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Roaring Twenties Morton and Brett Model “T” Speedway Body

On the heels of a feature earlier this week, Model “T” Speedsters and Racing Cars, this image was found that is perhaps one of the best to survive of a 1920s Morton and Brett Ford “Speedway Body.”

The body builder was located in Indianapolis, Indiana and began operations in the mid-teens as an automobile painting shop that also built “special bodies.” The Chevrolet Brothers and other racers in the area had the firm construct racing car bodies as early as 1916.

The design of the Ford “Speedway Body” was patented in 1919, and the timing could not have been better as the use of the Model “T” Ford-based racing car picked up dramatically in the early post-World War One days. The complete body with radiator shell and hood crated and ready to ship sold for one hundred dollars when first introduced. Morton and Brett later offered parts built by other manufacturers used for lowering the Ford chassis.

Model T Ford Speedster

The Model Boat and Toy Shop was located in Manchester-by-the-sea, on the North Shore of Massachusetts. The term “Swedish Sloyd” used on the Shop sign referred a handicraft-based Swedish form of education that was popular and taught in the United States up until the early 20th Century.

More can be learned about Morton and Brett in one of an earlier series posts “The Body Builders” covering the Model “T” Ford racing car. The photograph by Leslie Jones is courtesy of the Boston Public Library.

  • A page of the Morton and Brett catalog below showing different views of the body is courtesy of Bob Swanson.

Morton and Brett Speedway Model T Ford Speedway Bodies

8 responses to “Roaring Twenties Morton and Brett Model “T” Speedway Body

  1. Great article on the Morton and Brett Body Company of Indianapolis. Now I know who made the bodies for the Frontenac racers. This sheds more light on who built accessories for the Chevrolet Brothers Manufacturing Co. in Indianapolis.

  2. That is a great photo! I still have all my M&B literature, but the original body I sold to the late Peter Wing is now in the good hands of Don Lang. Sure hope that restoration sees some progress. Bob

    • Hi what part of the country is Don Lang living in – i would love to see his car as I’m trying to restore a look alike with model t running gear … would like it to be as accurate to the original as possible since they aren’t making them anymore… Tks

  3. I doubt that many would recognize the word sloyd these days. Swedish Sloyd was a system of woodworking education intended for all students as a way of building skill and intellect. I have written about the subject for Woodwork Magazine, wikipedia, and in my blog, Wisdom of the Hands.

    • I went to Sloyd classes in Melbourne, Australia, in the years 1955/56. It was that or gardening and I think I chose the right option. The jury’s out as to whether there was any impact on my skill or intellect levels…

  4. Might be a great body, but considering the amount of pedal work needed to operate a T that lack of legroom might be problematic.

  5. OKAY, FINE, about “gentlemen’s” Model T roadsters! NOW, let’s talk about SPEED: Jerry Fairchild’s (Modified) Model T Roadster was typically seen in the Antelope Valley, Southern California, near Neenach, travelling at (at least)65 MPH on Highway 138. ‘Doc” Purden’s highly modified Model T was for many years, the FASTEST Model “T” at the Famous Shell Hill Climb, at Signal Hill near Long Beach. He was SO much faster than anyone — that those who aspired to beat him — wanted him to QUIT and ONLY be a “Steward” for the event. He would have none of that —and continued to beat everyone until he couldn’t race anymore! I agreed to NOT reveal his secrets and it remains so. Perhaps someone else knows, also ??? Edwin W.

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