I have the good fortune of purchasing the 1923 T with a Martin Parry body that Don Lang had for sale last month. I just took delivery of it on Saturday and have begun the process of discovering as many of it's hidden secrets as I can. The vehicle is an un-restored GEM and I have no intention of ever restoring it. It will be preserved as it sits, other than mechanical maintenance to make it driveable. However, it's originality will be carefully preserved.
The vehicle was used as a grocery delivery truck by A. J. Gibson & Son, Grocer, in Waltham, Massachusetts from 1923, reportedly until 1957. Some lettering is still visible on the side panel below the windows. Also below the window on both sides is a small green oval with the Martin Parry Logo. Interstingly enough, on the right side of the truck, a second layer of lettering over top the "Gibson & Son" can be seen, indicating ownership by a second outfit. This lettering says "M. S. Shea, Painter". In the back of the truck is a 1/4" built up layer of paint and paint spatters throughout, where clearly Mr. Shea did his paint mixing. I have been in contact with the Waltham Historical Society and sent them information and a few pictures that I've taken. They replied with excitement and are going to research the vehicle and the company for me to help shed more light on the history of the truck.
There are some very interesting things to note. Two of the tires still with the truck (the spare on the carrier and the right rear) are Firestone "Oldfields". The name Oldfield has a red shield below it with the "F" in the middle. What little I have found indicates that these are possibly two of the original tires, or at least from that era. The two fronts are Wards Riversides which are probably from the 50's I'm guessing.
The chassis from Ford is a late 23, the engine being stamped on August 16. So it appears to be correct with the high hood and lower valence panel. There is evidence that the truck got hit in it's early past since the left front Fender is a late 24 - 25 with the bead running under the apron. The left rear fender shows signs of damage too and is pretty wrinkled. The right side fender is correct.
The inside of the cab roof and trusses are finished in red stain and is very nice looking.
It's amazing that the curtains are all intact and in good condition considering it's age. The wood body appears to have originally been painted a very dark green. It's quite noticeable in place but looks almost black all over. The seat appears to be original and has a snake skin texture. I've made a board to go over top of it so my big butt doesn't blow through the upholstery!
So far, it starts easy and runs smooth and it also runs on mag. I've just started the process of cleaning 60 year old grease out of the cups - which is now more of a hard wax. Once I have all the proper places greased and oiled, I'll venture down the driveway with it. I'm already thinking about the thrust washers so I won't be going anywhere in it for the time being.
I can't wait to dig in....
I would consider that to be a 1924 Ford.
According to Bruce McCalley, the 1924 Model year was August 1923 to August 1924 (although I my opinion it is less confusing to say August 1, 1923 through July 31, 1924).
There is a lot of unnecessary confusion regarding 1922, 1923 and 1924 Fords.
I thought it began Sept 1? Again, the confusion you speak of! Doesn't matter if it's a 23 or a 24, it is what it is, and it's way cool.
James, that is one cool car. Congrats!
If it has the high radiator and hood, most definitely a 1924 Ford.
Also, totally unnecessary to use the terms "early" or "late" when referring to black radiator model years.
Cool James, I can almost hear it begging you to take it for a ride
James, you're absolutely right not to "restore" it. The vintage patina just seems to work on this car. Makes me wish I had something like a small widget store where I could deliver my widgets in this beauty just as it is. Congrats!
Two more things add to the model year confusion. Most states which issued titles at that time issued them for the calendar year, regardless of manufacturers' model year designations. So if this chassis came with a title, it probably said it was a '23.
Another thing which makes the '24/'24 confusion even worse than most years is that Ford began producing high radiator cars a month or two before the actual model year change, which was 1 August. Even though they were produced during the '23 model year, Ford considered the high radiator cars to be '24 models.
p.s. -- Congratulations on your purchase, James. That's a really neat vehicle, and it sounds as if you'll be a great caretaker for it.
nice truck James
Wherever you take that T it will be a huge hit. It's truly a great truck. Maintaining its current appearance is absolutely the right thing to do!
It sounds like this vehicle found the right owner. I'm glad you have decided to preserve it. The side curtains are particularly nicely aged and will no doubt change as time goes on. Not to worry. Honest aging is a wonderful thing. It's so nice you are sharing your photos with us.
James, very nice. I agree with the others, that say it found a good caretaker. Im also of the "school" of keep it original. Im also a little "jealous" as I also saw the car when it became available and wanted it "really bad" Keep us posted as to the fun you are having .... Donnie Brown ....
Congrats on your acquisition. It would be great to see more pictures when you get the chance.
Thanks to everyone for the vote of confidence. Last night after work, I drained the oil and removed the 3-dip cover. Each of the 3-depressions in the cover were 75% filled with sludge and debris. I pulled the pan cover retainer out of the pan and cleaned all the built up crud that gathers behind the retainer. I also sprayed down the inside of the crankcase and wiped it out as far as I could reach. It came out nice and clean. I could have filled a margarine container with the gunk I collected. Once I had the crankcase clean, I pulled the transmission cover and rapid-poured Kerosene through the transmission (with a clean pan under the drain) to flush it all out. I did this twice and on the second rinse, there was very little contamination left in the bottom of the pan. I then poured in 4 fresh quarts of oil (2 through the timing cover to fill the 3-dip pockets, and two into the transmission to bathe it in fresh oil), added a screen filter and two gaskets and buttoned it up.
Some observations; The gaskets under the transmission inspection cover and the 3-dip pan were all old cork. Clearly no one has been in this engine since it was taken out of service decades ago. Also, the bands are cotton - to be expected - and appear to be good for now. Whether they shred when I start using them remains to be seen. I also noticed that the bands had replaceable ears. I think those became standard from Ford in 25 but I can't recall for sure so someone can correct me on this.
Lastly, this engine has an accessory oiler that pipes the oil from the mag post, back to an add-on chimney type adapter on the filler neck of the timing cover. It's about 2 inches tall and the cap sits on top of the chimney. It's baffled inside. I'll try to add a photo at some point.
Photo of the accessory oiler that dumps oil into the timing cover. Notice the chimney type adapter with the 3 flute cap sitting on top. Anyone ever seen these?
My dad's 1917 touring has an accessory outside oil line like yours - brass tube running from the mag post to a brass extension on the oil filler/breather. It was on the car when he bought it in unrestored condition from the original owners in 1949. I don't recall if it has a baffle, however.
I'll take photos and post them when I have a chance.
Erik... This oiler is actually handy. You can pull the cap off and see the oil spraying out of the tube. So at least you know if it's working.
James, any chance of reapplying (thinly of course) the lettering that was once on it from the grocer? Although us T guys appreciate that unrestored vehicle, it may help tie in interest to newer people learning about our fine vintage specimens.
Either way, beautiful piece of history that should be kept just as you are doing/wanting to do it.
Do you have any information on which plant built your body or where the body and chassis were assembled?
Chad - I'll probably leave it alone. Anything I try to do to it could lead to disaster, not to mention look wrong. I don't have a picture of it, but the lettering is strong enough to easily read.
Marc - I do not know the answer to any of your questions. This is the first I've ever made an attempt to learn about the Martin Parry line of products so I'm just starting out. Is there a way to easily determine any of those details?
James: I don't know a great deal about the Martin Parry history, but from the websites and things my grandfather told me, it was headquartered here in York in the 1920s. The company name is still prominently engraved on the building that I believe was the main office in West York, and many of the surrounding factory buildings still stand. The York County Heritage Trust is an excellent museum and historical library for a town this size, and I would bet they have a good bit of information about Martin Parry if you are interested in that sort of thing. I know that a sale of your truck is probably the last thing on your mind right now, but if you ever want to sell, collectors in this area would be a good market to explore.
Ok Marc, Thanks for the information. York is only a 2 hours drive from where I live so it sounds like a good winter time excursion to me!
HI Jim I guess I need to come over to see you now that you have baby home.That is a great find glad to see it in our area. I have one of the oilers.
Thanks Ed - You are welcome here any time!