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B2475 Automobile, half-scale, Ford Model T 1912, Runabout, two-door, single seat, wood/metal/vinyl/rubber, made by Richard (Bill) Gilbert, Eastlakes, NSW, Australia, c1970. Click to enlarge.

Half-scale 1912 Ford Model T runabout, c.1970

Made c 1970

Richard Gilbert of Eastlakes, NSW, had always wanted a Model T Ford but the famous veteran cars, made between 1908 and 1927, were too expensive to buy. So in the late 1960s he decided to build one himself. It took him 1,000 hours over 2 years to complete with virtually everything made by hand including the wheels, upholstery, running gear and even the hubcaps. The half-scale representation of a 1912 Model T runabout is powered by a two-stroke lawnmower engine located at the rear in the petrol ta...

Summary

Object No.

B2475

Object Statement

Automobile, half-scale, Ford Model T 1912, Runabout, two-door, single seat, wood/metal/vinyl/rubber, made by Richard (Bill) Gilbert, Eastlakes, NSW, Australia, c1970

Physical Description

Automobile, half-scale, Ford Model T 1912, Runabout, two-door, single seat, wood/metal/vinyl/rubber, made by Richard (Bill) Gilbert, Eastlakes, NSW, Australia, c1970

Half-scale Model T Ford powered by a two-stroke lawn mower engine. The car has a chain drive to the rear axle. Transmission is by primary and secondary chain drive to the right-hand rear wheel through a single plate clutch located on the primary shaft. The car has a two door, two seater runabout body with hood and split windscreen. The acetylene-style headlamps are brass as are the oil-burning style side lamps and tail lamps. All the lamps are inoperable. The half-size hubcaps are made from brass laminated over steel. Wheels are imitation artillery-type fashioned from one solid piece and the tyres are pneumatic. The rims are steel and probably come from bicycles or tricycles. Dummy parts include the crank handle, number plate (NSW 0001), throttle and spark advance levers, and sheet metal engine block. The hood has a rectangular rear window. Drum brakes act on rear wheels by cable and lever from the foot pedal. The upholstery is buttoned in black vinyl. There is a serpent-type brass bulb horn. There are no dashboard instruments. The model is finished in an orange livery with yellow striping. The mudguards and running boards are black with yellow lining.

Dimensions

Height

1130 mm

Width

1100 mm

Production

Notes

The half scale Model T Ford was made by Richard (Bill) Gilbert, from the Sydney suburbs of Rosebery and later Eastlakes. Richard made extensive measurements of the full-size version and fashioned the parts all to scale using only a few machine tools.

In 2013, Bill's daughter, Elizabeth, recalled her involvement in the building of this car. "Dad would have jobs he'd get each of us to do so he could get on and do the more difficult bits. One of the jobs I remember doing was making the radiator. He set a series of upright rods in a line on a base. Then he cut many strips of thin brass, measuring about ¼ inch wide and about 1 foot in length. He then cut hundreds of pieces of plastic tubing, about the diameter of a drink straw, into ¼ inch lengths and away I went. A layer of plastic pieces, then a strip of thin brass, then a layer of plastic pieces, then a strip of thin brass. This process continued until the right height was achieved then it was all painted black, if memory serves correct. Next time you're in the warehouse, you'll easily see what I've just described. I (also) remember him buying cake tins to bake small individual fairy cakes and cutting them up to make the upper and lower parts of the side lamps. Again, a close inspection will reveal this."

Made

c 1970

History

Notes

Richard Gilbert was a part time Sydney actor. He started his acting career in the film "Smithy" (1946) and later television shows including Reg Grundy's "The Restless Years" (1977-81) in which he played Mervyn Baggott, an interfering neighbour, and Crawford Productions' "Division 4" (1969-75) and "Homicide" (1964-76). He also worked as a textile machinery maintenance mechanic.

Richard displayed his half-scale Model T Ford at various shows and it was driven around Oran Park Raceway by his 14 year-old daughter in a race for Model Ts. The model was donated to the Museum by Richard in 1983. For the centenary of the Model T Ford in 2008, the car was displayed in the Powerhouse Discovery Centre together with the full-size 1916 Model T Ford tourer in the collection.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Richard Gilbert, 1983

Acquisition Date

28 February 1983

Cite this Object

Harvard

Half-scale 1912 Ford Model T runabout, c.1970 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 23 July 2019, <https://ma.as/212329>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/212329 |title=Half-scale 1912 Ford Model T runabout, c.1970 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=23 July 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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