U.S. WW1 AMBULANCE COMES TO LIFE
U.S. WWI M1917 Field Ambulance - Built on the 1917 Ford Model-T chassis.
(The photo below shows an ambulance near Reims France during WWI)
The M1917 Ambulance rear body was made of wood. The first manufacturing contract was awarded to the Ford Motor Company in July 1917 and completed in September 1917. Ford Manufactured more than 2,400 1917 Ambulance bodies through the course of the War. The Model T chassis and the Ambulance body were shipped separately and joined together once they were delivered in France.
The M1917 Ambulance's light weight made it well suited for use on the muddy and shell torn roads in forward combat areas. If stuck in a hole, a group of soldiers could lift one out without much difficulty.
The light wooden body was mounted on a standard Ford Model "T" chassis.The four cylinder engine produced about 20 horsepower. There was no electric starter; the engine had to be cranked by hand.
The vehicle could carry three stretchers or four seated patients and two more could sit with the driver. The M1917 Model T was well liked by the drivers and affectionately nick named "Tin Lizzie". Red Cross volunteer drivers including writer Ernest Hemingway and cartoonist Walt Disney, drove the Model T Ambulance during WWI.
Since there are no surviving M1917 Ambulances left over from WWI .....
I decided to reconstruct the past by using an original 1917 Model T Ford with a 1920 engine. I found this car in a Model T graveyard in a field in Eastern Kansas. With the the help of my friend Dave Gird, we loaded the old "Tin Lizzy" on to his trailer and delivered it to my workshop in Kansas. My project car arrived June 2009 and the below photos show the condition of the car as it was found.
As we towed the "Tin Lizzy" through towns and on the highways, I could see people take notice and their heads would turn with curiosity. As I looked behind us in the rear view mirror, I could see the old Model T happily bouncing on her spring suspension. It almost seemed like the car was smiling......happy to be saved from the earth......happy to have another chance to live in this century.