The Forum Poster Formerly Known as Rob sent me an email with a very interesting newspaper clipping which he had found in his search for T and pre-T info. The article was an account from July of 1927, heralding the public showing of Model T #15,000,000. Henry and Edsel were there, of course. And photographed outside the plant were also the original Quadricycle and Model T #1, along with T #15M.
Near the end of the story, Henry is quoted as saying that he had sold both those early cars but had bought them back some time before the time of this article. He said that they had had a difficult time finding Model T #1, but it was located in Ohio and he bought it.
Does anyone know what became of T #1?
So what happened to Rob?
#1 was shipped to London via New York. Seems highly unlikely it was the car seen in the photos with the quadricycle.
That #1 looks a bit messed with compared to the rest of the writing on that.
Another try on a better quality image for the build sheet of T#1:
Here's a poor version of the picture mentioned in Rob's article. This particular car is - I think - the one mentioned in Les Henry's book as being a cobbled together pseudo 1909 that was disposed of by Greenfield Village after Les restored the two lever car currently on display.
Here's a better picture of Henry and Edsel next to the car. Again, I think this is the car mentioned in Les Henry's book as being a not very authentic 1909:
It says at the top of that build sheet that the motor was changed to something else (not legible). So car number one could have certainly stayed in the US. Besides, the build sheet looks doctored.
Trent Boggess has researched #1,
( Nov/Dec issue 2004, of Vintage Ford , Model T #1, pages 17-24)
Here is #1
and note the early radiator, unlike the later version shown on the 1927 (claimed #1), and the 1927 one has windshield and top is without the upper support bars as used on the first '09's.
Thanks, Dan -- I'll look up Trent's article in my old VF magazine.
Look how dark those tires are in the '08 picture! I wonder what color they are. Red, maybe? I'm assuming that the body color is red as well, and it looks pretty dark in the pic.
As for the different radiator, I don't think it would be unusual for a 28-year-old car to have a newer one back then. Just think of all the cracked engine blocks, back when folks didn't routinely use antifreeze as we do now.
I think that build sheet has the model and car number each one line down from where it should be. I think it says Model T and Car# 31.
Here's a rather much larger view of that corner of the Factory document - certainly looks like 31 to me...
#1 factory documentation - resized.docx (129.7 k)
nope it don't like word 13.
Here is the blown up view of the top of the document from David's link. Jeff's theory look plausible, it looks like the model and car number were written one line below where they should have been, and what is now a "1" was originally a "T" that got doctored long ago to look like a "1". Very interesting!
I upsized the image above and zoomed in even more on the handwritten numbers, not sure if it helps much:
Everyone's hand writing is very different. Trying to judge the writing without seeing the document in person can lead to many different points of view. Some folks write the number 1 with a swooping, looping lead stoke at the top and others write it like the Roman numeral I. Poor penmenship, old ink wells, and dull pencils as well as paper fading with age will make letters and number appear differently.
The shipping invoice is car number one. The motor number 31 was installed prior to shipment to London.
The car in the pictures was photographed many times over the years while at Greenfield Village. It was not called car #1 in any of the pictures I have seen. Clearly it has many obvious differences with a true early 1909 Model T.
I think this is just another case of wishful thinking on the part of the newspaper writer who obviously would not be expected to know anything in the first place..
More pictures of the car from the time it was on display at Greenfield Village:
This photo is earlier, before the car was converted to a two lever:
Not just the radiator, but many other early first production '09 in 1908 on this car without the windshield and top. The photo was taken in NYC before #1 was shipped overseas.
Look at the early front fenders, without lip, the buggy side rods on the top, no windshield, no speedo on the front wheel, all the specs match the #1 bill sheet.
As for the messed up and corrections on the Bill Sheet for #1, nobody will probably ever figure that out, Trent has tried.
Boggess researched this well, and the photo of this car is #1. More proof would be a drivers side view, showing the Presto-Lite tank, but don't have to as this is the true #1. Where it is nobody today knows. But as Trent researched, if ever found, the chassis will be the clue, not the engine number, as only 6 chassis had the single rivet straight spacers on the front cross member!
note the straight plate reinforcement with oval end shape on the front cross member. The magazine article shows this more clearly plus the blue prints for this part #318.
The Real Model T # 1
The 1927 one claimed to be number one Model T is a marketing ploy by Henry He knew how to 'create' press!
Another interesting feature on the "real" No.1 is the brass plated hood former.
Well I asked and got my wish
More proof would be a drivers side view, showing the Presto-Lite tank, but don't have to as this is the true #1.
Rob Heyen just emailed me this picture from news article in NYC.
Here is the real #1 showing the driver's side, and the Presto-Lite tank....just as the Bill Sheet states! One more nail in the proof this is #1 for sure.
One thing for sure, today's researchers, (thanks Rob!) are armed with technology to search news papers of the days past....lots of everyday news that isn't in the 'official' records that most of our famous hobby or professor Ford research gurus often overlook or just never had the tools we have now that many old newspapers are online with scanned articles that are fast researchable.
So while the Ford archives are great resource, using other avenues is really helpful to fill in the blanks or to find the missing pieces
The cobbled 1909 car used during the 15 millionth celebration would have been disposed of during one of the auctions at Greenfield Village in the 1980's. Anyone have a copy of the auction catalogues from then? It should give a good description of what Les Henry found and what he believed it was, along with a serial number.
Did Rob quit the forum? LOL
Yes, thanks to you. DUH
This is from the October 1985 NY Times:
Only a few mentions of Model T's
What did I miss? That is the 2nd or 3rd time someone has said Rob left because of Royce. I went back and carefully re-read the 1909 engine thread and it appears that Rob was having a pissing contest with Tim Morsher (Sp?). The only thing Royce did in that thread was point out some discrepancies which no one else on the thread seemed to disagree with, so one can only assume he was right. It is very unfortunate that Rob got taken, but I don't see that as Royce's fault. Should he have just kept his mouth shut and not said anything? I saw it as answering questions of the original poster. I'm sure Rob was very embarrassed and I have to wonder if that is not the real reason he has left the forum. But if not, it would appear to me that his problem was with Tim, not Royce. So I am confused. I know a lot of folks don't care for Royce, but I'm missing something if he's the one responsible for Rob's leaving.
Great work William! Next question, does anyone know Aaron Crandall, and is he still on this side of the dirt?
Here's an announcement for the same auction listed above. Basically everything that was sold, was either redundant, or not related to what they were trying to interpret.
Here is Aaron sitting in his '1909' in 2007
Could this be the '1927' 1909?
sorry would post this pic but it is copyrighted
What is the story on the 1919 style rear curtain in one of the above photographs?