Fully restored 1924 Ford Model T is “reborn” after surviving fire

Celebrating 100 years of living is a milestone for anyone.

Usually followed by a party, cake and letter from the reigning monarch, it’s no small victory.

  • Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to receive the latest news and classifieds from Australia’s transport industry.
  • Don’t miss a second and subscribe to our monthly Deals on Wheels magazine.
  • Sell your truck with Australia’s #1 truck classifieds

‘Wychy Hill Billy’ is a 1924 Ford Model T, this year celebrating its 100th birthday.

Owned lovingly by Adam Lovell, he says Wychy Hill Billy has lived more life than many people he knows.

“It’s been reborn three times in its life now,” he says. “It’s been put through the wringer.”

The old girl was going to need a lot of TLC to get her back up and running

The truck started off its journey in 1924, being sold new in Geelong before moving over to Foster.

Used as a work truck for decades, Adam says it finally retired from the road in the late 70’s.

“It was unused for many years after that, parked up in the shed of the original owner’s son.”

After staring at the historical rig for years, the son finally decided to spruce up the neglected T, serving as a fun hobby.

It wasn’t long after that however, that Wychy Hill Billy found itself parked up again for many years.

“Fast forward to 2010, Max Brumby, my brother-in-law, purchased the truck along with a 1947 Mercury and it came home to Ferntree Gully,” Adam says.

“The Model T was put on the back burner while he tinkered with the ‘47 Mercury.”

On her way to Wycheproof

However, Adam says he always shared a love of Model T’s.

“Max would always tell me stories of his father’s T truck they had on the farm as a kid. I was hooked after that,” he says.

After Max had finished playing with his Mercury, he indulged Adam’s desires and set about getting the T truck fired up and running.

“It came to life immediately.”

Luckily for Adam, most of the running gear was still in a restored state.

Repurposing old material gave Wychy that historical feel

Elated at the prospect of this new project, Adam says he couldn’t have predicted what came next.

“One evening while Max was asleep, a fire broke out in the shed,” Adam says.

“The ‘47 Mercury was burnt to the ground along with the shed and all its contents.”

Amazingly, the Model T managed to survive the blaze, sustaining only a few injuries.

“Its windows and headlights were blown out from the high-pressure fire hose.”

“It was definitely looking worse for wear.”

Wychy Hill Billy was moved to Adam’s sisters house, sitting neatly under a blue plastic tarp for 18 months while they rebuilt Max’s shed.

Adam took over the reigns and got her all done himself

Unable to shake the Model T from his mind, Adam decided it was time he gave the old girl a crack.

“I talked with Max and asked if I could purchase the old girl from him.”

“I grew up with him and he knows my love of Model T’s, so a price was agreed, and we went to Melbourne to bring it home to Wycheproof.”

Unimpressed with the previous attempts at building a new cabin, Adams first point of business was to dispose of the cabin and chuck the rolling chassis and cowl into the shed.

As most restorers know, finding time to work on projects can prove to be the biggest challenge, so when the pandemic had everyone staying at home, Adam knew this was his chance.

An old club lounge was sourced locally to make the interior

“The plan was to fully rebuild the old truck from the ground up as I have done on many restos in the past,” Adam says.

“But on closer inspection I found that the drivetrain was still in near perfect condition.”

Realising that he could now do the restoration on a budget, Adam decided to do up the truck in a patina style, along the lines of an old moonshine runner or Beverly Hillbilly.

“I had some great early photos of a state rivers T truck, so I went about copying the cabin from it.”

Max Brumby (left) and Paul Mills (right) with Wychy Hill Billy

The flooring for the cab was repurposed Baltic pine that he had recently ripped out from his church’s renovation.

Next came the stake side bed which was recycled timber from the original body and leftovers from when his local police station carport was pulled down.

An old club lounge was sourced locally to make an interior.

“It all came together over 12 months. Nothing was wasted.”

This was the moment Wychy Hilly Billy was officially reborn.

Adam is now excited to be right by its side celebrating its 100th birthday.

“I hope I have done the old truck justice,” he says.

“It’s been reborn three times in its life now and will see us all out back in its new / old look for its 100-year anniversary.”

Read more:

Check out the Deals on Wheels Facebook here.

Send this to a friend