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Unknown prewar small car

Ray Garcia

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I think it’s an aftermarket body on a Model T Ford with aftermarket disc wheels. I’m thinking Mercury body but several were similar. 


If you look underneath, there’s the bottom of the oil pan with a spring loaded wishbone mounting just about where it is on a T similar to this picture:


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There were so many! Morton & Brett built several models, some very close to that including the slanted louvres. Some were marketed under other names including 

Speedway and Race-way. I seem to recall a Bub body that was similar to this one also? It likely is an after-market body on model T chassis. I can't be certain about it being a model T as so little of the chassis shows, but I 'think' I can see the flywheel sump peeking out from under the side apron?

Several companies offered steel disk wheels for Fords and other small and mid-size cars. One is remarkable as having three bolts to the hub, however their name escapes me at the moment.

The fenders are very unusual for a Ford.

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?????? What car are we discussing here? The OP photo car may or may not be a model T Ford chassis with an after-market speedster kit installed. But I am about 99 percent sure that it is not an Austin, English or otherwise. The overall styling indicates something around 1919 to 1925, and probably American, although it could be English or European.

The side skirts obscure too much of the chassis to be sure, but I think it is a model T. The small amount of pan profile that can be seen is right (but open to other possibilities?), and I think I can barely make out the front of the brake rods and bottom of the brake cross shaft.


For lack of  better word, I will use the commonly accepted word used today, "speedster". However, it is important to remember that the term "speedster" did have other meanings back in the day. Numerous automobile manufacturers offered models that they called "speedster" in quite a variety of body styles. Many were basically a four passenger touring car, with slightly lower body sides and top than the standard touring car. Several, including Paige and Metz built cars resembling a Mercer or Stutz that they officially named "speedster". Other companies built what we would consider to be a full bodied roadster, but were called "speedster". And believe it or not, a few companies even offered what amounted to a full bodied sedan, and called it a "speedster".

There were at least a dozen other terms used back in the day to refer to what we think of as a speedster. They were called "bugs", or "doodle bugs", "cut-downs", and a bunch of others. But if I used one of those, it would probably confuse people.


Speedsters were a very popular automotive hobby that began before Ford introduced the model T in 1908, and continued strongly until the model A Ford replaced it. Most speedsters were home-built, and tended to be crude. Like so many things people do, a lot of them started out with big plans, and just never got very far. Many were built on really tight budgets, using junk  and whatever supplies were handy. However, thousands of them were built and done to a fine finish! Hundreds of companies, small and large, offered anything to everything one could need to build a speedster into their own personal vision. Numerous companies offered complete kits, and even turn-key cars completely built to your order! While most were built using the readily available model T chassis, many other cars were also used. Many of the companies offering bodies and kits offered them to fit different automobile chassis. Chevrolet, Dodge, and Overland were also popular.


The OP car is unusual, in the fenders. The wheels and body look to be common offerings. Disteel wheels (the name I couldn't think of!) were popular, and offered in several variations. I know a few people that have them on their T speedsters. However these particular wheels do not look like the ones I am familiar with. That just means they may be a different series of wheels, maybe also by Disteel? Maybe by someone else? The body I suspect is one of Morton and Brett's offerings. They had a bunch of different models, and sold many hundreds of them.

The fenders and step plate are unusual. However there were so many offerings in those days that something like these would be very likely.


Neat car!

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