Early in 2012 I saw this car advertised in Hemming Motor News. I thought it would be a good idea to have a closed Model T for cold weather, and the price was good. It happened that I was about to go to California in the Suburban to pick up some windows that are sold only on the west coast, so I arranged to stop and take a look at the car in the Phoenix area where it was located. The T appeared to be in very good condition, so I decided to take the plunge. On my way back from California I stopped and bought the car, rented a trailer, and hauled it home.
The man who sold me the car was the nephew of the late previous owner, Gene Salzman. Included with the car was a notebook that contained the following story by Mr. Salzman:
I found the 1923 aluminum body Model T in an old wood shed near Watertown, WI. I bought it March 30th, 1976. It belonged to a farmer who had died 40 years before and the family had never moved it. When I took a broom and got some of the dust off of it, I noticed the body was blue. I said to the son,”Your father must have painted it blue sometime.” He said, “No, he never painted it,” and couldn’t understand why it had turned blue and the fenders still black.
On the way home I remembered reading that Ford had made a few four-door sedans with aluminum bodies. Maybe that was why the black paint on the body had oxidized during all those years and turned to blue. When I got home I put a magnet on the body and sure enough it was aluminum.
It took me a few years to restore the car to its present condition. I removed all the paint down to the bare aluminum on the body as you see it today. I painted the fenders black and the hood aluminum to match the body. I had the motor taken out and completely rebuilt by a professional. I had him balance the motor so it, now, runs smoother than new.
My wife Helen and I sanded all the wooden spokes in the wheels down to the bare wood. I decided to put a wood preservative on the spokes before I painted them. That was a mistake as the wood preservative got in my lungs and almost finished me. I had trouble breathing. I lost my voice for 6 weeks.
Later on we put a new top on it. Installed a new set of tires, new spark plugs, new wiring, new timer, and a few more new parts.
This car is, also, equipped with a Muncie transmission and Rocky Mountain brakes. Rocky Mountain brakes are a must if you have a Muncie transmission. Otherwise you wouldn’t have any brakes if you happen to get the Muncie in neutral.
When I got the car home I unloaded it and started it up. It ran well for less than a minute, then stopped dead. I rolled it into the carport and started checking all the usual things you check when a car doesn't run. It turned out that the culprit was a fiber timing gear that had disintegrated. The fiber timing gear is a bad idea, especially on a car that has a generator to put extra strain on it. So now the car is waiting for me to get one of the other cars done and out of the shop so I can move it inside to do the engine work.