Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Magic Carburetor You Always Heard About

Ever since I was a kid, I have heard people tell about the carburetor some guy invented, and the gas companies bought the patent to keep it from ruining their business. Well, here's proof! I bet the fellow selling this couldn't keep up with the demand. Model T's would get about twenty miles per gallon chugging down the highway in 1924 when this ad was published, and the possibility of 30 mpg had to sound like magic. This is a pretty good looking carburetor,with a few extras that Fords did not have from the factory. Drivers were expected to tinker with their Fords back then, and the main jet is adjustable as you drive your Model T, on both factory and aftermarket carbs. You will note that there is a drain on the bottom of the bowl, just in case your gasoline is contaminated with water; that was standard, too. It looks like there is also an electrical hookup on this carb; that's an extra. I have seen it on other aftermarket T carburetors, and if you could look inside, you would no doubt see a little electrical heating element that would warm the air-fuel mixture as it heads toward the intake manifold. Gizmos like that sold really well during the heyday of the Model-T. This carburetor is very unusual in that it has a window to check the fuel level in the bowl. I haven't seen that on any other carburetor from that era. Many of the carburetors made for cars back then had a cork float. The float was well coated with shellac, which did not soften or disintegrate in gasoline. If the finish did crack, the carburetor would overflow, and run an entire tank of gas out on the ground, so it was normal procedure to turn off the gas at the bottom of the tank when you weren't driving your T. Modern restorations require a brass float, because our gasohol blends will melt the shellac right off of the float in antique carburetors. Something that has always bothered me about the Model T and other early cars is the lack of an air cleaner. Car owners back then were regularly doing ring and valve jobs on their cars, and most of that could have been avoided if they had only filtered out some of the chunks in the air as they drove down dusty roads. Keep both hands on the wheel, and use a light foot on the pedals.

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