How I’m weighing period perfection against period plausibility in the fuel system of my 1921 Ford Model T – David Conwill @Hemmings

If this is the first time you’re hearing about my 1921 Ford Model T gow-job project (“gow job” being 1930s slang for what we’d now call a hot rod), I encourage you to go back and read the first and second installments for the background, where I’ve explained my motivation to update my century-old touring car to circa 1934 technology.

Me in a T, back in 2012. The seating position in my car is going to be the same as this 1915 in the Piquette museum. You don’t really sit in a T—more like on it. Photo by Tony Jesuale.

The short explanation being: I’ve always wanted to own a ’30s-style hot rod, I’ve always wanted to own a Model T touring car, and I feel like this will make my T and a lot of others like it more likely to see the road than collect dust in a garage

.This month, I wanted to cover the last of the major chassis modifications—that is, things that make the car drive differently rather than things that make it look different. The remaining topics are the fuel system and the electrical system.

However, I found myself going a bit long attempting to address both systems in one entry. I’ll therefore be saving my electrical plans for next month.

The fuel system consists of everything from the fuel tank to the carburetors, including the tank itself, the sediment bulb and fuel filter, the fuel pump, the carburetors, and the intake manifold. Each area presents its own challenges in hewing as close as possible to my 1934ish time frame without compromising function

From 1909 to 1925, Ford put the fuel tank of a Model T under the front seat. E.B. White quipped that refueling was “a social function,” because everyone was required to get out so the cushion could be removed for access.

Most gow jobbers of the early 1930s would have relocated the fuel tank out back and chopped the seat riser, so as to sit down more inside the body.

If I were a shorter fellow, that might tempt me, but I’ll at least be starting out with the stock tank in the stock location.

One problem I do share with many of those early speed demons is that of a fuel pump. Ford didn’t incorporate a mechanical fuel pump in its cars until 1932. A Model T or A in stock configuration feeds via gravity, but if you move the tank out back (as Ford did in 1932 and many gow jobbers around the same time) or, as I plan to, switch to downdraft carburetion, you have to provide a means of moving the fuel.

Read on



Categories: 1921, David Conwill, Ford Model T, Hemmings

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