To be "Sharing History"..., Just because of my affinity for 'early iron'. This was originally written for my family's benefit, and more specifically for my grandson. (Old people have that habit of wanting to reminisce.) However, here's hoping you might still enjoy my 'reflection'.... I've also included a pic of when the '25 Coupe was first acquired.
"My Dad's Legacy"
In 1942, my Dad bought (for $50) a 1926 Model 'TT' (meaning a Model T - 'Ton-Truck'). During WW2, because of the war effort at that time - but having the farm, he said this was the only vehicle he was allowed to purchase. Many other vehicles were melted down and re-cycled into Army tanks and guns.
Over the years, he recalled to me that the truck had been used to haul loads of milk in cans for the cheese factory, and even '3000-pounds' loads of cabbage to the kraut factory. Of course, there was the normal farm work.
In 1953, my eldest Bro-In-Law was helping on the farm. For whatever reason, he decided to try for a 'speed record' with the TT. Two days later, one of the V-magnets in the transmission (comprising the 'flywheel portion') had cracked, broken in half, and punched a fist-sized hole through the hogs-head cover.... The truck had just become relegated to being 'yard art'.
In 1958, a 12 year-old (me) decided that it would be appropriate to at least pull the old truck inside and onto the barn floor. Asking for help from Dad, (but with his considerable 'cussing'), he relented to drive the tractor. Using a tow chain, he pulled the truck with me steering onto the barn floor. Travelling those 50 yards to the barn was my first experience behind the TT's wheel while it was actually moving... Would an actual 'drive' ever happen? Maybe, some day... Who really knew??? The truck was then covered with canvas and old tarps as best I could. The TT would remain there in virtual solitude for many years.
January 2nd, 1966 (also the day the Packers played the Browns for the Championship) had me on a 'troop train' heading to Fort Leonardwood. Upon my return to Wisconsin, it was time to move away from home, drive 'muscle cars', and then to maybe even find my bride. Did that.
Dad endured 3 diabetic leg amputations before passing on at Thanksgiving in 1979. Earlier, though he had retired, Mom & Dad had decided to sell the farm, but still keep a 'life lease'. We would visit them and help with things at least every few weeks. On one of those 1978 visits, he called me over. Handing me an envelope and saying "Do you know what this is?" Opening, unfolding... "Sure. It's the title for the old truck..." Refolded, put it back in the envelope, and as I was handing it back to him, he pointedly says "You can have it"... (we're now both tugging on the envelope)... "as long as you promise me you'll fix it up, not 'hot rod' it, AND, it stays in the family..... You're not going to sell it!" I immediately agreed!! After making the necessary arrangements, I trailered the 'TT' 50 miles south (from Bear Creek to Appleton) to a rented garage for storage, and planned to work on it as much as sensible and possible. Wisconsin 'Antique' registration and plates were secured along with the title transfer.
A few months passed and I happened to be doing a weekend scouring of an area salvage yard. I discovered a sawed-off front half of a '26-7 Model T chassis someone had made into a backwoods saw rig. The engine block was obviously cracked and the cylinder head was off with rust and rainwater filling the cylinders.... But then observing that tranny parts could be salvaged, I also found the scrap price quite palatable - JUST BUY IT!
During the summer of '79, Mom & Dad came to visit us. Placing him and his wheelchair out on the front porch of our two-flat apartment, I stated "I've got something I want to show you."
"You've got the old truck running?!"
No answer, other than "I've got to take a short walk....." (going a block and a half away).
It will be a lifelong memory for me of seeing his 'Cheshire Cat' grin as he could first see, and then hear the TT's arrival from down the street! Talk about something 'Priceless!' By the way, I've kept that 'hole-ly' hogshead for history's sake....
'Time and money' became more scarce with buying a house and raising children. There were the occasional rides for the kids, while still trying to do what I could. Yet, life and school tuition do take a precedence. After 20+ years, a divorce compounds matters... But, Dad's truck is staying right here! (Unfortunately, when you've got the time, you don't have the money... and then vice-versa.) Regardless of however divorce circumstances might make one feel, consider and retain a cordial relationship for the sake of children and grandkids....
More than a couple of years go by: I'm building a new house with an attached garage, AND a heated, detached shop is a definite necessity. (A 10' ceiling and 8' tall overhead door for the TT which is 7'4"!) Then build a '34 Cabriolet (a fiberglass body) street rod, and even acquire a '25 Coupe!! (For those who think there should be 'names', the shop is 'Marv's Toybox'; the '34 build was named the 'Toybox'; the TT is 'Toybox Twoo'; and the '25 is 'Cranky'...) But even when a person has the best intentions, health considerations for my new bride and myself still seem to interrupt things...
In the meantime, I have remembered my Dad's directive, and my promise to him. My middle daughter had been my usual helper whenever I was doing any work on our vehicles. (To provide a mental picture: Imagine a 3 year-old wearing a hooded sweatshirt, thumb in her mouth, laying on her back under the car to watch, while I'm changing oil. Again, 'Priceless'!) The TT has since been re-titled into her name without my remorse, while still residing in my shop. Over the past couple of years, her eldest son (starting at age 14) has visited to 'help' (which really are 'teaching moments') with the old truck. I am as sure as I can be that Dad's legacy will live beyond me....
Some old pictures from when I first started working on the truck are attached. The flatbed is being rebuilt, and some metal body repairs have been done. (Years of being outside and from that old 'cabbage juice' leaking between the cab and flatbed had not been overly 'kind'....) Like me, it is now tired and retired, but can still get around with a few repairs once in a while, and to enjoy the time we have... Was it really a 'Barn Find' if it was me as the one who put it there??? Then, since I know my grandson already knows of 'The History', he is looking forward to that history becoming 'his story'. 'Legacies' can surely live on, can't they???
(and a PS - "My name's not 'Shirley'...!")
'What?' will be your legacy???
Great story and good job posting the pics, thanks for sharing it, Marvin!
A great story like that should be printed in the "Vintage Ford" magazine.
I really enjoyed it and I'm glad you shared it with us.
Flipped the interior photos to upright:
Marvin, your story caused memories to present themselves. My Dad had a lot of old trucks (they were just used trucks when he bought them) when I was a boy. One of the trucks he owned was a 1945 Government surplus Ford 1 1/2 ton truck. I wish when the time was right I would have pushed that old Ford into a shed somewhere. Of course the chances of my ever owning any of the Model T's he'd had were gone before I was born. But I remember as a seven year old boy putting several hundred thousand miles on that old truck without ever leaving the yard. As it turns out I ended up with my Model T's, but another old vehicle came into my life about 40 years ago when my Mother died from cancer. She insisted I take over responsibility for her 1947 Chevrolet Stylemaster Coupe. It's my dream that someday I could get it back on the road and leave it to a family member. It seems my Grandaughters wouldn't have much interest in it but there's a chance that a foster grandson my daughter plans to adopt in February might find some interest. He's already got his own set of wrenches.
Marvin - Your story is wonderful. A bond like that is not easily formed. I'll bet that when you're driving that TT, it seems like your Dad is right there with you.
It would be really nice if you could a picture of one or both of your T's for a Profile picture.
Keith (a fellow Wisconsinite)
Thanks, Dennis, Mike & Keith.
The story was shared with Mark, and with his encouragement for me to share it, his guidance and help with the photos, you're seeing and sharing the result. It isn't necessary to even drive the TT to sense that history - All I need to do is to enter my shop - Dad and the truck are 'right there' as soon as I open the service door!
the TT looks like it needs a battery and some gasoline, thats it! have fun with it
enjoyed that, thanks Marvin.
Great story! A definite bright spot in my day.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Wonderful story!!! I think I saw my uncles watching that game at Grandma's house. I would have been 13. I wonder if that was Jim Brown's last game. A story like that can really take you back to the good old days. The TT looks great!!!