About ten years ago I met lovely old Bill Troughton, a Waikato farmer with a passion for old vehicles and machinery. I was there to find out about his Model N and to photograph it for my book.
He had an eclectic mix of cars which included a Model A Phaeton and a Model T 'depot hack'.
Sadly, bill died a few months ago and his estate was auctioned.
Below is a screenshot of the Model N in the report from today's news site Stuff. The car sold for NZ$60,000 (approx US$42,000) which I think is excellent buying. It was apparently bought by a Model T enthusiast (I don't know who, but look forward to finding out).
For those reading this in NZ, the existence of this car is largely due to Brian Moir, a well-known Model T expert from Rangiora, who is still with us but no longer involved in the hobby. Brian made extensive searches to gather the pieces to build the car.
(The 1939 Chev sold for $NZ27,000 but I do not know what others went for.)
RIP Bill Troughton. It was lovely to meet you.
PS - I had huge trouble adding the photo, which was under 250kb, so abandoned that - instead, the link to the news is http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/customs-classics/91840427/mechanical-treasure-tr ove-finds-new-homes
Do you know the Model N engine number. It sounds as though it was assembled, is that correct? When you learn of the buyer, would you mind suggesting they join or post to the Early Ford site? If you care to send me any pics, I'll make sure they are put up.
Thank you for posting,
Here you go Rob (photos I took when I met Bill Troughton)...
Just a querie, This car seems to have the belt driven oiler/pump. I had a feeling that the 'N' had just a dripper system and the belt drive set-up was an 'R' or 'S' feature ??
Saw the belt and pulley. Wondered about it. Have read of a few model Ns being upgraded either years ago, or when being restored. Then I noticed what looks like a tubing alongside the engine and wondered again. But that tubing is likely the oil line out to the rear main or transmission bearing. So most likely an upgrade at some time. I also did look at the serial number, which is preceded by an "N". So likely originally a model N engine. I do not think that is an original type pulley (looks way too modern). Pictures don't show well enough to be certain.
From what John S says, the car may well have been assembled from the remains of several early Fords.
I can't help with the technical aspects - I simply don't have that knowledge.
However, below is a photo taken at the time the parts for this car were being gathered. It shows the front of the motor quite well so it may offer more clues?
Yes, the car was made from parts, found all over New Zealand. The story, repeated below from material I was given by Bill Troughton (re-written verbatim) explains. It is quite a good tale...
"...it was thought that no Model Ns came to New Zealand but the discovery of a differential in Dunedin in the early 70s followed by the discovery by Brian Moir of a chassis on a farm at Barhill near Ashburton put that theory to rest. Locating the chassis was one thing. Persuading the farmer to part with it was another. Finally the owner agreed to take a single cylinder De Dion motor in exchange.
"Now Brian's interest in the Model N was well and truly aroused and prompted by the desire to prove those wrong who reckoned he would never find enough parts to restore the car. With determination and singlemindedness vouched for by his wife, he followed up numerous leads over a period of four years, some wild goose chases but others yielding a valuable find.
"The motor was located at Autoparts in Auckland only to be sold before he got his hands on it but it was subsequently acquired after negotiating with the new owner. The radiator was found hanging on the wall of George Mikaljevich's radiator workshop in Ponsonby and various items such as springs, driveshafts etc were found under a shed in Titirangi. The end result of all this effort was a complete set of running gear for a Model N.
"The all-wooden body posed a problem but Ross Baker of Christchurch showed his skills in rebuilding it from photos obtained from Hollywood USA after Brian had seen a Model N in a Western movie and had written to the producers asking for assistance.
"With the car mobile and complete except for bonnet, mudguards, upholstery and folding top the car changed hands and went North (to Roy Rowe in Hamilton - John), was completed and eventually ended up in the hands of its present owner, Bill Troughton, in 1982."
John Stokes - New Zealand
I don't recall seeing the "N" with an engine stamp. I'll check Canadian ledgers, I think there may have been letters with the number. If the engine was originally fitted with the McCord mechanical oiler, it should have been in an R or S (runabout or roadster). Maybe Hap or Trent or another early Ford person will join in. Thanks for the photos John.
I just noticed the car was made of accumulated parts, that should explain the mechanical oiler with an "N.". I'm not sure about the letter prior to the engine number. I did see letters A, B, C and D with NRS engine numbers in the Canadian ledgers.
Thank you Rob H for weighing in here. I too was under the impression that letter designations were not used along with the serial number. I have read several times in several sources the difficulty telling N, R, and S engine pieces apart. According to things I have read, other than a few minor casting differences for the earliest Ns, the only crank cases that one can be really sure about are those with the highest serial numbers which must be model S because the N and R did not make as many.
Regardless, the car sold looks like a wonderful early Ford.
I note that the aluminium crankcase cover plates seem to have been replaced ?
The old black and white photo shows them as being plain, as are another NRS I have seen but now appear to be sprouting "Ford" in a block script.
Just an observation.
Picture from website. Chris
Just as a point of correction, the story of this car by John Stokes is slightly off kilter, as is another story / rumor in a different forum.
I had known Bill since about 1982, and he was a really descent and friendly man.
The car, as stated, started it's accumulation / restoration in the South Island but was sold north in late 1976 to Arnold Koppens who completed the bodywork, fitted a roof/top, repro 466 H/lights etc and put it back on the road. He then sold it in early 1982 to Paul Clarke who took it back to Chch for the veteran rally that year. Shortly afterwards it found it's way to Bill's farm. I do not know what Bill paid for it, but it was "certainly not cheap" when Paul Clarke aquired it. Bill being a "poor & struggling dairy farmer", obviously had a spare 'Anchor' cheque laying about?
Roy Rowe was building up a Ford Model F at the time and thru mutual associations with other "T" people, some confusion may have occurred.
This actual vehicle is discussed in "Pate's" book on the early fords and has pictures taken at Bill's property.
Thanks for clearing the history of the car up Ivan. It is good to have the record straight! You may know - did the Model F go straight from Roy Rowe to Gore?
Not sure about the F, never had much to do with Roy. He seemed to be more interested in his Lincoln Zephyr and maintaining it's exclusivity.
Great Indian motorcycle. Tim
Tim, no matter how hard I look at that photo, I cannot see an Indian motor cycle.
Being dumb as a brick (I have a degree to prove it) the Indian is a civilized 741 30 cubic inch military Indian.
Young George, no-one is as dumb as me!
Here's a good example. We had a pretty major car show on in Wellington NZ last weekend, which is where I took this picture of the world's fastest Indian, sans body....
...and posted it on Facebook.
The metal container on the top, rear of the frame is the fuel tank. I suggested in the Facebook post that the 'dent' in the fuel tank is actually an imprint of Burt's bottom, caused by the inertia of Burt's bum upon the bike, as he went so fast over the Bonneville straights.
Well, apparently not. Apparently is was designed that way.
They could've let me down gently, perhaps by saying that it was made from an old shovel?
Anyway, here is a shot from another angle that shows just how low the world's fastest Indian was.
Bum imprint for sure, but I'm surprised that there's not a special spot for the massive Kahooners needed to saddle that bike and stretch it out to 200 MPH!!
The most fantastic thing about the bike is that Burt bought it new in 1920 as a 37 cui standard Scout, capable of 50 mph and gradually evolved it in stages over the years, breaking parts and making new parts himself in the process
So the story goes - Burt had a ledge in his shop that he placed the broken and bent parts that the gods of speed rejected.
Similar to those who fire wood ceramic kilns -- there is always a kiln god about to assure success.
Too it is amazing on how pistons can be produced from melted beer cans and aluminum cooking pots poured into a hole in sandy soil.
George, I think you will find that our Burt was a bit more switched on that that.
1/ His exploits were long before the days of beer coming in alloy tins (in NZ anyway)
2/ He was known to experiment with different mixes of recycled pistons from various makers.
3/ There are pictures of his home made steel moulds.
My understanding is that there are '2' original bikes. One is the remains of Burt's at the Indian Museum in the states (after his first run at Bonneville, they stored it and he only took motors back and forth) and a 'replica' for display / promotional purposes ?
As this discussion has gone a bit OT -
Sorry about the beer comment. My father was known to rebuild Hercules industrial engines with pistons from recycled beer cans.
As for the modified Indian - true there is to be one in the United States at a museum it has some additional make up to look prettier--- but as for Bert's story he was an original and a skilled engineer......
Great info guys......
I would drive that beast.....and go as fast as it would go....
Thanks for the posts!