I recently acquired a 1926 Tudor. It was my Black Friday deal. After some conversation via email with the owner I went to view the car. It turned out he had a clean title, the motor turned easily and had some compression. The upholstery was all there an in tact but far from usable. Things were missing in the engine bay. The wiring was rough. After haggling with the man for about 30 minutes we struck a deal and I loaded it up and brought it home.
My original plan was to scrap the chassis and drop the body onto a Model A frame with a flat head V8, manual trans, quick change rear end, etc, etc. After spending some time with the car and learning more about it it, like how to drive it, I became quite fascinated with the idea of making a driver out of it as is. After several debates with the management department a.k.a. wife, we have decided to restore it to running order while making small changes that make it ours. The body will be kept in tact and repaired. A proper top will be installed. One of the vendor supplied interior kits will be fitted. We are still debating on color but it will likely be non stock.
I have dug into the engine a little to see what it would take to make it run. It's missing the coils and the coil box top so those would be needed before it would fire. We discovered that it had compression on 3 cylinders. #1 had nothing. The head was removed to reveal the EX valve hung open. The valve cover was removed to reveal that the keeper washer had failed. Cylinders 2 & 3 have light corrosion on the walls that could likely be cleaned up with a hone and made to work but a bore is in order to make it right. The cylinders have never been cut if the numbers I have are correct with 3.75" being stock bore, none are more than .008 over that.
Engine wise I would like to play with it quite a bit. High compression head, stroked crank, manifolds, etc. Time will tell what my final build will be but I will surely play with it.
Best I can tell it's an early '26 and correct. Number on engine matches title. No number on frame under floor boards. Engine number says Oct 1925 production. It's black and looks to have been that way it's entire life.
I don't plan on making it a model of perfect restoration but it will be a really nice driver that only the purist would know had been modified.
Guess I'm still looking for my flathead v8 hot rod car....
Some photos attached to share.
Welcome to the affliction. Seems you have some old car experience, but the T is different. It's relatively simple, but it contains some surprises, and you'll need this: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG80.html.
The absence of a number under the floorboard is because that hadn't started yet when your car was made.
Carl, thank goodness you didn't mess up a very nice original car! Dave
That IS a special car. An early '26 built well in '25 before the serial number was being put on the frame. Common knowledge and more than a few written histories say that all sedans and coupes were painted colors for 1926 and '27. What they don't know or don't say is that there were hundreds, probably thousands of closed cars painted black in the first half of the model year because of delays implementing the new painting process for the new colors. Jim P's '26 coupe was built about April of '26 if I recall correctly. And it was black from new, so he beautifully restored it back to black.
A lot of antique car people like the "improved" model Ts because colors were available from the factory. The original colors weren't very consistent, making it easier to fudge a little now. There is a wide range of colors that are considered generally acceptable on the improved Ts. Besides,if you really want purple and don't care what anyone thinks? Go for it. You certainly will not be the first one to do that.
But that car really should be kept pretty much like it was. It could be one of the special ones among the many.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I just left Phoenix after a week vacation visiting family.
Nice mine shaft !
One seemingly odd thing, at least to me; if it's an early '26, and if it has the original engine in it, it's surprising that it has a vaporizer carburetor on it,.....???
Welcome Carl. A well set up T will bring you much joy, even close to the way Henry built it! A Tudor I owned had a 2 speed diff and an overhead valve head. It would cruise at speeds that I was unwilling to steer it at or try to stop it! You can have your have your Model T Rod and fit it with a heap of period accessories that make it go and stop better. the longer you hang around here the more you will learn. Good luck with your project.
Welcome to the affliction. And thank you for not parting it out /chopping it up.
I have a very clean 26-27 style frame that I purchase that has no serial number on it either. I wondered if it was from an early car or they just forgot that day.
Coils are fairly easy to come by and there are a few that do excellent rebuilds of them. I tried a distributor for a short time on one vehicle I had but switched back to the tried and true coils/timer setup. You don't need the coil box lid to get it running, and I HIGHLY recommend the Fun Projects coil box rebuild kit.
Please ask any and all questions, there is a wealth of knowledge here. Also doing searches from Google or Yahoo or similar and putting "MTFCA" on the end of your search phrase will often find topics already covered in the past a lot easier.
I guess your definition of "early" is kinda debatable. My '26 Tudor was built in early December '25. It has fender mounted headlights, wood-spoked wheels, and it "had" a vaporizer. Now whether the vaporizer was original or added at a later date because of poor quality fuel, I don't have a clue. No number on its frame either. I'm in the process of 'rescuing' my Tudor as well and know you'll have some challenges and lots of fun along the way
Try getting it running first - Always more fun with a rolling resto than five years of frame off and in the end getting too expensive and too nice to use..
Guess you already know about the spare parts availability like the sun visor: https://www.modeltford.com/model-t-parts/top/sun-visor/
The presence of later parts like the wire wheels (were available from march 1926) and the vaporizer setup (standard equipment from late summer 1926 or '27 model year) suggests the first owner may have upgraded the car at his dealer while it was relatively new?
A high compression head, hotter cam and a better carb will make it more like a Model A in performance, but if you want it to hold up for long time high speed running like with a OHV head, it may need lots of expensive bottom end upgrades like a SCAT crank and an oil pump with piping.
If you keep the speed down and just use the extra power for better hill climbing, then you may get by with a much cheaper high volume oil kit: http://www.texastparts.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=TTP&Product_C ode=T3081-HVOLKit&Category_Code=New
When speeding up a "T" and if you ever consider accessory transmissions for more than "too slow" and "not enough power" to choose from, then you want to look at accessory brakes too.
But first, get it running and get a feel for the possibilities and limitations of a stock T - I think it's a lot of fun as is, and for every modifications you make you need to reengineer some other parts - but that's what makes tinkering with really old cars fun ;)
As far as "being early" regarding the Vaporizer - my Gramps soon replaced the stock NH on his TT truck (which some of you know is still in my possession) with a Vaporizer - my Dad assumed it was to the fact that Gramps came over on the boat from Italy and was quite "thrifty" and supposedly the Vaporizer was better on fuel consumption - it has since been changed back to it's original configuration.
A great project! This 26 is a definite candidate for a restoration.
This is the type of car that some people will look at and part out or build a rat rod and that's to bad.
Thanks for making a decision to try to keep it at least a nice driver 'T".
Many a T has been restored to near perfection that were a lot worse condition than this one.
Welcome to the wacky world of Model T's!
Your car will make a nice restoration, and it's more than most of us start with. Everyone on this Forum is glad you chose to restore the car and not make a hot rod out of it. (I'm building a Hot Rod now, but I certainly didn't start with a complete car.)
You mentioned that you probably wouldn't replace the interior as stock. Keep in mind that anomalies such as non-stock interior and an "incorrect" paint color will reduce the car's value considerably if/when you want to sell it later. To a lesser extent, so-called "upgrades" such as a distributor and water pump have the same effect. You can bump up the engine's power a bit by making some internal modifications which won't show, and you can add more gears to make it nicer to drive. A period-correct Ruckstell 2-speed rear end or the very nice KC Warford auxiliary transmission will accomplish that.
Let the fun begin!
Thanks for the warm welcomes!
I guess I wasn't really clear on my first post. Body color would likely be non-stock. Interior would be a stock like reproduction kit.
It does have the vaporizor carburetor and wire wheels. It also had some kind of floor heater vent that looks like the vent on top of a Webber clam shell grille. The rest, in my inexperienced opinion and Googling, appears to be original.
I'm not super concerned with retaining it's value. I picked it up for a steal and intend to keep it for quite some time. It will be part father, son, & grandpa project for 3 generations of Carls.
The boy wants to learn to drive it and take it to school, the wife wants to dress up and "go out on the town" old style, I just want to drive it to Mc Donalds to get a bacon egg & cheese biscuit.
I've accepted that it has no place rolling down the interstate these days and don't intend to push it that far.
I've been a purist with cars in the past. I've spent countless hours in junk yards looking for one special bolt that you end up finding when you trip over a pile of dirt. I could point out bits of broken parts and describe what it was and where it would be on the car and in some cases what years had it or not. That was a different time and a different car. I've mellowed a little in that regard.
The best way to describe my plan is to return it to it's original glory with some modifications, period correct when possible. As if a person went to the dealership, took it home, and started making personal touches and/or upgrades.
Again, thanks for the warm welcomes. I look forward to much fun and many questions.
Looks like you will need some good tires before you can put it on the road. I would suggest that you get some coils in it and try to start it up and see how it runs before tearing into it, unless you just want to completely rebuild it and add your "speed" equipment. Also remember that the car was made to cruise about 35-40 so your brakes should be upgraded too if you plan to go any faster. Those wire wheels are much safer for speed than wood wheels, but the wire wheels tend to crack around the hubs so check them out very well before you drive the car.
Good luck and happy driving.
Carl: Keep it as stock as possible and enjoy the "T" as it should be. No Frills and bells and whistles. You will get a lot of enjoyment out it. When I was about16 (many years ago) a fellow I knew in Missouri had one of those body styles and it was one I wish I had now. It was (engine)worn out and could have been restored and fantastic car made of it.
So get it running then do the updating as you go along. Take a look at Steve Jelf's site and you will get a mountain of info from him. I have to say I met him a few years ago at his place and, beside being a "Big Eater" a lot of knowledge.
Oh, by the way you will need another "T" as they usually come in pairs!
Get you a copy of the "Model T Ford Service" Book, as it has as I call it my "T" bible
It can't be too early with that headlight tie bar. Please consider a stock color. Non stock colors just don't look right.
I would agree with Larry S. about the paint color.
The 26-27 T's were painted in 4 or
5 different colors. They look pretty good and aren't black. In the long run you will be glad you painted the car in at least a period correct color.
My attitude on keeping an old car in stock condition is usually a reflection of its rarity, especially when it comes to Model T Fords. _With over 15-million built, 250,000 surviving and 60,000 of those in the United States in fairly intact condition, it's just not a rare car—unless we're talking about vintage-1916 and earlier. _Those brass cars do indeed survive in smaller numbers and, at least nowadays, are rarely "hot-rodded." _The rest—the plain, black, steel cars built in 1917 and after—with few exceptions, are sort of fair game.
Your car is one of those exceptions. _You've already gotten the vibe that a Tudor, in restorable (or preservation) condition, is something special and it might be a shame to customize that.
With regard to your continuing search for a V-8—powered Model T, there is no shortage of such pre-existing cars on e-bay. _Some are really quite nice and available at bargain prices:
The authentic parts you'll need to complete your Tudor are easily available from catalog parts-dealers like Lang's Old Car Parts. _You can find a list of reputable suppliers here:
If you like attracting attention, the Model T is definitely your car. _Everybody loves the Tin Lizzie because it's cute as a pile of sleeping puppies. _I've had mine for about six years, drive it often in traffic and have yet to encounter an irate, impatient motorist. _Oftentimes, when I pull over to let a string of cars pass, one or two will pull over with me to avoid passing. _The Model T is a people-magnet. _Google "spectators and funny hats" to see what I mean.
A couple of folks have mentioned the windshield visor, do be aware that the reproductions, while pretty good, are not the same as the original--visor cover kits are made to fit one or the other, you have to specify which one you have.
Kinda hard to tell, but it looks like you may have the original rain gutters, if so, treat them gently, they aren't common, espcially the cover metal (although that can be somewhat duplicated with a steel measuring tape!).
You will note the driver's seat is very different from the passenger's seat--that's factory (I had a couple of 'experts' tell me that it was too bad someone had put a different seat in the driver's side, yeah someone did--at the factory! )
I think yours may be on the road before mine, mostly because I picked up another T that's closer to running (it actually runs, but I need to change out the Babbitt thrust washer in the rear end and add some accessory brakes).
Here's mine, a barn-fresh find, but the barn had a dirt floor, so the interior is gone!
Here's a pic of restored front seats, photo isn't mine & I don't know where I got it, but am using it to show the difference between the seats.
If you want radial tires while still looking original(ish) i wonder if it would be possible to fit 1935 fordV8 wheels to a wire wheeled T by using the wheel adapters designed for putting model A wheels on a T?
To Larry, My '27 has a March production date and has the same headlight bar. I think that you are correct.
Does wood frame around the rear window also point to being early production '26. My guess is somewhere along the line the wheels and carb were added. Perhaps the light bar was also installed by someone who was updating/upgrading the car.
Carl: I would think the engine number (oct 1925) and the no number on the frame are consistant with each other. The headlights could have been changed from the stem type to the bar type. wire wheels could have been added, and the vaporizer could have been added to replace a NH carb. All could be normal additions or changes thru the years. From the pics I can not tell if the radiator shell is painted or was nickel plated. There is one other detail that could shed some light on early or later. That is the front fender reinforcement where the fender meets the splash apron. Ill post a pic of the three different types. Let me know which one matches yours. Also are the bolts/screws attaching the splash apron to the fender hex heads or round slotted heads. One other detail is, are there four small rivets in the firewall. They would be used to hold a anti-squeak pad between the gas tank and the inside of the firewall. Im not sure if the early sedans had the rivets or not, so Im asking for my studies information gathering. You car appears to be a nice "survivor" and not built up from parts. I would love to see some more photos of it. Some pics of the inside would help us in our studies of original surviving details. Its a nice car. Im glad (as well as lots of others) you are not hot rodding it. Its you car to do with, and have fun with. Please remember that they are only original once, and once changed, it is impossible to go back. She has survived a long time, so please give her the respect she deserves. But the main thing is have fun and be safe. Submitted with respect, Donnie Brown ... One after thought, Is there a throttle rod arm, low enough to have the throttle rod pass thru the block between cylinder 3 & 4, and is there a hole or no hole in the valve cover for a rod to pass thru or not. also Is the throttle arm going to the Vaporizer carb riveted to or clamped to the throttle control shaft. A true vaporizer equipped car will have the throttle arm riveted to the main rod and pass above the engine. The valve cover should have no hole, and the area between the #2 and #3 cylinders should not be open for a throttle rod to pass thru. All of this could have been changed, but if the area between the cylinders is still cast shut and no hole is a definite sign of a true vaporizer car.
Kep, I once adapted 6.00 x 16" Chev rims to a model T. It made it look like a hot rod, and made for very heavy steering at lower speeds. The T steering mechanism is not meant to handle fat tyres.
Allan from down under.
The interior looked just like the one posted above but it was far more aged. I have removed the seats and panels from the car.
I took a good look at the body and can see where the pin stripe should be, it appears to have been painted over. I will touch it with some sand paper tomorrow to confirm.
The block has the hole between 2 & 3. The valve cover also has the hole. The rod on the column goes to the end, long enough for a through motor throttle rod.
I do not see any rivets in the firewall.
The radiator and headlight rings are nickel plated although it's no longer good enough to save.
I will take a pile of photos tomorrow and can take any of special interest for anyone.