A Model TT grain truck which had sat in parts for forty years was given to the Mennonite Heritage Museum. In June the Flatland T's got together at the Museum and divvied up parts which we took home and got ready for reassembly. Yesterday, during the museum's annual show, we put the old truck back together and got it running.
The cab was just sitting on the frame, unattached.
Once the truck was assembled and running, it moved outside and the bed was installed.
Finished and running.
The assembly crew poses for the official group portrait.
At one point we thought we were ready for startup, but the engine wouldn't even cough. We checked and checked and couldn't figure out why there was no spark. Then Verne Shirk came back from lunch and immediately pointed out what we had wrong. One shot in the video shows it clearly. We'll see which sharp-eyed old Model T hand spots it first.
Do you know who built the cab of the truck? It looks to be identical to a Western Body Co cab. They were located across from the Kansas City, MO Ford assembly plant at 1207 Winchester Ave. There could be a body tag either in the cab above the windshield, or attached to the grain bed somewhere.
Oh great, now the important people have one more ugly mess to get around as they are running
late to get to the mall in their KIA ! Truly the work of evil.
What gears/equipment does this old dog have ??? Tell us more.
Trent, I didn't notice a tag, but maybe somebody else saw one and will post about it. I think Verne said that the cab was made in KC, so I think Western would be a pretty good guess.
Burger, the only non-stock items I can think of would be Champion #25 plugs, a New Day timer, and a Ruckstell. The Ruckstell has no shifter, so the truck is in permanent direct drive unless somebody fixes that. Oh, and we did use WWII era wire to connect the electrical stuff to make it run. The generator puts out nothing. Ditto the mag. Unless and until those are fixed, it will need charging to run.
What a great video! How long did it take to get it all back together?
Was the key not turned on?
Dennis, I believe the engine and transmission were already pretty much done by the previous owner before he checked out. Most of our time spent on it was during the homework phase. I probably spent a total of a couple of hours getting the timer and the hood ready to go. Chris and Gary put the engine and transmission in the frame Friday. Yesterday's final assembly started around 7:30 AM and we had the truck together and driving around about 3 PM.
Nope, not the key.
Steve, Did someone for get to connect or install the wire from the ignition switch to the bottom of the coil box?
Great video Steve! Thanks!!!
Yes, it was a Western body. It still had the body plate inside.
That cab resembles mine enough to suspect mine is rom the same manufacturer. The way the front is assembled is almost identical and the horizontal boards they used on the back are make it almost certain.
I've never found the body plate on mine. Where "inside" did you find it?
Keith, no. That's not it. In one shot it's right out in plain sight, but you're watching something else that's going on. It's one of those things that, after you see it, you wonder how you could have missed it.
Fuel line disconnected? No key in the switch no battery in the box?thats all I could see if it wasn't the positive wire not connected. It was fun watching you get it going though. John
How about no timer advance rod? Allen Brintnall S.W. Mo.
No, and no. It wasn't something that wasn't done. It was something that was done, and was wrong.
Here's a photo of the body plate. There is one located above each of the side windows.
Ha! Primary and secondary wires flipped on the coil box.
Thanks for the information and photos. If mine is the same I'll never find the body plates. The top of the cab was removed in 1941 to make it into an orchard truck, so the plates are long gone.
See what I mean about the similarity of the cab front?
That's it! Mark wins the fur-lined bathtub. Maybe I didn't notice it because I'm not used to the 26-27 Fords. Anyway, Verne spotted it right away.
A few more pics of the completed project.
This is only the second Western Body Company truck cab and bed that I am aware of. I own the other one.
This was my first Model T. It has always been in my family, who also held the Ford Dealership in Liberty, MO from 1908 to 1926. It was used as a grain truck on the family farms, in fact I have a blurry picture taken about 1930 with my 5 year old father standing in the bed of the truck while it is being filled with wheat prior to making a trip to the elevator. The truck was actively used on the farms until about 1932, when it was placed in the basement of a warehouse behind the family owned hardware store. It was left pretty much untouched until WW2 when my father took the engine, radiator and right front wheel to use on his own Model T.
I discovered the truck in 1966 and immediately decided that I would have to find a way to bring it home to Ohio for restoration. It arrived in Ohio in December, 1967 and I spent the next year and a half finding the missing pieces and doing a ground up restoration. It kept me off the streets and out of trouble during my junior and senior years of high school.
Liberty, MO is just north of the river from Kansas City. The family Ford dealership would notify the factory when they wanted to purchase a Model T, and my Grandfather would catch a ride to the factory on Winchester Ave in KC. The building is still there and the name Ford can still be seen on the smoke stacks. My grandfather would pay for the vehicle then drive it back to Liberty.
The truck was built in late 1924 or 1925. Only the TT chassis was built at the plant. Just down the street from Ford was the Hall-Scott dealership where the chassis was driven to have a Ruckstell rear axle installed. I was told that Hall-Scott had TT rear axles already built up, and they would quickly swap out the Ruckstell in place of the standard Ford, The Ford axle was then returned to the factory where it would be installed in another TT chassis.
After the Ruckstell axle was installed, the chassis was driven over to the Western Body Company at 1207 Winchester Ave. There it received its cab and grain bed. Once the body was installed, it was ready for my Grandfather to pick up and drive home. I was told that at one time the family had three trucks like this, but this seems to have been the only one to survive.
The cab on my truck is identical to the one now at the Mennonite Heritage Museum. The Western Body Co tag is nailed to the head board just above the center of the windshield. Another tag was nailed to the bed on the left side. One difference from the recently reassembled truck cab and mine is that I do not have the doors. I was told that they were a nuisance and were removed shortly after the truck arrived. I think I am going to have to make a trip to the Mennonite Heritage Museum to take pictures and measurements so I can make replacement doors for my cab.
This was very much a working truck in its day. The design of the bed on mine is somewhat different, as you can see in the above photo. It has the grain door across the back, but it also has a tailgate. Most of the wood in the cab and the bed of my truck is original.
When the truck was delivered it had the 7 to 1 rear axle gears. With the Ruckstell it must have been able to pull some steep grades fully loaded. However the cruising speed was only about 18 mph. I attended college in northwestern Ohio, where TTs were frequently made into doodlebugs. I was able to buy the rear end from one that had the 5 to 1 gears, which increases the cruising speed to 24 mph.
This has been a fun truck to own. Last November it was used in the filming of Live by Night in Lawrence, MA. One of the things I learned early on was that the truck is a people magnet. It would draw the old timers who would then remineniscence about the days when they were young and the truck was new. One gentleman once described to me in great detail the construction of the Kingston 5 ball carburetor that was on his 1909 Model T. Alas, time has taken its toll on those people and they don't come around any more.
Gorgeous truck! Nice Aultman-Taylor walking away in the distance in the third pic BTW!
Oh those "Kindling cabbed" trucks! They are so darned cool!
That is a great story! I'm sure the Wheat Heritage Engine and Threshing Company, Inc. (the ones who sponsor the show and own the truck) would be glad to let you see the truck. I think they would be glad to show you the truck and let you take measurements of the doors. There is a Mennonite Heritage & Agriculture Museum next door but they are separate from the ones who own the truck.
Thanks for straightening up the interior shot. We didn't really know what the seats looked like. There were a couple of spring type seats with it but not sure they are the right ones. The back rest looked like leatherette with a little straw for padding. My daughter and I took a ride around the grounds when we got it running and I can tell you it was not the most comfortable Model T I've ever been in!
Here are a few more photos of the truck.
Getting the engine ready to drop in the day before.
The wrench we used to align the driveshaft. It was bent to go in the D.S. housing.
"My daughter and I took a ride around the grounds when we got it running and
I can tell you it was not the most comfortable Model T I've ever been in! "
I was assigned to build a camp for the USMC in Helmand Province, AFG. Part of
the package was a satellite system and a big screen TV for the chow hall. Now,
this camp was to serve as a "hub" for the many combat outposts, where supplies
and laundry could be had, as the units rotated throughout the COPS. But let me
be clear, this was some seriously sparse living on the fringes of hell. Only the COPS
were rougher, but the idea was this "hub" was to serve as a place where the combat
troops could take a break for a few days and get caught up, send out a letter, wash
their gear, etc.
When it came time to install the aforementioned TV, combat command came in
and directed me to take it down. I informed the SgtMaj that it was all part of the
military funded package. He said he didn't care. .... he didn't want his Marines
"getting too comfortable" by having a TV to watch. He wanted them "uncomfortable"
The TT's are not comfortable. And much like the SgtMaj's point, ... the mission
is/was not about comfort with a TT.
The seat back on my Western Body Co cab is also just a board with leatherette covering a 1inch thick layer of straw. The seat bottom was missing, so I had a rectangular seat spring made to the dimensions in the cab for the seat bottom, then covered it with some artificial leather. TTs always ride hard with stock suspension, but mine is not too uncomfortable.
Did anyone take a picture of the floor boards by the pedals. I wonder what they look like?
My sense is that Western Body Co did not produce the highest quality of cabs. The boards on the back on the bed side are not of equal thickness. I suspect they were an inexpensive body designed to do the job and nothing more.
I don't know if this has to do with the original quality, but probably not. If you look carefully at the bed you'll see that the top side boards don't match the bottom ones. See how it would be impossible to drop a tail gate into the slots. I think this probably has to do with weathering, not quality. The transverse board connecting the two top sides has warped, drawing them forward so they don't line up with the bottom boards. I was distracted by shooting video and neglected to get a picture of the warped transverse boards. The bottom one is still straight, and the top one is bowed forward.
Here's a photo of the floorboard riser and the floorboards themselves. It looks like the floorboard for the emergency brake is in two pieces but I think it is just split.