Model T Speedster

Content Tools

(better known as 'Speed' Roe's wife) 2397 M-50 Tecumseh, Michigan 49286

My story starts in 1942 when I was helping my husband-to-be put a new plow together. He proposed to me by asking, 'How would you like to be my wrench jockey for the rest of your life ?' Now how could any woman in her right mind pass up a chance like that?

Since that time, whenever he has been overhauling, building, or restoring something, I have been at his elbow ready to 'hunt and fetch' such things as end wrenches, box end wrenches, sockets, socket extensions, crescent wrenches, pliers, lock pliers, screwdrivers (hex, slotted, and Phillips), pullers, punches, paint-guns, grease-guns, trowels, oil cans, hammers (ballpeen, sledge, little ones, big ones, and rubber), crow bars, drills, sanders, jointers, jigsaws, squares, levels, and more tools than I can list. At times, when not too dangerous, I'm even permitted to use them!

Where I really shine though is in cleaning up parts and messes, sweeping, sanding, painting, getting my hands in small holes and little areas, holding lights, and asking dumb questions, but my husband says that sometimes I get good ideas, too.

In the past, I've helped Speed restore a 1915 Model T Speedster and a 1955 Ford pickup. We've also built a half-scale simulation of a 1907 Mogul tractor and a seven foot snowblower, which has a 130 HP engine and a heated cab. In addition to these, we've had oodles of other projects, including restoration of many small antique engines, with his pride and joy being a 1912 6 HP Bullseye engine. My favorite, though, is the Mogul simulation, because I think it shows many of Speedy's creative and ingenious talents.

After being involved in all of my husband's projects, I decided I was going to try my hand at his game, so I got an early 1949 E3 Co-Op tractor, a 1940 McCormick-Deering manure spreader, and an early 1950 Choremaster garden tractor-at a total cost of $10.00 for all three of them! Now you don't get much for $10.00!

We picked up the Co-Op in Saginaw, Michigan. When we got it home, it was a mess! It had four flat tires on four completely rusted-through rims. The rest of the tractor was just as bad. It was broken, rusty, and something was missing (Speed said it was Number 3) along with many other parts.

We found the manure spreader in Toledo, Ohio. It also had flat tires on rusted-out rims and was barely move-able, with lots of used 'vegetation' on all four sides of its rusted-out steel.

We got the little bitty tractor in Portland, Indiana. It was minus an engine, but had the cutest little tire that looked like new (only clue I had that it was a tractor!).

After hours of labor, miles of hunting and fetching, and a few thousand dollars invested, my projects were finally completed. They were all sandblasted and painted with automobile paint and are now all worthy of the life they should be leading.

The Co-Op now looks better than new and oh so proud without all the baling wire and mismatched bolts. Going along with her new looks, her new sleeves, pistons and bearings, plus other things, make her run like a charm.

The spreader, which will never be used for second-hand vegetation again (I hope!), was completely rebuilt and was painted red, trimmed with yellow, to match the Co-Op. It has new hardwood house-flooring protected by three coats of polyurethane.

Everything on the little tractor was restored again, except for the tire, and we built a sulky with a refinished schoolhouse seat to ride behind it. It is amazing how much power this little feller has!

Now when you folks see these projects at the steam shows, remember getting started is NO BIG DEAL! It only takes $10.00!

Of course, having the right husband does help a lot. Thanks, Speedy!!!