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Building a brass era speedster with a Wisconsin T Head Engine


Guest T Head Speedster
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Guest T Head Speedster

Guys,

 

I'm new to the forum, and have a speedster project with my dad.  He's not making any progress on the car so I offered to help.  It's not going to be easy, but it should turn out to be a gorgeous racer.  The base of the project is a "field find" 1912 Century Electric chassis that dad bought for 25 dollars about fifteen years ago now.  As you can see it's underslung which should be a great chassis for a speedster.  He found a nice Wisconsin T head engine, a Cadillac clutch, and a buick transmission.  What will make it tricky is we're trying to make it a right hand drive.  Anyway, here's the obligatory pics.

 

Andy

 

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Fascinating stuff.  I looks forward to reading of further progress, as I am sure anyone else who reads this will be too.  A 312 cid engine in a short wheelbase chassis (104"?) should be ideal.  If that rear end is 5:1 you may want to look for something with a taller ratio - maybe in the threes?

 

From what I have read this model Wisconsin looks to be the little brother to the unit used in the Stutz Bearcat which had a 4 3/4" bore and 380 cubes.

Edited by nzcarnerd (see edit history)
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Guest T Head Speedster

Fascinating stuff.  I looks forward to reading of further progress, as I am sure anyone else who reads this will be too.  A 312 cid engine in a short wheelbase chassis (104"?) should be ideal.  If that rear end is 5:1 you may want to look for something with a taller ratio - maybe in the threes?

 

From what I have read this model Wisconsin looks to be the little brother to the unit used in the Stutz Bearcat which had a 4 3/4" bore and 380 cubes.

 

The diff is a Timken, and yes it's 5 to 1.  Does anyone have any suggestions on who could make a ring gear and pinion for something like this?  Dad has always done restorations, so this is a little uncharted for us.  The engine should have great power.  Dad bought it from someone on the East Coast who had it in a large touring car.

 

Very interesting. Keep us posted as you progress. I'm building a speedster from scratch and am always looking for how-to tips.

 

Will do.  The big question right now is how to do the clutch and steering linkage.  We're attempting to make it right hand drive.  Dad has a Model A right hand drive steering column we might use.

 

Very cool start!

 

I agree!  The stars just kinda aligned when he rescued the chassis and got a screaming deal on the engine.

 

Love the look of that motor!  Hell of a project you got there.

 

It really is a nice engine.  It should be a beast in the fenderless speedster.  I hope we can make good progress on it and get it done.  Dad's really working on a '35 Ford Phaeton this year so I'll see what I can get done.  He's running out of cars to restore, so it'll get done at some point.  He's restored a '10 T Touring, '24 T Sedan, '32 B Woodie Wagon, and '32 B 5 Window.  He's also got a restored '39 Convertible Sedan, and the only non-Ford- a 1913 Oakland Touring, a mostly unrestored driver.

 

If anyone has any pics or suggestions of how to do the clutch linkage on a cone style clutch like this, I'm all ears!

 

PS- Here's a shot of me driving the '10 T since everyone loves pics.  It had been converted to a pickup and dad bought it from Bill Harrah.  

 

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Should any questions come up about the engine you might like to contact Terry Harper, who's been rebuilding a "P" 6cyl T-head practically from scratch...

He posts as tharper on the Multi Cyl or the Antq Auto/Trk forum on smokstak, and as terry harper on the practical machinist site...

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Guest T Head Speedster

Quality work... look forward to that being applied to your speedster as well...

 

I'll thank you for my dad.  He's a former national president of the Horseless Carriage Club of America, so he's pretty into it!  He's Jim Boyden.  Some of you might know him.  He lives in the Bay Area.

 

Should any questions come up about the engine you might like to contact Terry Harper, who's been rebuilding a "P" 6cyl T-head practically from scratch...

He posts as tharper on the Multi Cyl or the Antq Auto/Trk forum on smokstak, and as terry harper on the practical machinist site...

 

Thanks Bud!  I'll take a look.  I *think* the engine is going to be used as is, at least initially.  It looks like it's in great shape, and as mentioned it was powering a large touring car.

 

I found some more pictures... Does anyone know a good way to build frame mounts for the engine and transmission, so that they look period/factory correct?

 

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Re your engine mounts, maybe you could start by seeing how it was done on the American Underslung.  Finding some restoration pics of one, or better still find a car and have a look.  This pic gives an idea of what looks to be a complete sub frame supporting the driveline components   -   http://www.sportscardigest.com/wp-content/uploads/American-Underslung-chassis-750x562.jpg

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post-78299-0-27813600-1455118000_thumb.jpost-78299-0-09210300-1455118020_thumb.jpost-78299-0-79781100-1455118083_thumb.jpost-78299-0-96822000-1455118057_thumb.jpost-78299-0-35807200-1455118164_thumb.jI knew I had seen this years ago but wished I had taken photos as it was a totally new concept to me as to how to mount a drivetrain. I found these photos years later and kept them as I knew this car from my teenage years. It is  the only surviving GJG built in White Plains, NY as the factory race car in 1911.

 

Hope some small detail helps you.

 

Howard Dennis

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Your frame is interesting, but not a good mate for that engine. As has been pointed out by others your engine came from a vehicle with a subframe  for mounting the engine and most likely the gearbox.  I would probably start with the siderails of a smaller frame ; possibly even a Model T Ford as they are usually reasonably easy to find, and work out where the engine and gearbox should sit height-wise in relation to the main frame. Keep in mind you will be left with a short driveshaft so the drive line axis should be as close as possible to your rear end pinion height or your universal joints will have a hard time .  Then work out suitable crossmember shapes and fabricate them. I will  attachsome  photo's of the frame from my 1912 Staver which uses a sub frame mount engine.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/57244155@N07/sets/72157663559626600

  Your crossmembers will need to mount the subrails higher than your main rails , rather than lower as in the case of my conventional {non -underslung}frame design. I will see if I can find a good picture  of an American Underslung Tourist frame, they use the same subframe rails as my Staver {both used the same Teetor- Hartley T head} but much different crossmembers to position the sub-frame above the main frame. Your crossmembers would end up similar to American's.

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Guest T Head Speedster

Thanks Greg.  I appreciate your thoughts on this project.  I went to my folks' house tonight and took some more pics.  The current wood subframe is indeed higher than the original frame.  Dad's got a lot of goodies for it.  He has a couple sets of pedals and hopefully we can make something work.  The steering needs to be moved over as well, to match the 1913 Cadillac RHD column.  Not sure how we're going to do that yet.  Oh, and apparently there's just Model T frame rails laying in the leaves over there.  :)

 

Oh yeah, Dad's got a sweet brass searchlight for it too!

 

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Looks like you are well on your way and have lots of good  parts for the project.   I can't find the American chassis photo's I have but if you look on on Ebay, Autolit.com often has a good selection available taken when the Deemer  American Underslung was being restored by the late Walter Seeley.  A number of them show an American chassis and bare frame in very good detail.

 The L.H. drive steering arm on your front axle is going to probably require some careful reshaping and machining to work with your RH. steering box.. It is probably possible to swap the steering arm to the R.H. spindle but it will definitely require adaption. The ball stud for the pitman arm will need its taper recut the other way around. It's a job you want to be sure is done correctly.

 

 It's going to be an interesting speedster. A great engine paired with a very unusual and intriguing chassis

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest T Head Speedster

Thanks Greg!  I bought a couple of the photos and they have great detail.

 

Does anyone know how the 1913ish Cadillac clutch throwout bearing was arranged?  You have to pull on the clutch to disengage it.  I'd rather not re-invent the clutch!

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