I did not realize that my 29 model A roadster was restored using replacement cast steel clamps. I now know the cast steel clamps are thicker than the original forged steel style. While I was trailering my roadster to a car show this last week a bumper clamp broke causing one end of the bumper to drop resting on the tie down strap with the other end just missing the fender. This could have resulted in a bad accident if it had happened while driving the car. Normand Kling who was also at the car show provided a piece of wire to hold up the bumper while it was on display.
I have ordered a replacement set that are forged steel. This same style clamp could also have been used on late model T's that were equipped with similar bumpers.
I, once, had a set made in the 60's that looked like they were pot metal. I never did check to see if they were cast steel or other metal.
What Les didn't tell you was that many years ago my uncle had a front bumper come loose on a Model A. It went under the wheel and the car screeched to a stop. Fortunately he was only going about 20 mph and was slowing for a stop sign. If that had happened at a faster speed he could have pulled to one side and have an accident. Also, when he attempted to remove the opposite side of the bumper due to the spring tension in the bumper, when it released it hit his leg almost breaking his shin.
If you have those cast bumper clamps it would be a very good idea to replace them with the steel ones.
Another dangerous reproduction part is the cast-iron Model A rumble seat hinge brackets. I have had them shatter while installing them. They are cast from some originals, so the one way to spot them quickly is the hole spacing is wrong (casting shrinkage). The originals are forged steel.
Yes, some of the repro bumper clamps were pot metal cast around a steel bolt; easy to spot, they are about 3 times thicker than a Ford original.
Bumper bolts, if you have bumpers, should be on your "inspect regularly" list.
Terry they were chrome plated, hand cast "white" metal. Produced by Tasker Metal products in Los Angeles. I know this because I went to school with his son Paul, who at the time was my best friend. I made the mistake of buying a pair from Paul's dad for my auto shop teachers 29 roadster pickup. After a few weeks and the clamps didn't show up on his truck he reluctantly told me they both broke as he was installing them. I almost died from embarrassment, When I confronted Paul's old man he just chuckled and told me they were for show purposes only! He sold them through JC Whitney with a lot of his other reproduction cr#p. No mention of "show purposes only" in their catalog description. He never offered to reimburse me! A lesson in Caveat Emptor.
The cast clamps were Chrome plated and approx. 1-1/2 times thicker compared to original clamps. There was nothing left of the broken clamp. I had checked the mounting nuts not long ago and everything was tight. I used my open trailer so all parts or broken pieces were lost.
Just very happy that this did not happen when I was driving the car. The 29 model A is a roadster pickup and has less than 2000 miles since a full restoration.
Well Les, they certainly weren't cast steel, no matter what the catalog said. There used to be some great reproductions that matched the originals in materials and dimensions. My car carries originals! The later '30 and the '31 clamps were stamped steel with a stainless steel cover crimped over them.
And yes, the bolt could have been nice and tight, but that pot metal would snap & you wouldn't be left with any evidence, unless the bolt was a headed one, and then it would be captive to the bumper bracket.
John, That sounds about right! I still don't understand how they can sell those brittle cast iron rumble lid hinge brackets.
One more reason to not own a Model A.
David, is it this style rumble lid hinge brackets that's bad news?
I've bought a set from Snyder's singe I was thinking of converting the turtle lid on my '27 runabout to a rumble seat for kids - but now maybe I have to rethink that idea and make the hinges myself..
Yep, that's them To check to see if they're still making them from cast iron, just strike one arm with a hammer, forgings won't do anything, cast iron will break. Or you could call Snyder's and ask them.
I have run across those bumper clamps too.
Very flimsy. Not worth trying to use, even for a show.
I had the same thing happen to my '27 Model T Depot Hack bumper! Bumper literally "fell apart" and fell down to the street on one side but fortunately, the other side held well enough to keep things together 'till I got stopped and could deal with it.
I did not restore the car so have no idea where those bumper clamps came from. I do know they were not original Ford. They looked nice but obviously, were junk. Being afraid to order more from any "T" parts supplier, I just went to the hardware store and bought a short length of the heaviest strap iron they had in their display rack, and made a couple clamps out of that. I just painted them "flat black" as a temporary "fix", but after a couple years now, they're still on there and doing just fine. Not correct of course, but to me, they look okay, and I know they won't break,.....they might bend a bit if the bolt is overtightened, but they won't break. Not being a "purist", I guess I just never pay any attention to them so guess I'll just leave them alone,......FWIW,......harold