This car is a 1911 Canadian Model T Touring, serial number 50253. It is one of 2805 cars built in Walkerville Ontario during 1911. At this time, Ford Canada was using US serial numbers and this would place the build date of this car sometime near late April or early May, 1911. Since there are very few records from Ford of Canada about cars built during this period, this is as close as we can determine the actual date of manufacture. In 1911 this car would have cost $780 US "Fully Equipped", or "Unequipped", $700.
We are the third owner of this car. The first owner lived in Ste-Marguerite Quebec, Canada. The car was sold sometime around 1950 to the second owner, who lived south of Montreal, Quebec. The car sat in the garage for the better part of the past 50 years that we know of. The pictures above and to the right show the car being loaded from the garage where we found it onto our trailer. Some attempts have been made, prior to our discovery, to repair or modify the paint on the car. The fenders and top irons have been removed but are in very good condition. The original leather interior in this car is in fair condition, but we'll actually use it in another project, and put all new leather into this car using what's there for patterrns.
1911 is an interesting year for Model Ts, as many small changes were made to the basic design of the car. The body styles were all new for 1911 as was the enclosed valve engine, the engine pan, transmission cover and a host of other changes.
Most authorities state that by the time our car was made, the 1911 touring body had been changed from the all-wood construction of earlier years to metal panels over a wooden framework. This car has an all wood body and we know of two cars with consecutive serial numbers built several months later than this, one of which is all wood and the other is metal skinned. The discrepancy between 'authoritative sources' and fact crops up all the time during Ford Model T restorations, even when the authoritative source is the official Ford archives. This makes it difficult to determine what is exactly correct for any given car, especially the early cars. Our years of restoration experience tells us that when it comes to Model Ts, Henry Ford definitely did not "make them all the same".
The body paint on this car has been doctored by previous owners, so we needed to look under the leather upholstery to find traces of the original colour of this car. Ford specified that all touring cars for 1911 would be painted blue, but we know of several examples where this directive was not followed. We verified that this car was originally painted blue with grey pin striping. 1911 marked the last year for pin striping on the body and running gear. Since the striping was all done by hand by several painters, each car would likely exhibit variations in the style and placement of the striping.
The restoration begins by removing the body from the frame. Work on the wheels begins. The wheels must be taken apart, the rivets checked and the felloe splicers replaced. The wheels are then scraped down, removing any damaged wood and filled. If the spokes are too damaged they must be completely replaced. The wheels are then primed and sanded several times until they are ready for painting. Wheel restoration is painstaking work and often results in removing the skin from your hands.
Here we see the body off the frame. The dash board had been replaced on this car with a plywood version, stained a dark reddish brown. This will be replaced with a correct birch lumber-core dash which will be clear coated. Also, the coil box is wrong for this car. Somewhere along the line the original Heinze coil box was replaced with a 1918 metal coil box. The steering wheel should not be varnished wood, but painted. As you can see the frame on this car is in exceptional state and not pitted.
It is truly remarkable that the interior is almost 100 years old and still together, even though we're going to make an exact duplicate using new leather. This car obviously spent much of its days in storage, not exposed to the elements.
Here is the restored frame and front axle assembly, ready for painting. They both came up perfect and straight. The front axle has two sideways 'M' insignia on the front by each spindle mount. Interesting as well is the front radius rod arms are completley cylindrical and not tapered like most we have seen.
Below is a photo of the 1911 Ford, fully operational, painted with a new top. It is ready for pin striping and some othe final touch ups before being complete.
The blue paint on the body, with black running gear and fenders is corrrect for the model year and blue body looks almost black.
The car's original serial number tag is afixed below the front seat on the face of the kick plate. It shows "The Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited, Engine No 50253 Walkerville, Ontario".
Lastly, here's a picture of the 1911 touring on a rare warm but snowy December morning in Eastern Ontario.