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1904 Ford Model B Starts & Runs - Then It Drives On June 18th, 2020 !


Trulyvintage
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At around 11:00 am yesterday - I was honored to be one of three people to witness this 1904 Ford Model B come to Life and running smoothly on all four cylinders.
 
My friend Kim Dobbins spent a little over a year with the help of others including Don on the right to make this happen.
 
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This is the only known largely original 1904 Ford Model B known to exist in the world with an original engine just as it rolled out of The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit.
 
The Piquette Plant was the first purpose built plant by Ford Motor Company.
 
The 1904 Ford Model B was the first vehicle to be assembled at that plant.
 
This particular 1904 Ford Model B just may be the earliest largely original vehicle in existence to be asssembled and sold that was produced at Piquette.
 
 
I brought this vehicle to Kim just before Christmas in 2018 from a mutual friend.
 
 
Jim
Edited by Trulyvintage (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, 1937hd45 said:

Thanks! Great to see an '04 B running. I think there may be four of them in the world. When did the one in the Ford collection last run? Bob 


I believe The Henry Ford B has an engine from a prototype tractor.

 

I do not believe it is a numbered car that came out of Piquette.

 

 

Jim

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1 minute ago, 1937hd45 said:

Is your B the one that was in a Montana collection of early Fords, or the one that came out of Pennsylvania? Bob 


Hi Bob,

 

The Montana B is the Towe car that is currently in a Sacramento Museum.

 

It has been reconstructed.

 

I am not sure of the Pennsylvania B you are referring to.

 

This 1904 Ford Model B is known as # 51 or # 52 depending on which engine numbers are referenced.

 

This car has several engine part numbers struck into it that have been discovered.

 

It is not my car.

 

 

Jim

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1 hour ago, Jeff Perkins / Mn said:

Jim,

Thanks for bringing this topic to this forum. I have been following on the MTFCA website. Perhaps you could post some links to the videos for the people who frequent this forum. I am sure they would enjoy.

Regards, Jeff Perkins / Lakeland MN.

Is the MTFCA website a good one? Bob 

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15 minutes ago, Gunsmoke said:

Now this is what AACA is all about, great video, so good to see those smiles all around, and to know there are still guys out there who have the knowledge and bravery to comfortably start one of these old timers. 


Thank You 👍


 

I feel exactly the same way 😉

 

 

Jim

 

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16 minutes ago, Gunsmoke said:

Now this is what AACA is all about, great video, so good to see those smiles all around, and to know there are still guys out there who have the knowledge and bravery to comfortably start one of these old timers. 


Thank You 👍


 

I feel exactly the same way 😉

 

 

Jim

 

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In The Real World ...

 

This rarely happens ....

 

Folks extend a hand because they want you to put money in it.

 

I was inspired to try and have this day happen in April of 2018 when I met Wayland when picking up his Ford 1906 Model K ....

 

11814E24-C5DD-4845-8B60-5FC74DC986AF.thumb.jpeg.23fae5e7f182f1a5cd37db0e38bf5a5b.jpeg

On that visit I got a look at his other Early Fords and the 1904 Model B stuck out primarily because of what he had to do in order to acquire it.

 

I started thinking - visualizing possibilities - a few months later Kim offered to bring the Model B back to Life.

 

So - in December of 2018 - I loaded up the Model B and brought it to Kim.

 

CF9BB5EB-DAF2-4982-90B9-98703E0D5D6D.jpeg.fab07fb553df8207e42bc694987b1bf6.jpeg

 

Jim

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I dropped The Model B off on December 18th, 2018 with Kim.

 

He has spent hundreds of hours over the past year researching - troubleshooting - fabricating - rebuilding .....

 

No one Living has hands on firsthand experience with this Ford model ( except perhaps Stu Laidlaw ).

 

Along the way - there were folks willing to lend a 🖐.

 

Ray Wells saved the body & brought it back to near new condition - Tony Bowker rounded up a crew to load it in my trailer ...

 

CE5ADB37-9A0F-4DD8-97CA-8E1759B3CBF9.thumb.jpeg.8dc29c3273de36ebfc2840f07a0c1232.jpeg
 

Jim

Edited by Trulyvintage (see edit history)
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Kim was already a good friend.

 

Watching him volunteer his time and more bringing this Model B back to Life made him my brother.

 

Wayland became my uncle that’s a little nutty ( in a good way ).

 

0DB3CF34-AABA-4D69-9E8F-D160628B7852.thumb.jpeg.1536d53086d0949791bf0574b4603d20.jpeg
 

Monday should - under normal conditions - have never happened.

 

Some transport guy with an IPhone shouldn’t have been present to record such an important moment .... 🧐

 

Such a rare historically significant vehicle almost always ends up in the hands of a Peacock With A Checkbook.

 

Then it is torn apart & rebuilt into something that never left the factory.

 

Because folks involved  along the way actually cared about this Ford Model B and it’s story - that hasn’t happened .... 😉

 


Jim

 

 

 

Edited by Trulyvintage (see edit history)
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I met a friend in Auburn, CA on Saturday to load up an old Model T headed to Indiana and he pointed out that this Model B is probably the oldest largely original four cylinder Ford engine in existence.


Just to clarify - all four cylinders - valves - crankcase -

flywheel - copper jugs encasing the cylinders - pistons - rods all appear original.

 

The enclosed rear differential & axle appear original does the transmission and drive tube.

 

The frame - leaf springs - firewall all appear to be original.

 

The closest Ford Model B to this one that might have an engine 

that could run is the Den Hartogh Netherlands Model B that sold in June of 2018 to a collector in Portland, Oregon:

 

Bill Harrah owned that car but I believe that Model B belonged

to Doc Bloom in Texas who did the actual restoration years before

Bill Harrah acquired it.

 

@

 

 

Jim

Edited by Trulyvintage (see edit history)
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  • 4 months later...

So ....

The 1904 Model B was re=assembled completely.

The original transmission was repaired and re-installed.

All the linkage was re-attached and a temporary seat was made for the maiden voyage.

And on Thursday June 18th, 2020 history was made when the only known 1904 Ford Model B
in existence with an intact running gear as it left Piquette ,,,,

Started by hand = drove down the road - ran thru low & high speed - stopped.

A couple days later the restored largely original body was put back on the car.

For those who have Facebook accounts - if you are logged in to Facebook - you can
visit my page which is public - click on the " Photos " album - select the Model B album
and view images and videos documenting the two year journey:

 

Freighter Jim Travels

 

 

Jim

 

 

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1193851174_file(9).jpeg.f1a41054dd89d4bce6e091dfb3896149.jpeg

 

 

626175042_file(10).jpeg.d48be06f84761ffebb2c5f6d5a101e8a.jpeg

 

 

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Car sounds like it had too much timing in it when they were cranking it with that electric starter set up. Neat car......nice to see the obscure running.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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On 1/30/2020 at 10:22 PM, Trulyvintage said:

Right now participating in the Saturday 100 mile plus run is not on the table.

 

This vehicle is too historically valuable to risk damaging it.

 

 

Jim

 

 

There is NO car too important not to run, drive, and used as intended when built. A car is not a static object. Regardless of year, price, or number produced........it's just a car.......it SHOULD be used. And yes, I do practice what I preach. Looks like it was a fun and exciting project.....the reward for all the time and money spent should be windshield time.......what is better than sharing a car with other like minded people. 

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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

 

 

There is NO car too important not to run, drive, and used as intended when built. A car is not a static object. Regardless of year, price, or number produced........it's just a car.......it SHOULD be used. And yes, I do practice what I preach. Looks like it was a fun and exciting project.....the reward for all the time and money spent should be windshield time.......what is better than sharing a car with other like minded people. 

 

 

Nope ...

 

This is the only known 1904/1905 Ford Model B with the original running gear as it left Piquette in existence.

 

There are living witnesses to the history of the car and it's discovery in Elmira, New York back in the 1950's

including the son of the owner who was an early aircraft restorer.

 

Transmission parts had to be made for the original transmission which necessitated research at Benson Ford Research Center

where (100) detailed drawings were discovered - copied - utilized to make damaged parts.

 

This is most likely:

 

Earliest documented largely original & complete Ford vehicle assembled at Piquette ( Ford Motor Company's First Purpose Built Plant ).

Earliest documented largely original Ford Motor Company Four Cylinder Engine installed in a vehicle  assembled at Piquette.

 

 

The largely original body had original seats and most of the woodwork - Ray Wells of El Cajon, California repaired - replaced - restored it.

 

This vehicle is One Of One.

 

 

Jim

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On 1/29/2020 at 12:53 PM, 1937hd45 said:

Is your B the one that was in a Montana collection of early Fords, or the one that came out of Pennsylvania? Bob 

 

 

Neither.

 

This car was discovered by Cecil Ralston of Grover, Texas and/or Jack Grace of Michigan.

 

It was purchased in the late 1950's or early 1960's by Cecil Ralston and transported to Texas by Jack Grace.

 

 

Jim

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On 1/29/2020 at 11:22 AM, 1937hd45 said:

Thanks! Great to see an '04 B running. I think there may be four of them in the world. When did the one in the Ford collection last run? Bob 

 

The one at The Henry Ford was acquired by Henry Ford himself who personally went out to look at it in New Hampshire ( I believe ).

 

The motor in that Model B came out of a Ford tractor and is not the motor that was on the car when it left The Piquette Plant.

 

There is an obscure You Tube video I have seen with what appears to be the engine running in that car.

 

But no account of that car moving under power.

 

The other 1904/1905 Ford Model B cars are made or assembled out of various components that are

a combination of original and/or reconstructed parts.

 

 

Jim

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1 hour ago, Trulyvintage said:

 

 

Nope ...

 

This is the only known 1904/1905 Ford Model B with the original running gear as it left Piquette in existence.

 

There are living witnesses to the history of the car and it's discovery in Elmira, New York back in the 1950's

including the son of the owner who was an early aircraft restorer.

 

Transmission parts had to be made for the original transmission which necessitated research at Benson Ford Research Center

where (100) detailed drawings were discovered - copied - utilized to make damaged parts.

 

This is most likely:

 

Earliest documented largely original & complete Ford vehicle assembled at Piquette ( Ford Motor Company's First Purpose Built Plant ).

Earliest documented largely original Ford Motor Company Four Cylinder Engine installed in a vehicle  assembled at Piquette.

 

 

The largely original body had original seats and most of the woodwork - Ray Wells of El Cajon, California repaired - replaced - restored it.

 

This vehicle is One Of One.

 

 

Jim


 

I work on, service, and repair one of one cars EVERY day. There is NOTHING unusual about a one of a kind car. Some have little to no value, others are worth tens of millions of dollars......they are all the same, they are automobiles that were built to be driven. I have worked on cars from Bugatti Type 41’s, to Model T fords. They are all interesting and important. Historically important cars are rather common. How much Intrest any one particular car is to someone varies upon their Scholarly interest and how it fits into history. There is a member here who only buys, collects, and restores one of one custom built auto show cars with individual coachwork. There is nothing special about driving any car, it’s what whey were made for. One can call anything rare, priceless, irreplaceable.......what ever adjective you chose.....it’s just a car. I have serviced and ridden in an 1895 gasoline powered American car, and recent a new LaFerrari....both unusual, expensive, and interesting cars. Remember this.......it’s a car......drive it, use it, share it, or you might as well collect rocks.

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ED, well said. About 30 years ago I discovered the remains of a 1913 Wahl touring car. The motor was made in Rochester NY by the Hazard Engine Works. It was a small displacement motor  with a Detroit Gear transmission. After researching it , and speaking with Beverly Ray Kimes and other noted historians it was concluded it was the ONLY ONE  KNOWN. My own dad  said when I told him how rare it was "So are Dodo birds, but who cares"  The car went to Australia where its been repaired (Ive been told) . This Ford is different- Its a real jewel.... Hopefully it will be driven.

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  • 3 months later...
4 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

I've been following the Model B story , but never know which one is which, can you give each one a name or number? Bob


1) The Bill Harrah Model B

2) The Larry Porter Model B

3) The Towe Model B

4) The Henry Ford Model B

5) The Ralston Model B

 

These cars are “ made “ of assembled

and collected parts - some original

and some new.

 

6) The Friendship Ford - Alexander

 

This is the only known example to

exist in largely original condition

with minimal restoration done.

 

It runs and drives- currently on limited

public display at The Early Ford V-8 Foundation Museum in Auburn, Indiana.

 

46B9106F-7BD0-4303-8523-58943617AED8.thumb.jpeg.b4e4b034d570cb8a351b3d4c2af7b292.jpeg
 

Jim

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