I'm in the final stretch of removing the body from my 26 Tudor. My next step is to sort out the mechanicals. For that I thought I need a firewall to reinstall the column, etc.
I wanted to get the correct firewall that belongs to the kit I would get. I discovered that there appear to be no makers of speedster kits for 26/27 frames. I called Lang's; Steve at lang's said nobody makes a kit for the 26/27. That the easiest solution for me is to swap frames!
Anyone in the club come across this problem? In advance thanks for any ideas. -Bill Prado
The issue is the rear crossmember- its wider and bulkier than earlier ones and that makes it much more difficult to build a body around.
And the front fender mounts on the other end- its hard to do anything that looks good with them other than cut them off.
the '17 to '25 Frames are not that hard to find, and would simplify your project a lot!
Also, If you're gong to build a speedster, which only requires a chassis--frame motor front & rear axles, radiator--why take apart a complete car to build one?
Bill, Are you going to use your 1926 T fenders, hood, and running boards on your speedster ? If so then you should keep your 1926 frame and deal with the other problem of rear crossmember. You could try to find and use a 1926 Fordoor firewall to use with your 1926 frame and hood and build your own cowl back of it. If you are going buy a speedster kit with fenders, or use 1925 and earlier T fenders then you will need to get an 1925 or earlier frame. Also if you are not going to use fenders then getting a 1925 or earlier frame is probably best.
Kevin, David, and Dan, thanks for the input. I need to think about this. Swapping frames will make the process more complicated in some ways for me (limited garage space, need to pull the engine, etc.)
Before I go down that rabbit hole, do you think the following can work: use a CAD file of the firewall to have a board cut on a CNC machine (at the college where I teach there is one in the wood shop, and possibly I can get this linked to a student practice project). Then use everything after the firewall in the standard gottlieb kit carried by Lang's, with platform shortened for the cross member issue (I don't necessarily want a trunk). If I use a fordor firewall, won't I have to modify it for the lower steering column angle?
That would give me a working car. Longer term my ideal is to make a cowl that comes up to the steering wheel, following the line of the hood. Frank Harris' car captures exactly the design I like. And I would love to use pliable non-structural carbon fiber in the cowl. But I realize that practical considerations I have may exclude that as an option.
I meant to reference the rootlieb kit...
While anything can be made to fit just about anything else -- I've owned a Triumph TR3 parts car that had an MG Magnette sedan front grill grafted onto the Triumph hood. They had done a nice job of it but it would have been a lot easier to fit a Triumph grill to the Triumph car than the MG sedan grill. [What is an MG Magnette? see: http://autoweek.com/article/car-life/ride-1957-mg-magnette-saloon. What is a Triumph TR3 see: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/triumph-tr3-archived-test-review ]
The 1909-1925 style Model T Fords were built with backwards compatibility in mind. The bodies (with a few exceptions such as the 1911 Torpedo Roadster and Open Runabout) have the same body bolt mounting spacing. As the advertisement for the Rootlieb speedster body says, "It is designed to fit perfectly on any 09-25 chassis." (Ref Lang's Speedster body page.) And many other bodies were designed to fit that standard 1909-1925 chassis -- such as the Depot Hacks etc.
The 1926-27 chassis works great with bodies designed for it (the Fordor is unique and has it's own steering bracket but the rest fit on any 1926-27 chassis.
You could modify the Rootlieb body to work on the 1926-27 fame. But as others have already pointed out -- it would take modifications and additional time and fitting. Changing the frame to the 1909-25 style would simplify your work. But if you really wanted to do it, it could be done. You would need to trial fit things, move mounting points around etc. Note the 1926-27 hood is 26 inches long -- which is longer than any other year Model T hood. The next longest one was the 1924-25 as well as the 1917-1923 both were 24 3/4 inches long (the 24-25 was wider).
So if you want easier and quicker -- the 1909-25 frame would be the logical choice [all your engine, front and rear axles, etc. will fit the 1909-25 frame].
If you want longer and more design work -- then the 1926-27 would be your choice.
Good luck as you make up your mind.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Well said Hap. The first speedster I built in 1969 I used a 26-27 chassis. I had to relocate the body mounts, relocate the running board brackets, replace the rear cross member, trim off the front fender bracket mounts and I'm probably forgetting something. This is to build a brass era looking car on a later frame. Since that first one, I have built around 50 more of those cars. I NEVER used a 26-27 frame again. That said, if you want to replicate the 26 location of the firewall and lower the column, I'm sure it can be done. Just buy enough plywood to make 3-4 before you get all the bugs worked out. And for the first ones, a jig saw and drill will work fine. Good Luck
Bill, I am not completely sure what you want your car to look like when finished. If you go to Hemmings.com in the Model T Ford cars for sale section there is a very nice white colored 1926 T speedster for sale here in California. From the pictures the car uses a 1926 frame and Rootlieb type curved fenders on home made fender mounts. The car uses what looks like a 1926 hood but a 1924-25 high steel firewall and 1924-25 steering gear with drop. The cowl is formed as a very nice metal over wood frame. In the 1920's many speedsters used doped canvas stretched over a wood frame, so your idea carbon fiber cowl would be like the canvas only more expensive. Maybe the owner of the California car would talk to you on the phone about its construction. You could then decide which way you want to go as to year frames. Best wishes on your project. Kevin
Hap, Tom, and Kevin, thanks for the good input. It is clear that you know much about this. I have not decided what I should do.
I've included a picture of what I would love my car to look like (It is Frank Harris' beautiful blue speedster). I like the later rounded lines over the brass era sharper lines (Richard Currier's design is a beautiful brass era look speedster IMHO - below). I will not be using fenders, running boards, or a trunk.
I don't know what is best. I want to avoid this becoming a project like several I've seen on ebay and Craigslist: An unfinished project car that the person gave up on -or worse (died before completing).
If I sacrifice my preference for the rounded lines, I could swap frame and use the Currier kit as is. In that case the "extra" hours are in swapping the motor and all else to the pre-1926 frame.
If I stick to my preference of the rounded lines, with the longer/ wider 26/27 hood, I don't have to swap frames, but I would need to get/modify a 1926 Fodor firewall; custom-build the cowl from the firewall to the steering wheel; and modify a rootlieb/Currier platform to the 1926 frame.
If I go with an earlier frame and want to retain the rounded look I prefer, I understood from Steve at Lang's that I could retain my radiator and just swap the hood for the shorter/ narrower 1925 hood. If I go that route I don't have to modify the platform, but I would still have the work of swapping frames -plus the custom cowl to boot.
Am I missing any choices? Am I understanding the choices correctly? Again thanks for the help.
BTW, the idea behind the car is to make it a "story" car: This would have been a "GoPro" camera "chase" car in a 1920's race (had GoPro existed at that time and the technology existed.) My son works at GoPro.) We hope to have an old wood movie camera (with a modern GoPro inside) mounted, as well as a movie light!
For the time-being I will switch focus to getting the mechanicals in order -and put off the frame question. I'll use a 1926 firewall to get all sorted. Still, thanks for any input/ thoughts as to the rest. ~Bill P.
If you want a speedster like Frank's you won't have a problem with the late frame. You only need the earlier frame for the brass speedster kit.
Frank has sold his speedster -- but it was a 1922 see:
There are several photos of speedsters on pre-1926 chassis that have a cowl like I think you are talking about see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/407497.html?1386802111
The black radiator Model T dashes have gotten wider with time.
The 1926-27 is approximately 31 3/32 wide.
Note, if Frank's speedster was built on the stock chassis body mount locations -- you should be able to take it off and mount it on any 1909-1925 chassis.
The Northwest Vintage Speedster site at: http://www.nwvs.org/ has some great photos as well as their technical section (tab at the top) has information on bodies.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Art driving #22 into the NM State Fair on 9/11/16
Staging for the Fair
Bill, Thanks for the reference picture of car number 22. I now know that you want to build a fender-less speedster with a rounded cowl and no tool box on the back. One thing you will have to decide now is if you are going to lower the car, and how much you will lower it. From the picture car 22 uses a dropped font axel,(2.5" +/-).You have lower 26 spindles, add reversed eye front spring. For the rear if you plan to zee the frame then using a 1925 and earlier frame is the way to go. If you keep your 1926 frame you could de-arch or reshape the rear spring and use reversed eye. In general start by planning the cars base, The Frame and Ride Height,and go forward from there.
Kirk, thanks for posting the pictures. I still think of it as Fast Frank's car that I am privileged to be the caretaker of for a while.
Andy, Kirk, and Art, Thanks for the good comments. Hap, thanks for the very valuable information about firewalls. To sort out the mechanicals, I will use a 26/27 firewall. Once I decide about the frame, I may change the firewall. Thanks too for the wonderful websites you identified showing speedster designs. These have some designs I really like! (A student would like to make this a project, using the CNC, which permits some very exciting forms. Attached is a cabin cut entirely on the CNC from a computer file.)
Kevin, thanks for the information about lowering the car. It may be an error, but I'm seeing this as a multi-stage project. First I want to focus entirely on getting the car running. Then the body with mostly stock mechanicals. Only later, modifications. I get it that one result is that I'll end up un-doing work I did in an earlier stage. But I'm concerned about scope creep, and ending up with something that stays a project too long -or forever.
This last point may very well lead me to do a frame switch and use Dave Currier's kit 'as is' (unless I'm missing something, there is no kit that uses the rounded lines and includes body work beyond the firewall to the steering wheel -and that means I would need to fabricate that -or have it fabricated).
Again thanks to all for the comments. ~Bill P.
Bill, Because you really want the curved type cowl you should call Tom Rootlieb in Turlock Ca. I'll bet he would make you one to fit the 1926 type firewall and hood. Rootlieb already makes a kit for a 1928-9 type Model A, it would be different but would give you a idea of what could be made. Check it out in their catalog. The phone number I have for Rootlieb is Phone - (209) 632-2203 from their 2015 catalog.
Kevin, great idea! Thanks, -Bill