1924 Ford Model T Hydrogen Turbo-T

The vehicle featured in this article is a unique one. Here is a 1924 Ford Model T Depot Hack that is powered by hydrogen and natural gas, either separately or in combination. As explained below, this vehicle is also capable of burning several other fuels.

ford depot hack

Hydrogen powered Ford Depot Hack

Model T Depot Hacks

The Ford Model T of course was an automobile icon which was in production for almost twenty years. During this time about 15 million were produced. The Depot Hack’s were designed to transport people between train stations or between train stations and hotels and resorts. As the railroads expanded across the country it became the primary mode of transportation for people who had to travel any measurable distance. The original depot hacks were horse-drawn wagons with seating to carry the passengers and some room for baggage. Many referred to the motorized versions as “auto buggies”.

The vehicle here was not entirely built by Henry Ford but was converted to these fuels by a man named Ben Jordan. The engine itself is a Ford engine. The only changes to it are the necessary conversions to burn the aforementioned fuel. A turbo-charger was added to provide added power at altitude. Ben Jordan converted the engine in Denver, Colorado which is roughly 5,000 feet above sea level. Automobiles at that altitude are known to lose about one-third of their power.

hydrogen car engine

Modified Ford engine

Ben Jordan

Ben Jordan, in addition to being a pilot during World War Two and then spending 42 years in the U.S. Air Force, set seven land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Jordan built his first hydrogen engine in 1932 at sixteen years of age. He spent much of his time converting engines to hydrogen power and did testing at Bonneville. Speed records were attained with Jordan’s “Bockscar” at Bonneville powered by hydrogen. The 1924 Ford Model T Depot Hack shown here was dedicated to the San Diego Automobile Museum in 1995.

Gone Racin’…Automobile Dictionary with Lagniappe

Ben Jordan authored a book titled, Gone Racin’…Automobile Dictionary with Lagniappe. The complete name of the book is Ben Jordan’s Automotive Jargon for the Car Owner; from the Shade Tree Mechanic’s Automobile Dictionary with Lagniappe.The book is soft cover 8 ½ by 11 inches with 416 pages. The publisher is Windmill Jouster Books in Denver, Colorado and was printed by Clements Printing, copyrighted in 1995.

Jordan’s book covers everything from automobile history to where the industry is headed to the engineering of highways. Lots of editorializing. The book is an automobile dictionary with quite a bit of humorous car jargon. One story in Jordan’s book declares that Otto Benz is not the inventor of the internal combustion engine and the father of the automobile in 1885.  Jordan says that honor goes to a Swiss engineer, Isaac de Rivaz, whose patent in 1805 is duly recorded.

1924 Model T Depot Hack Specifications

The specifications for this converted Ford engine are impressive. The four cylinder 176 cubic inch power plant delivered 11 horsepower with hydrogen and 14 using natural gas.

ford model t turbo

In addition to the natural gas and hydrogen fuels, Ben Jordan’s converted Ford engine could also burn corn cobs, cow chips, wood, ethanol and methanol. Needless to say, Ben Jordan has never been an advocate of fossil fuels. He felt that all fossil fuels are wasteful and inefficient. He shows how much of the gasoline that we use is not burned in the engine but lost through the exhaust back into the atmosphere as pollution.

As of this writing, there has been many advances regarding alternative energy to power motor vehicles. Tesla and others are producing electric cars and hybrids have been around now for several years. The situation with gasoline is complicated. Gas has been the fuel of choice for motor cars for well over a century. The infrastructure is here and to make changes away from gasoline usage will take time.

See additional Auto Museum Online / Muscle Car Journal articles on the links below…

1931 Chevy Woodie Depot Hack

All Electric 68 Mustang Fastback / 0-60 Under 3 Seconds

Model T Serial Numbers and Registering Antique Vehicles

turbo t ford depot hack

Dashboard on the hydrogen powered Ford Depot Hack

As far as gasoline prices are concerned, which has in the past been an issue, gasoline at this writing is far too cheap to cause a widespread cultural driving change. Investment in alternative fuels are alive and well and will continue but it may take a $7 / gal. gas price for private industry to expand the use of fuels such as natural gas, hydrogen and electricity.

As mentioned above, the featured 1924 Ford Depot Hack is unmodified except for the engine modifications regarding the different fuels used.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1959 Porsche 356A Roadster

The 1959 Porsche 356A Roadster is a beautiful collector car. The creation of the Porsche 356 goes all the way back to pre World War Two Germany and the work of  Dr. Ferdinand Porsche. What began as a Volkswagen Beetle and years later in 1939 a prototype Porsche would three years after the war become the famous Porsche 356. It was the Porsche 356 model sports car that launched the Porsche brand.

porsche 356a

1959 Porsche 356A

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche

Although he started his career in the automobile business in 1898 in Vienna, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, an automobile engineer with an Austrian-Czech background, came into much acclaim in Germany prior to World War Two.His engineering skills were also put to use by the German government during the 1930′s with tank designs and various weaponry designs.

Ferdinand Porsche founded his company in 1931 in Austria prior to relocating to Stuttgart, Germany. The company did not start out as an automaker but rather as an engineering consulting firm. Before building automobiles under his own name, Porsche is credited with developing, at the behest of Adolph Hitler, the Volkswagen Beetle. This was called “the people’s car” which was intended as a civilian vehicle but was made into a military model during the war.

1959 porsche

The First Porsche Automobile After the War

The very first car under the Porsche name was introduced in 1939. This was the Porsche 64 and was short lived. While this Porsche 64 model was different than the first Porsche 356 that came out after the war, there were some similarities that were carried over to the first Porsche 356.

After the war in March 1948, in a small factory in Gmünd, Austria, Ferry Porsche, son of engineer Dr.  Ferdinand Porsche, designed and built a small two-seater sports car, which would be the first car to bear his family’s name. This was the Porsche 356 which would literally define Porsche automobiles up to 1965. AS they lacked any credit, the Porsche family had to ask for payment in advance from VW auto dealers to get Porsche 356 production started. Under fifty Porsche 356′s were built the first year.

As a side note, in 1948, the younger Porsche and his father, Ferdinand Porsche Sr., were imprisoned in France for alleged war crimes for working with the Nazi government. Ferry Porsche served just six months but the elder Porsche ended up spending 22 months in prison.

The Design

The Porsche 356 was light, sporty and had rear engine placement. The Porsche brand acquired an excellent reputation for craftsmanship. Years later, the 356A model was a further enhancement of the original 356 with a curved one piece windshield, additional specialized Porsche components and a larger choice of engines.

Porsche would eventually build a 356B model and a 356C model between 1960 and 1965. The 356C was the last of the 356 model line.

1959 Porsche 356 Roadster Specifications

Two engines were available for 1959. These were a 1582cc ohv flat four delivering 50-75 HP. The other was a 1588cc dohc flat four putting out 121 to 132 HP. Maximum speed for the car was rated at 100 MPH.

The automobile had a wheelbase of 82.7 inches, a length of 155.5 inches, a width of 65.4 inches and a height of 51.6 inches. Curb weight was rated at 1,800 lbs.

Gearbox was a four speed manual. Brakes were four wheel drum. Suspension was independent front and rear.

See the additional Auto Museum Online articles on the links below…

1962 Porsche Carrera 2

1974 Porsche 914

A few interesting books regarding Ferdinand Porsche and the Porsche automobiles include...Ferdinand Porsche and the Volkswagen by Porsche Ag…..The Book of the Porsche 356 by author Brian Long.

1959 Porsche Roadster

Porsche Collector Cars

Porsche automobiles are some of the finest collector cars available. Porsche automobiles are luxury sports cars which have the chance to appreciate over time depending on the model. The cars have a reputation for quality craftsmanship and generally have had good resale values.

The more original the car is, the past ownership of the car, and its racing history, if any, all factor in a car’s value. In Porsche, you can see 80 years of a single approach to design from 1948 onwards.

As of this writing, depending on exactly which 1959 Porsche model you’re looking at and it’s condition, asking prices for those offered for sale may range from $45,000 to $250,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)



1964 AMC Rambler Ambassador Cross Country 990

Just under 3,000 of the 1964 AMC Ambassador Cross Country 990 Station Wagons were produced. Built with a 327 cubic inch V-8, the Ambassador Station Wagon featured in this article has plenty of power.

rambler ambassador

64 Rambler Ambassador 990

A word about AMC…The company itself came from the ashes of Hudson and Nash. American Motors Corporation represented a last, desperate attempt at survival for an American independent automobile company.

The Top of the Line Ambassador

The Ambassador line of vehicles were AMC’s top of the line from 1958 to 1974. The Ambassador nameplate was also the longest continuously used nameplate in American automobile history.

The Rambler Brand

The Rambler automobile brand was used by a succession of automakers beginning in 1900 with the Thomas B. Jeffery Company of Kenosha, Wisconsin. This lasted until 1914 shortly before the company was taken over by Nash Motors. Nash used the Rambler brand from 1950 to 1954. Nash was acquired by American Motors in 1954 and the Rambler brand was continued by them from 1954 to 1969.

1964 rambler ambassador station wagon

Rambler Ambassador Station Wagon interior and dash

The Rambler Ambassador and Richard A. Teague

Richard A. Teague was an automobile designer whose career in Detroit had him working for General Motors, Chrysler, Packard and eventually AMC. At AMC he became Vice-President of Design and had notable success.

The Cross Country Station Wagon appeared in 1954 and initially rode on a 108-inch wheelbase. In 1959, Car Life magazine named the Rambler wagon “one of the most attractive cars on the road.” By 1963, the cars were selling well; Motor Trend magazine named the entire Rambler line its “Car of the Year.”

The 1963 AMC Ambassador went through an entire redesign. Teague along with Edmund Anderson gave the Ambassador a cleaner and smoother look. This was much needed as the Ambassador carried the same body from the 50′s. Many believe the Cross Country had cleaner lines than its Big Three competitors—and there’s no question it was very popular with buyers.

Going into 1964, the AMC Ambassador had minor trim changes along with some new options. The “electric-shaver” grille on the 1963 model was replaced with a flush-mounted design, and the engine and transmission options were widened. A two-door hardtop body style called 990-H was added for the first time since 1957. Base 880 models were dropped from the line, and the Ambassador took on the trusty 327 cu in (5.4 L) V8 as its standard engine again.

1964 Rambler Ambassador Cross Country 990 Specifications

As mentioned above, the featured 1964 Rambler Ambassador Station Wagon was built with a 327 cubic inch V-8 engine delivering 250 HP.

Gearbox was a three speed manual.

Brakes were four wheel drum. Front suspension is independent with rear suspension live axle.

Dimensions for the 64 Ambassador Station wagon included a 112.0 inch wheelbase, an outside length of 189.3 inches, a width of 71.3 inches and a height of 55.6 inches.

Rambler wagons are sometimes affectionately called “Kenosha Cadillacs,” after the Kenosha, Wisconsin plant where they were manufactured.

You may also enjoy the Auto Museum Online articles on the links below…

1929 Nash Advanced Six with Rumble Seat

1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk

rambler station wagon

Rambler Ambassador Station Wagons as Collector Vehicles

One of the biggest challenges for those wishing to find an AMC Rambler Ambassador Station Wagon is locating one that’s intact. Because of this, the cost of acquiring one will vary greatly depending on condition.

There are some fully restored models that do come up for sale from time to time. It also appears that these Rambler wagons are gaining in collector popularity. This also holds true for several classic station wagons which represent an era of automobile design we’re likely not to see again, at least for quite some time.

As of this writing, Ambassador 990 Station Wagons have a published value of between $6,000 and $9,000 for excellent original show quality condition. This is an average and prices of course will vary. The relatively reasonable cost of the Rambler 990 Ambassador Wagon bodes well for the chance of decent appreciation going forward.

ambassador station wagon

The story of AMC is quite interesting in as much as it arose from the troubled Hudson and Nash brands. It’s downfall appeared to have much to do with their competitors and the American public’s focus on performance of which AMC really wasn’t in a position to match. In addition, a few of their later models didn’t resonate well with the buying public.

One excellent book regarding the story of the American Motors Corporation is ...American Motors Corporation: The Rise and Fall of America’s Last Independent Automaker by author Patrick R. Foster.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

2015 Polaris Slingshot / Three Wheeler Car-Motorcycle

Some call the Polaris Slingshot a Car-Motorcycle Tweener. The Slingshot with it’s radical design looks somewhat like the Morgan with it’s three wheels yet the two passenger vehicle it is not classified as a car and lacking in automobile crash safety standards.

2015 slingshot three wheeler

2015 Polaris Slingshot

For an example, as of this writing the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has not licensed the Slingshot and has kept it off the state’s roadways. Other states have classified the vehicle as a three wheel motorcycle and in those cases the 2015 Polaris Slingshot is a street-legal three-wheeler. States that classify the Slingshot as a motorcycle will likely enforce all rules and laws pertaining to motorcycle operation.

The Company and the Model

Polaris of course is a manufacturer of recreational vehicles and their Slingshot was designed with some characteristics of their ATV’s. As a side note, Polaris is also the parent company of Indian Motorcycles and Victory Motorcycles.

polaris slingshot engine

2.4 L Engine

There are two different models of the Slingshot. The base model features titanium metallic aint, 17″ alloy wheels upfront, and an 18″ wheel in the rear.

The premium model called Slingshot SL features red pearl paint, larger 18in forged aluminum wheels upfront and a 20in wheel in the rear, and a blade windscreen for wind protection.

The vehicle is a head turner as you can plainly see in these photos. Slingshot™ is an entirely new on-road driving and riding experience. The open air cockpit of Slingshot™ hits you with a 360 degree rush of sight, sound, and smell. With side by side seating, both driver and passenger experience a front row shot of adrenaline

Power for the 1700 lb. vehicle comes from a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine. Power is sent to the rear wheel at 173 hp. The steering is power assisted and the vehicle has a five speed manual gearbox.

Specifications for the Polaris Slingshot, per the manufacturer are as follows…

  • ECO TEC 2.4 Liter DOHC Engine developed by General Motors
  • 5-Speed Manual Transmission
  • High-Strength Steel Spaceframe
  • 3-Point Seatbelts
  • LED Taillights and Projector – Beam Headlights
  • Double-Wishbone Front Suspension with Sway Bar
  • Electronic Power-Assisted Steering
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • ABS Disk Brakes
  • Tilt Steering
  • Adjustable, Waterproof Seats
  • Lockable Storage Bins and Glove Box
  • Slingshot front wheels are 17″ and the rear wheel is 18″.
  • Polaris Slingshot measures 149.6 inches in length, 77.6 inches in width, 51.9 inches in height and it has a 105-inch long wheelbase.

See additional articles on our Auto Museum Online site on the links below…

The Morgan Superdry

1917-1923 Smith / Briggs and Stratton Flyer Cycle Car

 1924 Hydrogen Powered Model T

2015 slingshot three wheeler

2015 Slingshot

One review of the Slingshot published on motorcycleusa.com is as follows:

It looks like something out of Michael Bay’s subconscious – projector-beam headlights as eyes, its futuristic bodywork angular and edgy, with wide-set wheels and low-profile rubber setting a muscular stance. A dorsal fin rises between two roll bars, the machine’s truncated tail showcasing a hefty coil-over shock and stout single-sided swingarm. In a sense Polaris’ three-wheeled 2015 Slingshot is a transformer, part car, part motorcycle, a sophisticated machine with an Electronic Stability Program (ESP), traction control and ABS, the sum of its parts aimed at a riding experience that raises heart rates and adrenalin levels.

The 2015 Slingshot has been in development for the last three years. Polaris was granted a patent for its three-wheeler on September 17, 2013, with Garth H. Bracy, Gurminder S. Bhandal and Greg Brew listed as inventors.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1917-1923 Smith / Briggs and Stratton Flyer Cycle Car

The Smith / Briggs and Stratton Flyer Cycle Car originated with the Smith Motor Wheel. The car featured here is the 1920 model.

flyer cycle car

Flyer Cycle Car

Smith Motor Wheel and the American Cycle Car

The founder of Smith Precision Products Company located in Milwaukee, WI, Reuben Stanley Smith, filed seven patents between the years 1914 and 1917.

His patents were for a  device he called a Motor Wheel. The Smith Motor Wheel was a device attached to the side of a bicycle. The Motor Wheel consisted of an engine and a wheel. Reuben Stanley Smith is remembered as a fascinating inventor known as the inventor of record for various machines and equipment.

You could say this device made the bicycle powered, similar to what we call a moped, with the exception that a had the engine mounted on the bike frame. In many respects the cycle car is a cousin to to both the bicycle and the motorcycle. The Smith Motor Wheel used as power for a bicycle was manufactured from 1914 to 1917.

smith motor wheel

Smith Motor Wheel

During this period, automobiles were still a novelty, and prices were of such that only the wealthy could purchase one. The Cycle Car, while different and more primitive, still was a mode of transportation and much more affordable. Smith Precision Products built their Cycle Car based on the Smith Motor Wheel from 1917 to 1920.

It’s estimated that the about 25,000 Smith Motor Wheels were produced from 1914 through 1919.

Briggs and Stratton Cycle Car

There were many cycle cars manufactured. Some put the total at around 125. One manufacturer that stands out in addition to the Smith / Briggs and Stratton is the Morgan Motor Company. Morgan produced the three wheel Morgan Aero and still produces cycle cars today.

Smith Precision Products built the Smith Flyer Cycle Car from 1917 to 1920 after purchasing the rights for the Wall Motor Wheel from Surrey, England. Wall had developed an attachment to bicycles in 1902. The Wall Motor Wheel was attached to the back of the bicycle which allowed for banking during turns. The Smith Motor Wheel was a device with several modifications to the Wall Motor Wheel. The Smith Cycle car was well accepted and eventually have it’s rights purchased.

The Briggs and Stratton Company, who purchased the manufacturing rights for the Motor Wheel and the Smith Cycle Car, produced Flyer cycle cars from 1920 to 1923.  Just about all aspects of the Smith Cycle Car were seen on the Briggs and Stratton models. The Smith / Briggs and Stratton Flyer Cycle Car as featured in this article had a buckboard and two buckets seats. An interesting side note is that the Smith Motor Wheel was the basis for Briggs and Stratton developing their power lawn mowers.

smith motor wheel cycle car

As part of the car was a fifth wheel, shown above, placed at the rear. The fifth wheel was hooked up with a single cylinder air-cooled engine and delivered two horsepower. The Briggs and Stratton fuel tank carried one-half gallon of gasoline. The mileage was advertised as 40 to 50 miles. Speed was estimated at 15 MPH. The vehicle sold for $175. Briggs and Stratton marketed their Flyer Cycle Car to a young audience, similar to a motorcycle audience. Typical advertisements for this vehicle suggested…”Just imagine traveling 100 miles an hour at up to 25 MPH on just one gallon of gasoline“.

You may enjoy the Auto Museum Online articles on the links below…

The Morgan Aero Eight

2013 Morgan 3 Wheeler Limited Edition Superdry

1924 Hydrogen Powered Model T Turbo Depot Hack


Today, the Smith and Briggs and Stratton Motor Wheels are collector items. The Flyer Cycle Cars were popular and some exist today, such as the one featured in this article.

An excellent website that offers a list of American cycle car manufacturers along with their various locations and production dates is …http://www.american-automobiles.com/Cyclecar-Manufacturers.html

(Article aand photos copyright Auto Museum Online)