Picked up a depot hack this afternoon. Previous owner looks like he rattle can silver the radiator chell with the Ford logo and the two headlight trim rings and the hub grease/dust covers.
on a 1926, would these all be black? Would the radiator shell be black, the headlight rings steel or zinc and the dust caps steel or zinc? Or a combination thereof?
I Google images and see all kinds of combinations including some brass radiator shells.
What would be correct?
I'll hang up and listen.
A 1926 car had nickel plated radiator shell and headlight rings.Trucks had black.
Radiator shells interchange between '24--'27. Headlights '15--'25 cars and '15--'27 trucks.
Most depot hacks are built from whatever year parts are handy.
Standard 1926 would be black shell and nickel plated radiator filler neck and cap, and nickel plated headlamp rims with nickel plated hubcaps too.
Optional would be extra cost on open cars a nickel plated radiator shell with nickel trim strip on radiator apron. Closed cars nickel shell was standard.
The radiator shell, head light rims would be black, with nickel hub caps, radiator neck/cap and steering gear box because it's a commercial rig. Other then that, nickel radiator shell and head light rims to dress it up and if it has wire wheel, the lug nuts would be nickel. If the shell was original nickel plated it was made out of brass.
Note the third chassis back, black shell and nickel rims on headlamps. Likely being fitted with open car body.
Ford didn't make depot hacks so you can pretty much use anything you want or have available.
Most depot hacks were installed on the bare chassis from a Ford dealer or factory. Most of those I would think would have been sold with black shell and rims on the radiator and headlamps. However, all those parts were available from the dealer for upgrades or replacements. Anybody ordering a depot hack for whatever their service need for one could have gotten one either way in '26 and '27.
Radiator shells and headlamp rims had been offered in nickel plate for several years prior as after-market accessories. While certain types of "purists" put such things down as "incorrect", I put these in the same category as natural finish wood spoke wheels. It was done in the model T era, and as such, is era correct. I personally prefer wheels be black. But that is me. I would like the shell and rims either way.
In the last months of 1925 production, a nickeled radiator shroud became available as a dealer option in USA. I think they were nickel on steel? The Copenhagen built T's sold here in Sweden got nickel on steel in 1924-25 as a standard feature, except on TT:s.
For 1926 headlight rims were made out of brass and nickeled - and I think it was a standard feature on all T's? Nickeled radiator shrouds were made out of brass and weren't standard (but available) on open cars as written above.
As with many things on the Model T, the plating process was minimal. To achieve good long lasting results in the plating process the parts (brass and steel) needs to be copper plated before plating with nickel. In all but a few of the nickel plated Model T parts I've seen, the nickel is flaking off or is gone entirely. So painted parts that were nickel plated at one time are pretty common. Using painted parts on a depot hack would be fine. I doubt a depot hack would have much if any nickel plated parts on it other than the radiator neck anyways.
OK, since the "nickle" parts on this hack are rattle can silver, they need to be revised. So we'll remove the paint and see what's underneath and probably just paint to match body. Right now, gloss black, but who knows . . .
Nickle plated dust/grease/hub caps on painted wire wheels. I like the zinc or nickle lug nut idea and probably can get away with rettle can on those for appearance.
Robert, if you decide you'd like a little more "shine" to the vehicle down the road, you can get a quality nickel finish on both brass and steel parts if you find a plater that does good work. I am fortunate that the guy I use is also and antique and classic car enthusiast. He does excellent work at reasonable prices. Finding the radiator shell in good condition (either brass or steel) will be the tough one. Either can be nickel plated but they have to be in almost pristine condition to get good results.