1917 Model T - John J. Daly
JOHN J. DALY's Ford rolled out of the factory in 1917. When it came to Iowa the roads were a far cry from the paved highways of today. There were many miles of roadways to break down on and only a few miles that could be considered improved roads. But with its cradle-like springs a good road was unneccessary. The For is light enough and maneuverable enough to ride most anywhere. Mrs. Daly waits, none to patiently, and her husband gets the Model T coaxed into a running mood.
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1917 Ford

Trade for a new car? No. He'd go the other way, trade only for an older one.

Mr. and Mrs. John J. Daly have driven the same car for 22 years, a 1917 Model T made by Ford. It was painted red and yellow, purple and grey and now is a sedate black with brown leather upholstery.

Doctor Drove It

The Model T originally belonged to a doctor who drove it in his practice. After he died the car sat for a year. A "kid In Fairfield" bought and damaged it. Daly got it from a farmer at Lockridge.

He paid $35 but told his family it had cost $25 because $35 was too much to pay. But he said, "I really wanted it. I had tried to buy a Model T once before but Mom sent my older brother with me to look it over. And he wouldn't let me buy it. This one I was determined to get," he said.

"And I have never been sorry. The value of an old car depends on how badly you want It. My Model T is not for sale. I have had too much fun with It for too many years," he said.

"The day I bought the Model T, I drove it home. It didn't have brakes and I really didn't know how to drive it. I had to stop in a hurry so I hit the reverse pedal and broke the back axle," Daly said.

Wife On Lookout

"The Problem with old cars Is finding parts. Sometimes you have to make them. Fortunately, I was able to find a rear end differential on an old buzz saw. You find parts everywhere . . . in ditches, garages, barns and junk yards. I've trained my wife to spot them, too," he said.

Three Pedals

A Model T is easy to drive once you get the hang of it. The three pedals on the floor are the brake at right, reverse at center and first and second gear on the third pedal. A hand brake is at left, which also serves as neutral. The gas tank is under the front seat and the throttle on the steering wheel.

Standard equipment for the back seat floor is a tire pump and jack. Of course, a Model T has to be cranked and it doesn't run too well in the rain.

Mr. and Mrs. Daly, in a summer straw hat and a calico dress, have driven the car as far as Washington, Iowa. It takes about three hours each way, averaging between 27-30 miles an hour. "If you travel any faster, you are begging for trouble," Daly said.

Problem With Lights

There are kerosene tail and side lamps and magneto front lights. "If you get stuck in the mud, as many of the original drivers did because of bad or no roads, the front lights would konk out and you'd have to drive with only the side lamps. You couldn't see where you were going but other people could see you," he said.

Biggest Challenge

Driving old cars is a challenge but finding them and fixing them up is a bigger challenge and more rewarding. Sitting in the Daly Garage is a Sears 1907 motor buggy. It was driven only 500 miles and abandoned until Daly discovered it. This winter Mr. and Mrs. Daly will reconstruct it. To the casual- know-nothing-about-cars observer its most unusual features include a steering rudder and ordinary buggy wheels. The motor is under the seat. Daly has already begun to look for parts and he'll make the ones he can't find. He carves the missing pieces of wood, experimenting until it works and then has it cast of metal.

Anybody who'd like to learn how an automobile operates should own an old car. "You'd learn how they operate or you wouldn't keep one running long," said Daly.

Webmasters Note: This article originally appeared in The Hawk Eye Newspaper in or around 1963. It appeared as a feature of three SIACC members who would be participating in the Steamboat Days Parade. The couple featured here also happen to be my parents, pre Me :)

How to contact me...

Address: John M. Daly
P.O. Box 244
Millington, IL 60537
Phone: 815-695-9451
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