This truck has been a guest at the shop this past winter, and got tended to as my regular work schedule permitted.. It’s a 1923 Model TT Ford closed cab truck. Passenger vehicles were designated as a T, but trucks were identified as the TT’s. Powertrains were the same in all of them- L-head 4 cylinders that produced about 20 horsepower coupled to an innovative planetary 2 speed transmission. A heavy duty worm drive differential in the TT models along with heavy duty rear springs, axles, larger rear wheels and tires made it capable of heavy loads. I was told that it hadn’t run in 40 years or so. The tires had dry rotted, and mice had been living in it. The good news was that it had been inside all of those years. Most of the fabric insulation on the wiring was gone due to mice and the ravages of time, so all of the wiring was replaced, and rebuilt ignition coils were installed. With a new battery and fresh gas in the tank, the old TT came to life. It even ran on the magneto after starting!
The earliest Model T’s had no generator or electric starter. They used a “hotshot” battery that had to be recharged periodically, and cranked by hand. Later production added a generator to recharge the battery. Eventually an electric starter was optional and became standard equipment by the end of production. This truck has a generator, but no electric starter, so it has to be cranked by hand. The ignition switch is turned to the left, which allows the battery to energize the coils so it will start at the low rpm cranking speeds. After it starts the switch is turned to the right- past the off position- to connect the magneto (which is built into the flywheel) to power the coils. Spark advance and throttle are controlled by levers on the steering column, and fuel mixture is controlled by a turning a rod on the passenger side of the dash that’s connected to the carburetor. Driving an old Ford required lots of driver input and active participation! Then there was the matter of getting it to move. A lever coming up through the floor between your left leg and the door was the parking brake/neutral/high gear control. Three foot pedals were L-R: low gear, reverse, and brake. It seems a little daunting at first, but with a little instruction and practice, it becomes second nature.
Other than vacuuming and cleaning the glass, I tried to leave as much “patina” on it as possible. (funny how we used to call it dirt not too long ago). The old truck wears it well, and with all of its’ warts and battle scars, it looks just right with it.