Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey
8 - 9 October 2009
1915 Ford Model T "Fronty" Speedster
To be auctioned on Friday, October 9, 2009
Sold for $71,500
- Chassis no. C69130
After the first World War, America was car crazy, and – thanks to the Model T – backyard mechanics and trained engineers had the perfect economical basis to produce a wide selection of accessories that could pump up that Tin Lizzie’s powerplant far above its factory 22-horsepower rating. Among the most successful entries were those produced under the brand name of Frontenac, operated by three brothers whose first names were Arthur, Louis and Gaston and whose last name is very familiar to the automotive world: Chevrolet. While most of the "Fronty" conversions were seen on dirt tracks, in 1923 L.L. Corum took a 5th place finish at that year’s Indianapolis 500, bested only by a quartet of powerful Miller eight-cylinder cars.
The Model T Speedster presented here is equipped with an original Frontenac overhead valve head and the sporting Peugeot-style bodywork of the Milwaukee-based Bub Body Corporation. In the late teens and early twenties, speedway bodies were particularly popular conversions for Model Ts, marketed by such retailers as the Chevrolet brothers, Craig-Hunt and Faultless, all of which were essentially identical to those first introduced by Morton & Brett in the late teens. Bub, in particular, was founded by Albert Zwebell, who along with his two brothers, had previously enjoyed considerable success with the invention of an improved method of vulcanization that allowed smaller shops to remold tires more efficiently.
This Bub “Wasp” steel body is complete with a full underbelly and aluminum fenders. The engine, which is mated to a Model T transmission, is of course fitted with the Fronty conversion as well as Model A pistons and crankshaft. Other desirable features include an Atwater Kent distributor, Reelroof racing wire wheels, a stainless steel exhaust system, the hood and radiator from a Peerless and six-foot Ford wide-track axles, which were originally built to fit wagon tracks but were preferred by racers for the wider stance and lower center of gravity they provided. The engine was rebuilt, the radiator was re-cored, and the car also benefits from new wiring, paint and upholstery. All restoration work was conducted by W. James McBurney of Niagara Falls, Ontario.
With the strong interest today in vintage speed equipment, this "Fronty" is a real blast from the past, representing not only an historical look back in motorsports but a potentially bright future in vintage competition as well.
AddendumPlease note the serial number for this car is C69130.
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