Hello guys (and gals). My name is Jim and I live in NE Ohio. I moved back here about 8 years ago from the west coast. Life has brought many trials, twists, and turns, but I'm now ready to take on Grandpa's speedster that he left me 11 years ago.
I've done some classic Chevy projects, and a couple of boat restos but know absolutely nothing about T's. We have a ton of parts, and I'm hoping to learn quickly.
I've been emailing Mark about a Rajo upgrade, but need help identifying what I have, and developing an engine rebuild plan first. I will post some pics later if you guys are willing to guide me along.
It'd be a great tribute to my grandfather's legacy and I'll be taking my 13 year old son on the journey. So I guess that this newb is asking for permission to come aboard.
Welcome aboard! Yes, please post some pictures, be sure to shrink the file size down to under 194K per pic.
Check out the thread on the Ohio Jamboree of T's. It's just west of Cleveland I believe. Would be great to see you there, whether your T is running yet or not. Lots of great people there!
Ohio Jamboree thread:
Welcome Jim!! (speedster guy here as well, relatively new to the T hobby!)
Not to take any business away from Mark C. but you may be interested in this unit:
I am not going in that direction but can vouch for the seller, FWIW.
Your about an 1 hour and 45 min South of me and your only one hour South of one of the best Model T parts suppliers...Snyders.
Wow, what a great reception...thank you! I'm sorry I didn't respond individually. It's hard to revert back while in the message window. I feel blessed that NE Ohio can be a prime area for T's.
I'd really like to make this a family hobby. It would be terrific to meet others for sure. Here's an experiment with pics(hopefully this will work).
Here she is in an exhibition race in the '80's. she flew!...
After doing some research, it has a 348540 Chevy head on a custom adaptor plate, and a Winfield Model S-AA carb. Going Rajo will flip sides but I am planning on fabbing my own header and intake manifold. Here are some parts...
Maybe you guys can identify these Offys. both carb configurations look like they're on homemade manifolds for the chevy head?
Here's a question. This is an aluminum .030 over piston out of the engine. Rods look drilled. I'd like to reuse these. Any opinions on what you guys see?
I am very excited. 7 years ago we took her apart because one of the head gaskets was blown. It sat disassembled ever since. I'd like to go Rajo for reliability and simplicity.
Thank you guys for any input. Wish I could contribute but I fear that it may be a while.
I'm afraid you don't have a speedster. You have a racer! I'm at work, and those race photos got a collective "Daym, son!" from my coworkers. Nice little project!
Jim, Welcome to the affliction I'm several hours northwest of you, I purchased my 62 Falcon Ranchero from a fella down in Carollton around 25 years ago. I and I'm sure others would love to see more pictures no matter what stage of disassembly it might be in. Personally I think it is great the way it looks in your pics. Jim
Jim -- It's your car, of course. But if it were mine, I'd restore it to the way it was when Grandpa had it, rather than changing major components such as going to a different head/intake/exhaust configuration. There's a lot of history there. And it's Family history. Most of us can only wish that we had that. Please don't take it too lightly.
The manifold with the two carburetors is mounted with two Stromberg OF carbs. They are excellent carburetors and quite valuable, as T carbs go. Note that they are slightly different configurations, one is the earlier style with the "gas cleaner" the other is the later style without it.
Have fun with it, looks like a great car.
As usual, I'm with Mike. If this were my grandfather's car, I'd restore it with the equipment that he used. It's part of the car's unique history. Mark will still be happy to sell you a Rajo for you next project
Chris is correct. What you have is a racer! I'm with the others. Keep it the way Grandpa had it!
Just a thought, maybe you could sell the Rajo and put it towards a Touring car to enjoy with the family??? Only one seat in a racecar! Have fun.
I have a Model T my Dad restored 40 years ago. It is rough, incorrect in many ways but I wont change a thing as it is how Dad built it and how I remember it. If I change things it wont be the same car.
Jim, Please take it from one who has bin there, my Dad insisted that I didn'tchange my original Model T racer from its original format. That advice was given to me over 40 years ago and in 2013 my Wikner Ford Special was inducted into the MTFCA hall of fame. As much as the word Chevrolet urks me if you have the real deal and even more particually as it was your grandfathers stick with it you are one lucky young fella. Real racecars are rather rare, most vehicles at historic race events are more replica than original racer. My car is a bit slower than a modernised replica but no way would I alter it as I have learn't to drive around its foibles.regards from downunder Doug
That is a really cool T racer that you have. You will have so much fun driving it.
I have a speedster that my grandfather built when I was 10. Over its 42 history in my family, pa changed the body three times and added stuff like a Ruxstell, Sherman SuperFire head, Winfield carb, etc. Based on the car's history of ongoing improvement, I have absolutely no qualms installing the Rajo BB head which I bought. I wanted a Rajo since was I a little kid but could never convince my grandmother to let my grandfather buy one when they cost $750. That is part of family history, too.
Welcome aboard! That looks like a great car. A couple of thoughts for you. The Chevy overhead conversion will run and look neat. They are prone to gasket problems. To give it the best chance, you have to build it and run it some, them pull the head off and retorque the adapter plate. Then put it back together, run it some, and retorque the head several times. Kind of a headache, but worth it in the long run. Also it's tricky to seal up the water outlet casting. The rods look like earlier rods drilled to lighten. Probably will work just fine but you should check to see if the assemblies are balanced.
It's hard to pack the family into a single seat sprinter. My family likes my 26 touring car. If your family likes model T's, that's the way to go, room for everyone. You will find model T's tend to multiply if left alone in your garage. Your racer needs some company.
Much want. May i see more details of the adapter plate?
Nice looking racer, but a really impractical to have in Ohio, ask me I know. The AARA, Antique Auto Racing Association was very active in Ohio with a half dozen or so exhibitions scheduled every summer. It dwindled down to one last year, and I believe the organization has either folded or simply didn't schedule any "exhibitions" this year. So unless you want to trailer it to some surrounding states it will look real good sitting in your garage. I hope to have mine ready for the Newport Hill Climb.
Jim Welcome to the affliction! Great car I agree with others I would restore it like "Grandpa" had it , there will be other projects. Remember whatever size your garage / shop is now it is too small.
Great racer project. I guess you can license it and use as a speedster if there aren't any racing events close by to bring it to?
I wonder why the engine is in pieces, did your Grandpa have a breakdown?
Did he make the Chevy head conversion with a Jern Thunderbolt kit or some other adapter that may have been available before Jern's?
I would bet that your racecar has a great history to be told. This type of car was raced on 1/2 mile tracks well into the late thirties. It may well have had a RAJO at one time or a Fronty.
Thank you again all for the kind comments! They surely aren't helping in quenching the excitement! ;)
Uh Oh, I hope I haven't mislead anyone. The car was racing in 1988 and completely finished in 1990. This is not a race car from "way back". My grandfather built her to be period correct. There are no store bought, or modern parts that I can see anywhere on this car.
Roger- He had the adaptor plate made locally to his specs(says my dad)
Joe- No worries. We live in Amish country and she will be driven all over on dirt roads. No shortage of places here.
Kep- Message me, I'll help anyway I can.
Tom- I hear ya on the upgrade.
Stan- Thank you for the Stromberg info
Thank you everyone else!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Erik...exactly. But! The adaptor plate had some of it's mounting bolts completely filled with some sort of material (?) since the mounting bolts were so close to the cylinders. That way the head gasket could lay over the adaptor plate and seal. Retorqueing would be a huge pain, if not almost impossible. (I think he made his own head gaskets)
Roger - The engine is cracked...well, actually broken(long story)
Boy, you guys really make a strong case for keeping her as is. I want to drive her though... a lot...Hmmm.
We have a couple of options because I need a short block and want to babbit myself...
1)I have a running engine/tranny with two speed tranny...drop in and drive with original flat head. But, I don't want to take this engine apart.
2)spare engine with 1 rusty mouse nest(ugh) cylinder...needs bored
3)spare engine with 1 scored cylinder...needs bored
I would never sell the adaptor, chevy head, carbs, etc. I'd put them in preservation and keep with the car and run a Rajo? What do you guys think of that?
I know that the racing mentality would be that you're always in the motor. I am open to another T as well for the family. My dad has his REAL full cab TT truck and another run about, but my dad is into the "older stuff" and NOT T's at all.
I'll post more pics. I want to use a dial indicator see what cam I have in the race engine tonight.
That's one super cool racer! While I second everyone's advice to keep the engine as-is, I'll also suggest that the Rajo option is a "bolt-on" change that can be easily undone, so long as you keep all the Chevy stuff intact and stored nearby.
In addition to the Ohio Jamboree I mentioned earlier, also consider the Speedster Rally in Galena, IL this coming June.
Those were my thoughts exactly, Jerry. Bolt on reliability and keep the Chevy stuff on the shelf and intact.
I will definitely check out the jamboree link. Getting away is hard with work, 3 teenagers, and being in a band Sunday mornings. I'll check it out.
I'm still discovering parts and such and have some engine questions as I know nothing...
The green engine is the possible donor engine to be rebuilt. The black one is the broken race car engine. I am wondering about these tapped holes...
Is there an advantage or year difference between straight cut vs angle cut gears? My magneto has an angle cut gear so I may need to retain those. also notice the oiling tube on the engine to the right.
Can anyone share some insight on these block differences/block modifications? (The green block is the possible donor).
Right now, I have 4 cranks so I'm hoping they'll check out okay. Thank you in advance!
Looks like the first two pics didn't post...
The green block has been drilled and tapped for probable race parts. Typical would be some sort of mechanical drive oil pump for a fast motor.
Guess the large hole is that, probably accessory that got its drive from the cam shaft lobes.
That machined surface with two holes is stock '25-;27 block, check the engine number stamped in the block under the water inlet. Those holes bolt the block to the transmission cover in the years.
That 'oiler' tray is std. Ford internal oil line for the splash system, its a funnel that collects the oil and runs it back to the front of the motor.
The block with the two holes is a 26 or 27. The green one is much earlier.
Thank you Dan and Jerry. That info is invaluable. Now I understand how that oiling works.
The green engine is from a, "New Jersey Ice Cutter" as I was told. It won't work with the race car's hog's head I found because it requires those two upper mounting holes.
That saves me some trouble, thanks!
Check the rear end out during your rebuild. The car appears to have run on a dirt track which means they may have locked the rear end up by welding the spiders so the car would slid around the turns. Not a big deal but something to be aware of if your'e going to run it on paved roads.
Jim -- The straight-cut timing gears are earlier than the angled ones. They were changed to make them quieter. You are correct that you will need to use whichever type will mesh with your mag (or generator, or anything else you might want to drive from that gear).
There were two configurations of crankshafts as well. The ones shown in the blocks are the earlier ones, with the "diamond-shaped" throws between the journals. Later ones have straight-sided throws which are stronger. Hopefully you have a spare crank with the straight throws for your rebuild. If you find one with EE stamped or cast into it, those are thought to be the strongest steel composition. Regardless of which type you use, choose the one with the largest journals. If the journals are .001" or more out of round, have the crank turned to get them round again.
That's true Joe, I think the rear end is indeed locked.
Thank you Mike. You guys have been a real help and I appreciate the camaraderie on this site. Makes me think I picked a good hobby this time around.
Looks like I have 4 old style cranks. I did a bunch of measuring today. It looks like a couple are .010 under or more so I may just end up going with a Scat crank.
Assuming that stock cams are .250, all lobes are pretty inconsistent with .240 being about the highest, .226 the lowest.
Here's some pics from bring her home today from my other building...
I let my son "ride" it off of the trailer.
This is me...
I'm starting to figure out how things go. There are a couple more external oil lines. One to the magneto and one drilled and tapped above the crank gear.
Here's the dash
I guess those first two didn't post...
The hole in the block is probably not for an oil pump off the cam as those drove between the valve and lifter. I think it is for a breather pipe and oil fill as you have a triple gear side drive with no place to add oil at the front of the motor. The only other way to add oil is through the transmission cover plate.
The smaller threaded hole in the water jacket is for a temperature gauge.
That is a real treasure you have there. Just beautiful.
Found some old pictures of your car. Enjoy
Whoa!!!!!! How cool is that!? Thank you sir.
in photo #5 you can see the oil filler / breather I was talking about.
Tim Moore, you are exactly right! I found the breather the other day. Those pics are invaluable Joe. I owe you dinner.
Today I scored and made a new friend. I'm a little overwhelmed by the kindness and the different breed that Model T guys are.
I bought this later model T engine with the rear transmission mounting holes, angled gears, and check out the crank Mike Walker...straight sided throws!
This engine seems really, really tight and has bronze guides it appears. Hardly any end play. I'd like to forego the Scat crank idea and high end parts and maybe see what can be done with this block. I paid $200, what do you guys think?
I think the price is real fair, at least for what I'd expect.
The engine needs a complete disassembly, cleaning and inspection. Then you can decide what you want to replace.
Big question is what do you expect from this motor? A little bit of putting around with a unique car that looks really fast or do you want a reliable motor that you can get some real power out of and run fast for extended miles.
Mild usage - no reason a stock block and crank shouldn't do just fine if in good condition.
Go fast and far - Probably time for the Scat and cam plus, plus, plus.
Speed and reliability cost money - how fast and how far do you want to go?
For a mild to moderate build, I'd check out the condition of what you have and replace only as needed. First on my list to replace would be to get rid of any original 2 piece valves and steel pistons. Modern stainless valves are available from most vendors. Pistons from Egge work probably as well as any but I go for 5 to 5.5 thousandths clearance. Setting them up at 2 or 2.5 is an almost guaranteed set of scuffed pistons.
Some of us pay to do it two or three times. If you know you want something to run hard and long, you might as well just spend the bucks up front if you can. My speedster has had 2 blocks, three cranks and two different cylinder heads plus a couple different cams, exhausts, carburetors and intake manifolds. I like where I am now but would have saved a bunch of bucks if I'd spent more up front. Live and learn.
No problem. The reason I had so many pictures of the car was that this car and Dick McKee's Model T sprint car where the ones that I was going to use as reference to build my own car, until I had the chance to buy an original car.
Judging by the grey dirt I'm guessing this was the Allen County Fair Ground in Lima and the grey is from the limestone used on the dirt track. Just a guess.
Can some one explain the chain drive coming off the steering box/shaft?
It looks as though the chain is used to offset the steering wheel to the center of the car.
Jim Carlton, I mean no disrespect, but this does not look safe for a car that might be street driven. I do not know how you intend to drive this great car you have.
Based on the photos, it looks to me like Jim's grandfather built this T as a track car. If that is the case, chain drive steering might be okay since you really only have to turn one way. If this wonderful machine is going to be street driven, a more "direct" means of steering linkage could be worthwhile a upgrade.
Note: I love Model T speedsters and race cars and think they should be on roads or race tracks were they belong, but we have to be safe with all that power!
Thank you Walt...that's exactly what I'm going to do. I went back out and stripped down the entire block. I'll let her soak in the parts washer before she goes to the machine shop.
I am all too familiar with doing things two and three times...I hear ya!
Joe, I'd love to see pics of your car.
The steering shaft on the box and the steering shaft on the steering column both have gimbal/swivel bearings mounted in carriers on the inside of the firewall. With the double chain, I think it might be pretty safe. I appreciate you bringing it up...you won't offend me.