A few years ago I saw a Hemmings ad for this Fordor in Arizona. I happened to be going to California, so on the way I stopped in Phoenix to take a look. I liked what I saw, so on my way home a couple of weeks later I rented a trailer and hauled it home.
This was the car that ran for about ten seconds after I got it off the trailer...
...due to the infamous fiber timing gear failure. So, it's on my list of future projects. It will get a McEachern timing gear and whatever other engine work it needs. Today while cleaning up a little in the shop, I came across this newspaper story that came with the car.
Not included in the article is that when Gene Salzman (1914-2004) found the car in a shed and bought it in the seventies it was wearing its original black paint. But when he got it out in the sunlight he noticed that parts of it had a bit of a blue tinge. That's how he discovered that some of the body was aluminum.
Are the aluminum panels on your car stripped bare? Or painted silver?
Noting the article, Pardeeville and Portage are close to the Wisconsin Dells area, if that helps to ID any of the history. Also noticed the article stating Ford introduced the flathead V-8 with the "1949 Custom"....
Good question, Gary. Bare aluminum, with the steel panels painted to match .
Here's Gene's account of discovering and working on the car:
I found the 1923 aluminum body Model T in an old wood shed near Watertown, WI. I bought it March 30th, 1976. It belonged to a farmer who had died 40 years before and the family had never moved it. When I took a broom and got some of the dust off of it, I noticed the body was blue. I said to the son,”Your father must have painted it blue sometime.” He said, “No, he never painted it,” and couldn’t understand why it had turned blue and the fenders still black.
On the way home I remembered reading that Ford had made a few four-door sedans with aluminum bodies. Maybe that was why the black paint on the body had oxidized during all those years and turned to blue. When I got home I put a magnet on the body and sure enough it was aluminum.
It took me a few years to restore the car to its present condition. I removed all the paint down to the bare aluminum on the body as you see it today. I painted the fenders black and the hood aluminum to match the body. I had the motor taken out and completely rebuilt by a professional. I had him balance the motor so it, now, runs smoother than new.
My wife Helen and I sanded all the wooden spokes in the wheels down to the bare wood. I decided to put a wood preservative on the spokes before I painted them. That was a mistake as the wood preservative got in my lungs and almost finished me. I had trouble breathing. I lost my voice for 6 weeks.
Later on we put a new top on it. Installed a new set of tires, new spark plugs, new wiring, new timer, and a few more new parts.
This car is, also, equipped with a Muncie transmission and Rocky Mountain brakes. Rocky Mountain brakes are a must if you have a Muncie transmission. Otherwise you wouldn’t have any brakes if you happen to get the Muncie in neutral.
Fully restored engine in the 70's and probably not all that many miles, since Mr Salzman had a lot of antique cars - maybe the new timing gear and a good cleaning of the debris is all that it needs?
The small gear on the crank was probably changed back then - and shouldn't have been worn much in contact with the fiber junk..
So maybe you can drive it soon - after some thorough checking and testing
I met Gene Salzman once when we were both in a parade with our Model T's. He was a very socialable guy and we had a nice visit while waiting for the parade to start.
The rest of the story is that Gene's Nephew used to call on the company I worked for in the 1980's. One day we got to talking about our hobbies and discovered that we all liked old cars. It was then that we realized that his uncle and I shared our interest in Model T's, and that I had met Gene at that parade. Small world.
Steve, you sure have enough stuff to keep you busy! Don't you also have a TT in pieces?
I remember talk in 1984 and later about some new fiber timing gears that would tear apart in a few days of driving.
Maybe one of those was put in Steve's fordor.
Or did time take its toll on the material the gear was made from?
I put a metal timing gear in my '51 Ford F1 more than 10 years ago and whenever I hear the gear noise I just think how glad I am that I did that. It ready isn't that noisy.
That's what I thought, as I had never heard of aluminum being used for grille shells. From the distance in the photo it looks like a very good match.
Another question: Is any of the body structural wood exposed, in the same way as a center door sedan? I need to get down your way and have a look in the flesh (or alloy).
Gary - even the Centerdoors and suicide door coupes got their formerly exposed pillars covered in 1922. The Fordors had the wood covered from start 1923.
It's interesting Fordor production started before Centerdoor production ended in 1923, but the supply of Fordors was limited in the beginning, so at first Ford instructed their dealers to only mention the Fordor to a closed car-customer if there was a risk to loose the sale if they couldn't get a four door sedan.
See more detail at the encyclopedia: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1921-25H.htm
Mark, yes I do. Plus a 1926 RP project. I hope I live long enough to finish at least the TT and the Fordor.
I can barely get time to do maintenance to my old cArs right now. Hoping in a couple years I. can retire unless another T or A comes along. Sounds like Steve's got it all. Very cool Tim