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1917 Model T Light Patrol Car


mazungumagic
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Now that I’ve just about completed the Champ restoration, I can get back into the build of a 1917 Model T Light Patrol Car. I've read in a number of places where the British had close to 19,000 Ts during the War - an extraordinary figure !

 

Knowing nothing about these unique vehicles but happy to learn, I started with this in 2009.

 

ModelTParts22Mar09_zpsff9a6121.jpg

 

… and reached this stage in late Nov 12, when the Champ intervened.

 

ModelTRHSfalsedoor30Dec12_zps66afcaa3.jpg

 

I believe that the vehicles issued to the Light Car Patrols were all sourced from Ford’s English plant in Manchester (Trafford Park?) during the War. The post 1916 vehicles had bodies which, it would appear from the available photos at the IWM and AWM, were built to a standard design. The difference was that while the US version of the T (ie LHD), had an opening door on the right and a false door on the left, the British design was a mirror image, taking into account the RHD drive configuration. That meant I had to make a LH door from scratch - the US suppliers of Model T parts obviously cater first and foremost to their own market.

 

As you can see from the second photo, all the mechanical work has been done and the rear body is complete. What remains is the sheetmetal work around the door areas and the painting.

 

We’ve started to paint a few of the detachable parts – the colour is a Leyland paint called Sand Glow…

 

ModelTpaintedrunningboardsetc_zpsa1756122.jpg

 

I’ll leave it at this point for now, but will follow up regularly with progress.

 

If anyone wants detail on any aspects of the work done to date, I’d be happy to respond.

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Make sure that the spokes are tight in the hubs and felloes. If the spokes are loose they willwear very quickly. I have one rear wheel that developed problems, ans was able to tighten it by putting oak veneer strips between the tapered part of the spoke in the hub. The tenons were worn, and I applied high temp RTV (it seems to cure harder) and then wrapped the worn area of the tenon with cotton cord. The wheel has been on the T for about 300 miles with no sign of looseness.

This looks like a fun project.

Best

Gus

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Thanks for the help, Gus.

 

I bought 50 new spokes from the Stutzman Wheel Works in Ohio and picked them up on a trip to the US (after visiting Hershey - Oct 2011).

 

They were then given a few coats of marine varnish and pressed into the fellies, using my version of the John Regan wheel press.

 

ModelTspoketeepee_zps6f5503c8.jpg

 

They are a quality product and very tight in the fellies.

 

I've just fitted the tyres on the rim and bolted them to the wheel...

 

ModelTtyresfitted21Jun13_zpsf1efeae2.jpg

 

So, four years after bringing the bits home, the vehicle is about to roll.

 

 

Jack

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I have seen quite some WWI restorations on HMVF and all the time so impressed with the amount of work people put in to them amazing. Maybe we will do the same in the future with a WWII vehicles.

 

Well done looking forward to see more of it and other projects. Make me also feel a bit less foolish of spending lot of time on my own projects

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Thanks monty2 and shane.c

 

Richard - the Col Anderson vehicle is one of the brass radiator type, ie prior to 1917. So the body is quite different to the one the War Dept seems to have opted for, in their last run of model Ts.

 

AndersonModelT_NEW_zps3aeb0fa4.jpg

 

This slightly flawed photo (it got stuck to some plastic), taken from the Aug 08 edition of the VMVC Newsletter, shows man and machine on what looks like a cold Shepparton day.

 

 

Jack

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Hey Jack,

You are way ahead of me on the wheels, I have heard that Stutzman spokes are the best. Building one of these is great fun, but it gets even better when you get done, as replacement parts for the T are so easy to get that you can drive them with out having to worry about finding replacement parts when you wear something out.

Best

Gus

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We did a little bit of work on the T today, but then managed to get diverted onto other tasks, so not a lot got done.

 

We were however able to tack together, the RH fake door panel and the front sheetmetal adjacent to the bulkhead. That worked very well and the welding of this will be completed next week, together hopefully with the welding of the LH side – not a great deal to here around the opening door.

 

ModelTtacked_zps1b2a75f4.jpg

 

ModelTRHdoortackedon_zpsf12689ec.jpg

 

We were also able to straighten out the lower windscreen frame, which I had obtained at the 2011 Hershey swap meet in the US for $10, complete with hinges ! It was bent around the vertical arms, but some adept work by Tony, saw the item restored to its proper shape and it fits into the cowl brackets just perfectly, now.

 

Apart from the many different paint shades, it’s starting to look a little bit more “together”.

 

Jack

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Jack; this is really a great project and since it is related to "desert" I will just have to follow it and cannot wait to see the completed vehicle.

 

Please allow me a question at this point: Why a fake door on the drivers side?

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Ford put "fake" doors on the driver's side as it was customary to mount from the off side, I normally get into my ambulance from the right even though it is open on the left as well, but you have to get past the clutch lever, spark advance and steering wheel to get in from the near side. Ford figured it was a waste of money to put a functioning door on the driver's side until customer demand and competitors caused him to rethink.

Best

Gus

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Jack great to see the progress and that your priorities are better placed....stirring he said. Forgot I had seen a particular article on the site of the University of Glasgow until recently. Link is below for those interested. The article focuses on mapping the desert and of course the LCP gets a mention. Of particular note is the one and only image in the article of such a patrol and the Model T's being used are "Tourers". Scarce image given the content. Have seen numerous pics of the LCP and British LAMB fords which are all the cut down version similar to Jack's example. Rod

 

http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_41156_en.pdf

BritLCP.jpg

Edited by BSM
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Kuno,

 

As Gustaf says, the fake door is on the drivers side - whichever side that might be. In the case of the British vehicles, it is the RH side and the available photos (doors without protruding hinges mean fake doors), confirm that there was only one opening door on these Ts.

 

I agree with Gustaf's comments - when you see the lack of space available to squeeze past the seat, brake lever and steering wheel, you realise quickly that Henry got it right. There is just no need for a door on the drivers side.

 

Rod,

 

I was recently reminded of the Claud Williams report (by Kuno actually - thanks mate) and had seen that photo, among the few in that document. I hadn't examined it closely however and realised the vehicles were touring cars. When I look at photos I'm drawn to any the detail which might help my build and I occasionally fail to see the "big picture".

 

 

Jack

Edited by mazungumagic
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Today, we finished off the welding of the RH panels -

 

ModelTRHwelded_zps80120e17.jpg

 

… and did the same on the left.

 

ModelTLHwelded_zps5b773f7a.jpg

 

This left hand panel not only needed the under sill metal welded on, but also the return under the hinge had been cut off. It's all one piece now and a trial fit shows it hasn't suffered too much distortion, despite it being extremely thin metal.

 

We used a fair few wet rags to minimise the burning of the wooden frame, which worked reasonably well. There are a few burnt patches, but they can easily be sanded and re-painted. Only had the occasional fire.

 

The left hand side was also given a coating of body filler, as our last job of the day. During the week, I’ll sand that down ready for painting, as well as remove the firewall. The front of each of the panels (left and right), needs to be nailed or screwed to the wooden dash pillar and that can only be done with the firewall out of the way.

 

So from now, it’ll be body filler, sanding, painting and fixing. Once the nails are in place, the firewall will go back into position for the last time and the things that hang of it (which in one way or another, is just about everything), can then be re-attached.

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Kuno,

 

You're correct - the Light Car Patrols used 3 1/2" (width) x 30" (high - from tread to tread) all round, while the usual civilian Model T came equipped with 3" x 30" tyres on the front axle and 3 1/2" x 30" on the rear.

 

That regime continued till 1919.

 

It must have been a bit hard to predict which tyre size you should carry as a spare, though I guess either would do in a pinch.

 

You're also correct in that either size is still very narrow.

 

 

 

Jack

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TMT,

 

I think I mentioned previously that there were apparently, around 19,000 Model Ts used by the British Army during WW1. While the War Diary I have for the 1st Australian Light Car Patrol indicates that they only used 1916 and 1917 model vehicles, no doubt there were others ie 1918 models, used as well - in other Army units.

 

Ford in the US produced over 73,000 Runabouts in 1918, so it is conceivable that some may have ended up briefly, in military service. It's obviously impossible to say if yours may have been one of them and I guess the paint colour is no indication, one way or the other.

 

 

 

Jack

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Kuno,

 

 

 

It must have been a bit hard to predict which tyre size you should carry as a spare, though I guess either would do in a pinch.

 

Jack

 

The US ambulances carried two spares, a 30x3 1/2 and a 30x3 as the tires are not interchangeable, the diameter was measured on the outside like on bicycle tires and the rims were a different diameter, the 30x3 being larger than the 30x3 1/2

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Thanks, Gustaf - I didn't know that. From a logistics point of view it makes perfect sense then, that the British standardised with 3 1/2" tyres all round.

 

I wonder if the US Ordnance machine was tempted to do the same ? It would have simplified the supply chain, just a little.

 

 

Jack

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Hey Jack,

I do not think they did anything to standardize until the M1918 ambulance which had demountable rims. I have seen a period article about two people getting together with Fords and exchanging wheels so one car has all 30x3 and the other has 30x3 1/2, but this was a civilian effort.

Best

Gus

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Hey Jack,W

hat condition is your magneto in? Mine was a bit weak and was hard to start on mag as well as barely giving enough power to make the head lights glow. I just finished recharging the magnets in the car, it took about 45 minutes and only required a compass, 3 12 volt batteries and a bit of wire.

Best

Gus

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Gus,

 

I think my magneto is in good shape - but I haven't yet tried it. I've only started the motor once and that was via the illicit battery that I've installed, together with a starter motor !

 

I did charge my magnets using the out of engine process - I think the pros and cons were debated a year or two ago, on the MTFCA forum. I copied the easiest of the procedures outlined by various contributors and it worked well, but you've got to be careful not to leave the wire connected for any more than a flash - it is prone to melting, with the current going through it.

 

Modeltrecharge_zps9c3a63e9.jpg

 

Each of my magnets held up a 2lb cast iron piston, which was the go/no go test, apparently. I didn't have a decent coil ring and thought I would have a go at making my own, but commonsense prevailed and I bought one from Wally Szumowski at Total Recoil - a smart move on reflection ! His products are impeccable.

 

FordTCoilring_zps2d4f7d35.jpg

 

I was a little concerned about MIG welding and the magnets but the consensus on previous threads of the MTFCA forum, was that there shouldn't be any ill effect.

 

I noted your comment on that forum, about the success you had with the car magnet charging - I don't really understand the theory and probably won't till I have to read up on it.

 

 

Jack

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