Official Montana 500 Website

Shock Absorbers

by Tom Carnegie

For both ride comfort and safety, shock absorbers are a must. Ford came out with shock absorbers as an option in 1926. These were cable-type snubbers. One mounted near the center of the frame in the the front and rear with a cable attached to the axle, near the center. I cannot attest to the efficacy of this kind of shock as I have never, to my knowledge driven a car with these on it.

In 1928 the model A came with four wheel hydraulic leveraction shocks. These were found to be very effective. Without shocks, a car with transverse springs will tend to bounce sideways when it hits a bump. Also, the rear wheels often will "tramp" when you apply the brakes. Also, a car with shocks is much more stable in turns. It tends to "hold the road".

Most of the desired effect of shocks can be achieved on a model T with only the rear ones installed. I have installed shocks on a number of model T's using Ford 351 Windsor connecting rods and shocks off of a 1980 Nissan 310. The 351 Windsor rods are easy to obtain from most any automotive machine shop.

I just cut them off and weld a couple of bolts onto them to mount the lower end of the shock. The upper end is then mounted into a plate that is made out of a piece of 3/8" steel. It is bent and 3 holes are drilled into it to match the u-bolt and upper shock hole. U-bolts can usually be found at the local hardware store. When completed, this shock setup is 100 percent bolted on and can easily be removed for show if desired.


The Montana 500 is Sanctioned by The Montana Cross Country T Association.