those Gemsa motors look really strong and probably can handle the automatic well. Possibly they put out more more power at a high enough RPM that the standard T transmission is no longer suitable. With any of the more typical overhead conversion motors that I've seen, the T transmission holds up well enough. I would never envision one of those motors as an option for easier drivability in a typical touring car.
Chuck, just a bit more of unrequested/possibly useless info: I didn't really learn to drive a T until I moved into the development I live in now. Almost no traffic, flat roads with few hills. It takes time to be able to "not think" about driving a T. I mean it takes a while for instinct to kick in and you don't need other drivers breaking your chops while you develop the skills. So if you've got some place to really learn to drive it go there and learn. You'll have some fun and just maybe change your mind and save some $ to boot.
Not new to the site I joined a few years back about 14 years or so back. but my profile had been deleted for some reason. so here I am again.
Brakes are not a issue 4 wheel disc brakes can be bought along with the wire wheels. I have one toy that is a 27 coupe that has wire wheels and a manual trans hooked to a 12 horse kohler engine its not fast but it works. I was thinking of trying a pinto motor and trans with wire wheels and 4 wheel disc brakes. but then I am sure I would have to replace the rearend. just a ideal I have floating around in my empty head
There is probably a hot rod site that could give advice as to how you can convert your T to a rat rod.
Chuck, don't know how you drive your T but I've seen many drive with the hand lever holding the pedal in neutral and then simply pushing the low pedal down to go. When they want to stop you just take your foot off the pedal to have neutral again. It's a good way for a new driver to get used to start and stopping without having to find the center neutral spot.
It's not the way I drive but I like the idea.
I used that trick for traffic, reversing and pulling into the garage. The last one mentioned is how I actually learned to use that trick. Don't ask.
Chuck,A few years ago at the Steam Show at Buckly,Mi there was a 26-7 touring with a pinto engine and automatic trans.Nice looking car and maybe someone might know it's whereabouts?? Nothing i would care for but buying one already butchered may save a real T?? Bud in Wheeler.
Here's a shot of one of the Gemsa engines with automatic attached...
Feel free to contact me with questions as my dad will be out of the country for a few weeks
There's a popular saying, "That's just wrong!" I see two ways of approaching your question, and the saying applies to one of them. If you buy a frame and a bunch of other Model T parts and assemble a new car with a pinto drive train, I see nothing wrong with that. Not my taste, but at least no harm done. The other approach is is to take a complete Model T and alter it that way. Then the saying applies.
Like Walt, I wonder about whether your customers who can't learn the pedals would be able to learn the rest of driving a T.
Here's the other engine with single Stromberg 97 intake:
I do the same thing when in a parades and backing out my narrow driveway, put the parking brake handle in the neutral position.
Ok Guys if you would take the time to see my facebook page you will see I don't just trash a Model t I have had many off them and plan on many more I make Speedsters from extra parts and motors I buy. I bought a tractor trailer full of T parts about 10 years ago full of frames motors and all the parts need to build many T running gears. check out the photos https://www.facebook.com/chucksmodelts
What is the IQ of person who can't get 'the hang' of pedals? To go forward, you only have to use one. Same applies to reverse. Sure if you want to shift smoothly, you need to be able to use the hand throttle to match the engine speed to the ground speed, but if you don't give the engine enough throttle and you stall out, increase the throttle until you don't stall. Sure you may feel a rough gear change and it probably will cause premature wear to transmission and rear end components, but sooner or later, the driver may get 'the hang of it' I first drove a T when I was 17 and I'm sure there are youngsters that have driven a T, much younger than that. My father was still driving his T when he died at 77, and I'm sure there are seniors much older than that, still driving. Neither one of us are, or were, 'rocket scientists'. It doesn't take one to master driving a T.
I can see modifying with a modern transmission for a special purpose, like vintage racing or hill climbs, but not to satisfy someone who doesn't have the IQ or desire to learn to drive a T as they were intended. Maybe the people that you know that can't master the pedals on a T, can master the pedals on a Model A. They'd be safer in an A with four wheel brakes. I don't want to be around people who can't drive a T with pedals when I'm in my T. Too many decent, knowlegable T driver's have been killed driving their T's and the didn't need the help of some low IQ person to get them in a fatal situation.
Also, don't forget that adding an automatic to the back of a T engine requires work and thought. Surely, anyone who can figure out how to make the adapters, necessary, is smart enough to get 'the hang of pedals'. Don't forget cooling of the transmission fluid, making a shifter, and any other modifications, necessary.
Some people have more money than sense, and for the money they'll spend ruining a T, they can hire me to come to their location and I'll spend as long as it takes to teach them how to drive a T (assuming they aren't handicapped).
Well I don't know what to say about the above post. Chin still on the floor.... I don't charge to teach anyone how to drive a T. I have taught many. Some people just can't get the hang of it. to us who drive them it is easy. After reading your post Terry you would be the last person I would recommend to teach anyone how to drive a T. your whole post shows you have neither the time nor the patience to do so. Sorry if I mad anyone upset in here by my post. but I think those comments where uncalled for.
I find that a lot of the satisfaction in driving a model T is the fact that very few people KNOW how it works. I always tell my friends that I could park it in a shopping center and leave the keys in it...
Randy, I agree that the likelihood of someone stealing the car is minimal. The likelihood of someone taking the key as a souvenir, however, is probably a lot higher.....
I take my key with me when I park the car.
Chuck, sometimes people comment about a question or a post without reading it.
Chuck's got a great model T in his profile. He wants to build a fun T out of the coupe it seems. He's been a member for a long time so I take it he KNOWs how to drive a T. Talk to Bill Harris before those 2 motors are gone! IF THAT IS the way you WANT to go. I like the resto rod look as I like a car to LOOK as original as it can that IS what makes it a 19__ T!! Speedster IS a hot rod! I personally have never wanted to hot rod any of my Ts. Except a few that were old rusted bodies and were not worth restoration in the 60's and 70's. At that time I liked the Big T look (only the Big T hadn't came out yet and wouldn't for a few years) and the car that Kookie Burns drove on 77 Sunset Strip. I saw Norms car one day for just a couple of minutes, in 1961, and HAD to have one. So I built one out of T tin from a WWII fill ditch. A hot rod is a hot rod and to me a true T is a historic museum piece that can be driven around and is very neat to look over as it was made. BUT they are the owner's cars and he may do what ever he wants. What REALLY urks me is the deal that the guys are doing in the past decade of buying our older restored A's and T's and selling of the running gears and cutting them up to make what ever they want destroying that original car!! So guys get out there and buy all of the fellas who pass on and restore them all!!! You nor I unfortunately have the money or the space to do that. So guess what is going to happen? Prices of good parts is what controls all of this!!!! If everyone is stingy and selling now overseas for the big bucks and restoration people cannot find the parts needed then GUESS where that car WILL GO? It will be willed by those not willing to help restore that car... into a FULL blown hot rod or parted out to whomever where ever. Those cars will be built! And by somebody! If a person is willing to restore a car then he needs help. In the 60's club members were willing to help each other. I see some of that today on this Forum and that is nice.
He is asking for help. So guys give it to him. It is his coupe I think he is wanting to do.
Not to add anything that I am quite sure you already know, Chuck is that Shay already did something remotely like you are trying to do in the early/ mid 80's. I even looked at one of those cars myself and tried to come up with the money but after looking a couple over and seeing that the cars were cheap fiberglass bodied (bottoms of doors missing and lots of other mistakes in design) I decided not to. Hot rod fiberglass bodies were now getting much better than the Shay repops!! Surprisingly, they are still sought after today and are not cheaply priced either. I wanted the 29 roadster or the 57 T Bird! I have looked several over at shows and thought about trying to trade one of my cars for them. Hey, at least I would have a driver!
One last thing, You'll have a hard time modifying the T engine to work and hold up behind the automatic! By the time you get the pan modified, torque converter adapted to the T crank and adapters made probably for the 26-7 Engine as it has a block bolting surface to mount the adapter to. But the bottom will be the problem of being a solid mount and that is where it is needed most. Using Shay's 2300cc Mustang/ Pinto combo might be best in the short run of things. You could use the early V-8 Ford rears with the overhead spring. You'd have to modify an Model A rear set up with the later center-section. Using the 40's rear brakes or the F-100. HAMB could help you there. It is a forum just like this one. This one (MTFCA) is more refined. I do not know if there would be a problem voicing a thread on here though. It is NOT 100.99% original!!! LOL (neither are 60% or more of the cars on the forum)!!! They were all done along the way by people like me and the MANY who taught me in the 60's. Many of these cars were restored after WWII!!!! By people who were raised with these in their immediate families in order to bring back memories of good times and their growing up.
Good luck Chuck!!!
The crank shafts of the two Gemsa engines I have, have been drilled for oil pressure but the tail flanges have not been modified so a T transmission will bolt right on if you remove the C4 so said the family that sold them to me.
I have a 1960ish Moto Graziella moped that is powered by a Sachs engine that has a two speed centrifugal clutch. You start out in low and it automatically switches to high. I have no idea how it works, fortunately, I've never had to take it apart. I offer this only to demonstrate that a similar set up could be done for a model T. As others have pointed out, braking may then need to be accomplished outside the transmission. Also as others have pointed out The big fun in driving a model T is that it doesn't drive like any other vehicle. I wouldn't be interested in a T so modified.
A Model T is simple to operate unless you decide its difficult. My 10 year old grandson picked it up pretty quickly and so can most anyone else, unless, of course, they have a preconceived notion that its difficult.
OK I will try to give you the help you have asked for. I have made a aluminum casting that bolts to the back of the T block and converts to accept any Ford transmission from a 2.9 litre of smaller engine. I have one engine with a Borg Warner T 35 automatic from a late '60's Cortina. I have another with a 4spd ( overdrive 4th) from a mid '70's Capri. I did all this " just because I could" and for the challenge. My casting accepts a VW oil pump on the back end of the camshaft. Cutting off a T pan is not too hard to adapt to my casting
A friend has 5 spd Mustang trans. The answer may be to use a Jeep "output shaft"(really short) and then you can stay quite easily with the T torque tube
With any of these 4-5 speed OD transmissions I would suggest a 4:1 rear axle gear .7-1 or so OD ratio. It will give you a good road gear and good ratios below
I certainly am not recommending this to all, but if it "fits your pistol" then I will help if I can
Personally I don't like the "look" of disc brakes front or back on a T. And good drum brakes are not too tough. Put the effort into the fronts. They do most of the work!!!
I do take the keys when I park it . I do find that that with many people their eyes glaze over when I describe how to start and drive it...
All the best, Randy
There were T owners that ran out and bought new Model T Fords and stored them away when the model A came out because they thought the A was too hard to drive.
I put a 4 cylinder Dodge D50 pickup engine and automatic transmission (Mitsubishi 2 Liter) in a '26 touring.
I also used the rear end so I would have hydraulic brakes and easy driveshaft hook up.
I made it so when I push the low pedal all the way down it goes into low. Let the pedal up and it shifts to 2nd and 3rd.
The middle pedal puts it in reverse.
With the handbrake lever full forward it can not go into reverse. With it half way back I can use reverse.
I did all that in 1997 and the cars drives well with no problems, BUT IT IS NO FUN TO DRIVE!
Sure, I can cruise pretty nicely at 55 or faster, it never gets hot and I have decent brakes.
It just does not sound like a model T and that easy to understand and use T transmission is missing.
About 5 years ago I put an accelerator pedal in it. I like that.
The trans cooler is under the front seat laying flat with an electric fan under it.
I wish I had a complete T engine and transmission so I could make it into a model T Ford.
I'm with Terry Woods on this one.
A lot of T owners really need a seventy something Ford or Chevrolet with a V8 and automatic trans.
There was a guy with a handicap that drove as a non-contestant in the Santa Clara Speedster run with a speedster that he had put a C4 trans in.
There is also one in the Northwest Vintage Speedster Club
I stand by what I said before, 'it doesn't take a rocket scientist to learn to operate a T's foot pedals'. I, also, echo what Ted Dumas said above in his post, 'a Model T isn't difficult to operate unless you make it so'. In all likelihood, a person would spend as much, or more trying to put a modern automatic trans behind a T block than what the whole car is worth. I'm not a 100% purist when it comes to my T's. I've got one with a Simmons high compression head and another one with a Rajo head, but both have stock transmissions and rear axles. If a person wants to modify their T to the point that it has modern components on it, that is their right to do so, and more power to them, but like I said, some people have more money and time than sense.
There are many people who just want to be seen driving an old looking car while pressing the gas on the right and the brake on the left. There is no hope for some of them as they will only smash your car into a wall. Ask them what kind of engine is in their car. If they answer "I don't know, I just put gas in it and it goes", then chances are, they are the type and you won't be able to train them. Putting in a different transmission seems pointless as the car will no longer be a Ford Model T.
All the Model T's I own are as they came from the factory, no brake lights, no wheel brakes, motors are stock where possible ( oversize boring only) I drive they as they where intended as much as I can. I built my first T 16 years ago. using ford parts from Langs and Schinders. I still own it today. as of right now I have 2 1927 tourings a 1926 coupe,2 1926 speedsters, 1 1919 TT truck. a 1913 set of running gears. All set up to run as a Model T. I never trash a body unless it is beyond repair then I use it for patch panels for other T's. I like a Original running and looking car. I have restored many T's and sold them to people who could or had someone to teach them to drive them. I agree a T is easy to drive once you understand how things work. A model T is not for everyone, But If I can get one to move as I have done with the 12 horse engine about 15 MPH. hooked to a manual transmission I just thought they may be a way to do the same thing with the T engine.
one of my next projects
this one is first
If the cranks in the two engines have not been
modified how are you going to fit a stock T trans behind them? La Rue Thomas was the first to use an automatic and mate the two together behind a D O. I know I was there when we did it. There is more to it than putting the two together, and I have the other 3 engines that were built at the same time.
About a decade ago we use to have a speedster show up at the annual run that had an automatic transmission. We allowed it to complete as the guy only had one leg and it seemed the good thing to do. He told me that it was a Ford auto transmission (C4?) and ran on engine oil. It was a very clean installation, had a lever to select the drive and three pedals, though two may have been non functional. I think the car was number 76 but that is stretching my memory.. Maybe others will remember the car.
Yes Mike and I have two Gemsa's with C 4's for sale quick.
I have no idea how to mount it, but the "Fordomatic" transmission used on Fords during the 50's is about as close to a T transmission as you can get. It only had two speeds forward in drive and another lower range in low. However, with the flat head V8 it didn't have much power. The 6 cylinder with standard stick shift would do circles around it. So I don't think it would work very well in a Model T.
If you have two working legs the T is not hard to learn to drive. Only problem is going up a long steep hill one has to hold the low pedal down for a long time tiring the left leg. A Ruckstell or other auxiliary transmission will correct that problem, hut is harder to learn to shift than the standard T transmission.
Back in my youth I had a 1953 Ford convertible with automatic, power steering and even power windows. Frankly it worked well. I had a series of the early '50's flathead Ford cars ('53 Meteor, the convertible, and then a 2dr hardtop). The automatic car drove very nicely. When in drive it started in 2nd and then shifted to high. If you pulled it into L it went in to a lower gear to start up. If you were cruising in Dr and you wanted a little more "jam" to pass on a hill, you could pull the shifter into L and it would force it to downshift into 2nd if you weren't going too fast. Stomping the gas to the floor would accomplish the same thing.
I found that all three of the cars had comparable performance. And NO the automatic car only had a 239, not the larger 255 engine!!!