There's a Web site called the "Ford Barn" that serves as a gathering place for early Ford lovers. It's the electronic equivalent of a pot-bellied stove around which the old-timers would gather to swap ideas and tell stories. It's a busy site and a source of valuable information and parts sources for thousands of Ford restorers.
A few days ago when I went to the Ford Barn site (www.fordbarn.com), I was greeted with the following image:
I instantly recognized young Daniel, grandson of the very same Dan Shady and son of Deron Shady, who are working on my hot rod roadster. It turns out that Deron had posted a new thread on the Ford Barn forum describing Daniel's first car. Ryan Cochrane, the proprietor of the Web site, picked up on the idea of this young man wanting to build his own first car, and a Model T Ford at that! Ryan decided to feature Daniel and his car on the site's home page.
Last Summer, Daniel worked in the shop with his father and grandfather, so he has learned a fair amount about the process of restoring an antique vehicle. This year, he wanted to start building his own first car, and after discussing it with Deron, he decided on a Model T Ford speedster. They could probably find a Model T chassis at a reasonable price, parts are relatively easy to find (There were 15 million Model T's built!), and they are simple mechanically. They started "the Hunt" about a year ago. As furtune would have it, Deron was in a conversation with a client who lives in south central Tennessee. The topic of conversation was Model A Ford parts, but as the discussion was concluding, the friend said, "Oh, by the way, I've got a pretty decent '26 chassis if you know anyone who might be interested." Needless to say, it's the very same chassis that accompanies Daniel in the picture.
Now it's June. The frame is cleaned up and inside the shop. Dan is teaching his grandson how to build a custom speedster body from scratch. The intent is to have something like this:
The first step is to build a "buck." This is a wood structure of cross-sectional and longitudinal profiles that define the surface that will eventually be made in sheet metal. Here's a shot of Daniel having completed his first cross sectional profile. He's using masking tape to give himself a visual reference for the outer shape.
And as of late June, here's a view of his progress:
Is this not a great project? I can't imagine a more wonderful way for a young man (He's 12) to spend his summer. He's had to earn the money to buy the car, so he's learning that reward depends on work. And he's learning an art that is rare indeed, and learning it from his grandfather. I'll post periodic updates here.