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M1917 Ford Ambulance


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Hey Paul,

It would be great if you could find the plans, there are some dimensions that I am not happy with on my reconstruction. This is my first go at a Ford T, bu then I have not really done much difficult on this one othre than rebuilding the rear end due to a failed pinion bearing.

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Gus

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Here is a photo showing the rear cover over the upper stretcher.

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and here is a photo showing the canvas rolled up and how the upper stretcher sticks out the back of the body.

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I got the back rest and the seat upholstered with the proper material, and found the correct horn.

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It is coming together, there are still a few details that I need to finish, such as the water tank on the driver's side, and the side curtains, if I could get it parked long enough to do that, it would not take long, but it is fun to drive.

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Gus

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A very similar ambulance in France 1918

photo on-line

 

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That is the style of ambulance that the M1917 was based on. It was originally planned to use California redwood for the sides on the M1917, but delivery time was more than 2 months, so they decided to go with ¼ in thick composite board, then called Vehisote, we have a similar composite board called Masonite. In two writings from the period, I have seen it refereed to as "some sort of cardboard". It was criticized as being to week, but actually held up well to the rigors of war.

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Gus

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I finished my side curtains today, they were easier to do than I thought they would be, I did have to redo my tilt though, as I managed to put a screwdriver through it in the process of fitting the fasteners. From all the period photos I have found, there was no front windshield, only the canvas extending up to the driver's shoulders. This would have broken the wind for the most part, and would not have caused a visibility problems due to rain, snow, frost or condensation. I do know that the M1918 did have an additional panel that had isinglass that enclosed the driver's compartment completely.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just returned from the Utah Gun Collector's Association gun show in Ogden, Utah, there was a great reception for the Ford ambulance, lots of good feedback. After we pulled it out of the hall, I had to give rides for some time, but as most were cute girls, it was a good thing. It is amazing how many people liked the Ambulance.

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Hey Mark,

The wire is real, it is off a spool dated 1931. The military wire is quite a bit more wicked than that which we use for cattle now. Although a lot of the range in Idaho is fenced with war surplus wire. The domestic wire has about half the number of barbs, and each barb on domesticv wire has only two points where the military wire has 4, and the are longer and sharper. there is only a few hundred feet on a roll of militery wire, where domestic wire has a ¼ mile on the spool, and they weigh about the same.

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Gus

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It is nearly freezing out today, so I thought I would go for a drive since it was so warm. The T handles snow that is 6 to 8 inches deep with out much problem, but the icy roads are fun with slick tires and minimal brakes, but at least I can lock up the wheels now.

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Gus

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Hey Firefighter, Here is another type of before and after photo, a few mornings ago, the ambulance had the look of a period photo from WWI.

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I am sure it was a bitter cold job, but I would rather have been the driver than the passenger.

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Gus

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Hey Mark,

I needed room in the shop for the next M1917 ambulance, and I was hoping to get a shot with snow on it like the one in the period photo. I have also been playing with different cold weather starting procedures, and have been able to start it by hand in weather down to 15°F with out problem. The side curtians make it a lot nicer to drive in sub freezing weather, and the cats like it to sleep in too.

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Gsu

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I managed to acquire two more uniforms of ambulance men. one is a driver from SSU 615, the other is a Lt's uniform with the same cock insignia as the uniform of the mechanic from Evac. Amb. Co #8, it came with papere work from another man from SSU 615, but is not correct for this uniform as he was a private. A friend also contributed a German foot locker that was renomed to a Sgt of Ambulance Co 359. The driver's grouping from SSU 615 included his driving license and pay book, unfortunatly, I have been unable to find any information on SSU 615 as of yet, but the search is a big part of the fun.

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