The T’s transmission is a planetary type with two forward speeds plus reverse. Once rolling, the driver simply removes his foot from the clutch pedal and adds a bit of throttle, and the transmission shifts into high gear, much like a modern automatic
Depress the left pedal with your foot to disengage the clutch.
Move the emergency brake lever all the way forward to engage low gear, or partially forward to engage high gear.
Release the emergency brake lever slowly while keeping the clutch pedal depressed.
Once the emergency brake lever is fully released, slowly release the clutch pedal to engage the new gear.
Press down on the accelerator pedal to increase speed, and repeat the process to shift to a higher gear if necessary.
To shift into reverse, depress the middle pedal with your foot while the car is at a complete stop.
To stop the car, depress the right pedal with your foot to engage the brakes
In normal driving the two speed pedal operated gear change works very well. It gives a very simple easy gear change enabling you to nip up and down the gears with a minimum of effort. However it does have its drawbacks. The obvious one is the large gap between the gears, there are some circumstances when bottom gear is too low and top is too high. A Ruckstell two speed rear axle alleviates this to some extent.
Places where you may find difficulty are: 1. Changing up a gear on hills. 2. Going into junctions or roundabouts (traffic circles) where top gear is too fast. Or 3. Going over rough ground or grass.
All that can be done is to grind along in low gear until top gear can be used again. The only other answer is to install an auxiliary gear such as the Ruckstell two speed rear axle. In practice a bit of coasting around obstructions and then with a quick burst of low gear before going back into high again will negotiate most of these situations with ease.
The Ford Model T was painted using a process known as “Japanning.” Japanning is a traditional method of applying a durable and glossy black finish to metal surfaces. It was commonly used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for a variety of products, including furniture, clocks, and metalware.
In the case of the Model T, Japanning was used primarily for practical reasons. Black enamel paint was a cost-effective and durable option that provided a uniform finish across all Model T cars. Additionally, black paint was less likely to show dirt and grime than lighter colors, which made it easier to keep the cars looking clean.
There were also some technical reasons why Japanning was used for the Model T. The enamel used in Japanning was resistant to chipping and corrosion, which was important for a car that would be driven over rough and dirty roads. Japanning also provided a smooth, even finish that could be applied quickly and efficiently.
Another factor that may have influenced Ford’s decision to use black Japanning was the availability of materials. Black pigment was relatively cheap and abundant, making it a practical choice for a car that was designed to be affordable for the average consumer.
Overall, Japanning was a practical and cost-effective way to paint the Model T, and it helped to contribute to the car’s success and popularity.
Among the Bugattis, the Bentley, the Chenard-Walckers, the Excelsiors, and many other continental Europe racing standbys of the interwar era that had lined up for the inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans sat a lone Ford Model T. It wasn’t described as such on the entry list and it sported a number of modifications that almost made it unrecognizable as a Model T, but a Ford it was nevertheless, making it the first one to race at Le Mans, long before the GT40s that ran in the Sixties and the Mustang that Ford wants to enter there next year. So how did a Model T get there?
Charles Montier is hardly a household name these days, particularly here in the United States, but in a way, the Frenchman was an analogue to Carroll Shelby, Colin Chapman, or Sydney Allard, all of them adept at transforming common cars or their components into sports cars that could compete on the marketplace as well as on the racetrack. While Henri Depasse had staked a claim as the first Ford agent in France and leveraged his success to build a factory for assembling Fords at Bordeaux, Montier took on Ford’s second French franchise around 1911 not necessarily to sell to the masses but to sell to the sporting set.
Who Was Charles Montier?
As Chris Martin wrote in his book chronicling Montier’s exploits, Montier was a gifted mechanic who built a steam car with his father before the turn of the century and who “acquired the nickname of ‘Le Sorcier’ (‘The Sorcerer’) long before that name was revived later for the better known Amedee Gordini, for his similar ability to extract performance from equally ordinary Renaults.”
First based in Tours then later in Paris, Montier appeared to take great inspiration from the catalogs full of American speed parts for the Model T, Martin suggested. “The Fordia magazine circulated to all Ford agents published a list of accessories that APCO Manufacturing Company located in Kansas could supply: Ruckstell axles, Ricardo or Diablo pistons, special camshafts, high compression Milwaukee cylinder heads, and above all modifications to lower the chassis and front axle,” Martin wrote.
Rather than buy the parts from APCO, however, Montier decided to engineer and manufacture his own, starting with a complete system for lowering the front and rear of a Model T by six to seven inches. The system, which consisted of a spring-behind-axle conversion in front and Z’d frame rails in rear, even earned him a patent in 1921, about a decade and a half before Ford did something similar by moving the axle behind the spring rather than underneath it. Another modification he made – a taller radiator for increased cooling capacity – also made its way into production Model Ts not long after he introduced it.
Around the same time he decided to prove his modifications by entering cars equipped with them in hillclimbs and other competition events. He won the first race he entered, at Boulogne-sur-Mer, in June of 1921, with an average speed of about 80 MPH. By the next year, he’d developed a model specifically for conforming to the Touring Car class and its requirement for four seats which he called the Gaillon. Not just lower, it also produced more power thanks to an overhead-valve head similar to Louis Chevrolet’s Frontenac heads, larger valves, aluminum pistons, a sidedraft carburetor, and a tubular exhaust manifold. Montier even swapped out the Ford planetary transmission and Ford axle for a Sinpar three-speed gearbox and Ruckstell. He upgraded the brakes first with larger rear drums then later with drums at all four corners
THE MODEL T IS FORD’S UNIVERSAL CAR THAT PUT THE WORLD ON WHEELS.
The Model T was introduced to the world in 1908. Henry Ford wanted the Model T to be affordable, simple to operate, and durable. The vehicle was one of the first mass production vehicles, allowing Ford to achieve his aim of manufacturing the universal car. The Model T was manufactured on the Ford Motor Company’s moving assembly line at Ford’s revolutionary Highland Park Plant. Due to the mass production of the vehicle, Ford Motor Company could sell the vehicle for between $260 and $850 as Henry Ford passed production savings on to his customers.
The Model T was first tested by Henry Ford himself who took the vehicle on a hunting trip to Wisconsin and northern Michigan. The Model T became famous for the stunts it could perform including climbing the stairs of the Tennessee State Capitol and reaching the top of Pikes Peak. After the test of his own product, the vehicle was shipped to its first customer on October 1, 1908.
The revolutionary vehicle saw the placement of the steering wheel on the left side, allowing passengers easy access to and from the cars. The vehicle was also the first to have its engine block and the crankcase cast as a single unit, the first to have a removable cylinder head for easy access, and the first to make such extensive use of the lightweight but strong alloy known as vanadium steel. The Model T’s agile transmission made shifting gears easy for everyone. These improvements and innovations allowed the world to move towards a more urban way of life. The early Model T came with a tool kit, packed the gas tank under the front passenger seat, provided a windshield as an option (before it was standardized), and had to be cranked to get it going.
A common myth is that all model T’s were black. While Henry Ford did say “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it’s black,” the policy was in place solely for efficiency and uniformity. The car was only offered in black from 1914-1925, however before and after that various models of the vehicle could be purchased in a variety of colors including blue, red, grey, and green.
The vehicle also became famous for its unique nickname—Tin Lizzie. There are various accounts of how this nickname was acquired by the Model T. Possible origins include the popularity of the female name “Lizzie” during that period to a famous Model T racecar named Old Liz. Despite the popularity of the nickname Tin Lizzie, the Model T had dozens of nicknames.
The Model T was so popular Henry Ford once said: “There’s no use trying to pass a Ford, because there’s always another one just ahead.” By the early 1920s more than half of the registered automobiles in the world were Fords. More than 15,000,000 Model T’s were built and sold. In May 1927 a ceremony was held to honor the end of production of the Model T. It was the end of an era.
While the vehicle is more than 100 years old, its legacy is timeless. The vehicle had many new features that were unique for its time. The low price point allowed many people to become a Ford owner, should they choose it, and caused Ford Motor Company to be a household name.
Hot rod fans of all ages, but particularly those who grew up in the 1940s and 50s will relish this authentic Ford highboy rumble seat roadster, stripped of its fenders and carrying a rare Miller-design cylinder head. It is unrestored, but complete with such delicious period extras as Guide headlights, 1935 Ford 6.00:16″ wheels and special aftermarket three-door hood panels.
The basic 200 cubic inch displacement engine, built by Ford in April, 1930, is equipped with a high performance rocker arm head designed by famed racing car builder Harry A. Miller’s engineer, Leo W. Goossen. The head was produced by the Miller-Schofield Company then by the Cragar Company. This rare piece alone is worth the purchase.
Miller conceived the cylinder head in 1928 when the Ford Model A first came on the market and shortly before he sold his racing car and engine business to Schofield Inc. of America, but Schofield produced it only briefly. The design is a typical overhead valve conversion, similar to the Two-Port Riley and the Rutherford, using forged steel rocker arms to actuate the valves. The conversion more than doubled the original horsepower from 40 to about 90 HP at 3,200 RPM, particularly with the use of two Ford Chandler-Grove carburetors as in this installation, which is on a slightly later Model B block with pressure oiling. The original compression ratio was 5.75:1, but with the availability of better gasoline that could be upped to 7.5 or 8:1. The engine also has finned aluminum side plates and a mechanical fuel pump.
The head provides two oversize intake valves and four exhausts. The original owner, Robert Rein, installed with it better ignition and a lightened flywheel. With aluminum pistons and a re-ground camshaft, the car would be capable of more than 110 miles an hour on a smooth course. At an original sale price of $82.50, it was a bargain, even in the Depression-ravaged thirties.
Unlike some other Model A conversions, Goossen’s design produces a deep, powerful exhaust note, not unlike that of the famous four-cylinder Offenhauser racing engine.
Schofield failed in December, 1930, when a director, Gilbert Beesemyer, admitted to embezzling more than $8 million from the Guarantee Building & Loan Co. he headed in Los Angeles. Harlan Fengler, the Indianapolis driver (1923-24) and later racing official, bought most of the designs and equipment at Schofield’s bankruptcy sale and continued production of the Miller-Schofield equipment under the name Cragar. The original Miller-Schofield heads are extremely rare since they were only produced between January and December, 1930, when Schofield declared bankruptcy. The later Cragar version is vertical on the left side, whereas the Miller-Schofield head is slanted inwards.
There is a great personal story about this particular hot rod. In 1953, shortly after Edward, the present owner bought the car his wife, Gloria, had a hot 1949 Olds 88 convertible, and did not really like the old Ford. She challenged him to a race. The bet: if he lost he had to sell the hot rod. The two lined up on route 83 just outside Oak Brook, Illinois. He won, so he has had the car in his stable for more than half a century.
Such hot rods, based on the popular Ford roadster body and chassis, have become highly- sought-after items. Although there are many reproductions using fiberglass bodies, the original steel- bodied vehicles with legitimate 1930s and 1940s provenance have mostly been snapped up by collectors. To find such a sound, unrestored original is indeed a worthy prize.
It doesn’t happen every day, but sometimes you just fall into something really, really good. That’s how it was with me when I was researching an upcoming article on pre-muscle speed parts and my friend Kevin Carlson told me about the existence of an exceedingly scarce original Roof overhead-valve conversion for Ford Model A’s. And it’s what happened to Brandon Fish of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, when he answered a Worcester, Massachusetts, classified ad for a couple of Winfield SR carburetors, a homemade intake and what turned out to be that rare Roof OHV.
“I drove up, and it was a blizzard,” Brandon remembers. “It took me two and a half hours to go maybe 70 miles.”
And, truth be told, when Brandon saw the OHV conversion, he wasn’t quite sure what he was looking at, but the price for the assortment of parts was too good to pass up. “I knew what the carburetors were worth, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong, and when I saw it [the OHV conversion], it was clean. It was a raced head, back in the day, because the water pump—the fan—was cut off, so it had external cooling. There was no scale. I’d say it was maybe used minimally. Minimally. It was mint.”
Brandon had been very close to missing out on the historic purchase because, like himself, a lot of other hot rodders had noticed the listing—planning, building and bench racing is what we do during the long winters up here in the frozen North. “They all had seen it,” Brandon says of some of his comrades, “and they laughed because they all tried to get it that same night. It was first-come, first-served.”
But, while Brandon had been considering an overhead-valve conversion for the engine in his Model A he was reworking for the 2014 Race of Gentlemen, a Roof hadn’t been on his radar. “We’ve done The Race of Gentlemen for two years now, and you don’t like to keep the same car … I had pretty much a stock B motor in my coupe. It was nothing flashy, but it was kind of a hopped-up B motor,” Brandon explains. “I was going to go overhead valve… I was leaning more toward a Riley.”
It took several months and some conversations with Charlie Yapp, of the banger-focused Secrets of Speed Society and Scalded Dog Speed Parts, before Brandon changed his plans to include the Roof. Charlie “…was the only person I knew who was knowledgeable,” says Brandon. After their chats, Brandon was hooked: “I thought, ‘Oh, I gotta build this, just to have this huge piece of history’
What, exactly makes the Roof head so special? Roof patented an OHV conversion for the Model T in 1919, and according to Charlie Yapp, while “Morton & Brett was the first speed parts company to advertise an overhead conversion for Model A Fords … Roof, of Anderson, Indiana, was the first to have actual product and 101-MPH race results for his promotions.”
With a four-cylinder L-head engine displacing 200.5 cubic inches and rated at 40 hp, a stock Ford Model A engine could turn between 60 and 70 MPH, given enough smooth surface to travel over, but Roof was claiming that his “Cyclone” OHV conversion could increase this figure by around 34 percent.
Charlie explains, however, that, while almost any OHV conversion would improve the airflow and increase the horsepower of a Model A engine, the original Roof castings would be considered rough by the standards of today, and the 101 MPH claim was likely possible only because of “having a longer run than the other guy.”
Nevertheless, along with the premium componentry—Winfield carburetion, Packard sparking, etc—that accompanied the Roof Cyclone, its F-head, two-port architecture utilizing 2-inch intake valves, resulted in a smoother, more powerful engine not unlike those then distinguishing themselves in professional racing automobiles.
But their enhancement to four-banger performance isn’t what makes them so desirable, especially when they are compared to the more powerful Riley, Cragar and Miller conversions that would soon become available. It’s that the Roofs were the first and that they are rare—”rarer than hen’s teeth” was a phrase I encountered a lot when talking with people about them.
Charlie doesn’t have any definitive production records, but “I’m pretty sure,” he asserts, “that only about 10 of these heads still exist, and only four or five are in a condition to run”—a fact that makes Brandon Fish’s find even more exceptional.
Perhaps more than any other vehicle, the Ford Model T’s ubiquity and versatility meant that its owners put it to a wide variety of uses. For collectors, that means it’s still entirely possible to either restore one to the exact same specifications as a million other restored Model Ts out there or, alternatively, to find some historically accurate way to stand out from those million other restored Model Ts.
The seller of this 1914 Ford Model T listed on Hemmings.com chose the latter by re-creating one of the first motorized ambulances employed by the hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. We’re sure there’s a story behind that very specific decision, and we can also appreciate the research that went into the ambulances and the effort that went into applying that research to a Model T that, based on the photos alone, would likely do well in points judging at an MTFCA gathering. From the seller’s description:
This 1914 Model T-Touring was built as a historically accurate replica of the two ambulances used by Yale New Haven Hospital in 1914. It has the original 1914 frame, period-correct headlights, cowl lights, tail lights and running boards. The fenders are from a 1915 T. The car was painted around 2016 and shows in great condition. Since restoration, it has always been kept in climate controlled storage. Under the hood is the later 2.9L inline 4-cylinder engine equipped with a 6 volt generator and electric starter. Making roughly 20HP this is a great touring car and runs like a sewing machine.
The Ford Model T was in production from 1908 to 1927, it mobilised the US middle class and is today the car credited with putting America on wheels. Over 16 million were produced in nearly two decades and with many Model T parts either re-manufactured or available second-hand, the Model T is probably one of the easiest veteran/vintage cars to own and drive in the 21st century.
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