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1917 Model T Light Patrol Car


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A little progress is being made.


The weather here, which has been inclement for some time (not really complaining, mind you), has hampered attempts to top coat the undercoated panels.


However the skies were promising today, so we gave everything a final rub down and erected a convenient structure on which to hang the panels.


The front and rear guards as well as the LH door frame ..




The rear inside tub is also partly finished ...




and the door ..




All the smaller bits such as the hood shelves, windscreen fittings and frames and the myriad of bolts, have been top coated as well. Hanging space in the workshop is at a premium, but it won't be for long.


I've got a little more paint to spray onto the rear tub, both inside and out, but I'll hopefully get to that next Wednesday. You can see in one of the photos (rear tub), that the wheels are now on omnidirectional dollies and it's much easier to move the vehicle into any required position.


The next step will be to fit the left and right door sheetmetal together with the LH door and once all that's pinned and screwed into place, the sequence will be bulkhead, splash guards, running boards then mudguards.


At that stage it will start to look like a T.

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It's looking better all the time. Nice little thing and doesn't break the bank to restore or to own.


What you'll need then will be two Laurel & Hardy costumes from Sons of the Desert and you'll be all set :cool2:

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"It's looking better all the time. Nice little thing and doesn't break the bank to restore or to own."


The rebuild cost is interesting. I've done a few restorations to date and probably with the exception of a WC 52, this Model T is the most expensive. In defence of the Dodge, I paid far too much to acquire it - the cost of the actual restoration wasn't that high.

The T is a 1917 and therefore relatively rare, probably due in large part to the demands of the Great War. Although I got a couple of 1923/25 engines with the initial buy of T parts, I had to source a 1917 engine and the cost for that was $1k, even though it was picked up locally, ie 1200kms round trip.




"Thing is all the in service photos, all those lovley panels...are left off"


I know. Many of the photos I've seen from the archives of the Imperial War Museum and the Australian War Memorial, show that (as often happens), the crew modified their vehicles to desert warfare. I would also guess that, as Henry Ford may not have expected his vehicles to be used in this way, the design might not have taken due account of the conditions under which the vehicles operated in the desert. Perhaps things simply fell off and that photos show the results.


Unfortunately perhaps, local road rules these days will insist on having mudguards and I need to install the hood to display a Light Car #. So when it's finished, the vehicle will be complete and able to pass the licence muster, though it may not look quite like a 6 month veteran of the desert !


It is the question most restorers think about and resolve one way or the other, ie that of presentation or realism. I saw a couple of WW2 jeeps at a military display in Virginia a year or two ago and was taken by the showing of these vehicles in a very muddy/unkempt state. They looked so very different to their pristine companions, but they were displayed in a condition that combat veterans would recognise and applaud.


I'd imagine you've probably seen that sort of thing and thought about both sides of the question yourself, Tony. I much prefer seeing someone else's vehicle in a dirty state ie making a deliberate statement, but I'd be reluctant to do that to my vehicle.




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Yeah the old problem. I had some female at a show critising my Dodge, 'It's muddy , the paint has scratches in etc ' The bloke with her just said 'What do you expect? There supposed to drive through hedges'! :-D A while ago I had to eventually wash some genuine Somme mud off my WC51. I nearly cried, but it is a good excuse to take her back there. :cool2: The thing about our vehicles is that they were never ment to be a rich mans plaything or the for some yupie to swank about. The vehicles have one purpose, make sure the men in battle get waht they need when they neeed it, regardless of what it takes.

Edited by Tony B
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When I first took the T ambulance to a museum open house, my wife asked if I was going to wash it first. I told her "no, that way people do not have to ask 'does it run?' because they can see that it has been driven". a lot of jeep restorations are not realistic, when the paint is so well done that you can not see the ripples in the edges of the fenders from the forming process, you know that filler has been used to make a smooth finish. Among Model T people there is the same problem, many purists will critic a car that has some modern improvement that does not show, but let a high gloss paint job win first prize.



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It's terrible when these things are over done.


Next time you walk past 3/4 ton Command Car, have a look at the side of it.


The door edge cutouts have wire turned edges, with the distinctive knurl.

The joint where the side panel meets the floor panel shows as a distinct line of spot welds.

... etc


None of this was ever fixed or smoothed over on the production line, so why should it be massaged away during a 'restoration' I'd far rather see a Dodge, jeep, or GMC with a coat of mud on it - have you noticed the owners of muddy trucks always look happier?

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Apart from the guards, most of the body is now bolted up and the firewall is back in situ where it belongs. I just had to consult with Mr Dykes, to make sure I correctly attach the magneto and battery connections, on the coil box.


So, here's the LH side ...




... and t'other side,




While I'm happy with the colour, I'm not that keen on the gloss. We have been mixing in some flattener with the full gloss paint, but so far it doesn't seem to have achieved much. I think we'll have to experiment with an increased dosage, in an attempt to get a more satin finish to the paint and then give the lot another coat. I also made a blue with my hammer on the RH side paintwork, when I was attaching the sheet metal to the vertical dash pillar and the result was some chipped paint, so that can also be fixed along with a few bug strikes from last weeks painting.


Just after the Second World War, some of the British Commonwealth armies used a range of vehicles with a gloss coat of Deep Bronze Green, in effect thumbing their collective noses at all the camouflage "lessons learned", but that was an aberration which didn't last long. Gloss just doesn't seem right for a military vehicle.


The next thing I have to put some thought into, is the Lewis Gun post. While I have no clear evidence of how it was located, from all the photos I've seen, it seems to be attached to the rear of the cowl (LH or passenger's side) and would logically use the chassis rail as the base. The Lewis weighs in at around 13kgs/28lbs, so a solid connection is obviously needed.


To finish off this week's contribution, I found the pic I had taken of the muddy jeeps on display at a Virginian museum open day, in 2011.


All the happy owners must be in the beer tent, Gordon ?



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Yes, there are some happy owners somewhere :-| and that shiny paint is a little too shiny, but I suppose leaving it out in the baking sun for a year isn't an option to dull it down a bit?


As regards the gun mount. Have a look round on here to find the excellent thread on the Dodge Light Repair truck and its' clone. The owner has posted some great shots of the contemporary spotlight mount and cowl reinforcing on that thread which could give you a load of reference info.





Edited by Gordon_M
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Thanks for the reference to the Dodge light support bracket. Henry thought the 1917 Model T (and its predecessors) had no need of expensive instruments, so there are none. The dash is non existent (I'll try to remember to take a photo of this area next Wednesday), apart from a 1" vertical lip on the cowl.


Whatever is attached to the cowl needs considerable support from someplace solid and in this case that can really only be the chassis rail.


There must be a clue in one or other of the IWM/AWM's photo collection but I haven't yet come across it.




I noticed that when I posted the photo ! I think however that the actions of the fellow with his back to the camera, are possibly more sinister. That may be one of the happy owners, extolled by Gordon.




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[quote name=mazungumagic

I noticed that when I posted the photo ! I think however that the actions of the fellow with his back to the camera, are possibly more sinister. That may be one of the happy owners, extolled by Gordon.




I must admit that I didn't notice what he was up to, not sinister at all, just considering how to wash the mud off the jeep ?



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Gents, Sad news. Following a heart attack at the weekend, Jack has passed away. A great guy and club member who will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Baz F.


Hi Baz,

I am very sorry to hear the sad news about Jack. We had been corresponding as he had written an article for the KVE News on his Model T rebuild. Only yesterday I emailed him only to get a reply from his wife to say he was in a critical condition. Please send my condolences to her.


kind regards, Richard

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That is indeed sad news re Jack's recent demise. Was only a couple of weeks back we were corresponding re a new Brit. LCP book that I put him on to. Both he and the Ford will be sorely missed in the Centenary observances. Please pass on condolences to wife and family. Rod

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I have been away from the internet for a week but just got on and thought I would check out what had been happening in HMVF land. I am very shocked to find out that we have lost Jack. I never met or even talked to him but seeing his work on this thread I felt like I knew him. My condolences to his wife and family. David

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Hi all-


I am Jack's daughter and I wanted to reach out to say thank you for your condolences. I showed them all to my mum, or as Dad called her, SWMBO. My father was a brilliant man, a genuine person, someone who would truly give you the shirt off his back if you really (really!) needed it. He LOVED his car forums and spoke about his posts and replys quite often...he had a killer sense of humour and really enjoyed being able to share his love of military vehicles with other like minded individuals.


He will be very much missed by all of us here, but I am glad that his posts on the hmvf board will remain as a part of his legacy.





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