Bottom Line Up Front: Does anyone have documentation, fossil record, early photos, articles, etc. that would document if Ford of Canada did or did not switch to the pressed steel steering wheel spider?
And if they did switch:
What was the approximate time frame?
How much overlap when both styles may have been used?
And what size steering wheel rim and material was used with either of the spiders?
And finally – if Ford of Canada did switch – did New Zealand, Australia, etc. ever use the pressed steel steering wheel spider? And if so when?
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We inadvertently hi-jacked the discussion of one of Jay’s favorite photos. He had a 1939 photo of a rustic USA produced open car, possibly abandoned on a hill overlooking a coal mine. It was a 1924-25 USA produced open Model T and it had a pressed steel spider USA steering wheel. The thread is titled “Old Photo - How Green Was My Valley” and is located at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/599638/602404.html . I had noticed the remains of a horn button on top of the steering wheel and wondered if it might be a Canadian produced car. It turned out it was not – as the horn button had a 6 sided hex nut and the Canadian produced cars did not use that style of nut to hold the steering wheel and horn button on top of the steering wheel. Again thank you Jay and others for your many excellent old photos.
That led to a comment/question from Allan Bennette --
“….. as far as I know, the Canadian sourced cars we have in Australia all had the cast/forged steering wheel spiders. Is that the case with Canadian cars in Canadia? I don't think we ever had the riveted and pressed steel spiders.
If the above is confirmed, it may help interpreting photographs in future.”
And I posted the comment:
In Bill Mowle's (also used Kevin Mowle in the past) article "Only in Canada. Eh!" in the "Vintage Ford" Sept-Oct 1988 Note Bill Mowle has been researching Ford of Canada information for years and years and is one of the most knowledgeable if not the most knowledgeable people about the Canadian Fords. But that was over 27 years ago and he may have found additional information since then that corrected or confirmed his statement below:
"The cast type steering gear spider was used until
1925 when it was replaced by the pressed steel type."
Of course the next question is when in 1925? Model year or calendar year and the beginning, middle, or end of that type of year. And of course did Ford of Australia receive a large shipment of cast spider steering wheel to use up?
And Peter Kable posted the photo of the cast steering wheel spider from the unrestored mostly original Australian “Improved Car” that was discussed at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/506218/593727.html and is reposted below:
From Bruce’s on-line encyclopedia at:
http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/S-T.htm#stw we see the USA transitions to the stamped steel steering wheel spider sometime around 1920ish. [MTFCI Judging guidelines say 1919 forged and 1920 pressed steel.]
Malleable iron spider, painted black. 12-1/4” I.D., 1-3/8” thick) 14.59” O.D. wood rim painted black until about 1919, then made of “Fordite” composition material. The malleable iron spider was changed to the pressed steel design late in the era (date unknown)
Pressed-steel spider, painted black. 16” O.D. wheel. (June 1920)
Similar to 1925 but now 17” O.D.
So please send and/or post information that can help clarify the question:
Did Ford of Canada use a pressed steel steering wheel spider in normal production?
If so approximately when?
If so approximately how much overlap with the forged iron spider?
If so were they exported to other countries and again what time frame?
And what size were the Canadian steering wheels -- same as USA? Bruce had 14.59 inches for 1912-1920 and then 16 inchs Jun 1920-25 and 17 inches 1925-1927.
When did Ford of Canada switch from wood steering wheel rims to Fordite? USA did that in 1920ish.
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And for comparison purposes, below is the USA style pressed steel spider from Jay’s original photo that started this thread also. Note it had an accessory horn button mounted on top of the steering wheel and we can see the hex nut from that button. The key item to notice from the top side vies is the extra circle around the steering wheel nut and the four rivets that hold the pressed steel spokes to the center hub. We do not see the raised circle/hub or the rivets on the cast iron steering spider.
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Like that old photo and your knowing the nut was the base for accessory horn button! Have found a few old steering columns in the past that have that flat open nut on the shaft too.
Not an expert on Canadian or export T production BUT I've never seen a pressed steel spyder on a Canadian car - all cast including 17" Improved Model wheels.
I will have to check, but the Improved column that was swapped into my '25ish Canadian touring/truck may have a pressed steel spider. Being the car was largely pieced together with Canadian stamped parts and I was the one that brought it back across to the states, I have to assume it is a Canadian column.
Hap, since you also asked about the rim material and size. Friends of mine own very original Canadian '20 and '21 cars. Both have'16" Fordite wheels. That's all I can tell you right now as their cars are stashed elsewhere for the winter.
I'm not sure whether or not this picture is of any help. This is a car that just went on sale here. Owner claims it is an original 1918. The year may be correct but, it's a Touring car that has been cut down into a pickup. As you can see, it is right hand drive and the steering wheel is upside down. I think it's for sale in a province that was still RHD back in the day.
Dave, your photo raises another interesting Canadian conundrum. The only year our cars had plain, that is, not ribbed pedals like the US 1915 models, was 1925, just prior to the introduction of the improved Fords of 1926. Your photo shows smooth pedals on a supposedly 1918 model.
Allan from down under.
Good eye Allan. Here is a link to the ad where there are more photos, just in case you can notice anything else.
Chad -- yes, please check -- and also the size of the wheel. From a photo I have of your car it appears to be the pressed steel spider. But also please let us know how close to the USA the car was pieced back together. We know lots of part have gone back and forth across the US/Canada border because it was easy back then and still easy today. And is there any USA or CA stamp anywhere on the spider?
Dave -- thank you for the input on the material. And yes -- wait until warm spring weather arrives to try and check other details.
Allan & Dave -- first the steering wheel is the cast type. Second the question about the smooth verses ribbed pedals is a good one. One likely reason is they may have been swapped out sometime -- possibly during an engine rebuild? Or perhaps the flywheel tossed a magnet through the hogs head and a USA hogshead and pedals or a 1925 Canadian hogshead and pedals replaced the original? Or perhaps Ford USA sourced Ford of Canada with some pedals if they were short of pedals and it would have stopped production?
To everyone -- thank you for your help. There is so much more to discover about are cars and their history.
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My guess is that the car I posted about really is a 1918 model and the hogshead was changed out to make it a starter car. When touring season resumes, I'm going to try and check more details on Canadian cars.
I cannot tell for certain if the pedals in the photo are or are not ribbed? Looks like one might be, one might not be. Remember, for the most part, right hand drive pedals can only be replaced on a model T with rhd pedals. IF (that big IF again) the hogshead or pedals were ever replaced for any reason (starter or otherwise)? They could have still been replaced with '25 or later Canadian smooth pedals.
As Hap mentioned, there are additional possibilities.
The steering wheel in the shared (for sale) photo also looks to be a Fordite rim on a cast spider. Tracking the entire steering wheel progression on Canadian domestic and Canadian export cars and chassis could get VERY interesting indeed! There are at least a dozen possibilities from 1915 through 1927 for the wheels. Plus their timeline.
Thank you all! I will probably never own a Canadian sourced car, but find this all very interesting.
Also, a request? Could someone better than I copy and show all the for sale photos? Perhaps on another thread so as to not clutter this specific area of inquiry. Maybe also announce it here so that six good people don't do it all at once?
Reason. The link will expire for future reference.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Sure Wayne. It was my posting so I'll do it. Watch for a thread called "Canadian car details".
I went out and checked mine. Mine definitely has a stamped spider. I did not see any markings on it at all, and it is 17". Again, I have to believe this is off a '26-7 column that is most likely of Canadian origin. The steering wheel is stuck on the shaft, so likely it was not changed.
Did the USA cars have any stampings on the spider?
My car had a horn button exactly like the one Hap posted above. It was in horrible shape, I recreated most of the parts for it, not exact mind you, but pretty close. I am missing one of the internal terminals for it, I will probably have to make it out of some brass sheet.
Hap, I bought my car in Oshawa, ON, CA. It is not far from Toronto, CA and Buffalo, NY is only across the lake. I drug it back here to Albany, NY. In my investigation of the car, so far everything that I have seen stamped always says Made In Canada---except the radiator shell. I believe the car may have been a rolling chassis, that received an engine transplant and possibly a body transplant too, but I firmly believe the body has been mated to the chassis for a very long time---so it is really hard to say. The engine is a '20, so that part does not jive with the rest of the car--it too has Made In Canada on the block and head.
My 26 Canadian Fordor that came from Sicamoose, BC was a complete car, had a cast 17" spider.
Very well done Dave W!!! Thank you. As programmers keep changing things, and websites get more and more elaborate, I seem to be able to do less and less of this stuff.
No problem Wayne. I'm no computer expert but have gotten pretty good at resizing and posting pics from my smartphone no less. I'm also interested in learning more about the Canadian Ts. I am Canadian and yet I know more about the American cars, that needs to change.
All the Model T's I have observed here in New Zealand have cast spiders. They were all exported here from Canada under the "Commonwealth Scheme" running those days. The very early ones [pre 1913] seem to all be cast too and were US produced. Rod McKenzie Registrar for MTFCNZ.
The only one I have ever seen here in Australia on a Canadian T was on the very last of the 1927 models. Unfortunately I didn't document it.
However, there were examples of the small pressed steel steering spiders here in Australia, from the remains of the Palm Renown Spark cars, sold here, that originated from batches of privately imported USA Left Hand Drive Chassis
Here is a photo of a pressed steel Steering Spider on an Australian Renown or Spark car (USA imported chassis c1924)
Interesting! About that Spark. While I do not know a lot about them, I have seen a few photos (both original era and survivor) of them and do know a little about them. I did not know that they were originally USA chassis. I basically assumed (don't you just hate that word?) they used a Canadian chassis. Interesting also that they used the USA wheel.
Point of clarification to several comments above.
USA production cars basically all had cast steering wheel spiders before about 1919. The first ones were brass, shiny. Then they were brass, painted black. About 1914 they became cast iron, painted black. Please don't ask me the exact years of all the changes. I would have to go look them up, and I am not convinced that my references are all correct myself.
A lot of this is often a point of contention. People do like their brass steering wheel spiders. Whether they are correct or not.
Before 1919, Canadian and USA car's steering wheels were often (maybe even usually) alike. Only after the USA change did they become usually different.
Do drive carefully, and enjoy. W2
Wayne, getting way off thread but More for your interest. The car Mark posted is a "Renown" one of the three attempts at selling a Ford that was not a Ford the other 2 being Palm and Spark That Renown used to live about 1 1/2 hours away from me. I had the opportunity of seeing it when it went up for sale. It now lives in the state of Victoria.
The cars were imported as chassis via America, converted to RHD and had local bodies built on them. They were then sold for a far greater price that one could buy a local Canadian Ford for. The Ford Company took them to court to stop the selling and it was decided they could be sold as long as the Ford name was removed. So we have engine blocks not only with no Made in USA ground off but also with it left on but the Ford script removed instead!!!!