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He Collects Everything Model T
With around 20 Model T cars, trucks and tractors, and parts to build another 30, John Krug is a self-described Model T nut. He even has a website by that name. He has 13 that are licensed and can be taken on the road.
Krug’s passion started in 2002. He saw a Model T driving around the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. “I loved the wood spoke wheels and the sound of the engine,” recalls Krug.
He bought one and then another and another, some at auction, others from neighbors. Pretty soon he had a reputation for Model Ts and Model T parts.
“People will call and ask if I want some parts they have,” says Krug. “I’ve been collecting for years and have a 64 by 64-ft. barn full of parts, as well as other buildings with parts. I have parts all over the place.”
He holds onto most of the parts for his own use. Sometimes he trades one with another enthusiast.
“Trading is a good way to get what you need,” says Krug.
Pretty soon he was restoring parts, and then he started building cars from them. In one case, he built a 1924 4-door all from parts.
“It was completely disassembled with all the wooden parts missing or in bits and pieces,” says Krug. “I worked on it for 6 years, building it and getting tired of it and then building some more.”
He had no patterns for the missing wood pieces. He looked at restored versions, took pictures and studied them. Sometimes there was one piece, and he had to make its mirror image.
“I had to reproduce some entirely, such as where a bottom joint had rotted away,” says Krug. “There were lots of compound angles, and it was hard to get them right.”
That car was his biggest challenge, but not the only one he built. He has several WWI military vehicles. He started with an ambulance chassis and after seeing a picture of WWI nurses and soldiers by one, built the body. He later built a scout car body, complete with a machine gun fashioned from plastic.
He also has several Model T tractors, including a Montgomery Ward conversion tractor that used a Model T engine and parts. It had large wheels in the back with cleats and a low gear.
“I have put an extra seat on mine, so I can carry a passenger,” says Krug.
Krug has a fire truck and several other trucks, as well as an Ottawa car. It was a body built on a Model T chassis in Krug’s hometown of Ottawa, Ill.
“My favorite, and the one I drive into town, is a natural oak pickup,” says Krug.
He notes that most chassis were the same. Just the bodies differed. “There were only small variations in fenders from 1909 through 1925,” says Krug. “In 1926 and 1927, they changed styles quite a bit. However, if you look at the ambulance and the scout car, you can see small differences in the radiators and fenders.”
Finding some parts is harder than others, advises Krug. “Original parts, including fenders and running boards, can be hard to find,” he says. “You have to buy more than one to make one good one. For some reason, the front fenders seem to rust out more than others.”
Like a growing number of collectors, Krug does not restore most of his Model Ts to showroom gloss. He likes to share their history through the wear and tear. “I like the ones that look old and rusty, but can run and be enjoyed,” says Krug.
As he collected cars and parts, he needed more places to keep them. Eventually, they took on a life of their own as Lost Creek, Ill. (see companion story). His Model Ts are also popular with historical reenactors, from Prohibition bootleggers to WWI soldiers and nurses.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Krug, 3277 E 18th Rd., Ottawa, Ill. 61350 (ph 815-228-5898; modeltnut@hotmail.com; www.modeltnut.com).

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2022 - Volume #46, Issue #6