I first got into Model T's in 1970 when I purchased my '26 coupe and one of the first things I did was locate vendors to supply me with parts. Some of the vendors I recall are:
1. J.C. Whitney was the very first vendor I bought Model T parts from.
2. Wisniewsky was almost identical to J.C. Whitney.
3. Mark Auto. I bought the majority of my parts from here.
5. Ford Parts Obsolete
6. Carter's Cut and Cover
Who do you recall doing business with back then? Jim Patrick
I used to do business with Wizzy, because he was local and handy, but most of his stuff burnt up in a fire in 74-75, can't remember exactly. He had stuff for all cars Antique through modern. You could have some service done there also, like have drums turned etc. I remember a parts man there who had a 1931 16 cylinder Maroon, I was jealous. I don't think Wizzy was part of JC Whitney thou.
I hate to admit it but when I restored my '14 in the early 70's was Mac's. There was Snyders but didn't have an 1-800 number.
There was a place in Quincy, Ill. I can't remember the name.
J.C. used to have a fair selection of parts like wiring harnesses and such then they dumped the whole antique parts section. Havenít bought anything from them since!
Becker Antique Auto Parts in Portland Or. I would order parts and on my trips between Anchorage and San Francisco I would stop in Portland,take a city bus to Becker's then back to the plane and on to Anchorage. Can you just picture yourself today with 4 30X3.5 tires over one shoulder and a tail pipe over the other and boarding a plane at any Airport. Those were the good old days,(1979-82)
I remember I took a brass carb in my carry on luggage when I went on the cruise to the Bahamas with the MTFCI group. She wanted to know what it was. I told her it was a carb and she said it didn't smell like gas. Told her it hadn't been on a car for 50 yrs. She put it back in my bag and sad next.
Can u imagine doing that today.
Bill and Geri Rader who owned Vintage Authentic Reproductions was my main source for new Model T parts in the 1970s and 80s. He was in Lynwood, California and specialized in just Model T parts. He manufactured parts as well as sold parts made by the others. He was a great guy and I always enjoyed doing business with him. He was a regular fixture at the California swap meets and was active in the local T clubs. His wife Geri was a wonderful person and always had a welcoming smile. I also bought a lot from Ford Parts Obsolete in Long Beach. Carl Burnett's Antique Automotive in San Diego was an early and well known source for new and used parts, but from memory dealt more in Modal A and V8 parts. Being in California, I never dealt with anyone in the eastern states.
I had my first T in the early 1950's. I remember seeing tons of parts, accessories, and mostly tires, in the catalogs of Sears, J. C. Penney, J. C. Whitney, Western Auto, and other stores like them.
I was just barely a teenager and had no funds, so I got most of my parts at a junk yard -- there were lots of them around, and all had T's in the yard.
I remember that the legend was you could get almost any part you needed for a T, EXCEPT the innards of the ignition switch. The pot-metal cylinder had swelled up and gone bad on many of them, and nobody had started making repops, so far as anyone knew.
Of course, the Internet was not even a gleam in Al Gore's eyes back then. Boy, I would have loved to have had this Forum back then!!
I bought a new set of coils from JC Whitney in about '61 or 2.
Other stuff too, but I remember the coils because they were expensive at the time.
Just a note for the guys in the NW, Beckers is still around, third owner, located east of Portland toward Estacada. Phone 503-367-9676. Don.
I don't remember when Tommy Traylor (who is still alive) started Specialized Auto Parts in Houston, but originally, he had only NOS parts he purchased from dealers. When the parts supply started drying up, he had to start offering reproduction parts. He offered parts for T's, A's, and V8's up to 1948. I worked there for him around 1974-75.
Forgot to mention that his original location was at 301 Adams Street at Harrisburg Blvd., just down Harrisburg from the original Houston Ford Assembly branch plant. At that time, the building was owned by either Maxwell House or Folgers coffee and every time I passed by there on the way to work, all you could smell, was coffee.
Little Dearborn, they're still in business, but it's all flathead and hot rod stuff now.
What about BOB's
Jim Patrick - Not trying to be a "know-it-all", but having grown up in suburban Chicago, and having shopped for Model A parts as a teen-ager in the late '50's - early '60's, I'm pretty sure that your #2 vendor that you listed as "Wisniewsky" should actually be Warshawsky's. I was a student in '61 & '62 at Chicago Technical College which is located on the near south side of Chicago, just a couple blocks from Warshawsky's original store. It was a great place for Model A parts and always busy. And you're right Jim, I remember that the J.C. Whitney catalog looked almost exactly like the catalogs that Warshawsky's used to put out. For what it's worth,.......harold
Although I was on the west coast, I always remember seeing old ads from Ernie(?) Hemmings who was also a Model T/A parts vendors in addition to starting a small swap magazine called Hemmings Motor News, and James Findlay (sp?). Both were from Illinois. Back in the day, with long distance phone call rates, no internet and having to pay for everything via check or money order which had to be mailed, I never purchased from anyone outside of California. Also, years ago, we had so many swap meets here that parts and local vendors were typically only a weekend away.
Ernie Hemmings was in Quincy Ill, along w/another fellow in the 60's
I believe Glen Chaffin started selling parts in the 1970s as well?
Wisniewsky, was out of Milwaukee, and we have been selling since 1960, we bought out B.S.Wisniewsky in the 70's,Bob
Does Hank's Vintage Ford Parts in Quincy, Illinois ring a bell???
I remember well the first Model T parts I bought.
It was a set of coil points from Montgomery Wards.
Would they be considered a Model T vendor?
It was in the mid 60's when I was in high school.
Opening the box from Wards there was 4 boxes in it.
In each box was a set of 4 coil points.
I guess the order pullers at Wards got confused.
Most of the common T parts such as points, plugs, and transmission bands Wards had. You could still get rings also.
You could get a rebuilt T transmission for 50.00 as I remember from J.C. Whitney.
. . and if you lived in central Texas back in the '70s, you buy parts from and have Model T mechanical work done at Rumpel Kammer in Fredericksburg, TX. The owners, Shatzie Crouch and Bob Borchers are no longer with us.
The parts source in Quincy IL was Elvin Townsend (although when you called, you dealt with his wife Rosie). After Rosie died some years ago, Elvin sold the business to Ken Meek in St. Clair MO. Ken kept the Townsend name. After Ken died, I seem to recall that someone else bought the business and moved it, but can't remember the details.
As I remember The only difference between J C Whitney and Wisniewsky catalogs was the name on the cover.
It was J C Taylor and Warshawsky from Chicago.
Like Bob said Wisniewky was from Milwaukee.
Somewhere around then I had a car that was a barn find, dusted off, and ran...for maybe 15 minutes...then let it settle and you'd get another 10 minutes out of it.
I wanted to make the Elgin Road Race reenactment that year and did lots and lots to the car but that fuel problem was a stumper.
With 10 days left, I had business come up that was going to take me out of town for most of it. So I reached out to Dick Petty and he was busy, but Gerry Flory said he'd go thru it and have it ready for the Friday before.
Called Gerry on Wednesday, and he told me that by process of elimination, my gas tank was shedding 'fines' and they were clogging the potato filter. He had thrown in some BB's and some light oil and rolled it up and down his driveway a bunch before dumping it out...but he told me it was going to gunk up right away again as he had gasoline in the tank now, but the tank had not been sealed.
Told him to drain the tank, when I came home Friday I'd bring some tank sealer! I was in Ohio, and had then called Gaslight who had a quart in stock. I stopped by on the way to the airport and bought it over the counter. I never checked luggage and back then it was just a metal detector check. It turned up the metal can...there was no printed label on it, just magic marker that said 'gas tank seal' on the bare metal can.
The folks at security did the 'huh?' and I told them it was inert 'stuff'. They said "OK" and let me right through.
I also bought/horse traded swaps with original Bob Bergstadt early on, but think that was maybe in the later 70's?
Oh, the sealer and the car? Sealer went in, baked it dry to get it crosslinked sooner...made the road race. Was going to change for the dinner banquet and on a hill there in Elgin, it locked up solid in low. (If it isn't one thing it's another, eh?) But that's an even better story all in itself on what that was about and how the car got home.
Wisniewsky and Whitney were the same company. Both addresses led to the same building. Wisniewsky wanted a more Anglo-Saxon name and created the Whitney name and catalog. I sold T radiator "dogbone" caps to them wholesale that I had manufactured. Wisniewsky was a collector of true "Classic Cars"of the 1920s and 1930s. His buildings were full of them . The Marmon probably was one of his cars. I sold T parts through Hemmings from the mid 1950s through mid 1960s. My last ads were on the back cover of Hemmings. I knew Ernest Hemmings. He is still living.
I bought my first parts for the coupe from Mark in NJ. Then I found someone (can't remember the name) in Long Beach. When he passed it was sold to his son in WA who seems to sell just accessories.
Now I use Snyder or Chaffins.
Here is an old gas level stick from the Long Beach Club, Ed and Jims Garage.
West Coast guys would remember Bill Rader's Vintage Authentic Reproductions in Lynnwood.
Back in the 70's in Grand Rapids MN it was definitely NAPA and National Bushing. But in those days it was all go fast Chevy smallblocks and Mopar 340's/383's/413's etal. Ford was a four letter word.
Now that's really changed.
In Minnesota, if it's for a flathead, you get to know the boys at Little Dearborn. If you need work on a Ford between 1932 and 1953 you contact a fellow by the name of Merle Liethieser. For Model T's, parts come from Andy Loso. He's one of our club members and stocks a pretty good inventory of the most used stuff. He also restores Model T's and has a very good background and lots of great knowledge. For engine rebuild, such as Babbitt,cylinder, crankshaft, camshaft etc it's definitely Dave Gross at Auto Value in St Cloud MN.
So far no one has mentioned the really early modelt t parts supplier from New England. My father bought a square door transmission hog head for the princely sum of $25.00, and had it shipped from the east coast to Seattle via Greyhound bus, this would have been about 1955.
My dad purchased many nos parts from Neil Ensworth in New England. A couple of years later he purchased an aluminum 1909 body from Neil along with a wing scrip brass radiator.
When the transmission cover came into the bus terminal I was dispatched by city bus to go to Seattle and pick it up and bring it home, on the bus.
I was about 14 at the time and was horrified that some of my friends would see me with this greasy old thing.
There was a man and his son that sold t parts for years in Minneappolis, Royce was the last name.
I was in Arkansas when working on my 1st T. My old friend called Hank's in Quincy, IL, from my house and introduced me to him. From then on, I'd call and order, he'd ship to me and add the shipping to the invoice that was in with the parts. As soon as I got it, I'd mail him a check. He said he had never lost a dime dealing with Model-T folks. Times are sure different now.
I went to a log of swap meets in and around Kansas in the 1960 & 70's. The one person i remember was Ernie Hemmings. He had tables set up with his wares in wood boxes that were partitioned off to hold the various "T" parts. At that time in our area, he was about it for new "T" parts at a swap meet. I always had the greatest respect for him. If he had a new part that wasn't up to par, he would tell you, "if you can find a nice original for that part you would be much better off". Neat guy!!!
There was another place that sold cloisonne emblems, motormeters, radiator caps, etc...Sheldon Greenland.
Bill sold out the parts business to his daughter (Phyllis) & son in law (Rudy Sarella) which quite a number of years ago, my wife & I bought out - now it's Steve's T Works, LLC.
What a great thread. Thanks for posting it Jim
There use to be an ad in the early 70's and 80's in the Chicago Trib and the Chicago Suntimes for years in the antique auto section for someone that ran an ad that said "1909-1927 Ford Parts,Tin Lizzies" and a phone number.Yes J.C.Whitney and Warshawsky were the same company.As I recall, the prices in the Warshawsky catalog were a bit higher.I used to order all my V.W. parts at J.C.Whitney at the will call and pick them up.The fun part was if the parts were at another warehouse,you could good to a real 'ghetto' to pick them up.
Dick Lodge and others when Meeks widow sold out most parts were purchased by Bill Devine and his wife in IOWA They also had purchased BIRDHAVEN VINTAGE AUTO SUPPLY the business is in COLFAX IOWA, Bill and his wife and I and a friend went to Meeks auction, what Bill had purchased from the inventory sheet, a whole lot of it was at the auction, Bill bought some of it a second time and I bought a bunch. I bought from Ernie Hemmings until he sold out and then Bobs Antique Auto Parts, before becoming a dealer for Bobs.
I found this 1968 Hemmings in with some parts I got 20 years ago. The reciever tore his address off.
Used to stop at Snyder's and bought parts from out of their garage (if I remember correctly)
I do remember buying T parts from Rumpel Kammer at a swap meet in Dallas in the 70's.
I addressed him as Mr. Kammer. He told me people thought that was his name. But he told me Rumpel Kammer meant 'Junk Man' or something like that in German. I got a laugh out of that.
Growing up in the Denver area, Don Metzler (sp) was the local guy, and I bought parts from Gaslight and MACS. But Bob's got most of the out of town business, and in the summer of 78' on a trip back from my cousins wedding in Dearborn stopped in Rockford, I still remember the traffic going around the lake in Chicago. Meet "Bob" sr. and remember all the treasures in the glass display case.
Does anyone remember buying Early Parts off Roy Collins in New Brunswick,Ohio near Cleveland?
Royce Peterson was selling parts in Dallas in the 60's, my regret is we didn't cross paths until 1993.
I used to really enjoy ordering parts and visiting with Bob Bergstad's father very early in the morning.
I bought my first coils from Montgomery Wards. At one point in the 50's or 60's, Wards offered a completely rebuilt engine and transmission assembly for about $500. At that time I didn't have $500 to spend on Model T parts.
In 1962, I bought piston rings from Sears. The oil ring was three pieces. When I installed them the bottom piece dropped below the cylinder and locked the engine up, cracking a piston. Gillers Auto Parts in Dallas carried Model T parts and had rebored the block and left sharp burrs at the bottom of the cylinder. In getting the cracked piston out I peeled the tissue back to the tendon on my right hand. Baylor Hospital emergency fixed my hand and I got a new 0.040 oversize iron piston from from B.S. Wisnewski in Milwaukee.
The top and upholstery for my 24 came from Carter Cut and Cover. The workmanship and materials were top notch. The instructions were a disaster.
Somehow Snyders was the vendor we knew here in Scandinavia or at least in Denmark. The reasons is unknown to me, but the Danish Ford A Club (Copenhagen Ford A club back then) contributed to this, when they back in the early 70's started their (for members only) Model A supply business based on import of Snyders parts. Other local vendors popped up based on the same and one of them became (and still is) supplier to Snyders of bodyparts.
The internet have widen up our knowledge of other vendors.
No-one has mentioned Rumpel Kammer in Texas somewhere. I hope I have the spelling correct. I bought stuff from them way back. I remember s=asking if they had the filler panel which goes between the top floorboard and the wooden firewall on 20 model. When it arrived, they had made it specially to fill the order!!
Allan from down under.
Specialized Auto Parts at the 301 Adams Street location. Maxwell House had the old Ford Assembly Plant near Adams.
Maxwell House was a customer of my company so I was in that building many times. Some of the overhead conveyors from the Ford days were still up.
Tommy Traylor owned Specialized and it later moved off Wayside near Sears. Dallas Street I think.
I have some old catalogs from them and Hemmings. I was doing Model A's back then.
There was a fellow named Ken at the last location.
I went to Warshawsky's in Chicago when I would go there on business.
Long time ago now.
Ken in Texas
George House, Bob Borchers from Fredericksburg bought my 1913 Wide Track touring from me about 1973 or 74. I had done all the body work (basically, fill a few dents in the fenders) and restored the running gear, so basically all it needed was upholstery and paint. The metal on the car was 100% rust free and the body had no dents at all. All the original wood was in the body and still solid. The original block was still in the car and only had to be bored to .030 over. When I bought the car (for $2000.00) all the wide track running gear had been changed out to standard. I only had to go to Sealy to get the correct rear spring and rear axle and to Galveston to get all the correct front axle assembly. Bob heard about the car and made me an offer to double my money, so I sold it for $5000.00. When he finished it and sold it, supposedly it was bought by a doctor in Marble Falls. I'm crying now. Can you hear me?
". . and if you lived in central Texas back in the '70s, you buy parts from and have Model T mechanical work done at Rumpel Kammer in Fredericksburg, TX. The owners, Shatzie Crouch and Bob Borchers are no longer with us."
Some of us that lived in Texas at the time know that Shatzie was Hondo's daughter. I have a 26-27 long block in my shop on a stand that Rumple Kammer did for me back in the day (about 30 years ago). If I ever find time I am going to put in my Hack.
Back then I bought some parts from Macs and Carter's Cut and Cover; wiring from Narraganset and a fair amount from Bob's. I obtained a lot of original and new parts from Grant & his brother Claire at Antique Auto Ranch in Spokane. A great place--now "Ford & More" with the Carnegies and Mike Robison. I highly recommend "Ford & More".
I couldn't tell you now what I bought, but I got a few items for my Packard from Ford Obsolete. The store was on Willow Street near the L.A. River in Long Beach.
The name I couldn't remember was Bill Rader,I knew he transferred it to his son (in law) and now it's owned by Steve. He use to come to the speedster runs, must try to make contact. What a great thread...
How about Alvin Anderson up in New York. If you needed something he would put it in the mail with an invoice. Had mostly NOS stuff. Good man.
How was the person in Albuquerque with new and used parts,I visited him and got a couple of parts about 1981 or 2. He sure had a lot of un restored brass cars in the old chicken houses on his property, I was a newbie at the time and unaware of what I was seeing. Love to have a second shot.
Rumple Kammer in Fredricksburg,Tx sold their Engine Shop to John Snyder in Albany,TX (East of Abilene) and it opened as Snyders Antique Engine And Machine
Don, I was aware of Rumple Kammer's shop equipment going to John Snyder in Albany, but just last week, I tried to verify the business on the internet. I could not find a John Snyder or a business in his name in Snyder, looking every possible way; even checking with the Albany Chamber of Commerce. There also used to be another man doing babbit work; rebuilding A and T short blocks in this part of Texas. He was a Nederland policeman and his name was T.J Parker. I don't know if he's still in business, either.
Here are a couple pages from Dad's 1962 catalog, before we moved to Texas in '63. This was the second catalog, the first one was in 1956 and was sent to folks who answered the ads in Ernie Hemmings newsletter.
421 Highway 180 E, Albany, TX
Internet says it's located at this address. This would place it across the street from the Albany Motor Inn and RV Campground on East US Highway 180. (Their address is 424 Highway 180 E.)
I didn't see anything signifying a machine shop. Maybe they moved....
I just did a Google Maps search of 421 Hwy 180 E., Albany, TX 76430 using Google's street view and all it shows at that address, which is across from the Albany Motor Inn is two small residences with detached garages not big enough to be a machine shop. I have John's last known phone number and also T.J. Parker's last known phone number and will call each tomorrow and report back my findings.
Me and my late best friend Billy Brandon bought several parts out of the Hemmings Motor News adds in the early to late '60's. I don't recall who all we bought from, but probably several who have been mentioned here. We read each issue as soon as we got it. The one that I do remember, was B.S. Wisniewsky. I still have some reprint manuals with his logo stamped on them. I still have a pair of TT rear hubcaps that I bought in'64 from someone that were "NOS", but were pitted. I had them replated in the early '90's, and still have them. Great memories here, thanks for the thread. Dave
I remember meeting Ernie Hemmings at a local swap meet He seemed like a nice guy. I probably could come up with a mimeographed sheet of parts that was his catalog back then. I know I have one for Jim Finney around here somewhere too.
I remember hearing that Ernie Hemmings newsletter business was sold! Well I wondered what the new guys would do with it. And if they would make a go of it?
Does anybody remember "Easy Jack's"...I think they were in Kansas...They would run a Two Page Ad in the 60's Hemming'd....I bought a TT frame,driveshaft,and Ruckstell from "Antiques & Classics " on Van Buran in Riverside, Ca..It was an Old Tyme junk yard...You took your own tools ....Carl
Thanks for all the responses. I'm enjoying the walk down memory lane. You all reminded me of a few more places I recall doing business with:
Mac's, Bob's, Chaffins's, Specialized Auto Parts and "Hank's" in Quincy rings a bell. I believe I may have bought a set of 21" Universal Tires tubes and heavy rim liners from Snyders, in '71, which are still on my car 43 years later. They sure knew how to make tires back then.
Back during the days when catalogs were your only source for parts, it was always fun to order a catalog and upon receiving it in the mail, thumb through it, late into the night looking for that elusive part. I recall the excitement of finally finding an original 1926 cast iron fuel shutoff valve for my coupe in Gaslight. They had a lot of hard to find original parts that no one else had and the paper stock in their catalogs was heavy stock, glossy paper which made their photographs much better than the catalogs using cheap newspaper type paper. Jim Patrick
One of my local guys I met at a swap meet here in St. Louis.
His name was Harold Bowden. It was fun to go to his house and see what he had come home with from a swap meet too far away for me to get to.
He was also the gut who developed Kwik- Poly for the old car hobby.
He brought his Model T out to our farm so I could borrow it for our wedding.
He was a nice man, he put up with me when I was a "newbie".
Is Jim Finney still around? Anyone know.
How about Motor City Antique Auto on Harper in St. Clair Shores, MI? Owned by Sam Cipriano. It's no a florist shop.
I meant "now".
My Telephone List somehow got erased and I lost John's Home # in Abilene
His Shop in Albany was in an old Gas Station (to get around EPA)and was (915)762-2990
We exchanged Christmas Cards for Years until I lost all my Addresses and we moved from Abilene
If you get John or Connie tell them to give me a call in a week as I'll be out of Town (719)784-1915
Terry and William: John's place of business in Albany is the converted service station just East of the motel, on the same side of the street. I think he owns or owned the address across the street also. He lives here in Abilene, and I know him well. I will have him call you if you PM your phone numbers.
I haven't heard any thing about Jim Finny and his adorable wife Lulu in a long time.
Jim Finney is still doing great. Still has 25 plus Model T's, and still sells certain parts. Right where he has always been in Oblong, IL.
Here's a picture I took of Jim while I was there, looking at his collection of 7 Model T Town cars and several restored brass Model T tourings:
His collection of unrestored Model T's, particularly 1909 - 11 Wide Tracks, is in another building and even more impressive:
Royce, when you were at Jim's, did he have any squirrels?
Some years ago, my children and I went to see Jim with the intent of buying his '12 smooth body. We didn't come to an agreement, but we certainly enjoyed the time with Jim and seeing all the squirrels that he was nursing back to health.
It was 2 degrees F for the high temperature that day. We didn't see any squirrels!
Since Alvin Andersons name has already been mentioned, how about Vincent Amato? I think he was somewhere in Connecticut. I worked at Ford Parts Obsolete for a couple of years in the late '60s, but they weren't really T people. There was another place in Gardena called Atlantic Auto Wrecking, which received all the T parts from Henrys and Lizzies up on Manchester. I got a lot of stuff from them in the early '60s.
Chaffin's was opened on a wing and a prayer in 1973. The praying seemed to help. Our goal has always been to support the hobby and that is what we do with the many new parts we manufacture. It is not a get rich business but it is satisfying to help people with their projects. If we were paid for all of the advise we give we would be rich.
Antique Auto Ranch in Spokane, WA was opened in 1963 (at its present location). I went to work for them in 1974 and they and I are still there.