I finally found the photo of Ben Snyder's Ford #220 as it was before restoration. The car was purchased in 1966. It was a modified mess and had been converted from a touring into a roadster with gas tank and tool box at the rear. The original rear seat was missing but Ben had another original rear seat so no problem. The car was restored by Al Vivian a former short term employee of Bill Harrah and turned out beautiful. I have the original steering column from this car as Ben apparently had a better one to use in the restoration but the one I have is in very good condition. The car was sold to Bill Harrah shortly before Ben's death on the stipulation that the car would remain in the Harrah collection. However, the car was sold at auction after Harrah's death. The car was eventually bought by Kim Dobbins and then by Fred Lau of Portland, Oregon. Fred recently passed away in 1914 and I am not sure where the car is now. This is an interesting car and has been featured in several articles and books.
I knew the man who sold the car to Mr. Snyder. Ed Hausgen just recently passed away. He lived near St. Louis.
Ed told me that his uncle knew that Ed and his brother liked old cars. The uncle found the car at a dealership in Illinois. The brothers acquired the car and later Mr. Snyder bought it from them. I think Ed regretted letting it go.
I have never seen a photo of the car as found.
Is this a photo of the car? I think it looks like a torpedo fender on the front.
Yes Herb, This is a photo of the car as purchased that I took when Ben brought the car home. It had been highly modified but the chassis except for the wheels was all original. Perhaps Kim Dobbins will post a picture of the restored car.
First thank you for years and years of support to our hobby – we all owe you a great deal of thanks.
Second, please compare the photo above to the photo below which was published on page 18 of the Jan – Feb 1967 “Vintage Ford”. The article starts out with,
“Accompanying this article are illustrations
taken recently of Model T Ford No.220, delivered
in December of 1908. This automobile is owned
by member Ben Snider, of Riverside, Calif.”
And the comment on the photo is:
"Two views of No. 220 as it looked just prior to
being disassembled for restoration. The car was
originally red but has been repainted a number
Note that in addition to the different fenders, the photo you posted has a much later radiator with the taller filler neck. It also has the accessory shocks on each side of the front axle. It also appears to have the later tapered axle rather than the straight axle but if you zoom in on your original photo you can hopefully confirm that one way or the other.
I have sometimes uploaded the file that was one line above or below what I intended to up load. Perhaps that occurred with you today? Or perhaps there were major changes to the car before it was disassembled for restoration? Please let us know if the car you posted is the same car in the “Vintage Ford” article and that there were extensive changes between the photo you posted and the one that was published in the “Vintage Ford.” Or if per chance it was the wrong photo and they are two different cars.
Again, you have done so much for our hobby – thank you for your outstanding support.
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Hap, Thanks for your post. The photo I posted was taken a few days after he brought the car home. It is exactly as it was when he bought it. The pictures you posted were taken later. Ben had collecting parts in anticipation of buying the car. He was apparently playing with the car and probably replaced some parts to make it look more original for the article. We can only guess since he is gone but that is a logical explination. After he restored the car I bought the original steering column from the car and a 1909 one piece spindle front axle. I do not know if the axle is from the car.
Thank you for the clarification. Also, if you have a chance would you please e-mail me a higher resolution copy of the photo(s). I would like to put them with the other limited information on #220 that I have. And I would like to zoom in on the rear axle to make sure it was the later tapered axle or not in the photo you posted. If you click on my name at the beginning of the post, it brings up my profile and my e-mail address is the third line down. Please limit any single e-mail to 10mbs or less so the e-mail will get through.
Again thank you for all your help and support.
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Sure Hap, I will send you the full size version. I wish I had taken more pictures but it is too late now. At least I have one
Glen, I talked to Edward about 5 years ago about 220. He told me it was a running car, minus the rear seat. He also mentioned having the car at the state fair shortly befor he sold it to Ben. The car in your picture has a two piece dash, later radiator, fenders and so on. 220 had an original water pump radiator and 4 original early fenders. Maybe Peter Eastwood can add some more information
I know there's still a 2 pedal 2 lever t touring in the new Barra collection or should say national automobile collection in Reno NV but u sure at present it's number
Here are pictures of the 2 Lever car in the National Auto Museum. Harrah's owned four 2 Lever cars at one time (#s 131, 220, 451, 714). I don't recall if the placard in front of the car pictured below gave the serial number or not. I think it could only be either #451 or #714.
#714 is the chassis in the LA County Museum. I heard it may be going to the Petersen museum.
The NAM car is #451.
Kim, All you say about the car is true. The car was a mess when Ben bought it. But Ben saw the potential of the car. He obviously made changes to the car to make it more authentic for the article. But I took this picture of the car just after he brought it home and Ben himself invited us over to see car 220 because he was so excited about buying it.
It's very telling about the changes in restoration philosophy from then to now. For instance, changing out the steering column--nothing is as authentic as the original part, even if it needs more work than another similar part one has on hand--and with something as unique as one of the first 500 (or less) model T's, nowadays one would want to keep every original piece together (at least IMHO).
We have many folks to thank for the increase in knowledge about the manufacturing of our beloved masters (If you think you're the master of your Model T, well, let's just say you're deluded. . .)
Thank you so much for sending me a copy of the photo. Sometimes a higher resolution copy can be very helpful. Other times a high resolution scan of a poor original photo is not as helpful as we would like. In this case, when I zoom in on the rear hub to confirm if it is a tapered axle rather than straight axle I cannot really tell which it is. Also I tried zooming in on the front axle to confirm if it was a one piece spindle or two piece spindle but it just is not clear enough for me to tell for sure. I also was hoping the bolts holding the front spring to the frame would be more clear, but they also remain hidden in the low quality of the photo.
If the original photo shows those parts where you can tell what they were please let us know which type were there (tapered or strait rear axle; one-piece or two piece front spindles, early style or later style front spring to frame U-bolts, does the hood have rivets for the hinges etc).
Again thank you for adding the photo to the story of 220. There is always more to learn about the cars and their history.
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#220 is in Portland Ore. The owner has recently passed away and in the future the word is the car will be on the market.
I last looked at #220 a little over 1 year ago and it is every bit as perfect as it was when restored. My understanding from the last owner, the car has not been driven or run since restoration.
It was amazing to stand alongside this stunning automobile. It's one thing to see photos of a real 2 lever it's quite another to see it in real life. We have all seen the fakes and repro's but this is the real deal.
The late owner offered #220 to me a couple of years ago and I seriously considered purchasing it. My concerns were 2 fold, it was offered at a considerable sum of money. Secondly, If I did pay the price, and decided to drive it, would the value diminish? I just thought it was a bit rich for me to purchase a car and let it sit and look at it, so I passed. I did however purchase a couple of other brass t's from him. He turned out to be a very nice and honorable gentleman which the Portland brass car community will miss greatly.
I know for a fact that the Petersen Museum has had a two pedal-two lever car there for quite some time. There was one there when I visited last about ten years ago. It was a complete car, however. It was also in "unrestored" condition at the time I viewed it.
Unfortunately, I did not make a note of the serial number.
I know that the majority of the very early cars at the Petersen that are not privately owned and on loan, were from the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. However, the L. A. C. M. o. N. H. still retains some cars in their basement and are not viewed by the public.
Unless the chassis you speak of is different than the one presently at the Petersen, I believe #451 may already be at the Petersen and has been for some time.
Royce, 714 belongs to Los Angeles County and is in storage, I think it is in Carson. They also have engine number 77. It is a complete engine on the front part of a frame.
No. 220 does run and I drove it when I owned it. It will be for sale as soon as Fred's estate is settled. It is a beautiful car.
My little "for what it is worth". Thank you for sharing the old photos of #220. I have heard tales of the car for years, but never have seen it myself. I have heard that the steering column had been replaced, and that always bothered me a bit. I did get to see the steering column said to be the original from #220 about a year or two ago. Glen had it for sale at the Bakersfield swap meet. It was in really nice condition, I could not see a single reason to have not used it. (I spent about fifteen minutes looking it over and admiring it. I just couldn't afford to buy it, or I would have been VERY tempted. Actually, I WAS very tempted.)
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Car 131 was restored by Mark Mahoney for Ken Kessee. At the time of restoration it was obvious that the engine had been welded right through where the original engine number was and then restamped. So we do not know for sure that it really is engine 131. It probably is but no one can say for sure. It too is a beautiful car and I have the original top that was on it. I am going to use it on my production 1909.
In my post above, I meant to say "I believe #714 may already be at the Petersen".
I think Kim has pretty much cleared things up. As we all know, Kim really knows what's going on with the early serial numbered cars.
Hap Tucker, Thank you for your private e-mail. I was told by Al Vivian who restored the car that they used the front section of the original car and added a rear section which Ben Snyder had. However, the car as bought was a total mess and collection of parts not correct to the car. I think the photo shows this. Ben had at least I brass car of every year produced and a lot of early parts. This allowed him to reassemble the car with the correct parts. I am sorry now that I did not take more pictures of the car to record the detail you seek. But I can assure you this photo is of the original car as purchased. I know because I was there.
Since 2012 you can purchase a special vault/basement tour at the Peterson.
When I was in High School my friends were into old cars. We were invited by Ben Snyder to come over to his barn on Chicago Ave to see his collection.
I probably leaned on 220 as I was lusting after some newer roadster. I regret not showing it more attention.
Thank you again for locating and sharing the photo you were able to take if #220 when it first arrived at Ben Snyder's collection and before Ben began any work on it. It gives a good glimpse of where he started from.
And yes, if you had known then what you know now, you would have asked the folks to move and taken more photos. But thank you so much for sharing the one you were able to snap.
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Gotta' put that Peterson museum on my bucket list. Thanks for the link, Ed.
I'm happy to say that during one my my Model T gatherings, Kim actually drove 220 to my house, and parked it on my front lawn! I'm the kind of guy who likes to tour however, and I think a T that is that early would be a little fragile for me.
I was invited to Fred's Place during the Portland Swap Meet a few years ago, Here are photos photo's of #220 I took.
Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful! And so historically significant.
It is a beautiful car, the 09. The color in the above photos is more in the pinkish hue, let me tell you it is "RED"! When I saw it, not to detract from it's importance, I found I was more enthralled by his all original 1915 center door.
I am glad that I now have one bit of information corrected, for some reason I was under the impression that this is the same car that is on the cover of Leslie Henry's "Model T Ford Restoration Handbook".
I believe #839 is on the cover of Leslie Henry's book and is currently on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.
I also have had the opportunity to examine this very well known car. To echo Kim Dobbins's comments it is a very beautiful car.
I have two issues with this car. First, it has been retrofitted with a Model R/S Heinze coil box. This is the type of coil box in which the high tension wires run out of the bottom of the coil box and pass through four small holes in the firewall. This model coilbox was shown in the advance catalog for the Model T which was published in March 1908. However, the Ford Engineering Records indicate that the the design of the firewall was changed in June 1908 to the traditional style coilbox with 10 insulators going through the firewall. There is no factory evidence that the Model R/S Heinze coilbox was ever used in Model T production. When I visited Fred several years ago he had the original firewall that came with the car when Ben Snyder acquired it. It is drilled for the standard coilbox, and is stamped on the edge with the number 220.
The other issue is the aluminum transmission cover. For the first 750 cars the transmission cover was made from stamped steel. Their are two different styles, the first style being used on about the first 500 cars, and the second style used on the next 250 cars. I believe, based on the drawings I have seen at the Benson Ford, that the later pressed steel cover could be used with either left-hand or right-hand drive controls. The style used on the first 500 cars could only be used on left-hand drive cars.
The problem with #220's transmission cover is that it is made of cast aluminum, not pressed steel. I have never seen any documentation relating to the use of a cast aluminum two lever two pedal transmission cover. Additionally, I have spoken with several people (sadly, now deceased) who had seen the car right after Ben Snyder acquired it. Their comments to me were that the cover looked old to them, like it had been in use for a number of years. Interestingly enough, the shape of the outside of #220's transmission cover is identical to that of an early pressed steel transmission cover, and the pedal bosses and the clutch shaft bosses are steel and attached to the aluminum cover with screws. These bosses appear to be the same as the steel bosses that are riveted to a press steel transmission cover.
Kim Dobbins and I have spent hours trying to understand why #220 has an aluminum transmission cover, but we have not been able to come up with a good answer. I suspect this is one of those things in the Model T hobby that is just unknowable.
Still, this is a very well-known and largely authentic car. It is one of the oldest surviving Model Ts. I think it will be highly sought after if it comes on the market.
Hi Trent. It's been a long time since we heard from you. Thanks for putting in your two cents. I didn't know about the transmission cover. Very interesting. The car is definitely a compilation of parts Ben had or bought, so who knows what he and Al Vivian did. But I must admit the results were beautiful
When Ford started designing the model T, he was interested in making components out of pressed steel. The oil pan, transmission cover and rear axle halves were made from pressed or drawn steel. While the oil pan was fairly satisfactory, the transmission cover and rear end halves were not. The transmission cover was subject to flexing when the pedals were pressed. Ford discovered this quickly and the cover was changed to cast aluminum Somewhere in the 800-900 serial number range in 1909.
The transmission cover on car number 220 is cast aluminum, and very well made. I think it's quite possible Ford was experimenting with cast aluminum and 220 came from the factory with one of these covers. There are no production records of the first 1119 model T's, so as Trent correctly stated, we will never know for sure.
I have a question about the two old photos posted. If the first photo is indeed #220, why would they have taken off the curved fenders, and replaced them with flat ones if he was going to tear down the car and restore it anyway? It doesn't make sense.
Larry, They were doing an article on the car for Vintage Ford. I think Ben wanted the car to look mote correct. It had been modified to look like a speedster or torpedo. The car looked totally different for the article than it did when he brought it home.
I can understand that. I have had a couple cars I have done a little work on before I took a first photo of it.
Here is an early picture of 220. This picture is from the September 1951. This is Edward Hausgen. Other information with the picture states"Ed Hausgens 1908 Ford has an extremely low motor number in the low two hundreds" That is pretty much proof that this picture is of 220. Its the right owner and the right city. (St. Louis)Note the original water pump radiator, flat square nose front fenders, upright crank handle and early front end.
Here is a side view of 220 taken on the same day in 1951. The body is missing the back seat and the splash aprons are also gone. Notice the thin spokes and clam shell rear end. The car appears to have all 4 of its original fenders. These 2 pictures look very similar to the pictures Bruce took of 220 in 1966.
The more I think about it I think Ed said that the car was sold in 1956.
Here is a photo that has been seen before. Is it the restored 220?
The photos Kim just posted above don't seem to jive with the photo that started this thread, but do corroborate what Mr. Hausgen told me about the car.
That's one of only a few Ts eligible for the New London To New Brighton Run. I'd love to see it there someday. There are several extremely rare, nicely restored cars that regularly make the tour. It would be cool to see this one sharing the road with the AC, NRS and Ks that make the annual pilgrimage to Minnesota. Maybe, the Fords will catch up to the Maxwells in popularity. ;)
The above link is all images of #220.
This link may also be of interest as it is a variety of early T, pre-T.
Eric H., it's almost "that time" (New London to New Brighton). Will you be joining the Early Ford Registry tour the first part of the week in Paynseville?
I agree a 1908 built (and therefore eligible for NL/NB) T would be a wonderful addition. As for Maxwell popularity on the tour, don't forget, you two cylinder rascals are able to join the tour if built before 1916, while us poor, four (and six) cylinder Fords are only eligible if built before 1909.
See you and the new "Max" soon,
A few more.
Anyone know any data on the spark plugs shown on the car?
Erick, Nice photos. Your first post is not all of 220. There are two different cars. One has the accessary shock absorbers on the Front Axle and the other doesn't The photo I took of 220 when Ben bought it had shock absorbers but they removed them for restoration. The fenders had also been changed and the car was in very poor condition. There is a lot of mystery around this car. It would be nice to know the full story. But I know what I saw when Ben brought it home.
I believe this rates right up there in the top five threads I've ever read on this forum. Thank you to everyone who contributed.
I think the picture you posted is the cover of Les Henry's book. #839 is on the cover of Leslie Henry's book and is currently on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.
If I could afford a 2-cylinder Ford, I'd have one. I'm just happy to own a pre-T 2-cylinder car and the Maxwells seem better built than most of the competition of that era. If I can get enough time off of work, I'll drive the '14 to Paynesville for some of the Early Ford stuff.
This is 220 shortly before it was sold at auction at Harrahs auto collection in Reno.
Glen, you are correct. Several of the photos are of one of the stablemates that was in there with 220.
Eric, I do see now, the caption does say 220 and Friend. It is too bad that Ed is gone now. It would be nice if he could tell us why the car was so highly modified and deteriorated before he sold it to Ben. Ben had a lot of early Model T parts and could do what ever he wanted to the car. I am sure he picked and chose the best parts he had for the restoration. Otherwise why would I have the original steering column?
Question, Does anyone recognise the young man standing in front of 220 in my picture. I use to know him, but cannot remember his name. He was a member of the Orange County Model T Club.
Glenn, I must confess that I updated the title after you mentioned it. You didn't miss that the first time after all.
Thanks Erich. It was a little confusing just like my photo of 220. A very interesting car with a lot of mystery and unanswered questions. Too bad everyone with the answers are gone, But the Model T will outlive us all.
Kim, I can't remember, did you buy the car from Harrah's or someone else? I remember Harrah's parts auction well. I won the bid on the early rear end housings. $35.00 ea. I picked out the best ones and left the others. What a dummy, I should have bought them all. Common front and rear axles were sold at $2.00 ea
Nice to see it has the correct Mosler spark plugs in it. I have one in my spark plug collection stamped "Ford Motor Company Detroit Mich" on the side of it. Will try to get a decent pic and post it.
Just a note that #220 will be listed for sale shortly on eBay. It is in spectacular condition. Here are a few photos taken of the car outside last week. The Lau family has retained us to handle the sale of all of Fred Lau's cars and Ford parts and memorabilia. The sale will take place in Portland on October 24-25. You'll find details at: www.LauGarageSale.com
Thanks for looking -
Charvet Classic Cars
Just to clarify: The Lau cars (including #220) will be sold on eBay over the next two months.
The sale of the remaining parts and memorabilia (thousands of items) will be held October 24-25 in Portland. Details on the sale are at:
That will be the garage sale of the century. I wonder what the prices will be like.
That will be the garage sale of the century. I wonder what the prices will be like.
Sorry for the double post, I must have had a stroke.
I don't get the garage sale idea though, will they have a starting pistol to fire to begin the race of a thousand guys running towards the garage once it starts? Who gets the car if there is multiple guys who want it? Will they have to fight it out armed only with T camshafts as weapons?
We have handled garage sales of many car collectors. Just like many other antiques/estate sales, there will be a sign-up sheet put out in the morning. People will come-in in the order signed up. I've had sales in the past with people waiting outside 3 days in advance and 80 people in-line when the doors open. I will say, this is a residential neighborhood and no "camping" is allowed by the city.
Believe me, there are enough items (and duplicates) to go around for just about everyone. The property is large enough that most likely everyone will be admitted at one time. There are two garages (one with car parts/tools, etc. and the other with signs, literature and memorabilia) so there will be plenty to look at. Prices will be based on rarity and condition.
I'll be posting photos on the website (www.LauGarageSale.com) and our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/LauGarageSale) as more items are uncovered.
Thanks again -
And again to clarify, all of the complete cars will be sold on eBay prior to the "garage sale" to give everyone a fair chance to bid.
David, i will be coming to the sale and am concerned about local sales of parts before the sale date. I know that parts from Fred's collection have already been sold. I know Fred had lots of parts, but its a long trip for me and i want to get a fair chance at the pile.
Thanks for your message. To my knowledge, a couple of items that Fred had previously promised to friends were passed to them by the family before I came on-board. Nothing major to my knowledge.
There are literally thousands of items that will be available for purchase at the sale on October 24-25. Including many early parts, engine blocks, lamps, etc. that I am sure will be of interest to you.
I can assure you that the collection has not been "picked through" (although I have had many calls from people wanting to come in early, which I cannot do) and it will be worth your trip.
I look forward to meeting you.
Best regards -
Who is assigning the prices to the items, and will they be fair market, bargain, or ridiculously high? Those making a long trip probably do not want to be met with sticker shock or astronomically high prices.
This is a copy of receipt to Ben Snider from Harrah's for the purchase of 2 Model T's; #131 & #220, in 1970.
Thanks manny, I've never seen that before. Kim
Ed - Prices will be a mix of "fair market" and "bargain", with a few that some may consider "ridiculously high" thrown in for good measure(!)
But, on Sunday the 25th, all items remaining priced under $100 will be 50% off and all items over $100 will be 25% off the original marked prices.
There will be many good deals to be had. My job is to sell everything there.