Good morning, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and all of yours!
I recently came into possession of a 1916 Model T, with lots of aftermarket and later year parts stuck to it. I am currently in the process of tearing it down... I'm amazed at its simplicity. I hope to have this project done by 2018.
My end goal is to build a World War 1 Ambulance; it will be a dedication to the men of the American Field Service. They drove Model Ts that were outfitted by the French for use with their army. I hope to remember to post often here so you all can follow along!
Great project Andrew. Good luck and keep us informed ie pictures.
These images may be of interest. All military model T Ford
David O'Neal has done this project. I expect he can provide some information and advice: http://www.ww1history.com/.
He may be able to put you in contact with some of the other folks who have done the same.
That is an interesting combination of parts on the car in the above picture.
Would you say it is a 15-16 radiator with 16-17 lights. The dash board and hood former look earlier. It looks 13-14.
It would seem that the accessory demountable wheels made sense given the possibility of needing to change a flat as quickly as possible.
Were the demountable wheels a common feature on these ambulances?
Looks to me the added 'newer T parts' were added to make the T ambulances as practical to use in the field as possible.
Using electric lights and demountable wheels make perfect sense in an ambulance situation.
I would imagine lots of T ambulances wound up this way.
Restoring one in this fashion would be as correct as you could get to show how they were really used but a perfectionist would probably cringe at the thought.
Davids ambulance was shown at the MVPA Military Vehicle Preservation Association annual convention in Topeka, KA two years ago. It was featured in the MVPA magazine, Army Times that summer as well. Look for the article. I think he has/had a facebook page on his restoration.
I'm doing a similar project, but creating a Light Patrol Vehicle, rather than the ambulance version. Since I got the machine gun, might as well build a car around it.
Looks like it has one Firestone demountable wheel on the right front, and the rest are round-fellow non-demountable.
One of the "challenges" that you will face is that Ford did not supply Model T's to the military as he was an isolationist. Only after the US declared war did Ford reluctantly agree to supply 2500 Model T's to be used as ambulances only. The chassis were supllied and then they were supplied with an ambulance body. One story is that the early shipments, the actual shipping crate was used as part of the body. Another story is that Ford created a product called Fordsonite, like a Masonite type product for the body. It was a glorified tar/cardboard type product that fell apart in a few years. That is why there is not one single survivor of the WWI ambulances. They are all recreations, like yours will be.
But, it's a great project and your heart is in the right place and your timing will be perfect for 100 year anniversaries of the Armistace.
Good luck with it.
Wasn't there an article in the Model T Times or Vintage Ford a year or so ago about a fellow who restored a WWI ambulance? I was thinking there was one original left in England or France in a museum???
I know of one WW I real Army vehicle . Back in the eighties a friend of mine bought a large cash of Model T stuff . He ask if I would come over and tell hem what one particular body was . It was a WWI vehicle most likely ambulance . All original wood body with wood bows like a covered wagon with one bow in the front fixed horazonal over the drivers head . We live about fifty miles from the largest Army base in America Fort Hood Tx. My friends farther was a doe boy so he restored the car in his honer and the car is now in a museum here in town.
Dave's ambulance is very different than the AFS models that were used prior to the US entry into the war. George King III built one of the French models and did a great job, but then he is a professional. He got his drawings from a fellow in France, those drawings run about $1K but would be worth the price to do the job right.
Not that is is worth much, but I think I have read of the remains of three over the years. One was discovered half buried in desert sand during one of the Gulf Wars about 25 years ago. I believe it ended up in the USA, and could have been the one Perry G mentioned. One, also nearly 20 years ago, was in a collection in England. I think the other was in France. I don't think much remained of the original body on any of those three. I love several of the wonderful recreations I have seen pictures of. Remembering our history, both the good and the bad, is very important. I wouldn't mind seeing a few more recreations of WWI vehicles.
Thank you Gutaf, Mike W, George KIng III (who could maybe be a distant relative of mine???), and all others that help preserve these bits of history!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I thought I'd seen mention of remains found in Spain. Does anyone know what it turned out to be and it's current state?
Would they ever have been built using a TT chassis?
I am fairly sure that the link Howard D provided being in Spain is the one I was thinking of maybe being France. I knew I had read about it on this forum a couple/few years ago, but could not recall many details. I haven't heard anything about it since that thread.
According to the encyclopedia, there was a small pilot run of TT chassis built in 1917, but full production didn't start until 1918.
There is no evidence that a TT chassis was ever used for an ambulance in WWI. The slower heavier TT chassis would have been a disadvantage.
While the TT chassis was available during the last year or so before WWI ended, I do not recall seeing any ambulances based on that chassis. I have seen photos of troop carriers, army cargo trucks, etc. but I don’t recall seeing an Ambulance on the TT Chassis. On page 20 of the Sep-Oct 1993 “Vintage Ford” they have a caption that reads, “Instructional Laboratory vehicle of Surgeon Generals Office, mounted on a TT chassis, c. 1918.” But the photo shows the body mounted on a car chassis. So they may have printed the wrong photo or they may have an inaccurate caption for the photo.
But if someone had wanted to fit an ambulance body to a TT chassis it could have been done. And many different groups purchased different car/truck chassis and had ambulances constructed that were donated to support the Red Cross etc.
How many chassis were available? Good question. The war officially lasted from July 28, 1914 to Nov. 11, 1918 when the two sides signed an armistice. Ref: https://www.reference.com/history/did-wwi-start-b6d916a9d3ce115c On June 28, 1919, he Treaty of Versailles was signed officially ending the conflict, but the shooting had been over since Nov 1918. Ref: https://www.reference.com/history/did-wwi-end-910565178f009926
For USA production, there were only 3 Ford Ton Trucks produced in fiscal year 1917 (1 Aug 1916 to 31 Jul 1917) ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1917.htm And again for USA production 41,105 Ton Truck chassis for fiscal year 1918 ( 1 Aug 1917 to 30 Jul 1918) Ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1918.htm And 70,816 TT chassis in FY 1919 ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1919.htm .
The English Model T Ford Book on page 220 has sales figures listed as 20 Ton Trucks and 183 TT Chassis listed for 1918 and 60 Ton Trucks and 966 TT Chassis for 1919. They list the record year as ending Sep.
So for approximately the first 3 years of the WWI the Ton Truck chassis was not available.
If anyone has a photo or information about the Ton Truck chassis being fitted with the Ambulance body for use in WWI, please let us know.
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You are correct that Henry Ford did not want the USA in WWI and for that matter did not really want Ford Manufacturing involved in WWI. In the book “In the Shadow of Detroit” the author shared the tension that Ford of Canada had in supporting Canada and the British Empire and still keeping Ford USA satisfied.
But the official Ford records indicate that Ford USA produced numerous Ambulances for the military use in WWI. The USA produced ambulances had 30 x 3 1/2 wheels on all four corners (i.e. like Ford of Canada did).
20,700 ambulances during FY 1916 (Aug 1, 1915 to Jul 30, 1916) ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1916.htm
1,452 ambulances during FY 1917 (Aug 1, 1916 to Jul 30, 1917) ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1917.htm
2,136 ambulances during FY 1918 (Aug 1, 1917 to Jul 30, 1918) ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1918.htm
2,227 ambulances during FY 1919 (Aug 1, 1918 to Jul 30, 1919) ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1919.htm
(I’m not sure why they say Jul 30 rather than Jul 31 – but that is what is there.)
In addition to USA production Ford of England & Canada produced ambulances. And any Commonwealth Country would have been collecting money to send ambulances (Ford and other makes) to help with the casualties.
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Thanks for the feedback guys! The ambulance I'm building is one of the early French ones. George King is my chief project mentor and guide. It was he who put me on the lead to this T I now own. This is a very exciting project for me. There's only one volunteer ambulance left in Paris, and I'm getting in touch with the man who made those blueprints.
Hey Andrew, if you have George helping you, then you are not going to need any other help.