Winners in NEW USE for Old Fords Contest (Feb, 1929) (Feb, 1929)

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Winners in NEW USE for Old Fords Contest

MODERN MECHANICS pays $10 for every acceptable photo and description of the odd uses to which old Tin Lizzies have been put. The machines shown below are all made from old Model T Fords.

DOWN at Iowa Park, Texas, is an old flivver motor which is enjoying a ripe old age puffing and grunting on half her lungs while the other half supply fresh ozone for tires which have lost the courage of their convictions.

The front two cylinders have been manifolded off from the rest of the motor by the simple expedient of hack-sawing them off where they were not needed, and bunging the ends with welded plate iron.

The intake valves of the rear pair of cylinders were loaded with springs to keep them depressed, and the exhaust valves were brazed in tightly. The spark plug hole was fitted with half-inch pipe and this in turn led to check valves after the air stream had passed by relief or globe valves installed to care for extra high pressure. Once past the check valves the air was conduced by pipe to a storage tank.

A special boiler full of water was provided for the thermo-siphon system, as doing this kind of work was impossible without some adequate means for cooling. If you don’t think the motor works to pump air, you ought to see the water steam!

This novel use for an old Ford keeps a garage supplied generously with compressed air.

HYBRID STEAM ROLLER OWES ANCESTRY TO HENRY MR. G. H. DACY, one of our readers who lives in Maryland, sends us these two views of crazy but useful wrinkles for making use of old Ford car carcasses.

Down at Augusta, Georgia, there is a country club which has extensive acres of greensward running east- ward from the piazza of the club house. To keep the grass in good condition it is necessary to roll it. These rollers, one of which is shown in the accompanying shot, were made from old Elizabeths of the vintage of Model T. Six were made at the cost of one ordinary tractor. The conversion is a simple one and the machine performs satisfactorily.

SERVICEABLE TRACTOR MADE FROM TIN ELIZABETH ANOTHER Maryland tinkerer put the elements of a tractor around his faithful old brass radiatored Ford. Equipped with sunshades, with gas tank out afront, this flivver is now doing hearty, willing work pulling a disc drag. It is said to be able to pull a “single bottom”—that is, a single plow, with comparative ease. The reader will note that the usual Ford rear axle and housing, together with the usual single spring, are employed to drive the machine. The auto wheels are removed, the frame with the bull wheels put on, and gears intermeshed with the big gear by use of small spur gears on the regular axle.

6 comments
  1. -DOUG- says: September 3, 20093:43 am

    Why not just DRIVE the old Model T? Off the market for nearly 2 years when this article appeared, it was becoming increasingly unpleasant to drive what was essentially an off road daily driver on the growing number of paved roads in the country, and people were picking up more comfortable, more expensive cars, most often the Chevrolet. The Model T assembly line shut down more than 6 months before the replacement Model A’s went into production. There was quite a backlog of new cars on the lots to be sold first. And few of the used cars had left the road at that point; for the reliable engine but also because of the transmission that had been so troublesome when used in the Model K was suddenly dependable when used with a less powerful engine. But shortly after the Model T sales had captured 90% of the annual market, it fell out of favor. Even the existing cars ceased to be driven.

    Could it be because, after nearly 20 years of continuous production with the last produced virtually identical to the first, Ford discontinued not just the car, but the parts? And over 15 million of these already hard to operate cars, more than half of all cars ever sold in America by 1927, immediately began to become too troublesome to drive. Large numbers wound up parked in driveways, front yards, back yards, etc. The concept of the ‘Barn Find’ was decades away, these cars were nothing but a national eyesore. Oh, what a time to be a car nut, you could have these cars for. . . .

    So I had quite a number of my older college teachers telling the story of if their first car, an old Model T. These weren’t the ‘Baby Boomers,’ more like their PARENTS. The stories all seemed so much the same, you’d think they were all retelling the same original story, But then the cars were all the same, so maybe they would have the same problem, over and over and over again.

    What a fantasy; Your parents putting you through college, the country desperate in the throes of the Great Depression (Or I guess we have to start saying ‘Great Depression I’) but if you could pull $5 out of you pocket, (Not all that big a sum even then) you could walk from house to house, looking for the car that you can ride around in with your friends for awhile, as long as you baby it and plan ahead for things like STOPPING. (What Ford called an ‘Emergency Brake’ was more suited for use as a parking brake, and that’s what it became.) So often the problem with the car was the lack of brakes, (Which were inside the transmission) and these clever college students would devise the method of using that mysterious pedal on the floor intended to back the car up as a brake. Sort of like throwing your car into reverse to stop.

    This pedal on the floor wasn’t all THAT big a mystery, it was for a reverse band in the transmission that worked much like the brake. Once you broke the band, or stripped the mount for the assembly, or caused some other inevitable failure of the mechanism, you found yourself without a way to stop. And of course so many of these stories just happen to have the teller going down hill as it happened. It’s uphill when they’re walking in a storm, downhill in a runaway car. However conforming the rest of the story is, where and HOW the car abruptly came to rest could be a unique departure from the sameness of the Model T itself. Except they all concluded with the demise of yet another Model T. From so many articles just on this site about new uses for those old cars, I guess there must have been a time when people enjoyed the thought of yet another one blown back to hell.

    The scarceness of surviving Model T’s makes me wish these clowns had left these cars for others who knew what they were doing. The problem with the brakes on many of these cars could have been solved by TIGHTENING the band, etc. The adjusting screws for all the bands in the transmission were outside the casing. But having been a licensed California smog mechanic at the age of 16, before I had a driver’s license, I marvel of the thought of every residential street I might walk down populated by cars I could buy and FIX cheap, I doubt the bands would have been much of a challenge to me even without factory training. There were no starter motors, no water and oil pumps, no generators, not much variety of systems to go wrong. Even the body was partly wood, made from shipping crates that the suppliers built to Henry Ford’s specifications so he could use them on the car. (What wood he couldn’t use became the factory’s sideline product, Kingsford Brickettes.)

    In my time, when a car didn’t pass smog the seller could be more troublesome than the car. The title couldn’t pass to a new owner until the emissions standards were met, but there were people determined to howl and scream until some succor bought their car for as much as they wanted for it without the required smog certificate. Occasionally I’d find one of those fools after they’d exhausted themselves, and I’d get the car for what it was worth. Fixing smog wasn’t a problem for me, don’t forget. And there was usually a lot more wrong with it than just pollution, so it would keep me busy, but 5-10,000 miles later I could sell that car for a lot more than I had in it. I even helped a friend cut down an old steamship sized station wagon into a makeshift El Camino, basically making it useful again once it was an undesireable family car.

    And that’s my thought about all those Model T’s. Once it was fixed, the back of the body could be removed and replaced with a pickup bed. Or a van/ambulance made from wood, just like it came from the factory. That was an era when nobody complained if a work vehicle was a bit uncomfortable. In the midst of that first Great Depression I’d probably have been as unemployed as anyone, but keeping busy. . . .

    (This site gets me started on so many daydreams.)

  2. Dave Davis says: November 6, 200910:00 pm

    Hi Doug. An interesting read for an old timer in New Brunswick, Canada. My dad had a model T that had been made into a farm tractor. I used to harrow with it when I was about 8 years old. It had the Sears Robuck tractor kit on it. At one time the tractor kit was actually sold mail order. No differential brakes so steering wasn’t all that good. I would try to harrow as close as possible to the fence but sometimes not make it. So clutch to the floor and of course into low gear and take out a bit of fence. Actually the transmission was very advanced for it’s time. Thanks for the chance to write. Dave

  3. Firebrand38 says: November 6, 200910:32 pm

    @Dave: You actually want to thank Charlie, he’s the Keeper of the Blog.

  4. -DOUG- says: November 7, 20094:13 am

    Dave was referring to my LONG comment as bringing back the memories of using the Model T for—–SOMETHING!

    Besides, we ALL thank Charlie. It goes without saying. Ah, but let’s say it anyway.

    THANK YOU, CHARLIE.

  5. Firebrand38 says: November 7, 200910:34 am

    -DOUG-: No, it was something about the “Thanks for the chance to write” at the end of his post that made me say what I did (but you knew that).

  6. Toronto says: November 7, 20096:45 pm

    Dave: I’ve heard that KC Irving started out selling Fords, then selling the gasoline they needed*. It’d be really neat if your dad’s T was from him, eh?

    * then building the shipyards to build the tankers to bring crude to his refinery, then buying the forests to grow the pulp to feed the newspapers he owned to keep bad press away, etc etc etc.

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