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Old 12-02-2019, 08:48 PM   #1
ro
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Default Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

I appreciate the opportunity to post on here. Full disclosure . . . I don't know much about Model A's . . . but I own one.

I own a Town Sedan that appears to have been a company car for the Curtiss-Wright corporation. Curtiss-Wright was formed in 1929 when the Wright brothers company merged with Glenn Curtiss's aeroplane company. It's an original paint car and the door logos are reverse stenciled under the body color. This suggests it was done at the factory . . . in this case the Briggs plant in Detroit.

Has anyone seen other vehicles that seem to have been lettered during production? Curious if this was done often.

It may be a long shot, but I'm also hoping to find some old interior upholstered pieces. I'm thinking someone might have saved some decent mohair ones when they restored a car? It's a beige(ish) color.

Another question involves the engine number. Any thoughts on why it wouldn't have any letters or symbols?

I'd better not wear out my welcome by rambling on. I'll attach a couple pics I have.

Thanks so much for any input/advice you might offer.

Rod
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:32 PM   #2
redmodelt
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

The block number is a re-stamp using the wrong font. If it matches the title, leave it as is. The lettering would have been done after the car was bought and if it was under paint might just have been painted over after the car was sold or taken out of service.
Oh! You are as welcome to post as many questions as you may have just like everyone else. I would suggest however to get some of the manuals. They are a great guide to doing a lot of the jobs that need doing. The A parts suppliers carry them and while you are at it get the parts catalogs, they are free and dealers want you to have them to order parts with. Also a number of them have on line catalogs too.
Nice looking Town Sedan
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:10 AM   #3
77Birdman
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

If that car is authentic (and I have no reason to believe otherwise) that is incredible. Not sure of your location but there is a 'Curtiss' museum in the finger lakes of NY that is a great place to visit. You may want to contact them as well. There may be some info on your car in their archives.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:41 AM   #4
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

I'd be skeptical about the originality of the paint. There would have to be some proof to back that claim. Forensic testing might. I agree with post 2 about a restamp. Ford used larger stamp font size and most of mine are different type font. The engine was likely replaced and stamped to match. Its not all that common though. Ford dealers usually had the stamps from K.R. Wilson.

Most of the early Curtiss Wright logos I've seen had wings on them. They were based in Buffalo, NY so they weren't all that far from Dearborn. Ford would do fleet orders in that time frame but the graffics were more likely added later prior to delivery.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:39 AM   #5
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

Welcome and make sure the wood is still solid. If that is a genuine car WOW! You can get a new interior made by Cartouche I think, sorry I can't remember who bought out LeBarron Bonney. Are you sure that it is a Town Sedan or is it made to look like one?


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Old 12-03-2019, 11:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

I appreciate the replies. Point taken about not claiming the paint to be original. I have only based that on my observation and years of looking at old painted things. I am not an expert, and would never claim to know something that I don't.

While not conclusive, I also think it's significant that the design is a reverse stencil with a reflective finish under the black paint. I don't know why just anyone would put a company's logo on their Model A, and even moreso, why they would repaint the car rather than just painting it on.

I'm working with some folks at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum in DC to try and validate the car. They have confirmed that the logo is period correct for CW, and we are trying to find info in their CW documents and/or photographs.

Regarding the engine number. Since the pad has not been altered, I'm hearing that replacement engines could be acquired with blank pads? I'm not questioning, just clarifying.

It is definitely a Town Sedan. Fortunately, the original Briggs tag is still intact.

The wood in the roof is not good. I plan to do minimal repairs to get it to an acceptable condition. The floors and sides are good.

The other potential connection to the car involves the man who we believe may have driven it for Curtiss-Wright at their Denver airport, Frank Vandersarl. I won't bother you with his story, but he's very significant in the history of aviation. I'm in contact with his grandson, and he is looking through the many old photos he has to hopefully see the car.

Thanks again for all of the replies and input. As a history buff and lover of authenticity, I'm cautiously optimistic that the car is legit. However, there are still more things to learn. And for me, that's the best part. :-)
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:35 AM   #7
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

Regarding the engine number. Since the pad has not been altered, I'm hearing that replacement engines could be acquired with blank pads? I'm not questioning, just clarifying.

Ro, You are correct on that thought. Something must have happened to the original engine, a new/replacement engine was then put into the car and HOPEFULLY stamped with the original number that was on the old/original engine (and frame). Hopefully that engine number is the same on the frame.

Engine number A2354059 was stamped in Dearborn on 09/23/1929. If you look very close at the number, you can see a very lightly stamped "4" between the 5 and the 4 that is legabaly stamped. Hmmm...Maybe it is a restamp!?

IF this is the original engine number of this car, more than likely it was assembled at the very end of September or the first part of October 1929.

In viewing the Original Body Tag, 199-3415, suggests this body, (Briggs 155-B) is a early 1929 Town Sedan. There were 86110 Town Sedans assembled in 1929. Of that number, 79907 were assembled for USA production. Of that number however, there were a mixture of not only the Briggs bodies but also the Murray bodies. Unfortunaltly Ford did not segreatte the two body styles when it came to production numbers...they were all mixed into the same pot according to the Assembly Record Type data. With that, it is unknown just how many were Briggs and just how many were Murray.

So it appears to me that you have a early body that was put onto a later chassis (providing the engine number and FRAME NUMBER are correct); or it is not the original engine number to match the early date of the body.

Many more senarreos however do exist. Remove the body and check the frame for the correct engine number...but I doubt you will do that.

Would there happen to be a stamped date on the gas tank assembly? Sometimes it is there...sometimes it isn't. That would be interesting to know.

If I were you, I would get the most current Model A Ford Restoration Guidelines and Judging Standards if in fact you want to try to correctly "date" this car. By process of elimination, it can be done.

It is unknown as to when production started on these bodies...somewhere between late January to late April 1929.

There is also this Special Interest Group that might be able to help you out:


14. No known website: Town Sedan Club (155-A, B, C, D and 160-B) (Quarterly Newsletters)
3830 North Kootenai Ct., Casa Grande, Arizona 85122 or TownSedanClub@Hotmail.com

You have a very nice looking original car!

Pluck
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Last edited by Steve Plucker; 12-04-2019 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

Thanks, Pluck. Where would I find the gas tank number?
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

And don't say "on the gas tank" :-)

Where specifically on the gas tank? . . . to be more precise. :-)
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

Read this article:

http://www.plucks329s.org/pdf/studie...ND%20CODES.pdf

Here is where you will find the date "on the gas tank"! If it is there at all.

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Old 12-03-2019, 07:51 PM   #11
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

There is no sign of a number on the gas tank.
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:29 PM   #12
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

Like that Town Sedan. And it sounds like the logo is legit.
A little off topic, however I find it somewhat interesting. I met a man who was flying a Curtiss Pusher in 1974. That individual was in his ninety's and landed at Santa Monica Airport.
At the time, I was at the former GADO, renewing my flight instructor certificate.
The man in the Curtiss Pusher, had been flying since the teens. I don't remember his license number, but it was very early on from the late twenties when licenses were first being issued.
Even in 1974, it was a rare sight to see someone, especially of his age, flying a Curtiss Pusher.
A side note, my examiner for my flight instructor renewal took a look at my 1943 Aeronca L-3, and took a pass on going up in it. Fortunately, I got my certificate renewal anyway.
Boy, things have really changed over the years in aviation.
Tom L.

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Old 12-03-2019, 08:48 PM   #13
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

Cool story, Tom. As I've been researching, it's been really cool to see the planes of that era. And it's very clear that aviation was all the rage.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:00 PM   #14
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

look for a diamond over the small timing cover. that would mean post production ford crate engine. later ones have b cam and hardened exhaust seats. if a diamond block it will have a year code on it. http://www.fordgarage.com/pages/diamondblock.htm
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:37 AM   #15
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

glennhcurtissmuseum.org
Hammondsport, NY. Kinda out of the way, but a really cool place to visit.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:09 AM   #16
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

RO, sorry but the townsedan is no longer operating. If you want I can PM you the last president and he might still have all of the newsletters. How about some interior pics?



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Old 12-04-2019, 02:08 PM   #17
ro
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

Thanks, Mike. I think it would be great if you send me the past president's info.

I will make a point to get some interior pics soon. I currently have the seats removed. One to clean everything, and two, to look for any "artifacts" that might offer a clue to it's past. Unfortunately, not a lot of clues . . . but a few old peanut shells. :-)

The interior will represent a tough decision for me. I am a hard-core lover of originality, but the upholstery is heavily worn in places. And, the potential historical significance feeds into my desire to clean and repair what I can and let it be. That's why I'd love to find some period seats/panels that are better than what's in it.

So, I will pose this question to you, and everyone else . . .

The signs are there that this car could actually be a legit Curtiss-Wright company car from their first year of existence. So . . . Do you clean/repair what you can, or do you fully restore it? You can guess my thoughts, but I'm interested in the thoughts of others.
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:36 PM   #18
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

It is only original once...once you have restored it...well...you get my meaning if you are a purist. Otherwise, go for it...it is your car!

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Old 12-04-2019, 04:49 PM   #19
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

Depends on the end use. If you plan on using it at the least I would restore the drive train to make it safe and reliable. From the couple of pics you put up it looks decent and solid enough to leave as is. I dont know how much value there is in a worn out interior, but if it were mine i think i might upgrade that a bit as well. At least enough to make it comfortable. If your stuck on the originality maybe pull the seats and door cards for storage and replace with something new.
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:29 PM   #20
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Default Re: Original 1929 Town Sedan company car

Good points, guys.
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