Royce Petterson ,Arrdeen Vaughan,and I meet at the LBJ Visitors Center to re-examine the LBJ Model T .
Royce and Arrdeen both have personal experience in working and owning water pump and two lever Model Tís .
1.We were able to remove the back-seat cushion, the cushion springs where found to be original. Royce found traces of red paint on the body under the seat. The door under the kick board had an unusual lock stop, it has an extra plate on it, unlike other 09 Fords seen by Royce. The back-seat kickboard hinges look to be like those on the front compartments of the 03-05 Fords.
2. We removed the front seat cushion and found the car has itís original gas tank.with original sediment bowl.
3.We removed the front floor boards and could see where the two-lever hand brake quarderant,had one time been ribited to the frame.
4. The car has a square transmission cover with a four bolt pattern inspection plate.
5.Royce found red paint on several places on the frame.
6. Arrdeen found that the doors were different than other early bodies that he had seen. They did not have numbers stamped in the bottom of the seal, and it was obvious to him the doors were narrower at the bottom than others that he had seen.
7. Royce found that the car has one original hub-cap, its is much more elaborate than the others, the letters have a raised rim .
8. We looked at the passenger side of the motor between and center of the manifolds for any evidence of a number stamped there. We found a large clear letter C and it looked to me there were some file marks above the letter C.but could not be confirmed by the others.
9.The engine pans were in place. WE looked on the driver side to see if the pan looked as if it was a water pump motor -pan. We found damage to the front of the pan, so this could not be confirmed.
10 The pitman-arm was of the first-generation type, shorter than the later modelís N09-19.
In my opinion this an extremely early body and frame. That was updated in order for it to be presented as a 1910 Model T. I also think that this is a special block because of the letter C found were other blocks had serial numbers, and the odd position of the embossed serial number 17243,possibly this block experimental, maybe the first motor without a water pump.
I took lots of photos I will have a link to share for the photos asap.I will be out of pocket for the next week .
Can't wait to see the pictures, sounds like it could make for a very interesting article in the Vintage Ford!
That is the plan after all avenues of information are explored .
An interesting dilemma - is the car more historically significant as the LBJ car, preserved in its "as presented to LBJ" state, or as a correctly restored, early 2 pedal, 2 lever 1909?
The other interesting question is: Was this car known to be so significant when it was "fixed up" to be given to LBJ? LBJ would likely have been just happy with any 1910 T. The amazing thing is that apparently no further "desecrations" were done to it after being given.
As to Mark's question, How many early cars exist? That would likely define what the significance can be. Any body maker's numbers found yet?
Thanks for the update Perry.
Interesting question Mark. The LBJ car may yet prove to be even more significant than we think. I don't think the Henry Ford Museum should have disposed of it. In fact, when they converted the other car to 2 lever - its as if they chose the wrong car. Whether this was just a mistake or simply that they didn't realize what they had we may never know.
I wonder whether the LBJ car is the one that Henry said they located in Ohio in the 1920's and claimed was #1?
Whatever the LBJ car is, I suspect it was originally a very low serial number production car at least. One line of enquiry would be to try to find out when the 2 hole body brackets were used at the front, center, and rear of the body. We know the prototype cars used them because the photos show them. The photo of what's thought to be #1 isn't clear enough to see what body brackets it has. None of the period photos of 2 lever cars I've seen have the 2 hole brackets in the center / rear location - they all have 4 bolt brackets at the center and rear, and 2 bolt brackets at the front only.
Period photo showing a two lever car with the 2 rivet rear body bracket:
The #1 car was sold with engine serial number 31 installed. It was shipped to London in October 1908. I think it would be unlikely to show up in Ohio.
Royce - I was under the impression that the car in the photo you posted above is a prototype car at the factory. Do you know when and where it was taken?
I would speculate the photo is from the fall of 1908 and it is likely to be production T serial number one. Notice the car has headlamps yet no carbide generator in the photo.
I suspect the New York to England car, the "hunting trip" car, and other early T's, were changed, altered and improved as components failed.
Something to keep in mind, when Henry Ford is looking for his early cars, in the early 1920's, he has become the wealthiest man THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN. When he reports the Ohio car is number 1, there is no good reason to disbelieve him. When it comes to an old car, or artifact, he may have anything he wants. He is the richest man in the WORLD! Searching for the first Model T, the car that made him the richest man in the world (ever). And, he has the sales records. So, when one discounts what Henry Ford says, place it in context.....
Unlikely. Open to any proof otherwise.
In a simple effort to be helpful, I thought I should offer a link to the other thread that links to the photos. This way, hopefully, after the two threads become separated, interested parties can still find the photos, provided they are still available.
Having looked at those photos, I found them very.....interesting.
There are enough apparently correct very early major parts, to have been a very early T, earlier than 1910, at some time. There are also a fair number of things that indicate the car was seriously messed with at some point.
We have discussed in many threads, the necessity of taking a lot of the "early hobby facts" with the proverbial grain of salt. I have read in several places that Henry Ford had a lot of difficulty finding a correct two lever Ford for his museum after he decided it was necessary to preserve his legacy (this in the early 1930s). Certainly, it was mostly his subordinates that did most of the searching, and many of them likely did not know so well what they were looking for, or at. The two lever cars were fully twenty years old by then. Good, intact, survivors were few and far between (only about 1000 were built in the first place). Most of the originals had been updated, worn out, or destroyed even by then. Most of the nice survivors had long since been locked away in a barn or commercial building somewhere, largely forgotten, not to be discovered until decades later. It is likely that Henry's helpers picked up several less than nice early cars in their quest to provide Henry with his collection.
In reference to that, I would point to the Leslie R Henry (Ford) racer number two recreation (am I correct, I seem to recall he was connected to that project?). It is documented that it was built from early era T parts on hand at the collection. They probably had several partial cars and lots of parts in the '40s and '50s. They had a few '09 and '10 Ts that were displayed in various places in those days. When the opportunity came along to give a sitting president such a gift, they probably chose one and gave it. The car had probably been "restored" previously by people more concerned with a display piece than a "proper" '09 or '10.
I always get a kick out of seeing cars for sale described as "museum quality". Most "museum" cars, are not all that good.
Thank you all that are involved in this research. Either way, the car is a good data point.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
More related links:
Regarding cryptic numbering circumstances here...not understanding what might identify this block as the "first" non-water pump motor? There have been other block numberings presented here on the Forum, where similarly provenance of the blocks and numbering nomenclature are unknowns.
What is KMA?
Did the block have the boss on the left sie, towards the front, that is sometimes drilled and plugged? I can't see the area in the photos. This would be a good feature to help date the block as 1910 era.
The photo below is reposted from earlier postings of other 1909-10 engines, not sure who the original source was.
(Message edited by Dave_Martin on February 20, 2017)
No it did not.
The block has the serial number pad in a very unusual position. Also the features of the timing cover area are like the earliest non - water pump blocks, yet more delicate. There is no casting date on the block, nor any apparent place for that feature. There is possibly a serial number stamped between the #3 and #4 exhaust ports. We were not able to do anything other than look, it would require extensive cleaning to see more in that area.
The engine pan is no earlier than 1910 model year. The nose casting did not extend to the rear like the early ones, so there was never a rivet in the oil fluid area of the pan.
I would recommend reading Nov/Dec issue 2004, of Vintage Ford , Model T #1, pages 17-24.
There is no surviving evidence that the first eight Model Ts were shipped to London. To the best of my knowledge, the only reference to eight cars being shipped to London is in Phillip Van Doren Stern's book "Tin Lizzie".
I have always wondered where Stern got that number from. It turns out tha Stern's research papers which he used as references are in The Benson Ford Research Center, at The Henry Ford. I have reviewed those papers, and did not find any reference to the first eight Model Ts being sent to London.
Amongst those research papers I did find a manuscript of Stern's "Tin Lizzie". Turning to the remark about the first eight Model Ts I found that when the manuscript was being typed, Stern had originally put down the number "4". That number was crossed out in pencil, and the number "6" was hand written in its place. The "6" was also crossed out and the number "8" was written in pencil above the "6". Given that Stern did not document the source for the number of Model Ts shipped to London, and the fact that in all my searches at the Benson Ford I have never seen any other reference to eight cars shipped to London, I have to question the validity of Stern's statement in the book.
Please do not get me wrong. "Tin Lizzie" is one of my favorite books. I have been able,to find documentation for many of the statements that Stern made in the book, but where he got the number eight cars shipped to London appears to be a mystery that Stern took to his grave.
If you magnify the area between #3 and #4 you can see the letter c and some other marks .
Some things that I thought were very interesting on this car-
1. The dash shield retainer is stamped brass, same as #904.
2. The wheels are the earliest very spindly teardrop shaped spokes, same as #904.
3. The right rear hubcap is much more ornate than the other three. Never seen one like it before.
4. The bolts holding the body to the frame brackets have very unusual nuts. The bolts are fine thread. The nuts are tall and reduced size, probably to allow a socket to fit into the folds of the body brackets.
5. The cowl lamps are not marked. What brand are they?
6. The hood former is an aluminum casting that was highly polished at some point.
7. The tail lamp is a Gray and Davis, typical of NRS Fords.
8. The red color on the inside of the frame rails is a deep red, similar to the color of a 1909 that Don Lang owned several years ago.
There are many other interesting things, just throwing these out there because they need more attention.
Thinking of Trent's note above.
What reason would Ford have for sending the first 8 cars to London unless there was a car show in New York and afterwards the cars were shipped to London for another show. Then it would be cheaper to sell them there as opposed to shipping them back to the states.
Like Trent, Tin Lizzy by Stern in one of my favorite books. So much so that i currently have 4 copies. Don't know how that happened. Its also bothered me that know one has been able to find any info in the archives to back up Sterns claim that the first 8 T's went to Europe. If we take Sterns at his word, those 8 cars are gone and not likely to have returned to the states. So then, how did Henry locate and buy back #1? If he did, it would be most likely still be with Ford. Its pretty clearly not there. Over the years, Ford has sold off some fairly historic things such as proto type cars and engines. The LBJ car is fairly mysterious as is Arron Crandle (spelling?)car that was sold out of the museum.
One of the ways Sterns could have got his information is from the original invoices. Those exist only on microfilm at this time and cars 1-1,119 are missing. Maybe they were there at the time of his research.
interesting side note, Philip Van Doren Stern also wrote the movie, "Its a wonderful life"
I note in Perry's photos there is what looks to be a hand painted number in white in at least 2 places on the car. "71.3.1" appears under the hood and under the rear of the body. I wonder whether that is a catalog number - either from the LBJ collection or the Henry Ford Museum collection. If anyone is looking for further info on this car, that number may be relevant.
Its hard to be sure from the photo but the front axle on the car appears as if it may be the lighter and more delicate style discussed here:
Royce or Perry - do you recall whether the LBJ axle had the part number on the area where the spring perch passes through the axle, or the "W" mark on the spring perch?
IF that is an artifact catalog number, following standard cataloging sequence, it would read "1971, third acquisition (in 1971) and item #1 of the acquisition." The hood would get the number painted on it as it's an easily separated part; but typically it would get "71,3,1B" and the body "71.3.1A" --but not necessarily; it depends on the documentor!
Sounds like a number applied by the LBJ museum when it was transferred from the family to the museum.
The above is entirely speculation on my part based on my museum experience.
Thanks David. I figured there would be a meaning to the syntax but didn't know what it was!
It has the W on both spring perches no numbers .
A great thread. Must be followed up. What info is available on T number 17243 at the Benson Ford Museum library? It is evident that this T is not the original T 17243. The build sheet should be available on film. It would be great if this T could be returned to the Henry Ford Museum and returned to original state (as possible).
We are working with the curators Betsy Keene and Nicole Ryan at the LBJ park in Johnson City Texas . They are working on getting that information.
Andrew - here is the maker's cartouche on the front axle in one of Perry's excellent photos:
The brass dash shield retainer - same as #904.
Gray and Davis small tail lamp - were they ever used by Ford on a Model T?
I've never seen one Royce, probably an aftermarket. What about that rear axle? Looks like a converted 6 rivet. Perry, thanks for the photos!
We looked closely at the rear axle. The studs are the smaller ones. But the shape is a bit off for a no rivet rear. Hard to say without tearing it apart. Look at where the axle tube goes into the end at the LH brake drum. Really sloppy brazing all over it.
The brake rod anti rattlers were the kind that came on later Model T's.
Another early feature - the carburetor mixture rod is the type with equal length ends, both drilled for cotter pins.
May I ask what features on the housings suggest these are converted 6-rivet?