Western Idaho Model T Club

Members Cars

Western Idaho Model T Club
Dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the Ford, Model T

Members Cars and their Stories...

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Member: Steve and Jan Strom
1926 Ford Truck, Model TT

Musings of a Model TT Truck Owner or was Grandpa Entirely Truthful

  We own a 1926 Ford Truck, Model TT (Ton Truck in Ford speak). In a previous life it was a logging truck (sort of); in that it supplied firewood to the citizens of Council and Tamarack Idaho. It is modified from the original (to make it better of course) in the following manner. It has a Ruckstell 2 speed differential and a 3 speed Muncie auxiliary transmission aft of the Ford 2 speed transmission. This gives it 13 forward speeds (2 original + 2 Ruckstell = 4 x 3 Muncie = 12 + if you place the Muncie in reverse and hit the Ford reverse it goes forward = 13). The Muncie in 3rd is an overdrive 1.27 to 1 and is capable of propelling the truck to blinding speeds of which we’ll never know because at about 20 miles an hour the long driveshaft vibrates and common sense says go no faster (a problem common to all TT trucks I believe). The truck is further modified by making the frame about 12 inches longer to accommodate the auxiliary Muncie transmission (the driveshaft could have been shortened but someone decided to take the mountain to Mohammad instead of taking Mohammad to the mountain). The way this was accomplished was to obtain another truck frame, cut the entire front ¾ off and lay the new frame rails outside the original (the original cross member is removed) and held in place with a couple of bolts on each side. I believe it has been this way since nearly new as everything is very professionally done. The rear brake rods are lengthened with factory made cables and the transmission is well supported and spring loaded to give it some flexibility. The (input) forward “U” joint is special, shorter with double female square ends. The bed is homemade or possibly part of an old wagon and a few inches longer than a factory Ford bed. When we bought the truck it had a Stewart-Warner vacuum tank on the firewall probably to allow it to operate in the mountains. I removed the problematic vacuum tank and replaced it with a low pressure 6 volt electric fuel pump and a pressure regulator set to 1 P.S.I. It is wired to a hot terminal on the firewall with a 10 amp circuit breaker and has to be manually turned off when leaving the truck (it has to run both on battery and magneto). I plan on wiring in a time delay switch to shut it off in case I forget (which of course would never happen (again)).

  Where are we going with this? Well looking at the attached pictures we have ½ of the trucks rated capacity loaded, in this case 1060 Lbs. of trash going to the dump. There isn’t room for another 1000 Lbs.! On the other hand we could be hauling bricks or bags of cement which would reach a 2000 Lb. limit pretty quickly. I don’t think with that much weight the truck would/could move. The road to the dump is steep and I started uphill in the wrong gear and tried to downshift the truck to Muncie direct and killed the engine and with the sudden stop we lost part of our load and had to clean it up and reload. On another hill I missed a gear on the downshift and got stuck in neutral (angel gear) and the truck started to roll backwards downhill, not good on a busy road! I crammed the gear shift forward to engage a gear, any gear, to stop the rapidly accelerating and unwanted reverse motion and ended up engaging two gears at the same time (which brings it to a screeching halt). I had our son get out and place the jack under the rear wheel so it wouldn’t run over me while I crawled under the vehicle to shift it back to neutral. The last quarter mile to the dump (Pickle Butte Landfill) is really steep (for a Model TT) and I was running in low (Ford), low (Ruckstell), and low (Muncie), (a little less than walking speed). The Muncie transmission just howled making an unearthly banshee like sound as if  the gears were going to come through the cast iron case (probably has a bad bearing). We made it taking about an hour and a half to go 12 miles loaded and some 45 minutes to return home, getting approximately 8 miles to the gallon of gas (sounds terrible but it’s only about 1 gallon per hour). We hear those stories about how much weight Grandpa had on his Model T’s and even seen the pictures (probably flat level ground). It takes a lot of practice to shift those unsynchronized transmissions. I’m getting better at it but it’ll be a long time before I’m really good at it. The cab is extremely uncomfortable and there is no room for your legs when the Ruckstell axle shifter is in low. Amenities (heater, air conditioning, radio, brakes, shocks, speedometer, instruments, lights, turn signals, etc.) are nonexistent or minimal at best.

   How did Ford sell approximately 1.5 million Model TT trucks? These trucks were obsolete when they were new but they were cheap (inexpensive) almost to the point of being disposable. They did, however, replace a team and wagon. The cost of a new truck was more or less the same as a good pair of work horses or mules. Work horses get tired and require good feed (oats) and year round maintenance (trucks can be put up wet, so to speak, and require fuel only when working). Parts were readily available for the mostly Model T automobile based trucks and a Ford dealer was available in every village (there was even one in tiny Bowmont, Idaho; close to where we live). Trucks were not fast by today’s standards but even I can’t imagine how long it took to hitch up the team and wagon and go to town and back (guessing 3 to 5 miles per hour). Horses and mules sometime just die (trucks do too but usually can be resurrected). Trucks can be cantankerous but so can mules (both sure can kick). It was just evolving technology as surely as it is today. A good team would use auto-pilot to deliver the wagon to its home base even if the driver is incapacitated or drunk. Soon trucks will make deliveries without the driver. The Model TT truck evolved into something better and few horses today are used for serious work (the military went fully mechanized at the very beginning of WW II and there are more horses today than at the turn of the 20th century (O.K. more people too)). Yes I’m aware I’m a menace on the highway (DO NOT SEND THIS TO MY INSURANCE COMPANY), but I do enjoy telling and showing people the way it really was! A view of the (close by) countryside at 20 miles per hour is completely different. Life is good in the slow lane! Steve and Jan   (pictures enclosed)

Member: Don Borchers
 1923 Model T Ford

 The year was 1956 and I was 20 years old and working at Paul Parks Auto Rebuild on Lusk Street in Boise, Idaho. I was a painter helper, sanding cars and getting them ready to paint.  The head painter and my boss was Jim Woodward.  A lot of you know Jim Woodward. He is the man that restores license plates. Many of you have purchased restored license plates from him.  Jim is 95 years young this year - 2015. I worked 3 years at Paul Parks. In 1957 I went to work in the office of Garrett Freight Lines just down the street from Paul Parks. My dream was to become a Painter and Body man, but my body was not up to it. So I spent the next 41 years working in the trucking industry. Jim Woodward knew Leo Hostetler who had purchased my Model T from a farmer in Orofino, Idaho. Leo wanted to sell it for $50.00.  Jim asked me if I wanted to go half on it and I said yes. The only thing was, the T was still in Orofino and we had to go get it and it was January 1956. We couldn’t wait for good weather. The road to Mc Call was so bad we went via Oregon and into Lewiston.  My Dad had a new 1955 GMC pickup and he let Jim and I take it. We browed a car trailer from Grant Bushong.   When we got to Orofino we found the Model T buried in about a foot of snow and the body of the T was full of snow as well.  We had taken a portable come-along pulley with us and we were able to get the T out of the snow and loaded on the trailer. It was one very cold day. Even to us 2 crazy guy’s. In 1956 I bought Jim out of his $25 and it became my “Model T”.   I moved our family to Pocatello, Id in 1962. I had help with the body work but I did all the sanding and getting it ready for the lacquer paint.  It was painted with one coat of  Ditzler acrylic lacquer in 1976. I hand rubbed it out. We never used a power buffer on it. In 1966 all new seat springs from Snyder’s cost me $70.80. The upholstery kit came from Smitty’s Cut & Cover, $120.00. The top kit from came from Sorensen Top Shop, $67.10 and for total of $257.90. Now, this is what is hard to believe, I was charged $38.00 in June of 1967 by Fred Gunther Auto Trim Shop in Pocatello, Id. to install the top kit and the upholstery kit. I completed restoration in 1967.

Here is the motor history:

1956-  Bore engine and new cast iron pistons. New babbitt by Mr. Woods  Sr. Nampa

             My Father in law, Mel Dalton put the engine together. 

1970-  2nd Value job and aluminum pistons and Bosch distributor. By Roy Eaton

1992-  Complete rebuild of the Ruckstell by Roy Eaton

2000-  3rd  Valve job with harden sets and new set of aluminum pistons. 

            The original Babbitt on the rods looked great. By Craig Warrick

Has a high compression “Ricardo Head” 

So, after having my 92 year old Model T for 59 years I can say, it is my favorite ride. 

The plus in having my Model T is the great fellowship with my family and friends!

It truly has been a blessing in my life and continues to be. 

Don Borchers, December 23, 2015

Member: Gerry Diffendaffer  


I am “Ruby Runabout”, 1921 Model T Ford, “A Basic Car” made in America by
one of 19 assembly plants. My paint is a mixture of Gislonite(North American
Asphaltum Northeastern Utah), Linseed Oil and Turpentine applied from an
overhead gravity tank with a hose and sprinkler head. My seat cushions and
dash are covered with original Ford Leatherette. My firewall is laminated
wood covered with veneer. My floorboards are original wood. Federal law
mandated my green eyebrows to dim the brightness.  July 1921, Ford then
installed fluted headlight lens to end of Model T production. My steering
wheel and electrical junction box are made from straw and a rubberized
compound. My tire size 30 x 3 front and 30 x 3 ½ back.

My first owner was a nice older Kansas lady that purchased me in 1921 for
$370.00. I was a basic car without a starter as evidenced by my cowl oil
running lights. Additionally, she purchased a starter, generator, battery,
cables starter switch. Ford offered a starter car in 1919 but the cowls did
not have any oil lights. She drove me with care for two years with out
cranking until her vision prevented safe driving. I was put on blocks in a
nice garage. An Eastern Idaho relative inherited me and then his niece
became my owner. Then I was purchased Mr. Chares MGuffey of Caldwell, Idaho,
an Amsoil Jober. In the fall of 2013,Mr. Gerry Diffendaffer became my latest
owner. Each owner has given many rides in me and kept me on blocks and under
cover. I now live in a covered wagon.

When I was with Mr. McGuffey, I developed an excessive high temperature
problem with my engine. Someone installed a Texas T water pump me to cure my
heating symptom. Mr. Diffendaffer removed my head on my engine and found
that the head was defective. He implanted another head on my engine but the
high temperature symptom still persisted. He experimented with the timing
and fuel mixture but that did not cure my symptoms. With the water pump,
Gerry had to constantly add water to my cooling system.

Gerry found the flow rate correct through my radiator and then removed the
water pump made few tests runs without the pump. The water in radiator
maintained the correct fill level. My high temperature symptoms have abated.
Wow, it is nice my engine running at the correct operating temperature,

Since then I have given many children and adults rides in me. Please Take
pictures too but ask permission to sit in the car.

Note:  The Model T Ford was designed to start on a six volt dry cell, then
the ignition was switched to run on an internal alternating current dynamo.
Also, 15 million Model T Fords were manufactured with a Thermal Siphon
cooling system that operated by natural convection without a water pump.
Today most of the Model T Fords do not have a water pump.
Gerry Diffendaffer
I have included (above) a picture of fathers first 1921 Model T Ford Runabout and a
picture of my 1921 Original Runabout. 

Member: David Garbani


This Model T Ford was handed down through my family and four generations. When I took ownership of this “T” the only thing that I could tell that was missing was a wing-nut for the windshield. It is a 1927 Roadster Pickup and was purchased new by my Great-grandfather, Jacinto Garbani Nerini. I have his last license plates, the original owners’ manual and a key fob that was given by the dealer at the time of purchase. He was an immigrant from Switzerland, born in 1868 and died in 1955. He and his family were farmers and began farming in southern California and continued through the 1970’s. This model T was driven by him on the family farms and to and from town until the year of his death. Since then it has been in various chicken coops, garages, storage units and under tarps until 2008. After my wife and I retired we moved to Idaho, had a shed, ‘CAVE’, built and began the restoration on the vehicle. Most of what was left of 2008 was used for disassembling the “T”. Almost all of 2009 and 2010 was spent panning out various aspects of restoration work and painting. In 2011 we, I and my 84 year old neighbor Joe Weatherford set about putting it all back together. I am now at the point where there is a little upholstery left to do behind the seat and then tackle, maybe, getting the cab cover all back together. During the reassembly, and I do mean reassembly by many times, there was much to be learned; First of all take pictures of everything when disassembling, keep a picture log of everything in chronological order, stuff rags in the transmission when doing any work there and do not rush! I am now learning how to drive this thing and keeping my head screwed on straight while learning the pedals and hand brake coordination; trying not to panic. Most of the out-sourced work that was done on this must be acknowledged and I call them out with much appreciation. They were Tom Sidener, Kuna, for body work and painting, The 4X4 shop, Caldwell, for engine rebuild, Craig Warrick, Nampa, for transmission rebuild and Ruckstel installation, and “Stubby” at Stubblefields Soda Blasting, Caldwell, the Windshield Doctor, Caldwell. Everyone I worked with was very helpful and greatly appreciated. Thank you all!

It is now approaching the end of 2012 and I have missed a whole season of driving due to what I suspect was ethanol in the gasoline. My original gas tank was cleaned and coated at a local radiator shop which after X period of time began to dissolve and fouled my carburetor, valves and pistons. Initially, due to the “T” beginning to misfire while driving, I checked the fuel flow since the “T” had been running fine. After that checked good that led me to believe it was either the carburetor or electrical, somewhere in the ignition components. After much ado and tearing the carburetor apart, AGAIN, I noticed that the heat plate, Holley Vaporizer, had quite a lot of gunk build-up on the intake side. Light came on that there was something to do with the gasoline. I drained the tank and was horrified to see that it came out a dark green! The tank is back at the radiator shop, and has been there since July. I have since purchased a refurbished tank out of Los Angeles and the “T” is now running fine; non-ethanol gas from now on.

Member: Dave Marquart

The Saga of the Marquart Family Ford Model TT

 Where to start!  There have been so many different stories told by family members about the Model TT that I felt the need to try and get the stories straight.  And as some one else has said, This is the rest of the story!

 As a kid growing up in western South Dakota, Deadwood and Lead, Glendive, Montana, and then Minot, North Dakota, our family went on vacation to visit our grand parents, Walter and Mary, in Minnesota.  During this time, I was told stories of the Model T truck that was located on the 'farm' near Pequot Lakes, Minnesota.  As a kid, it was great fun for grandpa to start up the T by cranking the hand crank, getting in the cab and taking off down the road to some kind of chore.  Great times for a kid growing up and learning about motors and how to start and drive a T.  Cousin Tom interjects he does not have too much to add other than his experience of grand dad trying to teach him to drive on it. “I failed abysmally”!  
  I recall a bit more of my experience when grandpa tried to teach me to drive:

 I must have been about 8 years old that summer that grandpa tried to teach me to drive Tin Lizzy.  We were sitting in it, engine not running, and he explained the controls to me, and in particular how to work the clutch.  To my young mind it was a bit baffling but I tried to be attentive and remember what he was saying.  Grandpa set the magneto and choke, got out and gave it a couple of cranks.  Soon Lizzy was running and shaking just a bit, maybe it knew I was about to try and drive it.  Grandpa got back in and showed me what happened when the magneto was advanced and retarded, and how the manual choke worked.  Now it was my turn.  We exchanged seats and I grabbed the steering wheel with both fear and excitement!  Grandpa made some minor adjustment and said "Let's go!"  I had a little trouble depressing the clutch petal so I decided that probably wasn't necessary as I shoved it into gear, causing a big grinding sound.  The engine stalled as we made one lurch!  Grandpa gave me a frustrated look said that even he could hear the gears grinding.  So ended my one and only attempt to drive the Tin Lizzy.   

And from Pat

 The only memory I have is that I do remember seeing it at Grandpa & Grandma Marquarts' farm in Minn.  I seem to remember that at the time (it was in the mid 50's I think after we returned from Indonesia) it was not in running shape but I remember sitting in the front seat and pretending that I was driving.  If memory serves, when facing the house at the farm, Tin Lizzy was in the woods off to the right.
Thanks for the memories…

 Richard stopped by the Zimmerman Museum the other day and talked to Sue Larsen about the movie made in the Madison area:

 The Zimmerman Museum in Madison, South Dakota has pictures of the TT when it was utilized as a moving platform for a camera while a movie was filmed in the area.  
The movie "Dakotah" was made in 1929 by students at Eastern Normal School (now DSU).  Most of it was filmed in a pasture at the NW corner of Lake Herman.  It portrayed the settlement of the area.  Ed had a small part in the movie & was very involved in making the sets, etc.  The Mundt Foundation has a collection of pictures that were given by the family of Florence Newcomb who was the leading lady.  When we were going through Ed's pictures I found a bunch that he had also taken during the filming.  These are at the museum.  The movie was on the silver nitrate film & doesn't exist anymore.  If we ever get the current projects at the museum finished we would like to do something with all of the pictures -- maybe a presentation about the filming of "Dakotah" with the truck. 

About 4 years ago I finished scanning Ed's pictures & asked Les if he would like to see them.  We viewed them on the computer at the museum which made them nice & big.  He told me that his father's truck was used by the filming crew.


 I am attaching pictures that have the truck in them & one of the covered wagon that was taken from the truck. 

 As I remember other stories and old memories, one comes to mind where we were visiting the Farm during the winter.  Snow was falling straight down and the fence posts were piled high with fresh snow.  So different from North Dakota where one snow flake falls during the winter and the wind keeps it blowing back and forth all over the state.  Anyway, as I remember, to start the Model TT, Grandpa would drain the water, maybe oil, or both, after he would use it and take the pail(s) into the house and store them next to the stove to keep them warm.  When he next wanted to use the Model TT, he would pour in the warm water (oil) and off he would go.  I seem to remember he would jack one rear wheel off the ground to help when he would crank the engine. 

 First, the Ford Model T is really a TT.  When Henry Ford made the first one ton truck in 1917, he named it a TT for ton truck, so our 'Tin Lizzy' is a Ford Model TT.  Not a bad thing, as there were not many TT made during its life span.  Over 15 million cars where made during from 1909 to 1927.  There were 1,263,516 TT's made from 1917 to 1927.

 I had been told the TT was used by Grandpa for construction and cement work when they were in Madison, South Dakota, placing concrete for bridges, roads, sidewalks, and other infrastructure projects.  We have a black and white picture of the TT loaded with gravel and pulling a cement mixer.  The date of the picture is about 1925 or so and the location is Madison, South Dakota.

 Again, for as long as I can remember, family members have told me the TT was made and purchased in the year 1919.  When I picked up the TT in 1977, I had the 1976 South Dakota Title document with the year of the vehicle indicating 1919.  As I was doing research on the 'life' of the TT, I found some interesting information from its 'paper trail'.

 The first 'Certificate of Title' I can find on the TT is from South Dakota and the date of the Title is 1931.  On the Title, the year of the vehicle is 1920.  The next Title information I can find is from 1939 and now the TT is indicated as being a 1919 model year.  All of the post Title information indicates the TT is a 1919.

 Another part of the story deals with the location of the TT from the mid 50's to when dad picked it up at the 'farm' in 1973.  My best guess would be it was placed in the barn when grandma died and grandpa left to stay with family around the country.  Grandpa died in Minot in 1959 and the story continues. 

 There are many stories, to say the least, and to keep the TT history correct, I turned to additional information that came to me while dad had the truck and after he turned the title over to me.  His first letter to me came with the TT in 1977.


 16x6.00 tires and wheels:  If we can't find a 32x4 ½ and you want to drive truck – put on the 16” wheels.  One of the tires is not good so that is why the extra tire.  If you put on these wheels, you may find that one of the axle 'keys' is not a good fit.  O.K., you'll find a key that works, in one of the boxes or pails.  30X3 ½ tires:  not too good but will work.  Probable will need a  'boot' here and there.  There is a boot in one of them now.  (called a 'Flap' – between tube and wheel)  A new gasket set under the seat.

You will get smoke when you start the engine.  That's cause I put a big shot of Casite in gas.  Don't worry about it.  It's good for the engine and will quit when you add gasNeed a tail pipe from muffler to just past rear axle.  Maybe this pipe I sent can be cut to fit.
The original 1931 Title:  I'd like to see you keep this – maybe frame it with glass on both sides.  Maybe hang in radio room, work shop, den.
  Before we had little 6 V. batteries, we used a 6 V. “hot-shot”, they lasted, and lasted, etc. 
When I received the TT in 1977, it ran (smoked a bit) and we had a good time taking neighbor kids and family on rides around the block – even to school for “show and tell”.  
 I have another letter from Dad dated June 15, 1995.

 David – as you research the history of the T Truck, you should note the following:

 In 1926 or 27, my dad, who bought the truck new, was hauling the High School Band instruments to the State Band competition and on the way home blew the engine.  He then bought two (2) new engines.  These are those that you have.


P.S.  In the busy construction season, we changed engines every Sunday – then cleaned up the other one, carbon, rings, what ever needed, in the evenings after work.

 I attempted to make the TT as accurate as possible as to when Grand dad purchased the truck.  The TT was only available as a chassis at this time and you added a cab and bed on it to suit your needs.  So, some of the pictures show chassis only.  The old style cab is ready to be placed on the chassis and new pictures will show what it looked like in the early years after the cab was installed.  The bed is next. 

 The TT came with headlights and a tail light.  The Marquart TT did not have either.  I found the pieces/parts in San Diego and electric head and tail lights are now on the truck.  The Marquart TT did not have an electric starter but did have the option to have one installed.  The engine I installed has a starter and works well.  I also fabricated a battery holder from original drawings and a battery is installed in the correct location.  It was an option to have a rear view mirror – I don't have one, and if you find one for a T or TT, let me know!

All parts, which were worn, were replaced either by purchase or manufacturing them.  These parts are about 90 years old and some can not be found so making them is required – and not always easy!  Any part that could be reused was and nothing that would detract from the original was removed.  I guess what I am saying is when you see the Marquart TT today, it should be as you recalled it from your collective memories.   




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