His 1919 Ford Model T won first place in the Hillman parade July 4
By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Roger Rauch, rural Pierz, won first place in the Hillman parade during its Fourth of July celebration. He and his wife, Judy, rode in his refurbished 1919 Model T car.
“I purchased the car in 1977, but didn’t work on it until the winter of 2003-04,” said Rauch. “I bought it from a friend for no other reason than it was a Model T.”
The car did not come with a roof. When Rauch finally got around to fixing it up, he wanted to change the color to white.
“But, Model Ts were black,” he said. “When I contacted Snyder’s Antique Autos in Ohio, a company that sells parts for Ford Model Ts and Model As, that’s what they told me. They said the parts I wanted only came in black.”
But, Snyders did send a pattern for Rauch’s car to another company in Ohio that made the canopy he wanted, in white.
While waiting for the canopy, along with sides to the vehicle, he worked on adding bumpers to protect it in case of an accident.
“I painted the entire car white and the wheels red and yellow, then drew the flame pattern,” he said. “The seats Judy and I upholstered in red.”
Rauch overhauled the 1919 motor with wood coils.
“The next car, the Model A, did not have wood coils. Those were metal,” he said.
Rauch said the 1919 version of the Model T was the first car to have a starter. Even so, the manufacturers still added a crank to the front of the car just in case the battery died.
The fancy thermostat is located in the front of the vehicle, as a hood ornament, and works just like a thermometer. If the engine overheats, a red line will crawl up inside the device, letting the driver know the engine needs cooling.
The car uses regular, unleaded gasoline and Rauch said he has never figured out how many miles per gallon he gets.
“I didn’t have much enjoyment during the six months I worked on the car,” he said. “It was in bad shape with dents, black paint over rust and both brakes and a transmission which were shot. When they were fixed, the engine didn’t work. I had to be careful when working on the engine because I had already painted the car and didn’t want to scratch it.”
Rauch, 73, also restores old tractors.
“I’m retired, I have the time and I need to stay busy,” he said of the 41 tractors he owns. So far, he has refinished 25 of them.
Rauch only works on tractors from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.
“The 1960 models are too new,” he said.