I have owned this T for over 20 years. All the mechanicals - drivetrain, wheels, electrical - have been redone for some time. Now is the time to do the cosmetics. This is not a points car by any means so my goal is just to have it look nice. I plan to have it done before winter. I'll post my progress to this thread throughout the project.
This first step was to remove as much as I could for easier access.
I took all the loose parts into a local powder coating business. My previous experience with these types has not been good. My nice straight panel came out clean but looking like a potato chip! I shared my concerns with the shop owner ( a friend I've know since high school) who completely understood, I talked to the man who actually does the work. Turns out he is a real gearhead who knows his craft. I stopped by when he was media blasting the parts and he demonstrated his technique. Did a super job. I'll have him do the body, too!
The "nose" was down on my front left fender. After the paint was removed it was plain to see that the car had been involved in a serious fender-bender. The original repair was at fault. I took it to a professional who straightened it out or to put it in his words "now both front fenders look the same!". All major repair work is complete. Brazed up some cracks in radiator shell and hood.
Since this is my last major restoration, I decided to go "old school" as much as I can. I've used modern tool and paint tech on previous projects but not this time.
Now I putting some Direct To Metal primer on the blasted parts. There are some super rust inhibiters out there, i.e. Rust Bullet, that I would have tried but I had an unopened gallon of DTM sitting in my garage, so I went with that.
After this is done, its on to minor hammer/dolly work and cleaning up some welds/brazing. Will use standard bondo but if my hammer/dolly work is as good as it once was, I may get by on glazing putty only!
Looking forward to future updates!
It looks like you are doing a great job on it David. Keep us posted on your progress. Love the Centerdoors!
The wind finally stopped blowing after several days, so I was able to finish priming the remaining panels. Spraying the panels has given me a chance to get reacquainted with my HVLP spray gun. By the time I got to the aprons, I was getting the hang of flow and fan control. It was fun! I'll use the HVLP ( a HF special) for the final coat; I use the touch-up gun for small bits and there are a couple of old Binks that will be used when block sanding.
Next up is final body work and primer. I'm going to start with the easiest - head lamp buckets, radiator shell, etc. and finish up on the front fenders.
I'll keep posting my trials and tribulations...
I finally got my fenders, etc. to a point where I'm ready to do the final wet sanding before paint. (A lot of outside chores took up most of July). One can not believe all the little dings and pits one can find when block sanding!!!
Discover car was involved in accident with damage to right front - fender, hood had major repairs that were revealed when parts were stripped.
A slight change in plans. I'm going to strip and paint the body before finishing the fenders, aprons, etc. I want to install the new interior during the "down time", i.e., winter, so want to complete it first. The other bits can wait till Spring.
You are coming right along...looks great!!
Looking very good. Your making me think I can do it too... LOL
I feel the same way James.
Why on Earth didn't I save those old cup guns when we were throwing them away in my past work life?
I lent my Sharpe out so long ago, I don't even remember who borrowed it.
Beautiful work David!
I like your paint line setup too!
STAPLES! STAPLES! STAPLES!!!!!
Whoever installed this interior was trigger happy with the staple gun!!! It's taken forever to dig those things out!
Wait until you do the headliner, you will be seeing staples in your dreams. The cord is the first layer and then....well you will know what I mean..
I had a Epiphany/Senior Moment today. I was struggling with a hammer and screw driver removing the staples attaching my interior. I stopped and asked myself "there has to be a better way to do this. There must be some special tool designed for this task". Then it dawned on me that years ago my wife and I took a furniture upholstery class and we used such a tool! Sure enough, I rummaged through the attic, found our upholstery tool chest and sure enough we had two such tools. Now, I still have "hundreds" of staples to remove but the job will be a lot easier now. I use the wire cutters to gently pull out those staples that break while trying to remove.
There is actually a better kind of wire cutters for removing staple pieces. Unfortunately, I don't know what to call them. The cutting edge is perpendicular to the handles, as opposed to in line with the handles. Heavier pair were often used working with wire fencing. One of the names I have heard is "fencing cutters", unfortunately, probably a dozen other kinds of wire cutters are also called that. All I have are the heavier ones, which work great for me. However, I have seen smaller pair that I think would actually work better.
Using any kind of wire cutter to remove things like staples takes a delicate touch. Enough pressure to grab the staple, but generally not enough to cut it. Then you need a little leverage to pry the staple up without squeezing. That is where the other type works so much better.
"Nail pullers" (pliers) and some people call them dykes.
David, have you found any stamped markings on the wood? I'm just curious as to who made the body. My '22 only has a "Ford" brass plate with no other markings anywhere. I know of 3 other Centerdoors in this area with the same brass plate. McCalley's book states that Ford didn't build the Centerdoors but I believe it to be wrong. Thx.
Nice car! The engine looks - interesting.
It's going to look great.
My 1918 is stamped into top of doors and under rear seat FBC with job number
Very nice....enjoying your photos.
I have not found any stamp markings at all. I looked on top of the doors, rear step plate, sills, etc. I'll give it a closer look.
Finally got all the interior removed. Still have lots of staples to remove but in no hurry to do that!
Wow, is that thing right-hand drive?
Looks like you could use an extra support to keep the steering column from snapping off!
David, just curious but how many cross bows does your top have? Mine only had three and appeared to be the original top wood. I have seen other centerdoors with five cross bows. Just another unanswerable question I suppose?
For what it's worth, ours had three when we found it. The old wood kit pieces we found, has 5. Too bad I don't know who made the wood kit.
As for size, the 3 bows seem to be of larger size than the 5 bows, though, I haven't put a tape measure on them to be exact.
ROCK BOTTOM!! I hit it hard - physically and emotionally. My T is stripped down to practically bare bones. I can only see all the work that needs to be done... I had a case of the Model T restoration blues!
Now, I feel better. The media blasting went quite well. The crew were professional and cleaned the car up without a hint of warping. Much to my delight only a little bit of body work was revealed - all just spots of glazing putty. No bondo; no patches! I'll touch up a few spots that I can feel by hand then primer followed by block sanding. Still plan to paint body by end of September.
FYI, the engine has a RAJO BB head, with an "A" crank, VW distributor and Holly 88 downdraft carb. She was built primarily for torque and then speed. I no longer am the last one to pull into a tour rest stop!!
Today was spent washing down the T and applying DTM, followed by some primer/surface and then some rattle can black primer. All set to begin block sanding over the long weekend!!!!!
Since you are obviously a Center Door expert, I have always been curious about what marketing demand influenced Ford to develop this body style and what its advantages were.
In the first couple decades of the automobile, body design and construction was driven by the coach building industries and tended to follow the horse drawn carriages of the previous hundred years. The center-door sedan was similar to the finest horse drawn carriages, many of which had doors similarly placed. Different placement of the carriage axles, the location of the automobile engine, and smaller wheels demanded some changes in placement and proportions. However, the general body design still followed carriages of the past. Similar center-door design bodies were used on many makes of automobiles, large and small, as much as ten years before Ford first offered it. Few survive, other than the Fords because of the shear numbers Ford built. Others that survive include Studebaker, Hudson, Packard and I believe even a Maxwell. I have seen old photos of dozens of others which may or may not survive. Very elaborate coupes were also built along the lines of earlier carriages. Many Cadillacs and a few Pierce Arrows survive of those, as well as at least two White cars (the owners of which have been confused in magazines a few times).
Structurally, the center-door is a good design. With a solid frame both on the front and the rear of the body, and an opening centered between the structures, it was very strong. All the while using techniques that had been around for a century.
By the 1920s, automobile bodies became more improved to fit the demands of automobile use. Styling and construction techniques advanced a great deal throughout the decades that followed.
It also needs to be noted, that culturally, acceptance of change is often slow. People prefer things that resemble what they are used to. For many people, having such a regal carriage in the form of an automobile was quite the statement!
Thanks for that tutorial, Wayne. Very informative.
Yes, thanks Wayne! Hurst, you gave me quite a laugh: "expert". Ha Ha! I'm nothing more than a fool who has more drive than sense to undertake such a task. The depth of my centerdoor knowledge, superficial at best, goes no further than my 1922...
Two steps forward; one back! Block sanding is almost done. It's amazing how many small defects one can find. Staring applying finish paint to some of the low hanging fruit. Running boards turned out great but had surface contamination of some of the other bits. Thank God for paint hardener - I can resand and spray tomorrow.
Hi Wayne et al,
There is (well, I hope that it is still there) a mid teens Dodge center-door in the Glenn Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY. Sorry, no digital picture to post.
Block sanding is complete. Final prep and masking done except wheels covers, etc. I don't have enough confidence to paint entire body in one go so will paint rear half first than the front. Warm, dry day in forecast for tomorrow, so I'll give it a go then. Fingers crossed...
You are making remarkable progress David! It is a lot of work but the worst is over. Ive been watching and reading along. My TT is not going so fast but the drive is the same. A little word play now that I think about it! Looking great! Cant wait to see and read more.
My fingers are crossed for you too! Hope it turns out perfect! :-)
Did Terry get your old interior? Shoot, I don't even have wood in my very original/rotted completely out Center-Door yet. :-)
I ran into some problems with the paint. I keep getting severe orange peel. Bob Dylan once said "there no success like failure and failure is no success at all". Well... After trying various formulations of paint, paint guns, painters, surface preparation, etc. we've come to the conclusion that we must look at the paint itself. Will try different paint brand on Friday.
I'm curious, what is the paint?
Kirker Acrylic Enamel. Used previously without any problems...
If the orange peel isn't to bad you can use some wet 800 grit sandpaper than work up to 1000-1200 wet sandpaper and make it look pretty nice. Take your time and it will come out nice without redoing a whole panel.
I have used Kirker for 20+ years and have run into this same problem lately and told a friend he uses Kirker and his answer was to use slow thinner and it took care of most of it and do not load it up to thick wait longer between coats.
You are on the right track. We tried a different brand paint and had similar, but not as severe results. We experimented by gradually adding more reducer until we were able to get the smooth, glassy finish we expected. We will confirm results on some more test panels.
Decided to give car a couple of coats of 2K primer. Will wet sand 320, the 400 prior to top coat.
Your point about using slow thinner proved right. When applying the 2K and using below 70 degrees reducer (shop temp is 60), the paint would dry almost as soon as it hit the surface.
Looking good! You sure have a lot of different colors paint on it. Is this the same car you had when you lived in San Diego? I remember yours was a right drive. I think you said you imported it from Australia. We wish you were still here so you could tour with us all year around.