I was wondering the other day how many T's that I had actually saved from probable oblivion. Not including the ones that were whole cars when I got them, but ones that were dug out of the junk piles, dirt, ditches, ravines, boxes, or the cars I have built up from just one part, like a front axle, into a complete running vehicle. I think in my case there must have been maybe 15 or so of them, almost all of which have gone on to their own destinies elsewhere hopefully for other generations to marvel at. There's got to be hundreds of you out there that have saved thousands of cars, with some very interesting stories. What's you best "I saved this T from oblivion" story?
No saving done yet, but I am working on it !
Last registered 1947, In a barn in Minnesota since 1955. I stumbled onto it last year and hope to build it back as a roadworthy annoyance to all the Mario Andretti type commuters in their BMW's.
My first T (about 30 years ago) was a complete chassis found on an old farm. There was a cedar tree about 10 inches in diameter growing with the frame embedded in the tree. I could have the chassis if I did not cut the tree. There is about 11 inches of my frame still in the tree. I found a junk frame to replace the side I had to cut. It was in the winter when I got it. When I got it home and removed the head, there were 2 cylinders with a block of ice in each. No telling how many years that engine sat like that. I replaced the valves, did a hand lapping, honed the cylinders to remove some of the pits. Replaced the rings,and everything else was just cleaned and inspected. That was the best running engine I have ever had. That was when I had more time and energy and very little money. I built a real nice Huckster body for it. It usually won first place at most shows. I finally sold it about 10 years ago to a man in Chicago. It was nice enough, so that it is still probably still living a pampered life.
I bought a collection of cars out of north Louisiana in the late 70's. There was a Model T chassis sitting in the field next to the doctor's office (where the cars were located). Not being into T's, and knowing nothing about them, I called a friend who was into Fords. Describe it, he asked, and I told him that it was a complete chassis, could see the valves on the engine, small rear end.....he got a little excited, said he'd take it for the $1k asking price. When we picked it up, he explained to me that it was a very early car, then the seller (Doctor) walked up and asked oh, do you want the body for that, it's in that shed over there....even I was shocked....always wondered what happened to car, it was bought by a man in New Orleans, then I lost track of it....
Mine started from pieces that someone else saved from a scrapper, will be nice, and done for next summer. My second model t, but my first nut and bolt tear down and rebuild!
There is a pony in here somewhere...
My next project comes out of this.
This is what I started with. Chassis has been completely rerivited, front end rebuilt, wheels rebuilt, working on the diff. Soon will be a rolling chassis. Then the engine and transmission stripped and rebuilt.
LOTS of Model A stories over the past 48 years, but sadly no "Saving Private Lizzie" ones yet. But stay tuned...
Collected up three piles of parts from three different locations. Two of the locations were only 40 or 50 miles apart but the first pile was about 300 miles from home.
Here are some of the parts...
And the end result...
Hand crank only and runs on magneto.
I carried my first T home in cardboard boxes and took 5 years of swap meets to collect enough parts to save a 1922 Canadian Touring car.
Not one part of this depot hack came from the same car. It was completely built from parts I collected from swap meets before I had any internet.
I also bought a very rusty coupe. The body was WAY beyond repair, but the chassis was very nice and unmolested. I gathered enough body parts to re-rivet together a very nice roadster pickup. I kept it 16 years before selling it.
By the way, swap meets were very awesome back in the early 80's when I first caught the T fever.
I found this pile of sheet metal in the rafters a couple of years ago while looking for something else. "All Coupe parts $20.00" was written in chalk on the rear panel.
Many of you will remember the rest of the story.
When my '23 Runabout (pickup) was 21 years old, and I was 12, I spotted it on a farmers rock pile. The farmer let me mess with it and with the help of an older neighbor we got it on the road, added a little 20 cents per gallon gas, put some water in the radiator, hooked the mag to the coils, gave it a pull and it started. (We didn't even check the oil.) All the farmer wanted was the wheels and a frame to make a hay wagon. I found and gave him what he wanted and I had my first Model T. I couldn't afford anything so if I needed oil I would get it from a farmer's used oil barrel and if I used a battery it came from the same farmers take outs. I couldn't buy tires so I had T hubs welded onto 16 inch rims so that I could use old tires that my Dad took off of his 38 Chrysler. I was hard on the old car but there was enough left of it to roll into one of my farmer buddy's buildings to store for the 20 years I was in the Air Force. In about 75 I loaded the T onto a trailer and brought it to California and restored it. I'll post a picture in a follow on post.
I wonder how many folks have owned the same car for 70 years.
Here's a pic of the finished car. I can't upload the "before" photo
Try this: It was the first doe season that year and very cold. Not a very exciting hunt.
After hiding from hot rodders in a barn for 50 or so years, she picked me to take her home. Been bringing her back to life, all the while trying to preserve as much patina as possible. Now I find a touring car calling my name, and sadly there is only room for one.
I trust you have a proper rock pile to park that thing on, right ?
That is such a great story, and so typical. I remember many of the farms around where I grew up had fields, outbuildings, ravines stuffed with old derelict beaters like yours. My first vehicle dragged home was an AA that my dad promptly had hauled away as junk. Few "got it" in those days, and by my time, a Model T would be no less than 45 years old !
Hal, I'm only 61, but I've had the same car for 47 years! (not a T, but an A). Not me in the second photo.
I might add to that picture that I never went deer hunting again. Absolutely no excitement for me. That car was for sale for $5.00 the whole time I had it back then but I never had a taker.
My current project is a 24 Touring. The body was dug out of a field in Kansas. Surprisingly it didn't have any rust-out. The chassis was a Sedan cut down into a farm truck.
I have problems, I currently live in a small town in Texas, The problem is that I have been driving T Fords around town for so many years that everyone knows me.
I seems like about every six months someone tells me about another barn find. The last one is a T car converted to a cotton wagon. I have not seen it yet, but the pictures just taken and E-mailed to me show a very clean (painted green) wagon with very clean looking wood spoke wheels and good looking tires? Would make a great parade item behind a TT truck.
Here is a picture of the last load. (heard about it on main street)
Willie -- It looks as if the mice have been nibbling around the bottom edges of the body.
Mike, I saved that touring from the salvage yard, but I am not sure it will make it all the way back to a tour car?????
Money and time are my biggest enemies and to many projects. I do have two sons that help on some projects.