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History ‘Rugged’ Pre-War Jalopies

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by RyanAK, Nov 30, 2020.

  1. RyanAK
    Joined: Sep 7, 2019
    Posts: 212


    Returning home from a long weekend at our cabin in Northcentral Pennsylvania had me thinking on the drive about what kind of cars would have been built to handle somewhat rugged roads. Our cabin is accessed via state forest and old logging roads... which would be analogous to just about every road in the area c.1920-1940. What kid of jalopy would a guy build to handle the roads, and have any HAMBers built cars with similar ideas in mind?
  2. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,224


    Stock Model T or a Model A.
  3. SR100
    Joined: Nov 26, 2013
    Posts: 957


    For the T: stock height suspension with helper springs (sold as 'shock absorbers'), Rocky Mountain brakes, whatever engine mods you could afford and tire chains (these were a 6-9 month per year necessity to deal with mud, not just snow.) The condition of the roads meant that cars had a life expectancy of seven years.



    Model As came with Houdaille shocks. The As smaller diameter wheels were, in part, a response to improving roads, but it was easier to get stuck on unimproved roads with them. Again, engine mods as you could.
  4. TCTND
    Joined: Dec 27, 2019
    Posts: 257


    Lots of model T's and A's were turned into tractors when they got long in the tooth. Probably won't happen to too many Prius's.

  5. toml24
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,620


    Delivered. One "Rugged" Pre-War jalopy. 1938. Southern California.
  6. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 2,826

    rusty valley

    thats a chevy! ^^^^
    nunattax and tractorguy like this.
  7. RyanAK
    Joined: Sep 7, 2019
    Posts: 212


    Well that’s great information. Ground clearance, suspension travel, wheel diameter. The helper springs and chains weren’t something I had considered.

    A rugged touring to take the family up into the wilds... hmmm. Maybe after I get this other jalopy project off the ground...

    We also do a long weekend in late winter with a bunch of guys and always thought I’d build a snow flyer. Originally I had planned on something based on my Ferguson tractor, but a T or A would be fun.

    adam401, juan motime, alfin32 and 9 others like this.
  8. Ron Plumlee
    Joined: Feb 12, 2012
    Posts: 153

    Ron Plumlee

    Very funny Thomas....and you stole this photo from your very own book, which I still treasure!
    Jet96 and 66gmc like this.
  9. 66gmc
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 589


    They are very capable in stock form, probably more so than a lot of modern "off road" vehicles

    Maybe remove the fenders like they did in 1911

    Or a period 4x4 conversion

    Or if you really want rugged just buy a dodge haha

  10. RyanAK
    Joined: Sep 7, 2019
    Posts: 212


    Holy cow! Those clips are great. I guess with modern roads and the divergence of car vs. truck design and marketing in today’s world I hadn’t considered that ‘ruggedness’ would have been such a prominent attribute to be touted of the model T. Very cool!
    66gmc likes this.
  11. 1952henry
    Joined: Jan 8, 2006
    Posts: 893


    Build a T with the Livingood 4wd components.
    MO54Frank and 66gmc like this.
  12. Gofannon
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 713


  13. Hollywood-East
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,538


    Geezuzzz... Spokes no wheel.. Damn
    Kool ripper for the era
    bowie likes this.
  14. 282doorUK
    Joined: Mar 6, 2015
    Posts: 121


    Although I've never seen or read any proof, I've always assumed that increased axle articulation for better off road performance was the main reason that Henry went with cross springing.
  15. panheadguy
    Joined: Jan 8, 2005
    Posts: 1,031

    from S.E. WI

    ! thought the model t's had to back up steep hills due to gravity feed fuel system
  16. Glenn Thoreson
    Joined: Aug 13, 2010
    Posts: 267

    Glenn Thoreson
    from SW Wyoming

    One of Fords' selling point was the flexibility of the Model T and A frame and suspension. When those cars were new, you needed all the flex you could muster. Roads? What roads?
    Tim and 66gmc like this.
  17. sdroadster
    Joined: Jul 27, 2006
    Posts: 379


    Only if the gas tank was near empty.
  18. 66gmc
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 589


    The frame on model Ts was made of vanadium steel and was designed to flex with the suspension. I tested this theory out on my T a few years ago, I believe it would have gone higher but the 90 year old dry rotted wheels were on the verge of letting go under the strain. Both back wheels were still on the ground and the drivers rear still had clearance in the wheel well.
    20180920_194243.jpg Check out how twisted and misaligned the doors are, yet they still remained latched
    And after I lowered it back down the doors went back to fitting
    Lil'Alb, Tim, 48fordnut and 17 others like this.
  19. 66gmc
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 589


    And here's a video I found of a T owner showing the 4x4 guys how its done.
    Tim, High test 63, OzMerc39 and 6 others like this.
  20. stubbsrodandcustom
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,491

    from Spring tx

    Stock A or T is my vote also, the flex in the frames make things work perfectly. Probably one of the few stock vehicles you can take just about anywhere and put the modern 4wd boys to shame with their mall crawler wheels and tires.
    Lloyd's paint & glass likes this.
  21. getow
    Joined: May 9, 2016
    Posts: 296


    Great clips to say da least. Cant get enough of that stuff. That Dodge salesman would of sold me. He was pretty convincing. Lol.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  22. Joe Blow
    Joined: Oct 29, 2016
    Posts: 756

    Joe Blow

    Mail Delivery
    42728.jpg images (8).jpeg mmed.jpg BigA1.JPG images (9).jpeg default.jpg
  23. rivguy
    Joined: Feb 16, 2009
    Posts: 142


    Wow, I never knew that Donks are traditional.
    BJR, VANDENPLAS and Joe Blow like this.
  24. dumprat
    Joined: Dec 27, 2006
    Posts: 3,157

    from b.c.

    So when did this thread turn to snowmobiles and tractors? This is not jalopy.
    Nailhead A-V8 likes this.
  25. rwrj
    Joined: Jan 30, 2009
    Posts: 675

    from SW Ga

    John Steinbeck said it was because the reverse bands in the transmission were usually less worn out than the low gear forward ones. That was in Cannery Row, I think? Judging by that and what he wrote in Grapes of Wrath, I feel like he knew a thing or two about old cars.
  26. Well they were still numerous during his time.

    Sent from my SM-N960U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  27. Nailhead A-V8
    Joined: Jun 11, 2012
    Posts: 1,101

    Nailhead A-V8

    This is a jalopy[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    These are Doodlebugs
    this is a jalopy
    or this
    jalopy racing on dirt was the beginning of stock car racing
    this is a tractor/snow machine conversion
    a jalopy by definition is a 10-15 (at least) year old car not a new vehicle with a fancy add on kit...
    And the type of vehicle that built/drove the roads to your cabin?....rear wheel drive, tall skinny tires, inline 4 or 6, standard trans....yes you can drive that combo ANYWHERE it takes more driving skill but you don't need 4x4 AWD knobby tires or any other fancy shit
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2020
    flathead 37 and Joe Blow like this.
  28. banjorear
    Joined: Jul 30, 2004
    Posts: 3,889


    That Fergason Tractor is boss!
    MO54Frank likes this.
  29. Gofannon
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 713


    Reminds me of the Fergies that Sir Ed Hillary took to the South Pole. First vehicles to go there.

    flathead 37 and tractorguy like this.
  30. Taught myself to drive a T reading Cannery Row.
    Cool thing about T's - once you're in High, no matter which pedal you stomp on it'll slow you down. Later T's gained a bigger brake band but I can see a seasoned driver might balance the wear across all three bands.
    The other reason for reversing is if the fuel is too low on a steep hill you can run out. Gravity fed tank under the front seat. Reversing gives you a hint more gravity.
    rwrj likes this.

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