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Model T Ford Speed and Racing Equipment Part IV – The Body Builders

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In our earlier posts on this series, we have concentrated on the hardware produced by the speed merchants that helped to propel the Model “T” Ford into the racing arena. In this post we are going to take a break from the hard core speed equipment and show you some of the most attractive of the commercially available racing bodies that came on the scene as early as the mid-‘teens.

The attractive Paco racing body illustrated here was on the market as early as 1915 and was produced by the Peoria Accessory Company of Peoria, Illinois. Frances Lynn Mackemer, who first sold and installed accessories for the Ford, ran Paco. An advertisement from 1915 for the first model offered shows that it had the same shape and style as seen here in the later illustrations. One exception was the scoop-shaped wind ventilators at the bottom of the cowl and hood. It was also configured for use with the then popular Livingston-style radiator.

More can be learned about the company and their products in an article written by Paco historian Larry Sigworth and also at Coachbuilt.com. 

  • FB3       FB4      FB6
  • L to R: “Motor Age” March 11, 1918 – “Motor Age” January 24, 1918 – Courtesy of Larry Sigworth 

M&B1

The second racing body we will cover is the pleasing Morton & Brett design that was manufactured in Indianapolis, Indiana. The company started out as an auto body repair and paint shop but was soon building bodies for the Chevrolet Brothers Frontenac racing cars as well as their early Model “T” racing cars.

M&B2       M&B3       M&B4

Just above are two pages from a Morton & Brett catalog issued in the early twenties that clearly display the attractive lines of their offering. The right hand page covers all of the construction details and also shows a non-Ford racing car body being laid out in the Modeling Room. The patent drawings for the Morton and Brett Speedway Body for Vehicles of the Ford Type can be viewed in the center thumbnail, above. The patent was issued to E.D. Morton on March 9, 1920. You can learn more about them at Coachbuilt.com.

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  • “Auto Trade Journal” – January, 1922 – Ford Accessories Special Section

RW2

The Race-Way body was sold by another Indianapolis-based enterprise, the Craig-Hunt Company that was covered earlier in Part I. It is not totally clear if they in fact made their own bodies or contracted with Morton & Brett to build them. They continued to sell them along with the lines of speed equipment they and others manufactured until late in 1920. At that time, the Craig-Hunt Motor Company was forced into bankruptcy over a small debt and the partners split up and went their own ways. William Hunt then started Speedway Engineering Company, and continued producing his 16-valve cylinder heads.

One of the partners, John Craig, organized the Race-Way Body Corporation, also in Indianapolis. The Race-Way speedster body was quite similar to the Morton & Brett body with the exception of the shape of the tail. Craig continued on until his company filed for bankruptcy in 1922, after which Morton & Brett handled the Race-Way body. More can be learned about Raceway at Coachbuilt.com.

 Bub

There were literally hundreds of other companies both big and small that also entered into the field of racer and speedster body building from the mid-‘teens thru to the late 1920’s. Four are shown here starting with the Bub Body, above, from the twenties. Below we see the Peoria and the Dunham, both of which were built in 1916 and the Remo produced in the twenties. All were meant to be used on road-going speedsters or speed cars as they were also called. You can look back on the earlier Parts I – III of this series here on The Old Motor.

Body1       Body2     Body3

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