My 1923 Runabout came with no seat springs or wood supports. A pal & I used foam from a sofa over a plywood plank to make up a creditable seat. Now I'm starting to think about a more permanent and closer to stock Ford condition and had to wonder if the repop seat springs sold now are as Ford built them or upgraded for our (my) 21st century bulk?
I know I weigh more than the average man did back in the day. Can we get seat springs made for our modern size?
Vintage & Ample Paul
Temporary upholstery stuffed with foam:
I weigh 225 lbs. and the original seat and backrest springs in my 1924 cut-off touring seem to be holding up just fine.
I have seen some folks pack big wads of cotton into their springs to stiffen them up before installing the seat covering.
I made seats similar to yours using foam over plywood. Rides good. No complaints until after the first 10 miles, then the numbness sets in and no amount of squirming takes away the pain.
I was wondering if a gel pad instead of foam might work. Any thoughts?
Gee John, I have done better than that, possibly my bum is better padded than yours. I have made two full day tours with only minor discomfort at the end of the day. One of the tour legs was a couple of hours in the saddle.
Just the same, I wonder is proper but beefed up springs might be better? Mark's suggestion might be one way to address the issue but it would be hard to "adjust" once the upholstery is tacked down.
I can't be the only one that is somewhat larger than the design weight Henry had in mind?
You might try a piece of plywood under the cushion which will support the entire spring. If you need to push the seat back farther, you might need to remove the springs and use a thick piece of foam. Another thing you could do would be to tie the coil springs so that they won't rebound as much when you get out of the car. That won't give you any more room when they are compressed, but could make it easier to get in or out of the car.
I'd suggest springs from a more "modern" car, or better yet, a pick up....say, something from the fifties, sixties or seventies.
The springs would be heavier, of better material and can be cut down to fit in your T. Topped with a layer of dense foam they should give good riding qualities.
Most modern car springs aren't made anything like our T springs, usually "no-sag springs, or even NO springs. Oh, yes, stuff from the fifties & sixties will likely work, but think you'd be better off to talk to someone as Snyders, who make the springs. They can probably build a "heavyweight" set that would be easier than cobbling something together.
Used plastic ties to take 2 1/2" off thickness of springs.
Takes lots of ties (each coil spring must be fastened with tie)
Very comfortable and looks good
What a great idea to try Snyder's! I just called and talked to a very helpful lady named Sandy who just caught Chris from the spring shop on his way out the door. Chris says he can build a spring cushion using heavier gauge wire. I'll call him in the morning to find out details.
I put in a phone call to Oregon Aero. _They're in the business of solving comfort problems for civil and military aviation. _They tell me that it's not unusual for them to do classic automotive work and yes, they can re-do a Model T seat cushion.
You may care to phone them at (800) 888-6910 and ask for David Esterline. _If you'd rather check out their website in advance of deciding whether to give them a call, their web address is:
I've been using their portable seat cushions for my own orthopedic problems (three spine surgeries) for over a dozen years and I don't know how I'd live without them. _These folks are serious about having only satisfied customers.
Just an update here, I telephone Chris in the Spring Shop at Snyder's and explained the situation. He recommended the standard spring cushion. He says they already use good heavy duty new springs just like Ford used back when the cars were new. He does have one step heavier spring that he uses in the four corners of the seat but would not recommend using these everywhere, that would make the cushion too hard even for larger folk.
With that opinion right from the horse's mouth, I ordered a new seat cushion & backrest an we'll see how it goes. I will keep the foam covered plank of wood that has served me well as a temporary just in case the new setup doesn't work out.