Model-T nostalgia

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60

Sir.

As an enthusiastic “Fordist,” I was delighted with Mr Sellen’s nostalgic article on the model-T Ford, but feel I must point out some errors. Front-wheel brakes were never fitted to the model-T, as stated in your editorial note [I stand corrected.—Ed] ; the Ford Times, in announcing the model-A in 1928, said this was because the front end was not designed to take the strain of front-wheel braking.

The illustrations were very good but the coupe at the bottom of page 118 and saloon at top of page 119 were 1926 models and not 1923. [Fords dated the pictures and we’re not arguing.—Ed]

In the text the carburetter is described as containing a “work” float. This should, of course, read “cork.”

My late father was a doctor in this district and he would never use any other make of car, having his first model-T, a two-seater, in 1915. In 1919 this was changed for a special bodied cabriolet, followed in 1926 by a standard four-dour saloon.

These cars were often taken in places where, today, only tractors and trials types ever go. I can well remember trips over Dartmoor “eight up,” when the last hill to our house had to be taken in reverse. Those who do not know the model-T look on it as a figure of fun, but no one who experienced its “go any where” reliabilily in the old days subscribes to this view.

We don’t get much snow and ice in this part of the country but we found that if the handbrake was released to high gear position before leaving the car overnight, it was possible to start the engine next morning without using the jack or getting run over, provided one remembered to return it to neutral position before cranking. This squeezed the warm oil out of the clutch and in the morning the cold sticky oil was all on the “outside.”

In 1932 my father had to learn to drive again after about 200,000 miles because he bought a 24-hp model-AB, which gave place to a 30-hp V8 in 1936. These both had a magnificent performance and covered over 80,000 miles each, but for reasons of economy we had to come down to a Prefect in 1939.

Meanwhile, I had been experimenting on my own account with other makes of car (only mine were secondhand) but I returned to the fold a few years ago, with a 1939 Prefect drophead coupe and am looking forward to a new Consul—if it ever arrives !

I am, Yours etc,

P Thompson, Brixham.

Sir,

It was with much delight and interest that I read the excellent article on the model-T Ford by Mr CAM Sellen.

I have driven the 1914 models and all others up to 1925, which was my last model-T. Everything mentioned in the article is perfectly true. He is, however, not very familiar with the rear brake shoes on these cars, as he said “They looked about 31/2 in in diameter and 3/4 in. wide.”

As I have many times attended to these brakes in an endeavour to prevent the car moving forward when starting from cold, I should like to say that they were approximately 6 in in diameter and 1 in wide. The shoes were made of cast iron, and I believe they were priced at 6d per pair. Many firms in this country marketed improved brake shoes for these models, and I well remember fitting some Stanley shoes with Ferodo linings, which were a great improvement.

Another point of interest to the younger generation is the fact that on taking delivery of a new Ford T from the Manchester factory, the engines were assembled so tightly that once started it had to be kept running for a considerable time, because if it stopped it necessitated waiting until everything had cooled before being able to turn the engine.

I am, Yours, etc.,

SC Weller, Hassocks.