Tag Archives: Ford Model T

Hassler Shock Absorbers a popular Ford Model T accessory

Hassler Shocks

Hassler Shock Absorbers, made in Indianapolis, were a popular Ford Model T accessory in the late 1910’s and 1920’s.

Hassler Shocks were made from lightweight springs and were sold through Ford dealers. The dealer paid $14 for a set of four for a touring car, roaster, commercial car, or sedan, and $23 for the one-ton truck rear axle. There was an additional charge of $23 for the truck front shocks, which included a special front nine-leaf spring set and radius rod supports.

For sales, direct to the customer’s auto, the cost of Hassler shocks was $27.50 for a set of four plus a $2.50 installation charge. A customer’s one-ton truck could be completely equipped front and rear for $45 including installation.

By 1920, Robert H. Hassler, Inc., claimed that more than one million sets of its shock absorbers had already been sold. It periodically published testimonials to the value of its shocks in the company publication, Hassler Hits. Here are two examples.

“I have used Hasslers for six years. If I had my choice of a Ford without Hasslers, or Hasslers without a Ford, I’d take the latter,” said A. D. Carpenter of Indianapolis.

“When my driver came in from his first trip with Hassler Shock Absorbers attached to the truck, he was all smiles, and exclaimed, ‘That Ford surely does ride like a Packard.’ The protection of the truck, the savings alone of breakable merchandise will more than offset their cost. Regretting that I did not have Hassler Shock Absorbers put on sooner, I am Respectfully yours, R. M. Mueller, Grocer, Indianapolis.”

The story of Hassler Shock Absorbers, made at 1375 Naomi Street, in Indianapolis, adds another detail to Indiana’s reputation as a leader in the early automotive industry.

For more information on our Indiana automotive heritage, follow this link.

Let’s revitalize this Indianapolis landmark

Ford Indianapolis Assembly Branch
Ford Indianapolis Assembly Branch
Copyright © Ford Motor Company

The Ford Motor Company opened its four-story, Indianapolis Branch Assembly Plant (known as Plant 215) at 1315 East Washington Street in the fall of 1914. Production of Ford cars and trucks continued unabated for nearly two decades, except for a period during World War I and model changeovers.

In May 1924, the new Car Delivery Unit was erected at the rear of the site fronting on South Eastern Avenue. The plant layout was expanded twice in the mid-1920’s to allow more space for assembly operations. These expansions increased the plant’s capacity to 300 assembled cars per day. With this capacity, the Indianapolis assembly branch had the highest output of any Indiana auto manufacturing site in its era.

Ford body assembly and finishing operations commenced at this plant in 1929. The Great Depression, however, also took its toll on Ford. As a result, Ford discontinued production operations in December 1932. Limited operations resumed at the site as a Ford parts service and automotive sales branch in July 1934. The plant operated on this basis into the 1940’s.

Over the course of its operations, Ford Motor Company produced over 581,000 automobiles at this site. The Ford Indianapolis Branch Assembly Plant operated during Indianapolis’ heyday of automotive manufacturing in the first part of the Twentieth Century. This plant’s production led all of the city’s other 97 auto producers from 1915 to 1932.

The Ford Indianapolis Branch Assembly is meaningful to Indianapolis automotive history for its location along the National Road – Washington Street as the gateway to the city.

In article in the Indianapolis Star June 19, 1922, ranked the city of Indianapolis as third nationally in manufacturing automobiles. Indianapolis had an output of $75,000,000 a year, employed 11,000 men and women, and had an annual payroll for city auto producers was $2,000,000. The approximate annual payroll of the Ford plant was a little over $1,100,000.

Like the Ford Motor Company Cleveland Ohio Branch Assembly Plant that is now the location of the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Ford Indianapolis Branch Assembly could serve as the cornerstone for redevelopment for SEND area. This site is underutilized and with renovation could highlight Indianapolis’ growth in the twenty-first century. Possibly a portion of the building could be set aside to celebrate Indianapolis’ automotive history.

I celebrate the story of the Ford Indianapolis Branch Assembly with a facebook page.

I invite you to help revitalize this Indianapolis landmark as a cornerstone of neighborhood development and celebration of our history.

For more information on our automotive heritage follow this link.

Ford Indianapolis assembly branch

Every day travelers along the National Road pass the former Ford Indianapolis assembly branch at 1315 East Washington Street. To meet America’s insatiable demand and to reduce shipping costs for finished Model T’s, the company built more than 24 assembly plants at key locations around the country.

Ford Indianapolis Assembly Branch
Ford Indianapolis Assembly Branch
Copyright © Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company opened its four-story assembly branch (known as Plant 215) in the fall of 1914. Production of Ford cars and trucks continued unabated for nearly two decades, except for a period during World War I and model changeovers.

In May 1924, the new Car Delivery Unit was erected at the rear of the site fronting on Southeastern Avenue. The plant layout was expanded twice in the mid-1920’s to allow more space for assembly operations. These expansions increased the plant’s capacity to 300 assembled cars per day. With this capacity, the Indianapolis assembly branch had the highest output of any Indiana auto manufacturing site in its era.

Ford Indianapolis Body Drop
Ford Indianapolis Body Drop
Copyright © 1926 Ford Motor Company

Ford body assembly and finishing operations commenced at this plant in 1929. The Great Depression, however, also took its toll on Ford. As a result, Ford discontinued production operations in December 1932. Limited operations resumed at the site as a Ford parts service and automotive sales branch in July 1934. The plant operated on this basis into the 1940’s.

The Ford Indianapolis assembly branch operated during Indianapolis’ heyday of automotive manufacturing in the first part of the Twentieth Century. The next time you drive by this location, you’ll know the rest of the story.

For more information about the Ford Indianapolis assembly branch follow this facebook link.

For more information on Indiana car culture follow this link.

My First ride in an old car

Keeping up with a theme of “My First,” I would like to share the story of my first ride in an old car. In the late 1950’s, old car is what it was called before other terms of auto endearment became popular. Car clubs and antique car shows were just in their infancy.

 

Indiana Automotive’s Model T Mascot
Indiana Automotive’s Model T Mascot

In that era, my family always visited our relatives during a two-week summer vacation in late August. While visiting my maternal grandparents in Lansing, Michigan, I discovered my Uncle Dick working on an early 1920’s Ford Model T coupe. This was a new experience for me because my father always drove contemporary cars. I had never seen anyone working on an old car.

The high stance of his Model T coupe was a stark contrast to our 1957 Chevrolet sedan. The small four-cylinder engine was another difference compared with our 283 V-8 engine. I was thoroughly intrigued about learning more.

My uncle allowed me to sit behind the steering wheel, if I promised not to touch any controls. When he finished up working on the engine, he asked if I would like to go for a ride. I was eager for a new experience, so I moved over to the passenger seat. He adjusted the throttle and spark advance, and then went around front to hand crank the engine.

The engine caught with the characteristic clackita-clackita-clackita roar of the Model T engine. He then climbed into the driver seat and engaged the planetary transmission. Sitting up high in the passenger compartment gave me quite a different sensation of speed. The primitive cross-leaf suspension definitely rode harder than newer cars. The breeze flowing through the split windshield was an interesting twist on summer ventilation.

Needless to say, I was soon captivated on my first ride in an old car about the streets of Lansing. Ford Model T coupes originally retailed for around $520 in the mid 1920’s. Today, number 2 condition examples go for about $12,500.

I have to say, that I owe it to my Uncle Dick for getting me interested in old cars in the late 1950’s.  This magnificent obsession progressed to an interest in rods and customs in the early 1960’s, with a return to antique automobiles in the 1970’s. With an over 50 year interest in old cars, many have said that I am a “Genuine Car Nut.”

So, that’s the story of my first ride in an old car. I would like to hear about your first ride in an old car.