1919 Ford Model T

Tin Lizzie, Leaping Lena, or Flivver is a few of the names for Ford’s Model Ts.  Dave Welch’s 1919 Model T, above, fits these names.

dave welch clock shopDavid Welch has a clock shop in the old Kennedy Brothers building in Vergennes and has been in the repair business for many years. He is also “the cook” according to his 90+ year dad, Steve. Dave and his dad live together. When asked the time that Dave gets home from work at the Clock Shop, Mr. Welch replied that he hoped by five PM, because he is the cook. They live in a wonderful area along lake Champlain, where the extended Welch family have lived for a number of generations.

1919 ford model t flivverThe Model T has spent over 35 years owned by VAE members, starting with Ed Rotex. Wheel Tracks understands Ed “just ran the T around once in a while”.

From Ed the car went to Tim Hunt, then to Ed Welch. The last 30 years the car has been in Carl Tatlock’s garage, who gets credit for many of the upgrades on the vehicle today. The story goes that Carl is a stickler for detail, the proof is this Model T.

The next home for the T is Mr. David Welch and the way he acquired the car can only happen in the VAE. Carl “gave” it to Dave, a gift many of us only dream of… a fantastic gift.

1919 ford model t cockpitWheel Tracks has found some mysteries and solved some mysteries with this old T. It is known that the 20 HP engine is not original to the car, but no one knew the year. Research has revealed the #13669202 engine was built in May of 1926.

*The big surprise was when the car was built, it turns out, it is not a 1919 Model T! Ford numbered the engines when they were built and when the engine was placed in the car during assembly, the frame was stamped with the engine number. The frame on Dave’s T is #8893000 which tells us the car was built in December of 1923. The vehicle number and the factory production number is the same, so this car was number 8 million, eight hundred ninety three thousandth that Ford had made by that date in 1923. The 9,000,000th was completed at 1:05PM on December 26th, 1923.

The Model T Club of America publishes the total number of Ford model Ts built was 14,689,520 when they closed down the T line in 1927 and started building Model A’s. Model T engines continued to be built through 1941, for an additional 169,856.

Wheel Tracks can not find what this car started its life as. Was it a touring car, a runabout, or a coupe? Or maybe a Tudor or a Fordor or even a truck? Are there any T folks out there who can help?

Here is some additional 1923 information from the T club….. The “1923” touring car style was introduced in September 1922, with a one-man top and sloping windshield, but otherwise the body was the same as the 1922. The runabout followed about November, with a new body and turtle deck as well. A new “Fordor” sedan appeared in December 1922, which used aluminum panels throughout the body. The cowl section and lower body section were changed to steel during the year. There was no cowl vent in the early Fordor sedans but the vent was added during early 1923, before the change to the larger hood. The Coupelet and Sedan (Centerdoor) continued into 1923 with minor modifications that were introduced in 1922, but were both replaced with the new Coupe and Tudor Sedan in August 1923. The front section of the car was revised about August 1923, with a new and higher radiator, larger hood, a valence under the radiator, and revised cowl section to match. These cars were generally referred to as “1924” models in Ford literature. The Coupe and Tudor Sedan were all new, with coupe doors opening at the rear. Body construction continued with the metal panel over a wood frame design.

* This paragraph could have problems…..1. If Ford sold just the engine, then there would be no chassis to stamp. 2. Wheel Tracks took the chassis number from the cars registration form, not the chassis, there could be a different number on the chassis.

Automotive Primers

1018 primer adMy last column discussed the evolution in paint technology. This month, I will talk about what is under the paint and talk about primers.

Automotive primers have come a long way in the last few decades. Primers serve several functions. First, they bond to and protect bare metal. Second, they fill very small imperfections. Third, they provide a stable base foundation for the top coat, or color paint.

Why are there so many types of primer? Not too long ago, primers were lacquer based. If the top coat was lacquer this was simply applied over the primer. If the top coat was an enamel paint, an enamel primer/sealer was applied over the lacquer primer. These primers were often unstable, and did little to protect metal from corrosion. Lacquer primers would shrink months or years after being sprayed, showing sanding marks and causing the top coat of paint to crack. Lacquer base primers do not shed water, they actually absorbed some moisture. This moisture would then find its way down to the bare metal. Of course, lacquer based paint will go back to a liquid when exposed to a solvent, like lacquer thinner.

auto paint sprayAcid etching primers did a good job of adhering to bare metal, but offered little corrosion protection.

Epoxy primers, or “2K” primers bond well to bare metal, and also offer excellent corrosion protection. Epoxy primers are not sandable, and do not work well as a primer surfacer.

Primer-surfacers are used for final body work to give a smooth, flat surface foundation for the top coat or color paint. These primers have filler in them, and are easily sandable. These are the primers that are laboriously block sanded until the surface is smooth and flat.

Once the block sanding is done the primer is sealed with a sealer primer.

Final paint will show color shift if painted over different color primers, and will also show any sanding marks. Color paint is only a pigment, and will not hide anything underneath.

Confused yet? Don’t be. There is a system to priming. You may remember about 20 years or so ago car ads talked about the multi layers of paint. As urethane paints began to dominate the automotive paints, these “multi-layer” paints became standard.

First, an epoxy, or catalyzed primer coats and seals bare metal. There may be a self etching or acid etching primer under the epoxy primer. Epoxy primer has exceptional adhesion and corrosion protection.

Over the epoxy primer is a primer surfacer. This primer is sanded smooth and flat. Over the primer surfacer is a sealer. The purpose of the sealer is to provide a thin, hard, smooth surface over the primers for the color coat. Without the sealer primer, sanding marks and color changes will show in the top coat of paint. Sealers need to be top coated relatively quickly for the color paint to bond well.

If the color coat is a base/clear system, then there are two additional layers of paint on top of the primers.

I am amazed at how well these new primers work. I have had excellent results with using epoxy primer for rust repair. The rust repair actually outlasts the factory corrosion protection. Two part catalyzed primer surfacers are easy to sand, and remain stable forever. No more sanding marks showing up months after a car is painted. I often use epoxy primer thinned with reducer as a sealer. It is a bit more expensive than sealer, but it is one less product to have on hand, and I have been very pleased with the results.

Winter Tires

From Judy………By the time you read this, everyone’s fall chores should be done. Wouldn’t that be nice….with one exception. Winter tires.

Gael likes to set a date in November to do this, often Thanksgiving weekend. I like to be ready for that first snow/freezing rain event. We seem to have had this same discussion for 50 years.

My biggest chore is putting on the storm windows. We have the old wooden ones, take them off in the spring, putting them on in the fall. The trouble with this fall chore, all the windows have to be washed, both sides of the storm windows and the outside of the house windows, and then while I’m at it, the inside of the house windows, all 21 of them. Getting them squeaky clean with no streaks is another problem. I’ve spent years cleaning windows many different ways, only to find smudges on them when looking through them in winter, when it’s too cold to do anything about it. Sharon Fiske put me onto a good cleaning product last year and I love it. It works! A few years ago, we installed those little number button things on the windows and corresponding window sills, which make another problem much easier.

Now that the storm windows are on, I move on to the flower beds. Because of the HOT/DRY summer we’ve had, I was ready to cut the flower beds back weeks ago but it was still too hot for me. If it doesn’t get done this fall, I’ll deal with it in the spring. I do have a list of gardening reminders going for next year because I can’t seem to remember much from year to year.

Then we move on to the wood pile! Our son, Owen, has been a great help this year and had most of it cut and split before black fly season arrived. Now it’s time to move the wood to the porch, but we can’t do it until the porch furniture gets moved to the upstairs of the barn, which we need help doing. Seems to me we need more and more help doing stuff lately! Now it will be time to rake leaves, not my favorite chore. A few years ago, our daughter, Susan, gave Gael a leaf blower for Christmas. It sat around for a while, but Gael got it out one year to see how it works and it does! It takes hours and in the end, you have several huge piles of leaves. Now it’s time to move the great piles of leaves. We used a huge king-size sheet that came from somewhere and that works great, and when done, folds up into a small pile to be put away until next year. Getting the leaves into the truck, driving down the road and depositing the leaves in a meadow is the next step, but an easy one. What to do with the geraniums that are still in bloom!! I usually bring them inside (something in past years I said I wouldn’t ever do again) and water them until they die in March. Some people have good luck keeping them over, but we don’t have a good place to put them, either, it’s too hot, there isn’t any sun or something. Then, come spring of next year, I’ll go to the local greenhouse and I’ll buy new ones in full bloom already.

Lastly, getting out the snow scraper from the back of the car, placing it close to the driver’s seat and making sure the tow rope that I got for Christmas a few years ago is in the car. This was a wonderful gift and I was glad to have it on more than one occasion. I do have a good story about my tow rope that I’ll share with you if you are interested. As of now, none of the above have been done. It’s still too early. But when the weather is right, the big rush is on.