1916 Coupelet Restoration

This 1916 Coupelet has been a restoration project for many years. The car was purchased by Mike Walker and he restored the chassis and began the restoration of the body (see disassembly of the Coupelet’s body). I purchased the Coupelet from Mike four years ago and began the restoration by having Ray wells re-wood the body. My good friend and painter, Mark Stevens massaged the body panels and painted the body in Limco “Ultra Black”. I had the engine rebuilt by Jim Blair of Tucson and then I assembled the engine components. Interestingly, the engine casting date (12-27-15) is one day shy of one year later than my 1915 Coupelet’s engine. According to the engine number (1025XXX), the car assembly date is December 30, 1915. The original rear axle and front axle have been restored and the side and tail lamps have brass trim, as found on 1915 Fords. As seen in the original factory photo, dated October 1915, it is clear that at least one 1916 Coupelet had brass trimmed side lamps and headlamps. I will be posting additional photos as the restoration progresses.

Here are some photos of the body as completed. The car was upholstered by Ernie Romero of El Cajon, CA and has a dark green headliner. The next project will be the wheels and tires. The black bale door handles will be replaced with brass handles. This car has a trunk lid on top of the trunk and it makes it very easy to load the trunk.

Here is the engine.

Lovely work so far Russ.

The covid pandemic has allowed me to work on the coupelet, and this past weekend we mounted the body to the chassis. before completing the chassis, I fit the new Rootleib fenders to the frame, and sanded and painted the wheels. I’m going to use old stock Universal smooth black tires on the wheels. The body is quite heavy and it took six people to get it on the chassis, but we did it with no damage to anything (YEA!).

It ought to go pretty fast now! Looks fabulous Russ.

With the continuing covid crisis, it has given me plenty of time to work on the 1916 Coupelet. I mounted the tires to the wheels and the wheels to the chassis, restored the steering wheel, side lamps, tail lamp and headlamps, restored the steering column and painted the hood former, firewall and windshield. I found that the groove for the glass in the windshield frame was too narrow for today’s safety glass (1/4" thick), so I had to increase the groove to 5/16" to accept the glass and brass channel. I used a 5/16" carbide bit to expand the groove, but this was quite a job. My next job is to install the firewall and steering column along with the original engine pans. I need to paint the fenders and then the car will be completed.

Looks great! :slight_smile:

Nice work Russ!

Progress continues. I installed the windshield, steering column, steering wheel and coil box. The original Brassco Horn is now in place and the firewall and hood former are now bolted on. I need to paint the fenders and hood boards next.

It’s so perfect - are you going to ever drive it?

Royce, Coupelets are fun examples of rare Model T’s, and yes, I will drive this car and my 1915 coupelet. I have other cars that I “tour” in, so neither will be long distance tour cars.

I’m not sure you have heard about my latest car, but I had the opportunity to purchase a 1917 coupelet. This is the car that is featured in Bruce McCalley’s book that was owned by two “spinster” ladies. The car has a later chassis and I have already aquired a correct, original 1917 chassis that will go under the car! Just more fun ahead!! I guess I have a “trifecta” of coupelets.
Russ Furstnow

I think you need to set your sights higher - the 1918 Couplet is pretty interesting too!

Congrats on the new acquisition.

Well, The 1916 Coupelet is finally finished. I had to wait for a good day to paint the fenders and then came cutting and buffing. I also ordered black wool carpet and fit it to the interior floor and trunk. I had the brass top coils rebuilt and installed a Stewart Model 100 speedometer. The car is very tight and comfortable in the cold weather, so it should make a great tour car.


BTW Russ, I found a Jones speedometer bracket, so you can dismiss my earlier request for one. :slight_smile:



I got to drive the coupelet for the first time yesterday and it ran great! We have an 8% hill going to our home and the little car did not have enough gas in the tank to make it up the hill, so it ran out of gas :blush: . Once the gas was topped off, it made it up the hill with no problems. Thanks to Brent Mize for rebuilding my coils.

Absolutely wonderful!

As for the 1917? I don’t know if I should say anything or not. But a part of me feels as though it should remain on its later chassis. That is so much a part of that particular model T’s history. I also see the other side of that. The body really belongs on a 1917 chassis. A tough conundrum to reconcile.

I have made the decision to restore the 1917 Coupelet as it would have come from the factory, with an original 1917 chassis. Since the story was written by Don Black for Bruce McCalleys’s book, there have been several owners of the car, and each owner has changed a few things. Right now, the car has a 1926 motor with a Model A manifold and carburetor, a distributor and alternator (The car goes VERY fast!). It also has a 1926 Ruckstell with Rocky Mountain brakes and a 1921-25 frame.

In my opinion, the car deserves to be restored properly. It has the original wood in the body and has the original body serial number. From my research, there are only six surviving 1917 Coupelets remaining (This car has the lowest body number of the existing original cars.), making this car rarer than my 1915 or 1916 Coupelets. Once I start the restoration, I’ll start a thread on this site so you can see the progress. Let me know what you think as the restoration takes place.
Russ Furstnow