The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Late to the Party, Mar 8, 2016.
That is one good looking T!
Wow, this is great.
Don't know how I'd missed it.
I really like how you went with the lower turtle deck.
Thanks for your support, Guys. I really appreciate it.
Gary A -- I did change from the perch-mounted shock mounts to weld-in bungs in the axle a month or so ago. I think it is a more period-correct detail.
KiwiJeff -- There was never any question about using the smaller turtle. I'm into "earlier" Model T's and have been for many years, so I had two early turtles in stock. I put this one on my restored '21 before realizing that a pickup bed would be much more useful and versatile. I'm calling my Hot Rod a '21 as well, so I'll have a "matched pair" of 21's. Ford's Runabout bodies were essentially the same from '15 through '23, so I could pick any number in that range. There were subtle differences in both the body and the turtle through those years, and both the body and turtle are correct for a '21. So a '21 it is.
Most folks these days who build a T-body-based Hot Rod use a '26-7 body. There are a couple of reasons for this. Probably the most important of these is that the '26-7 bodies are totally different from earlier ones, in that they have hardly any wood in them. Unless a pre-'26 T has spent its whole time indoors, the wooden framework will be rotten by now. There are few of those around which still have solid original wood, and a body wood kit for a Runabout costs $1,200. It just makes sense to go with an all-steel body. (But I seldom get accused of having good sense.) Another reason to choose the later bodies is that they are more "modern" in appearance, with more "swoopy" lines. In fact, they look very much like a Model A. I expect the swoopiness of their lines would have appealed to the typical post-war Rod builder. But that's what I don't like about them; they look too much like a Model A. I just prefer the looks of the earlier T's. I like their "T-ness." I had a restored '15 Touring Car for 10 years, and now I have the restored '21 Runabout with a pickup bed. I'll post a pic of the two 21's together when I get this car finished.
Thanks again for everyone's support.
OK then -- More progress this morning. (I told you I was pumped. )
I bought a new Model T gas tank a while back. Here it is sitting in its recess in the turtle floor. The tank rests on the two ridges at the ends, so I glued a strip of leather under each one to cushion it.
Here it is installed, with the turtle around it. (Sorry about the dark pic.)
So I got the turtle and tail lights installed.
I originally built a 3" tall seat riser for the A-H buckets.
Since I decided to go to a stock bench-type seat, I built a sloped wooden riser to go on top of that.
I made it to be easily removable, to incorporate storage under the seat. Model T's came that way originally, and storage space is at a premium in such a small car. So I cut out the floor pan under the seat, and will have the sheet metal shop make me a new one, which will be 3" lower to add precious storage space. There are 3 of these pins on the lower edge of the wooden riser, which slip into holes in the 2x3" tubing forming the A-H seat riser.
Here's the cut out.
I'm glad I cut it out, because I found a pair of dikes I've been looking for, for about 2 weeks.
Here's the wooden riser with the seat spring on top.
I don't like doing things twice, but sometimes you just have to try an idea to see whether or not it's gonna' work. I'm glad I did this part over, because it will go a long way toward giving me a comfortable ride.
Haha, glad losing tools in weird places isn't purely my domain. I lost my cordless trouble light for several weeks. It ended up being in the door of my old Dart with the batteries dead of course, as (naturally) I left it on.
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Didja' ever feel like you just shot yourself in the foot? That's how I felt a week or two ago when I discovered that after installing the body onto the chassis, I could not get the steering column back where it goes. If you've read the early part of this thread, you might remember that i cut the mounting flange off the steering box and reversed it, to gain some clearance between the box and the transmission. As a result, the box is about 1-1/2" closer to the frame rail.
The steering shaft still has the full support of the entire original bushings this way. I didn't weld the two parts back together yet, since I needed the body and seat in place to determine the angle at which I wanted the steering column. That's why the column was out of the chassis. (It need to be shortened as well.) So after a bit of ass-scratching, I figured out that the only way the column would go back into the chassis was to unbolt the body from the chassis and lift the front of it about 4". I accomplished that using my cherry picker.
Other than the body itself, the only things I had to disconnect were the hydraulic lines to the brake and clutch master cylinders, so it wasn't a big deal to raise the body. (The pedals are connected to the body framework, so they stayed in place.) So with the column shortened (about 7") and back in place, I was able to sit in the seat and determine a suitable angle for the column.
I blocked the column in place and marked the steering box and flange alignment, so they're now ready to weld back together. All that requires is that I raise the body again so I can remove the box to weld it, then re-install it. Easy-peasy. I like the looks of Ford's Banjo wheels from the late 30's, but they're pricey. So I might just use a Model T wheel, since I have one in stock.
At the same time, I have been scheming on a windshield. The stock windshield for a '21 is vertical, as they were on Fords from 1915 through '22. That's one of the features I like about the earlier T's, but it's not what Hot Rodders did in the post-war period. They used or made windshields which were swept back and shortened, looking more "streamlined." So I bolted on a set of '23 windshield posts (they fit the earlier bodies as well) to see how they looked and how much I could shorten them. The Fad T's of the 70's and beyond all have tall vertical windshields, and I'm doing what I can to avoid the "Fad T" look.
These posts are angled back a bit, but not nearly enough to suit me, especially with the body rake reducing the angle. So I'll heat them and bend them back more, to get more of a swept-back look. Then I got into the seat, to see how much I can shorten them and still see through the windshield. To my surprise, the answer is, "not much." In order to have room to operate the pedals, I had to mount my seat almost as high as its stock position, so I'll need almost all of the windshield height to remain. You see all those early pictures of post-war Rodders sitting way low in these cars, but I don't know how they did it. There is just NO room in there for legs, feet, and pedals. Those guys must have been really small! When I upholster the seat, I can compress the springs an inch or two, and that will help a bit. But it looks like I'm stuck with a nearly-stock height windshield with more angle added to the equation. Oh well, I gotta' do what I gotta' do, and I gotta' have a windshield which works.
On another front, JD has built a hood top (no sides) which looks great. It has an opening for the air cleaner to stick out the top, which looks pretty cool. After installing latches on the hood and the car, I sent it back to him to do the body work and paint. I'll post another update when I get it back.
this car is going to be really cool....'22 was a change over year for the T although they appear relatively similar up to'25....the main differences being a higher back panel and a lower cowl on the early bodies....you most likely have Canadian T windshield posts they were slightly leaned back and of the one piece casting design I personally like them better Canadian T's also had an opening driver's door......frankly I would consider letting go of the storage space and sinking the springs into that opening this way you'll be sitting in the car not on it
This is how I did the windshield on my 25. It worked out well.
The '23-25 US cars had these windshield posts on them.
I tried placing the seat lower but didn't have room to operate the pedals until I raised it up. I kept raising it a little at a time until I felt comfortable with the pedals. It's only about 1" lower than stock.
Yes, that's the look I was going for. But with the seat up where it needs to be, I can't chop the windshield that much. I think about 2-3" will be about all I can cut it without looking over the top of the windshield frame. I'll probably join the upper and lower frames to have a one-piece glass.
Thank you both for your suggestions.
The roadster in my avatar is a '16. The seat bottom is sloped rearward at what appears to be a ridiculous amount. Backrest is 22" from top to the upper surface of the seat bottom; at the door jamb it is 7". Both our "Ts" seem to have the same body rake. I'm sitting on 4" of foam, 3" on the back with a small amount of lumbar support added (no springs in the seats). Legs are 32" inseam. Very comfortable driving position.
Yes, sometimes it takes two, maybe three or four tries to achieve the desired result. Been down that road!
Those who have gone for a ride (and are accustomed to modern passenger compartment roominess) find the "T" a little bit on the cozy side. People today in NA are, on average, considerably larger than they were a century ago.
Agreed. I'll revisit the whole seat situation before I cut any windshield posts or frames. I really would like for the windshield to be lower, but it can't be by very much until my ass is lower in the car.
Mike, it's a shame we're not as flexible as we used to be!
Really digging this!
Anybody else getting a square box with an 'X' inside in lieu of pictures???
Just really trying to follow 'one man's method' of saving an otherwise necessity for English wheel, 4 X 8 sheet of 20 ga. steel, et al...
If there's a solution, please advise. (shall I 'reboot' this F**king AT&T 'connection' we have blindly chosen? Can Commissioner Gordon come to the rescue?)
Does this sound like that 1960s Batmobile Opera?
Hell, @manyoldcars... Good Scotch stops at h2o. (added, of course)
Mike -- When in doubt, reboot.
My friend who is a professional welder came over after work to weld the steering box back together, but he couldn't do it at my shop since the box is cast iron. So he took it to his shop on Monday and welded it there. I'm glad to get it back in one piece. (There is info early on in this thread about how I cut it and reversed the flange, in case you missed it.) Here it is back in place.
I'm really glad to have the steering system work behind me. There were lots of things to figure out and modify in order to make it all work, but I think it's gonna' be fine. I got a much nicer steering wheel from a Model T buddy. It's a 17" diameter one from a 1926-7 T, in excellent condition. Sorry about the fuzzy pic, but you can see how it all worked out.
I guess the instrument panel and gauges are next. I have 60's vintage Stewart-Warner gauges and a Sun tach to work with. They'll be the newest vintage parts on the car, but the 40's and early 50's ones are few and far between, not to mention pricey. Most folks won't know the difference anyway.
It's been nearly a month since I had anything to show for myself. This business of having to work on other things in order to pay the bills really sucks.
But the good news is that JD got the hood top made and finished! Here it is:
I really like the looks of the longer hood top from the side profile point of view. It's difficult to appreciate from this angle. It's not a very good pic; I took a quickie just before leaving my shop today, but you can get the idea. I'll roll it outside soon and get a profile shot. JD said, "It's not perfect," but I think he did a helluva job on it, considering the high-tech equipment he used to form it were a hammer and a piece of pipe. He even worked in a steel rod at the front and back edges, so it has beads there like a "real" Model T hood. And he rolled the side edges under around rods to stiffen them. Not perfect? The fact is, the rest of the car's not perfect either!
Now that the hood is in place, I can see that I need to make some spacers to fit onto the tops of the carbs to lift the air cleaner up a bit. It needs to come up more at the back than at the front since the engine tilts back, but the whole thing needs to come up some so it looks right with the hood. Just another little detail to attend to, but what's time to a pig anyway?
JD and I went to the Springfield swap meet on Friday, then to Joplin that evening to attend the HAMB Drags on Saturday. We had a blast, and I was inspired to get back onto building my Hot Rod when I got home this morning. I toyed with the idea of using a cut down '23-25 windshield, but the more I got into that, the more complicated it became. I originally was going to use a '17-22 windshield and cut the bottom half down, which is what I ended up doing today. The top half folds back in increments, so it's easy to get that "swept back" look of a post-war build. After sitting in the mocked-up seat, I wasn't able to cut it down as much as I wanted to without having the top of it below my line of sight. So I took 4-1/2" out of the bottom part. It's not as low as I wanted, but the 4-1/2" chop helped quite a bit. Here's a pic:
You can also get an idea about the proportions of the longer hood top. Mikey likes it!
In the breakfast room of the hotel this morning, a fellow was telling us that his HAMB drag car was a "Flat-broke, no-budget race car." I thought that was a pretty apt description of what I'm building too, except for the "race" part of it. I only mentioned that to explain the bits of an interior you can see in the pic. While I'd love to have a custom rolled & pleated interior stitched up for the car, I simply can't afford that at this time. The black vinyl upholstery and cotton padding you can see in the pic are components of a new seat back for a '15 Roadster that I ordered for another Model T I was working on a while back but didn't use it. So I'm going to install a stock '15 interior in my Hot Rod, because I have a big chunk of it in stock which is paid for. I've ordered the matching seat bottom and should get that this coming week. That's all the news for now.
Fantastic, mid-western, the 'way-it-was-done', Hot Rodding.
This story should be shared all over the world to anyone that wants to learn and see what hard work can accomplish.
Job well done.
Thanks, Glenn, I appreciate that. I'll just keep plugging away on it, and one of these days, I'll be able to take it for a drive.
Well, I have a little progress to report. I decided to finally tackle the dash. I like the shape of a '32 dash, but one of those wouldn't fit into a T body, and I can't afford one anyway. So I decided to build one in that shape. Here's the beginning:
I cut notches in the sides so it would fit where it goes, then made the "swoopy" bottom cuts using tin snips. I wanted a bead at the bottom for stiffness and appearance. I don't have a bead roller, so I figured I could make a bead by splitting a piece of steel brake line. I got a piece of 3/8" line and bent it to shape, then split it using a hacksaw where I could reach it with that, and a dremel tool with a cutting wheel (several, as it turned out) in the other areas.
The cut wasn't the best, but it worked out OK.
So I slipped the tubing onto the bottom of the dash and used filler to smooth the shape. Here it is filled and primered.
I cut holes for the gauges and painted it black.
Here it is with gauges. These are miscellaneous S-W gauges I have collected over the years. Some date from the 50's, but most are 60's and 70's vintage. I figure I can replace the later ones with earlier ones as I come across them. I have one "big logo" gauge so far and will try to find more.
Here's the dash in the car!
And with the windshield in place. (Windshield hasn't been painted yet and still needs the bottom glass.
And the crowning touch, a Sun tach and NOS chrome mounting cup.
I am really impressed how much more complete the car appears with the dash and gauges!
It's really looking great. I admire your "just get the thing on the road and address the stuff that bothers me later" approach. Damn neat car
Nice work on the dash, looking good.
I saw this car last week. Very well done. Looks great.
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Thanks, Randy -- It was fun seeing your "Full-Fendered Side Project" as well.
Great build. I like it.
Really nice work on the dashboard! I think the windshield looks pretty good too.Can you slant it back any more?
The top half of the windshield can be slanted any amount. There are a few "notches" in the hinges which hold it in several positions. The bottom half is vertical. I suppose I could heat and bend the lower portion, but I don't think I will. I chopped the bottom section 4-1/2" already. I was trying out the seating position recently, and I think I can cut the bottom some more and still see below the top windshield frame. That will require some modification of the stanchion mounts and hinges, but I think I have that figured out. It'll be worth a little extra work if I can get it down some more.
Not much going on these days, working on other people's stuff. I have to slip in little spurts of work on my Hot Rod whenever I can. But I did get one thing accomplished today. I installed the battery and fitted the ground strap. (I guess that's two things.) The battery just barely fit into the turtle after I whittled 1/2" from the turtle's wooden framework. You can see it's right against the crossmember hump in the floor. (The hump is between the two aluminum brackets.)
I made the bracket on the left to fit over a tab on the battery so it holds it down, as well as against the turtle framework on the opposite side. The bracket on the right also engages a tab on the battery so it can't slide back. It can't move at all. If you look closely, you can see the slot I cut for the ground strap just to the right of the right-hand bracket. Here it is with the ground strap installed.
Then I drilled a hole in the frame and ground the paint away from that area, and bolted the ground strap to the rear crossmember. Here's the view from underneath.
All the frame components are welded together, so I'll have a good ground to the frame. I'll also run other ground straps from the frame to the engine and body.
OK, I know it's not much to report, but at least it's one more baby step toward having a finished Hot Rod!
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