Model T Oddities

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Stanly E. Ward - All rights reserved
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Model Ts were such a common part of life in the teens and twenties that they got bent to all sorts of strange uses. I enjoy some of the odd pictures I've come across, and decided to start posting them on days when I was in a 'T' mood but it was too cold to work in the shop.

If you've come across pictures of Fords 'reconfigured' in an interesting way, I'd love to see them.

Snowmobiles

The Model T Ford Snowmobile Club of America is dedicated to Model T snowmobile conversion enthusiasts. Thousands of these conversion kits were made between about 1915 and 1930.  One of these was used to deliver the mail in Central Lake, Michigan in 1923. Dad grew up there in the 30s, and somewhere we still have a newspaper clipping of the car in use, a 1923 runabout with a snowmobile kit on it. As an aside, we recently learned that his father owned the first Model T (or any other car) in Central Lake, and provide taxi service for the area in the late teens.

The Chase Track

In 1921 the Ford Model T was tested with the Chase Track System. Top speed of the vehicle was 25 to 30mph depending on conditions. The Chase Track was made of canvas and cleats.  You can check out other early cargo and personnel carriers beginning at the turn of the last century at Tanks!

Sawmills

For many Ts, their final task was powering a sawmill or other piece of farm equipment. This particular rig, a 1926/27, was recently for sale on eBay. My own T engine survived in this form, with the radiator, hood, firewall, and half the old frame salvaged from an original car.  The previous owner bought it at a farm auction in the seventies.

Railway Locomotives

One of my favorite adaptations is for rail.  The first pair of pictures is locomotive #8 from the Sierra Railway.  The second pair is a Colonel Stephens Railcar, from the British Stephens Railway of the 20s and 30s.

Tractor conversions

Model T Tractor conversions were so common that they hardly qualified as oddities.  Both Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward offered conversion kits in their catalogs, and dozens more companies offered products - everything from a simple rear wheel replacement to building a tractor from the ground up using as many T parts as possible.

You can see more pictures and information on the Fon-du-Lac tractor conversion at http://www.stltikn.com/Pictures/1926_Model_T/1926_model_t.html.

Submarine

This one-man submarine is in Grand Gulf Military Park.  It was used by bootleggers running between Davis Island and Vicksburg during Prohibition, and was powered by a Model T engine.

Peggy, the flying Model T

Peggy, short for Pegasus, of course, started out life as a 26-27 Touring car.  But from 1936 to 1972, American Legion Post 239 of Lawrenceburg, Indiana 'flew' her at parades and public events all over the country.  Local members shortened her frame, adding wings in front and a long 'tail' with a seat mounting high atop and a caster underneath.  With proper weight in the back and perhaps the assistance of a marcher pulling down on her 'tail', she was driven down the street on her rear wheels.

This made her hard to steel, what with the front wheels often high in the air, so marchers would lead the car around in circles and figure-eights from curb to curb.  Cowbells, horns, and other gimcracks added to the spectacle, and her passengers got a wild ride.

I discovered Peggy enshrined in a glass display in front of American Legion Post 239 in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and took a few pictures. Unfortunately, they were from a camera phone, all I had with me at the time, and of poor quality.  Fortunately, I wasn't the only one to spy Peggy. Visit DennyGibson.com for a very nice photograph and stories about Denny's road trips.