I believe I'll finish out my project as a '12 Mother-In-Law Roadster with Removable back seat and a pickup bed to go in it's place.
Brass lights, '12 windshield, carbide generator, etc., all essentially '12, except wheels.
This car will have the engine recently finished. It's stock with a 280 camshaft.
It'll be driven around town, and sometimes taken out on trips to see customers and give them rides.
I have a dilemna, and need to make a decision on wheels.
I don't particularly want to have two sets of different style wheels (wire vs. wood); I want to settle on one, and live with it.
However, I am not sure where the intersection of appearance and function applies to me and this car.
I want to avoid a prolonged issue of changing a tire on a wooden wheel while a customer is with me. Wire wheels change quickly and easily.
Yet, the appearance of a brass era roadster with wire wheels, other than the Hayes, Buffalo, etc., seems out-of-place (at least to me). Yet, I am told that '26 - '27 wire wheels on a '26 – '27 front axle with '26 – '27 front hubs ride very well, and are usually somewhat more comfortable than using 55 – 60 psi 30 x 3 / 30 x 3-1/2.
Yet, I want to have the '12 correct Stewart speedometer, and I have no idea how to install a gear onto a wire wheel that will properly operate the speedometer.
If anyone has any pictures of a brass era roadster running '26 – '27 wire wheels, please send to me.
If anyone has any pictures of a brass era roadster running 30 x 3 / 30 x 3-1/2 demountable rims, please send to me.
I'd definitely go with wood. I'd probably even go so far as saying I would go for non-demountables. I mean after all, how often do you plan on having a flat? Pretty rare occurrence nowadays (Yes I know, about 3 of you are going to say you had a flat on your T once so my logic is out the window). I don't like the looks of wire wheels (Even Buffaloes) on early T's. I'd stick with wood and probably use whatever I had. I don't know that demountables would look that bad, but I certainly wouldn't go to the expense of buying them if I had non-demountables laying around, just because I was afraid of what would happen if I got a flat.
Of course, this is just my opinion. But then again, you DID ask.
Just my onion the 26/27 wheels would not look right .
The hardest part of your decision, I think, would be the speedometer drive gear--which would need to be fastened to the wire wheel hub, not the wheel itself. Other than that, it is a matter of taste, and most non-T folks wouldn't know the difference. One of the conveniences of the '26/7 wheels is the tires are much more common, being used on many other cars, so they can usually be found a bit cheaper then clincher tires.
I would think you'd find some nice photos on this site's photo gallery.
I'm with Hal. If you're worried about the unlikely flat when hauling a customer (it's not impossible) you could mount a couple of spare wheels (front and back) on the running board. That would probably be cheaper than wires or demountables all around. I've seen folks do that, and I've seen old photos of it in the Model T era.
By the way, I don't think Ford ever used a 30 x 3 demountable wheel.
I think the bottom line would be convenience. Yes I know using the correct wheels is important for some people. I think they call them purists!
I think the idea of using 30x3 1/2 demountable is the best solution for your situation.
After all that's what Ford did beginning in 1919 or so! There's more than a few that have done this with their brass era cars.
I don't like the way a Model T drives with the 21" front wheels or 30 X 3 1/2" front wheels, the steering is quite heavy, even with 5:1 steering ratio.
Going with the two tire sizes is no big deal. I keep one of each on the running board of my cars with a tube and flap in each and have easily changed one on the road. The hardest part is pumping up the tire but given the fact that flats on the road are rare I think it is well worth the effort to keep things the way Henry made them. Just my opinion.
I am restoring a 1911 Torpedo roadster . A set of excellent reproduction of the original aftermarket wire wheels came with the car.Lang's sales these wheels. They are machined to a perfect fit on Ford Model T wood wheel hubs. The hubs used from 1916 to 1927 have two styles that were machined for the speedometer gear. I have a Stewart and Clark model 26 ,I am installing a S/C 60T/8P, part # 8685 machined center to accept the Ford machined hub.Royce has a set up like this on one of his cars maybe he can take a picture of it .
Firestone made a set of demountable wood spoked wheels for the early model Ts, so there is that possibility if one wants to be period correct. They are for 30 x 3-1/2 tires, and were usually painted red, although one could paint them whatever color desired.
The Torpedo Roadster is quite rare and very desirable car. The correct wheels are non demountables but you would need two spares one for the front and one for the rear. You could use demountable wheels with the same size both front and back and much easier to replace with a spare mounted on the rim. They look quite similar to the untrained eye. There were also period correct after market wire wheels which could be used, but the 26-27 21" wheels are very not period correct and would detract from both the appearance and the value of the car. However the 26-27 wheels are hard to find and if you were to sell them would probably pay for a good set of 4 wood wheels.
It is your car and how thick is your skin? LOL Use what you like it can be changed back to correct anytime.
Wood definatly, considering you mentioned you might be seeing customers they definatly will get more of a kick out of wood wheels. If I were to go with wires on an early car it would be an early set or the new ones being made that were mentioned. Thats my $.02
Royce, if you are going to live in Texas, you should toughen up. We poor Aussies have had to wrestle with heavy steering 30 x 3.5" front tyres forever!
Seriously, Hayes wire wheels look the part, are demountable at the rim, and as I have done on my 1912 Haigh's chocolate van, will take the speedo drive gear on whatever side you like to bolt it.
Allan from down under.
I'm probably the least knowledgeable person on this forum, but here's my 2 cents worth.
I have 30 x 3 1/2 demountables on all the wheels of my 1914 touring only because that's the way it was when I bought it. I've tried to trade them for two comparable 30 x 3 clinchers and two comparable 30 x 3 1/2 clinchers, but no luck!
I think the 30 x 3 1/2's all around make it look "squaty" and lowered!
It also doesn't steer as well as my cars with the 30 x 3 front wheels. I don't know if that's because of what Royce said, or just this car.
You can see the picture on my profile page. Click on my name.
Again, my 2 cents worth, but it's your car! Good luck.
I have Hayes wire wheels 30 X 3 1/2 wheels on my 1917 runabout. While they look great the steering is the heaviest and most difficult of all my Model T's.
Basically, the greatest gain in utility require the greatest departure from authentic and correct. -There's no getting away from it and each owner must decide on degree.
It seems to have become tradition that modernizations and modifications are more acceptable on some vintages than others and this is a reflection of age and rarity. -There are plenty of plain black Model T Fords out there; so many in fact that very few people would object to somebody updating that kind of car. -Brass cars are older and rarer, the oldest brass Model Ts being the rarest—and with each earlier vintage year, owners are less and less apt to make modifications (Yeah, it's more or less okay to drill holes in the running-board of a '14 or '15 to mount a tool box, but I doubt there's anybody out there who would do that to a Ford built between 1909 and 1912).
The odds of suffering a flat tire depend on terrain and how many miles you put on your car. -I hope I'm not jinxing myself by telling you that I put on about 500 miles per year, have owned the car for six years—and so far, so good. -Maybe your odds of suffering a flat tire while a customer is in the car are fairly slim and in light of that, perhaps you'll decide to go with the more authentic looking non-demountable, wooden wheels. -
Maybe it's time to take a poll on our collective experience with flat tires and see at what kind of frequency that takes place. -I'll post that in a separate thread after I figure out the most useful wording.
The tires today are so much more reliable than they used to be. I'd stick with wood.
To all, thank you for your input.
I've made the decision and put a WTB in the classifieds.