Old Timers Want To Push It!
By Norris Chambers
remember my first shop project. I placed a long, round bolt in the
watched it until it was a shade past “red hot”. Then I
carefully picked it up
with a pair of tongs, held it on the anvil and beat it into a square
We worked on many projects in the shop. Some turned out well and some didn’t but we had fun every time we attempted to build, alter or fix something.
Probably the most difficult job we ever decided to do was to put a propeller behind an old Model T to push it instead of depending on the traction of the rear wheels. Getting stuck in the mud and spinning the wheels when attempting to move pointed out the advantages of such a system. If a propeller could push airplanes why couldn’t it push a car? We were determined to find out!
several Model T’s in our junk yard. Our junk yard was nothing
more than a plot
of cleared pasture a few hundred feet east of the barn.. The old Model
little or no trade-in value and the owners, after getting a better car,
left the old cars in the pasture where they camped or lived in a shack.
treasure was there for
Our trusty mule, Old Jack, was anxious to drag a likely looking roadster to the shop where we began our project immediately. With the addition of a battery and a radiator refill the engine “purred like a kitten” and we considered the guinea pig ready for the conversion.
We thought that shaping the propeller from a well seasoned oak log would be the slowest and hardest operation and our belief was correct. But many sessions of carving, sanding and varnishing produced a nice looking prop about four feet long. We extended the drive shaft after disconnecting it and secured our prop on the end. These operations took several days but eventually we had it ready to try.
carefully positioning our machine in the road we climbed aboard and
for a trial run. We believed that all we had to do to start was rev up
“Are you ready?” the pilot inquired. I told him I was ready and to get going! The old engine made more and more noise as the speed was increased. In the rework we had left the muffler off and I could see that it would have to be replaced. With all of the noise and vibration the car was not moving. After speeding the engine to maximum a few times and getting no motion we decided that we didn’t have enough speed.
that we install an old Chevrolet transmission in reverse and connect
with the shift in “low” position. This would increase the
speed many times on
the input end of the transmission and might provide enough speed to
obvious that we had carved the propeller slopes on the wrong side of
We hadn’t considered which way the prop would turn when we
We had the same problem. Our auto started moving in reverse! A closer examination showed us that a prop does not reverse the direction of air movement regardless of which side faces the power! We intended to make another prop but we had to do some work on the farm and we never got back to that project!