1926 Model T Roadster
1926 Model T Ford Roadster Serial #12334508, License #Cal 759834
Built Sept 18, 1925
I found this vehicle April 19, 2002 on North Alvarado Avenue in Los Angeles after I had made a wrong turn. I spotted the windshield above the rest of the cars at a run down used car lot. About the time I determined the engine was frozen by standing on the engine hand crank, the owner of the lot came
over to tell me the car was in great condition, the engine had just been rebuilt and it was only $6,500. I answered besides not being able to turn the engine hand crank by bouncing my 240 pounds on it, the car had not been registered since the 1950’s and starting to walk away I looked over my shoulder and said, “I wouldn’t pay over $3,000 for it. In about an hour it was loaded on a flat bed on its way to my house and I couldn’t believe he took $3,000. Heck, just the Ruckstell and body were worth that.
I took the engine head off and the problem was obvious. Water had leaked by the head gasket and the #3 piston was down and cylinder full of rust. I cleaned the cylinder wall up as best I could and poured a little Marvel Mystery oil around the piston. It took me 30 minutes to return with a piece of dry ice that I put in the cylinder. About 10 minutes later the piston and rings shrank with a pop and I had movement. 5 hours later I had removed the piston, installed new rings, honed the cylinder wall, adjusted the rod and main bearings, re-installed the pan inspection cover and changed the oil.
Next was the gas tank. I took the gas shut off valve off and tried to blow the tank out with 100 pounds of compressed air. Within 15 seconds the entire driveway area and back yard Was filled with a cloud of dust accumulated from years of driving with 1920 & 1930’s gas and the dirt roads of Los Angeles. After several more attempts with compressed air I couldn’t see my garage or back yard anymore so I resorted to washing the tank out with water and then air-dried it with more compressed air.
I installed a new battery and gas and she fired right up. I had noticed a few things while working on the car. While re-installing the engine head I had noticed the head had been milled down so far that when I set the head on the block without the head gasket the pistons barely kissed the head surface. The magneto ring and magnets had been removed. Also I was a little surprised the pistons were an early aluminum type and .040 oversized. Additionally the springs had been lowered 2 inches. I drove onto the street and realized this early hot rod this was strongest running Model T.
The picture is as I found the car but after a through wash. I have since re-cored the radiator, changed the carburetor to a Stromberg and after scaring myself a couple of times making high speed stops added outside rear brakes.