I just wanted to comment on some thoughts that were expressed in another thread (“Not too late to Bid”) about the lack of younger people to take over the Model T hobby when the current group passes on. I am not exactly a young’en myself at 48, but hope a have a few years left to carry on with the hobby. I have been very interested in Model Ts since I was 15 years old, but there have always been a few barriers that have kept me from getting fully involved. One big barrier is money. It takes a chunk of cash to go out and buy an old car to work on. Model Ts where a lot cheaper in 1974, but I was just a teenager then. With the help of my dad, I was able to buy a lot of scattered parts and a few junked out Model Ts from farms. I put together a mostly complete 1915 Runabout. However, I never had enough cash to buy all the new parts I needed and finish the restoration. So it still sits in my dad garage.
I would really like to get back into the hobby now. The main problem now is that I have no place to work on an old car. I live in a “trendy” housing development in a Dallas suburb, where the homeowner’s association doesn’t look kindly on someone running an auto repair shop out of their home garage. I just really don’t know where someone like me could fine a place to restore their car.
There are probably a lot of “younger” folks like me out there who would really like to get involved in the Model T hobby, but just simply have a few obstacles.
How about buying a piece of rental property consisting of a house with a detached garage, away from the house. With the current real estate situation, it's a buyers market and a great opportunity to invest in investment properties and, with all the mortgage forclosures, there are alot of people in need of a roof over their head. You could rent the place out to one of these families in order to pay your monthly mortgage and possibly have a little income, as well, plus have a garage to work on your Model T's in. Jim
My son turns 21 this year and is active in seventies cars as well as Model Ts. He has attended twenty Old Car Festivals to date. At the last OCF, there were a couple of girls driving around in a brightly colored speedster who were around his age. So, They may be few and far between but they're out there.
Any time I have a parent and child showing an interest in my cars and asking questions other than "How much is this worth?", I invite them to come under the ropes and sit in the car. I've even offered a few a ride.
I got interested in the hobby because my late father took me to shows like the OCF and Sports Cars on Review during the sixties and cultivated the love of cars in me. Dad could only afford to have his 67 Mustang convertible, but he eventually participated in the OCF via my cars. times.
Again they're out there, they just need a little encouragement to grow the interest.
p.s. I still have Dad's 67 and my kid brother still has Dad's 73 convertible. Thanks Dad - Rest in Peace.
I used to worry about this but think it may not be a problem. I have been retired for almost nine years now and although I have owned T's since my early twenties, I did not really go touring until I retired. Seems that a ride around the subdivision and short trips was the norm back then. There were other priorities and numerouus other things that seemed to use up my time and money .
Just take a look in any old car publication of a T club tour twenty years ago, some of the same people may be touring today but many are folks like myself who finally are getting to drive and paticipate in something we have always wanted to do.
My advise is don't get dicouraged, put it on hold . Stay as active as you can in the hobby and don't get rid of your T junque.
Rick and all,it has been my experience ,that when the desire to accomplish something is great enough,you will find a way. Try joining a local club,perhaps one of the members has some extra room in his barn for you to work on your car??
Rick, lone star t's (lone-star-ts.com) is the local chapter in Dallas I just became a member 2 weeks ago. And I hope to become more familiar with the other members But they seemed like a nice bunch of t'ers upon attending my first meeting. maybe you should attend a meeting. I dont understand how a HOA can dictate what you can have in youre garage. They will probably never no its there. And neighbors will probably think its a neet car when they see you drive around the neighborhood
I agree with Karl. None of their business what is going on behind your garage door. You don't have to have a full-blown "repair shop" to restore a T. Thank God I live in a rural farming area. I can sit anything I want in my front yard if I want, and nobody can do a d**ned thing about it!
I save my copies of Hemmings Motor News and give them to the high school library. I hope I'll infect a kid or two with the old car bug. Our local tractor club puts on a Kids' Day every fall, with grade school classes coming out to see and experience parts of old time farm life. When I have the TT back together and running I think I'll take it to Kids' Day.
I am new to the model T hobby, and have really fell in love with them. I am only 29, but I hope that I can continue to build and work on them as much as possible. I have the luxury of a two car heated garage, a necessity in Nova Scotia, so space isn't so much an issue. The issue I am running into is buying parts. Many guys won't sell to me, or even talk to me because of my age. Most assume I will "hot rod" anything I get ahold of. I can't imagine a greater disservice than hacking apart any old car, no matter what it is. People like Coddington drive my blood pressure up as they hack apart rare survivor cars. There is something incredibly satisfying about restoring a car to original, and realising that this is how it was supposed to feel off the showroom floor. If I wanted to hotrod a T, I could simply buy a repro frame, body etc. and go wild.
Be careful, I mentioned on an earlier thread about what HOA's can do, they can tell you what type of porch light you can put up, one neighbor complains & they're over you like the Tar Baby was all over Brer Rabbit & you sign the papers agreeing to this when you buy. One reason I'd never have a home that was governed by one. I have a regular City lot with good Neighbors who appreciate the Model T's. Rare thing today Weddings, Births, Chirstmas & other Holidays we all get together. Small pocket in a urban area. our houses are six feet apart.
I envy people like you who can have some acreage.
The Nebraskaland chapter is sponsoring a speedster project in a local high school in Lincoln. I know that a club in California also does this as well as one in Wisconsin I believe. We have had fantastic support from the MTFCA in our project in Lincoln. We have a hand-full of enthusiastic 11th and 12th graders working on the car. The project does not move rapidly but the students are learning. These students may not own Model T's today but I do believe that we may have planted a few seeds for tomorrow.
Well,with the houseing market the way it is,it would be a good time to get out of that "trendy" neighbor hood and get into a home that you can LIVE inside and outside of without pesky HOA's.It is beyond me how they can push thier agenda and get so many followers sucked in,under control,like robotic,hypnotised,lab rodents.
As for the young folkes in the hobby.
Well when a young fellow like I was in the 90's ,waddles up to a vendor table at the auto fair and some grumpy fellow says,"whata you want?" and I explained I was looking for T parts,he gave me a funny look and went back to nawing on his cud and ignored me,it did make me mad.But not mad enough for the old coot to make me give up.What it amounts to is to many older folkes automaticly assume a young person is building a "hotrod" and not a real T when they inquire about parts.
So if a youngan comes up asking about T parts,if you are a vendor,"grill" them gently and see what they are building before you dismiss them as a "rodder".You may be looking at a young member of this forumn or a future 1.
If you bought something 20 years ago for 10 bucks,and a young t'r comes along wanting to buy it,dont ask 140,be fair,25 bucks or so,what the heck,he may come back and buy a 1000 bucks worth,just because you treated him honest and fair,and his T may need that 1 peice to put it on the highway and him to grinning from ear to ear.
these are just my thoughts on this subject so far.As I come up with more perspective and ideas and input I will post.
We have a 28 year old in our group,he has two children.He is currently building a T of some kind,we "advise " him and let him do the work and help where needed,its a hoot to see him covered in black grease from the differential and when he tightens a bolt its torqued without a torque wrench,so we are trying to teach the younger people about these things,he is a preacher so he is learning more than mechanics like &(#$@_$#.
I must confess, I am the guilty party mentioned above. However I must make one correction, I am 29. As Rick stated I am in the process of building my second car and it would not be possible if not for the help of our new found friends in the Model T world. They are often humored by questions and the fact that I have broken a bolt or two, but they have been very good to me and have made this project possible. I have not had to fight this age battle with them, but I have with some, however it always seems that if I look a little further there are those that will look beyond our age and ignorance and take a chance on us, for that I am forever grateful. Also I have two children of my own who enjoy riding in our car and my daughter told my wife the other day that she is going to work on Model T's when she grows up. There is still hope.
I'm 22 years old and just got into T's recently. My great uncle has always been into T's, but frankly, I never had too much interest in them, thinking they were stodgy, slow vehicles that couldn't possibly be any fun. Then the Model T tour came through Clear Lake (my home town), and he asked me to drive a T in the tour, so I thought I'd give it a shot. He let me drive his resurrected '26 Country Fair racer, complete with a Ruckstell. I had a blast! The car is so much more demanding to drive than a modern car, which makes if fun because it's so unique. Too many modern cars have so much automatic junk on them that people now don't have the first clue to how a car operates. I recently drove with someone who didn't even know how to put their push-button 4 wheel drive vehicle into 4 wheel drive because the autotrac wouldn't kick it in automatically for them! How sad is that?!
In short, the cars are so much fun because you actually have to understand how they work to drive them. And because they don't have automatic doorlocks, computer controlled climate control, and a whole ton of other computerized stuff you don't need, the average car guy (or girl) can work on it themselves.
Rick, I can sympathize with you, not having a place to work on my T. My uncle built me a 1916 Racer, but there are a few things left to complete. Being a poor college student living in the dorms, I don't have a chance to work on the car during school; I have to wait until I get a free weekend to go home and use my dad's shop. However, I did rebuild the carb and a few other misc items in my dorm room (man, I got some weird looks from people walking by!). I think the biggest obstacles for young people getting into the hobby is the lack of money and the lack of space to work on their vehicle.
I've learned a lot from this forum and from my uncle, who gave me just enough advice to push me through, but made me figure out most of it on my own, the best way to learn. I've gotten a lot of comments on my car, from both young and old, and it surprises me how many young people show so much interest in my car. It'd be nice to see some more young T guys out there, like you said, to continue on the hobby long into the future. The Model T is such a unique and special car that it'd be a shame to see them die out.
Here's a pic of my car...had to post it! And no, I'm not a "hotrodder"...it's all original T components on it. I'd like to upgrade to a Z head eventually, but would like to keep it as original as possible, because I think that's what the appeal of these cars are.
Well Brett,the old folkes can rest easyer now,knowing there are young folkes out there willing to do what you are doing and doing it the right way.Nice ride and hope you build some more as times goes by.When you git a chance,post some more photos of the car.
I'm the editor of the Lone Star T's newsletter and would encourage you to come to our next club meeting - Sunday, March 2nd at 2:30 pm. At 2:00 the guys normally meet in the parking lot for 30 minutes or so of "tire-kickin'" - but for March we hold an Annual Mini-Swap Meet in the parking lot before the meeting. We love visitors, so please feel free to join us. Karl gave the local website above: www.lone-star-ts.com - where you can get the address information, or feel free to email me directly through this website and I can email you the current newsletter.
As Rick indicated above we truly enjoy having James along with us. The age diversity is actually a lot of fun for all of us I believe. It was only about 2 years ago that I bought my first T. Now have 3 and making plans to build a 4th.
If not for the wonderful people I have met along the way in this hobby, I would still be struggling to figure out how to drive these darn machines.
They took me from learning in my neighborhood to my first tour ending up in a blinding rain storm in just a few short weeks. It has been a blast ever since. I will be 55 in a few weeks.
James at 29 is catching up quickly and I believe within just a few months of acquiring his first T, joined us for several tours including a 4 day run through the Cumberland Plateau
Model T'ing has been one of the only hobbies/passions that I have seen that seems to transcend all the age gaps that exist among its participants.
Although the younger folks do seem to be able to get up and down off the floor from under these things a lot easier.......
When did that happen??????
Thanks, Mack. I'll post some more pics as she gets closer to completion (hopefully over spring break). Next project will hopefully be a TT, although it'll be a while until I get the funds for that!
I would like to hear more about the girl's driving around the Old Car Festival with the speedster!
Were they attractive? Were they single? Can they adjust band's? What did they have for a tow vehicle and trailer?
To be honest, early twenties would be a little too young for me (I'm 38) but thirty-ish would do.
Seriously, I too am dissapointed with the lack of interest in these car's by the "young people". I am not exaggerating when I say there are no people close to my age in my area that are interested enough to get one of these.
You should see the look on the faces, and hear the comment's from people when they realize that I own the T that they are looking at. "This is your's?!". "You own this?!". "This is'nt your's..., is it?. Several time's I got "You seem too young to own this". I did'nt know what to say when I was told that. I know, it was a backward's compliment, sort of. But the longer I thought about it, the sad realization of it sunk in.
How do we get the younger generation's interested in history? How do we get the young people interested in car's other than muscle car's and hopped up import's? It just seem's that the antique's are getting pushed to the "back of the bus" more and more.
You have a way cooler uncle than I ever had!
A few months ago, smilebigtt (some of us know as Tyrone Thomas) started a thread entitled "How old are you?". It was an immediate success because it left no room for opinions or argument.
Within what seemed like no time, some 158 people had responded. I gathered data and only 4% of the respondents were in their twenties and only 8% in their thirties.
I think there are lots of you out there that "lurk", afraid to respond because of what you've seen these old men can do.
Young people are the future of the hobby. I hope they don't just lurk.
Thanks again for your post.
I hope you can enjoy your fine ride in better weather soon!
It's not the Model T's that are demanding its the people (I was gonna say buttheads but wanted to stay polite) with modern cars that don't understand we can't stop on a dime. Saturday a guy in a Cambrey made a U turn over a double yellow line in front of me, hit the horn, snapped the Ruckstell (to brake) & swerved around him, half block away he was still there probably trying to figure what happened. If I was driving the Benz he probably would have gotten T-boned. When driving a T you're constantly anticipating & thus more careful.
There is hope. For several years in May our Model A club, the Active A's, and several T's would present a program at the local Middle School on the history of the American automobile and the rise of the industry for the 6th grade class (they were studying the 20's and the depression at that point in the year). After a little slide-show in the cafeteria, we would bring the whole class out to see the cars and ask questions (we couldn't give rides due to insurance issues). The kids were always very well behaved, and asked really good as well as amusing questions -- why's it called a rumble seat? How come the T's came before the A's? where's the radio? There were always a couple that would call when they were in 8th grade and working on their year long "20th Century" projects and would want to do Henry Ford and the Model T as their project. Inevitably we would end up taking an A or T over for the final presentation nights to have on display.
Well the school changed the curriculum so that the timing didn't work out to bring the cars over when the weather was warmer, so we havn't done the program for probably 4 or 5 years. This last year however, I was invited to the first annual High School Car Show during Homecoming. So I took the Touring car over and you know what? Several of the kids remembered the A's and T's from the 6th grade, and wanted their folks to see one. Bessie was the hit of the show. I strongly suspect we may get a antique car buff or two out of the group.
A really nice car there Brett, Have fun.
Brett nice car
There aren't enough of us younger folk in the hobby. Although I have seen some people around my age at one of the local shows. Traditionally they are displaying a Mustang, or something similar. For the most part, I don't think I've ever seen someone my age or younger, in my area, with something older than the mid 60's. I had a friend in high school whose father had given him a model A. Last I heard it he sold it in the hopes of getting a T some day.
I am 21 years old now and an Engineering Student. I pretty much grew up in my dad's 14 model T runabout project, and have loved cars since. I have always been a supporter of restoring cars back to stock unless the car had been hot rodded years ago, or the body was bad enough that it would have been china-bound as scrap.
I don't know if my upbringing was an exception, or rule, but if it is desired to get younger people into the car hobby, they must be exposed to it, they must have a personal connection to it. For me it started with a 14 model T and the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. From about 8 years old, my dad started taking me to local car shows, and at around 12 we would travel further to Hershey and Carlisle.
Forgot to say, the photo is of my Grandfather, me, and my dad's 14 around 16 years ago.
Hi all - can I add my 2 cents on this.
I started my interest a couple of years ago in my mid-late 30's. I got into the hobby because I wanted an old and 'sporty looking' car, easy to work on and a bit rare - but not too rare that I wouldnt be able to find spare parts.
Aesthetics is important and a T wont appeal to all. So is performance - a T is slow and safety wasnt a primary concern for Henry back in the early 1900's.
Im not very mechanically minded - and I wasnt taught a lot of work with my hands at school. That is a significant point on this topic. Younger people tend to be taught academics as opposed to a trade and/or working with their hands. The older generation (no offense intended) worked a lot more with their hands - either by choice or necessity. That made tinkering with things a lot less of a daunting challenge than it is for someone like me.
In the modern world of instant gratification, built in redundancy and the simplicity of use in even the most technologically advanced tools, it is no surprise that only the most eager are stepping into the T hobby.
But, arent they the ones that we really want coming through?
Shoot,the young ladys driveing around in a speedster might sound intresting.Shucks,gittin a new dishwasher,I mean woman, that can work on a T that can go faster than me,might help speed me up! :#0
I relized this morning why I aint never been married!
They dont make Harvest Gold wedding dresses.So I aint been able to find a dishwasher,I mean woman,that would match the rest of the appliances.Thankfully,no Avacado green 1'either.YUK.
I agree that today's high school "college prep" curriculums do tend to bypass wood shop, auto repair, and metal shop. However, once you get to college, that can change with programs like Formula SAE. The FSAE program is usually partially alumni sponsored and they encourage any student that shows an interest in autos to participate. The students are furnished a fairly well equipped machine shop and they have access to faculty advisors and industry sponsors. They work within a set of specifications to produce a race car and then proceed to compete against other colleges around the world. Recent competition sites are Michigan, England, and California.
My observations have shown me that a variety of engineering students participate. There are the electrical engineers that want to wire instruments and sensors. There are engine guys that love the noise and smell of exhaust. There are the NASCAR wannabes that do enough on the team to earn a place behind the steering wheel. Then there are students who want to be around the car as much as possible to pick up knowledge from the others as well as doing all that they are capable of doing.
It is this last group that will be successful in industry and will probably have the motivation and available funds to follow us in this hobby. They will also probably be the next batch of innovators that will fit our cars with ceramic pistons, direct injection systems hidden inside our large spark plugs, and carbon fiber bands in our transmission. There aren't enough museums to hold all our Model Ts; our hobby is alive and well.
Here are a couple of participants in the Clear Lake tour in '06 who attracted a fair amount of attention. There were 23 speedsters registered for the event, and most of them were piloted by folks under 21 years of age. I'm posting this for all those younger "lurkers" here, to show them what they're missing by not being more actively involved with the Model T hobby.
Brett's experience fairly typical, except for having the good fortune of having Paul for an uncle. What's sets Brett apart is that he at least had some knowledge that Model T's existed and some people seem to like them. Most people his age haven't got the foggiest clue what a Model T is. I have many young people ask about my T's when I have them out. A great majority sort of get that they appear to be a car but not that they're old or even antique. Given that, why would they even consider wanting to drive one, let alone own one.
At both club's, (MTFCA & MTFCI), major tours and events, there needs to be a "public" day when local folks can not only see but ride in our Model T's for a short drive. Many tours have such days but drives never seem to occur. Yes, I know, liability insurance. I can't beleive that obstacle can't be tackled in some reasonable way. Having been a driver at the Ford 100th Anniversary in Dearborn, I can readily testify that people will stand in the hot sun for upwards of 1.5 hours for a free ride in a T, on a closed course. Over the 4 days of driving, the 15 or 20 model T's, mine included, transported over 25,000 adults and many thousand children/teens, along the 1/2 mile track. People want to know about Model T's, they just don't know how.
In Decemebr there was a popular thread called 'How Old Are You?'
Here is the age distribution of the ~200 replies.
You can see that from 30 to 70 it's remarkably even.
Now, you can argue that a greater proportion of people in their 30s will be computer-literate, but you might also expect the 60s and 70s folk to have more time to look at the forum. Anyway, it doesn't look too unhealthy to me. The average age was 54.
Jerry, I agree with you 100%. A day on the tour where people unfamiliar with T's could ride in one would be a huge motivator for someone to get into the hobby. I never had much interest in T's until Paul let me drive one of his that I had helped him work on. You just don't fully appreciate one until you've riden or driven in one. Anytime someone shows interest in mine, I'm the first one to ask if they want a ride...I'm always looking for an excuse to drive mine some more! I think it would do a lot for the awareness of Model T's, and all classic cars in general. Instead of getting mad at you because you can only go 35 on the highway, maybe others would learn to appreciate these old cars and develop a little more patience with us! Just wishful thinking, I guess.
It's unfortunate that we have to worry about liability and getting sued for some things that may not even be in our control. If only people weren't so quick to blame everyone else for something, we could have a lot more fun! If there was any way to work around that for the tour, I think a lot of people would line up for a ride in a T.
And, yes, I am VERY fortunate to have Paul for an uncle...how often do you have someone build you a car and then give it to you?!
Chris,I always wanted to be above average,but it 's one heck of a price! (65)(G)
One thing I have to point out if we are intent on getting new members is that we currently are not approachable in at least one club's website. The reason I say this is because last year, I renewed my higher priced membership to the MTFCI. I still have no idea when my local club meets. I sent e-mails to several members and either get replies of "you just missed it" or I got ignored. The funny thing is the e-mails that got ignored are some of the regular posters on these forums. When I re-upped after a long absence, I gave my credit card information and then waited, and waited. I really thought I would get a response within a day or two saying welcome to the MTFCI club, or welcome back to the club, here are some local chapters that are dying to meet you! Instead I typed in my credit card numbers and absolutely nothing happened. At least my credit card company says "Congratulations you have paid your bill for this month and we no longer wish you ill health." (or similar)
At my office, I am one of the people who regularly gets "help-me" e-mails and I know the importance of prompt replies.
Back to the other website, I even tried e-mailing the webmaster and all the officers noted there because I was beginning to suspect I left my credit card on a phishing site since no one bothered to e-mail back and say thanks for the payment, here's your log-in credentials. Of all the mails I sent, I only received one reply.
Many of the e-mail addresses listed on the MTFCI site turned out to be bogus. I realize these guys are largely uncompensated volunteers, but what if I were a modern guy who is used to instant gratification for money spent on sites like Best Buy or any of the other places wanting my money? I would have been disgusted.
As far as the MTFCA renewal, I bit the bullet and drove past Warm-Glow Candles with my wife in the car and renewed my membership in person. That transaction and the museum were both first class. Plus my wife really likes her carmel corn scented candles. I can't say how the transaction would be if I had done it here on-line.
Forgive this rant about our competing club. It just seemed like this is the best forum to vent about this.
clubs tend to over look newbies and newbies show up and stand alone in the corner wondering what is going on. i am not saying this club is like that but others i have been involved in do that and it drives new blood off. however i do think the model t model a hobby is seeing a large number of younger guys and gals finding them fun and interesting. i also have to thank the Henry Ford Museum for thier help in it. thier september festival is enough to make anyone want a t or a or old car! it still amazes me that they encourage driving actual driving! it makes all the differance and it turned me on to the hobby and life style. i now have 4 cars and 2 high wheel bicycles as a result of stumbling on the Henry ford show one year.
good luck to all!
and i am going to join the club asap this summer.
and hope to meet some members in hershey this year.
Well,we need to get some publicty on these cars as they were designed to help counteract the exsposure youngans git from the blinky box and Boyd.
Youngan's are growing up thinking a model T is a fiberglass bucket with a huge engine sticking above the winsheild.
I think the internet is going to help with the age thing. To me age in the hobby is a non issue unless you start talking about clubs. But I wonder how many owners are club members. I'm a member of the MTFCI because that's the only one around. It's an old boy / girl network and most of the people finished restoring their cars decades ago. People are friendly but not outgoing like church where people are trained to buttonhole newbys. You have to initiate things.
Our meetings are long drawn out affairs and model T's are discussed at the end. if at all. It's one of the oldest clubs around. Touring is the big thing and since I'm still (after 2 years looking for a car) the tour thing has its limits.
Club meetings are not as good to get to know people as events. The best way is to volunteer to organize something or hold a club office which I think is surprisingly easy with car clubs.
Chicago is so big you only talk to people a few times a year. There are young people in the club but they usually show up for events.
In the past this hobby was probably club driven but now I think it's more market driven and the youngsters who's parents aren't in the hobby generally like "freeway classics" starting at circa 1955.
The model T is a bit much for the x generation but they will eventually move on to other cars when they can afford it and will I think fill in the ranks.
This isn't a hobby of numbers and I think growing the club is not the point but quality of the experience is.
For me a good club would be one that bought high ticket overhaul tools available to the members. Or did a lot of workshops but that is not in their interest. We have all the MTFCA videos wich is great.
The proactive member will find out who has or knows what and can get all kinds of help, just like cyber help here on the forum.
My problem is I don't have a car yet so as they say "all things come to those who wait".
If we can find a way to drive a T with a Playstation controller, they'll join up by the thousands
I was born in 1953 and grew up in a neighborhood of about six boys, all my age. Growing up, we got outside and had bike races, played sandlot tackle football with other neighborhoods, baseball, dodgeball, basketball, hide and seek, Cowboys and Indians, spotlight (hide and seek at night) and battle games. We climbed and conquered every tall oak tree in the neighborhood and put up rope swings next to the swimming hole. We played king of the mountain at construction sites and had running dirt clod battles. We organized campouts went on hikes, went fishing on rafts we made, using fishin' poles we made, with bait we caught, built bridges across creeks, built forts, tree houses and go-carts using our father's tools and lumber we scrounged and trees we cut down. We got dirty and hurt, but nobody cried or went running home for a bandaid, for that meant we might have to stay home, which was the last thing any of us wanted. When it started getting dark, if Mom called me to come home for dinner, I might hear her depending on whether or not we were winning the game or not. We made extra money mowing lawns and through necessity, taught ourselves how to keep the mowers in running order with Craftman tools we got for Christmas or bought with our own money, eventually graduating to larger vehicles. We all bought clunkers and helped eachother tinker with them and get them running. While everyone else bought '56 and '57 Chevy's, My first clunker was a rusted but complete old 1926 Model T Coupe which I bought in 1970 for my life's savings of $600.00. All my friends urged me to make her into a rod, but I would have none of it. Even at sixteen, I was a purist though I didn't know it. It took me two years and every cent I earned for parts, but I finally got her done and still have her.
In contrast, the kids in my neighborhood today, have one interest. Video games. Instead of going outside and enjoyiong the sunshine, they are glued to the TV screen in the middle of the day. They have no idea what a wrench is, much less how to use it and have no desire to do so. The only imagination they have is interacting with them through the TV screen in the form of exploding heads, or man eating zombies in shopping malls. It's like pulling teeth to get them outside to toss the football and they can't wait to get back inside and resume their video games in their imaginary world. I threw the football with a couple of the neighborhood boys for thirty minute several weeks ago and we had to quit because one said his neck hurt...and that was just standing there tossing the ball. Not running out for passes like we used to do for hours at a time. You never see kids today riding their bikes outside. While my bike was an integral part of my everyday childhood, bikes today just sit in the garage collecting dust and if a tire goes flat from non use, the kids have no idea how to fill it no matter how many times I show them because they might get their hands dirty.
It is a sad prospect to consider, but in today's world, there is little hope that the Model T hobby will continue as we see it today, because the youth coming up today are just not into the kinds of things that we were that initially generated our interest and developed the abilities necessary to take on such a hobby. It takes not only money and time, but work, physical exertion and a self taught mechanical ability that most young people today have no desire to develope. Worst of all it might get their hands dirty.
Unless there is a fundamental change in the thinking and interests of young people, I really see no future for Model T's. All I can offer is that... if you are lucky enough to meet the rare young fellow that shows more of an interest in your Model T than in video games, take him under your wing and try to cultivate that interest into a full fledged passion, so that your Model T will have a home with a like-minded owner after you are gone (you can't take it with you). It beats leaving it to a relative that has absolutely no interest in it whatsoever and will sell it to the first rodder who comes along for some pocket money to buy the latest video game system. Sorry for the pessimism, but that is how I see it.
Sad, but too true. At a summer family reunion a few years ago some of the kids had their parents start up their cars so the kiddos could sit in air conditioning and play electronic games. I count myself lucky that I was born before the war and experienced childhood under the old regime. Too many of the current crop can't imagine what they're missing.
I am going to write this annonumously as to not insult anybody. I just joined a local club. This particular club is comprised of almost all older guys. By that I mean in their mid 80's or so.
One of the main problems I can see is getting any help with my project. These guys are full of information and experience. They are more than willing to share, but I sure can't see any of them comming over to my garage and climbing under a car with me. Many of them use a walker just to get from their car into the meetings.
Now, I am no spring chicken, and I am not trying to be mean at all. But it makes it hard for younger guys to learn, and get a restoration done when nobody in the club can participate. I can see in their eyes, they sure wish they could, but it just isn't going to happen. It is a sad thing, and I don't know an answere.
The fellow that recruited me has been working on his 4th model T. A '22 coup. He has been working on it for 6 years. Everytime I talk with him I say, how's that car coming. "Oh.....haven't done much with it, had a doctors appointment this week" is the stock answere.
I have little hope that car will ever get the body back on it.
Just a sad fact of life. We are all headed there.
It seems to me there was a gap. I am the only member who has joined in the past 2 years. Don't let this happen to your club!
Well said Jim. There are a few pockets of "old style" kids, but they are few and far between. I attribute a lot of it to today's school system. Kids are taught that they are victims in life, nothing is ever supposed to be painful or difficult, and if it becomes so, run to the shrinks and counselors to make it all better. 40-50 years ago, if two kids got into a fight, they would meet after school, duke it out, then shake hands and it's over. Today they would end up getting arrested, moved into the juvenille justice system, end up with all kinds of official criminal charges, etc. and then be labeled with some crapola diagnosis, and have problems for the rest of their time in school, or rebel and end up getting even with the "system" and shoot somebody, commit other crimes, join a gang etc.
My Grandfather and Father always told me to stay out of your kid's conflicts, if you raise them right, they will make the right decisions most of the time and get over the little conflicts in short order. When adults get involved, they carry grudges forever.
How does this relate to Ts? it's the general mindset of instant gratification, and the idea that happiness depends upon things outside ones self. I, and others who grew up in the 60s, 50s and earlier seem to be able to entertain ourselves in simpler ways, the sound of a well running engine, the satisfaction of a restoration at long last finished, the smell of exhaust, oil, hot paint.... Today's youth seem to need gratification NOW! at an MTV pace, bits and pieces of information bombarding you in rapid fire, where with age and experience, a slower pace seems to work better. Trade in that 10K RPM FWD chainsaw with wheels import for a flathead, the fewer cylinders the better.... enjoy life at the 500 RPM pace not 10K. I'll never forget the first time my son (now 28) first watched a one-lung hit or miss engine run. He must have studied it for an hour, asking about every part, it's function, etc. It was like a light went off in his head, an engine wasn't something that burned gas and made something move... it seemed alive to him. There is hope.
IMO, it is FAR from the school system's fault. It is the fault of the irresponsible parents that send their kids to school simply to get them out of their hair. "Day care"
Don't blame it on the kids or the school system - blame it on their weak parents that would rather pamper their kids than teach them what they need to succeed.
The root of the school problem is the parents attitudes. I didn't mean that the root cause is the school systems, they are the manifestations of the parents expecting the schools to do the hard work of raising the children as well as educating them. (of which they do neither very well) The school systems in most cases are only doing what the parents and school boards tell them. Parents need to be more involved with the children and their learning experiences, not just pack them up and send them off to 12 years of government daycare.
I didn't mean to come down so hard on todays generation. As you say, there are pockets of "Old Style" kids in the younger generations. I know, for, thanks to our parents and upbringing, I and my friends were a pocket of "Old Style" All-American boys with short haircuts in our own "Baby Boom" generation. The exception, not the rule. An island of normalcy in the turmoil of the sixties.
Older Fogeys like me have always criticized the younger generations for not being like they were and my generation was no different, but my generation of long haired, sandle wearing, drug using, free loving, anti-morals, anti-American, liberal thinking hippies, earned and deserved every criticism that was cast their way by what we now call "The Greatest Generation". The generation of my parents, who's American ideals, I did then and still now, hold dear. They were not the only ones who were ashamed of and alarmed at the destruction my generation was causing to the fabric of society by their antics, I was alarmed too and longed for the values of my parents to continue on in my generation, but it was not to be. My generation changed the world for the worse and I despised the hippies for it then and now, despise the liberal, anti-American politicians, congressmen, presidential candidates (and her husband) and ACLU lawyers they have become, who care more about staying in power through pleasing the special interests and defending the civil rights of terrorists, over the rights of Americans and the welfare of our great country.
To the pockets of this Generation and all pockets of "Old Style" kids and thinkers, I salute you.
To Michael K Johnson I offer today's attempt at proactivity and persistience in finding out when a club meets.
My letter sent today to the address on Piquette Ts site: (To 08event@piquetteTs.org)
Can you tell me when the Piquette Ts hold their regular club meetings? Thanks.
Thomas J. Miller
The response: Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients.
Subject: Regular Club Meetings?
Sent: 2/26/2008 10:26 AM
The following recipient(s) could not be reached:
XXXXXXXXXX (P.) on 2/26/2008 10:29 AM
The e-mail system was unable to deliver the message, but did not report a specific reason. Check the address and try again. If it still fails, contact your system administrator.
<gamwsm02.mwga.mailwatch.com>... Not permitted>
I also sent a second e-mail to this club today but it is currently held up by their spam blocker.
I have received mailings from this particular club asking if I want to purchase stuff. Is there a secret password or something I am missing? My profile lists my real e-mail address if anyone has some constructive advice they can offer.
Well, on a different note...those of us who enjoy the T's (and are somewhat younger than the normal T enthusiast) will likely see a reduction in price somewhere in the future maybe? As always, supply and demand drives prices. T's have steadily increased in value since there have not been enough to go around, but if all the old guys are gone and there is no one left but the youger crowd who don't want a T, then supply will overcome demand and the prices tumble.
Would that not be a strange scenario? For the secont time in the T's history, there will be more of them than there are people who want them!
Seriously though, in the past few days I saw a post (that I can't find now) where some fella was complaining about the price of classic cars and he stated that if "we" would bring down the prices, he and others could afford one and more folks would get into the hobby. He had recently bought a 60's Rambler for $500 because it was cheaper than a Ford or other more popular make. What this fella fails to realize is that it isn't the sellers who are driving prices, it is the buyers. If nobody wants a particular car, it WILL be cheap. High demand versus limited supply keeps prices up. If classic cars were cheap, everyone would have one and then I'd find another hobby because I don't follow the crowd. I'm sure there are many others the same way.
The downside to this all is that as the true enthusiasts start to decline in numbers, the vendors will suffer the most.
One thing we can count on is history repeating itself. The T will make a circle if my thinking is right. When the demand drops, and the prices stumble, there will be those out there who will once again be able to get a nice T living on a budget. A new generation of enthusiasts will emerge, and the demand will slowly rise again. I don't think it will ever get to the hight it has been, since soon we will see the end of the last generations of folks who remember T's as daily drivers in their childhood. Don't get me wrong, the days of a $500 T disappeared 30 years ago.
The same thing will happen to the muscle cars someday. Right now the prices are through the roof, because the generations that knew them firsthand are at the age where they can afford to own one no matter the cost. In the decade of 2040-2050, muscle car enthusiasts will be having this same discussion when muscle cars begin to reach years of age.
Just more of my thoughts and ramblings
Sadly, if the T prices do fall, the young Boyd Coddington wannabe's of this world will be crawling out of the woodwork like roaches to snatch them up and pay the mechanically talented, to have our beloved T's converted to rods, for the "gotta have it now" generation won't be able to stand having a hard to drive car that will only go 30 mph when they can have a normal driving car that will do 130. Before that happens to mine I will donate them to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. Jim
I have so much to say but will not......at the risk of offending people of true merit. (There are some good guys don't get me wrong)
All I would like to add is that as younger, inexperienced member I have been extremely disappointed at the attitude, general curiosity and lack of support I have received. The hobby will not attract younger members if these attitudes continue.
I have been told by one member that WHEN (because I am presuming that apparently all young people give up)I give up on my car he would like first option to purchase it.
The bitching that goes on is the worst of any club or group I have been involved with (Both political and social clubs).
I think it is time people decided why they are in the club...is it about themselves or about the Model T Ford?
Guys, we have an obligation to promote as well as preserve these old cars. There is no sign on my shop that says you have to be 18 or older to get in. Everyone is welcome. I love building them as much as driving them. I have one (of three) sons who is also into the Model T's. His son is 10 and loves them also. Never pass up an opportunity to explain or teach others about them.
Well, I'm proud that my son Stathi is a youngster into restoring a T. He's a grad student finishing his PhD, and is only 29 (been working on the T for about 2 years now). It sounds like there are several younger folks like him involved.
Alex, perhaps the best thing to do is leave those with the attitude alone, and move on to someone else that will be willing to help you out. I don't intend to ever turn my back on someone needing help. When I was operationg my hot rod shop, I always welcomed youger fellas to look around and ask questions. I never had a quarrel with anyone other than a couple times when some ding-dong asked why I didn't put a "three-fitty-chevy" in a car. Geez...
Anyway, ask what you need to, and ignore the smartasses. There are plenty of T guys that will help you out.
This is the worst you've ever seen? Man, you ain't been around! Actually, the worst bitchin and fussin I ever saw was a hot rod site with around 2000 registered members, mostly under 40. Personal attacks, no matter what you said there would be 20 come down on you like hawks. They had nothing to add to a conversation other than look for something to disagree about. Many didn't even have a car, just wanted to lurk and wait until someone posted something new so they could put it down or disagree. I have to say though, last time I was there the moderator had started deleting posts that were counter-productive and it seemed to be better. I'd still rather talk to these fellas though. I don't have tattoos or earrings, but if I did I wouldn't try to boast about them on the forum
Proactivity and Persistience Continued:
Today's reply from the Piquette Ts as far as when they have their meetings. This one was sent to the official contact shown on the chapter listings.
Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients.
Subject: When are club meetings?
The following recipient(s) could not be reached:
eXXXXXXXXs@aol.com on 2/27/2008 7:50 AM
The message could not be delivered because the recipient's mailbox is full.
Just remember that as a young guy you can go to that cranky old codger's estate sale some day and have the last laugh.
Many of the people here forget that you don't usually have time for old cars when you are a teenager or even when in your twenties or thirties. School, family, real estate, and careers often take priority until we are past middle age.
I wanted a Model T of my own from the time I could talk but did not have the time, place or money for one until I was over 35. Now the darn things are like a drug addiction, can't seem to get enough of them!
Thomas J. Miller,why don't you just join a MTFCA chapter and write them off? Most of us here have already realized the inadequacies of the other site.
The Piquette Ts claim dual club affiliation and I got their contact information off their website as well as it being in the MTFCA website directory. That's why I haven't renewed my MTFCI membership and am now active again in the MTFCA. I figure if I read this forum, the MTFCA deserve my bucks.
The Piquette website lists many events that involve seminars for a payment and I've been invited to their bring your wallet barbeque but I can't find out when they have regular talk about cars meetings.
I am open to suggestions to clubs in the Livonia, Michigan area that are more proactive to having new members in their club. However, my son and I were partial to the Piquette club because the meetings are held close to Wayne State where he is a potential young T-owner attending college and they would be a short jaunt down I-94 or I-96 for me.
I still remain amazed that none of the Piquette club members I see regularly posting to many of the other topics have yet to chime in with "Hey, let me help!".
My profile contains my correct e-mail address and my home mailbox is not full. I welcome comments on forum and privately if necessary.
Like Royce said, we don't have time or disposable income early in life to play with T's. I bought my first one in my 20's, and after a few years found that the money invested could be put to better use with a family and new house. Wish I still had it, but it was an experience that made me come back to T's at 42!
Rejoice with me!
I am now on the Piquette Ts mailing list and will be notified of their next meeting.
Thanks to Jerry Van and Tom Mullins for their detailed e-mails and copy of the newsletter.
The two Tom Millers
Alex,next time that dimwitted dip$--T tells ye he wants first chance on your T when you "Give up",tell him if he is alive at 145 years old,he can get it at your estate sale.
Off topic but similar situation.My dad has a couple vintage Harleys.There is 1 of his so called buddys that everytime he sees me he tells me,"when your dad dies,I want first chance at that 69!" Twice I have bit my tounge and tried to be polite and tell him that allthough I aint real agile,I intend to put a side car on it and ride the dang thing myself.
But I told my dad,1 more time of that sap sucker telling me he wants it after my dad dies,I will cuss him out so bad he will feel so low he will have to dig his way up to buckle a snakes belt.
I don't think there is a terrible shortage in younger people in this hobby. We just need to help from those more experienced to get established and knowledgeable about these old cars. I'm 20 years old and proud that I can honestly say I built my car. Of course I wouldn't have been able to without the help of friends and family members. There are plenty of kids out there that would be interested. I bring my car to the show they hold at my college and there always seems to be a good amount of interest. I was lucky to have grown up around people that were very familiar with these cars. So for those of you that think there is no "young blood" out there, don't lose too much hope.
Rick, I would think as long as the T is in your garage it is ok to work on it. The community (HOA) shouldn't frown on that?? Besides, once they see the end product driving around the neighborhood, they will certainly approve. I do it all the time. Bob
If your interested you will find a way. To start out, rent a garage somewhere to keep the car, that's what I did. When it was time to move because of an expanding familty I bought a place that has a nice pole building on it. I'm very happy that I did it.
I'm 32 with 2 kids, high pressure job, family responsiblities etc. The old car thing is my interest/hobbie. Some guys have golf, I have my car stuff. I have given up a few other hobbies so I have money to spend on my car. Every time I get a little money from OT, a bonus, award or what ever I stick it in the auto fund.
If there is a will there is a way.
I have been following this thread and feel I actually might have something to contribute so here goes. I got into this hobby after attending several internation tours as a young boy. Right around my 15th birthday there was a tour in Wisconsin Rapids Wisconsin, and I meet several high school age guys that actually had speedsters of thier own and were driving them on tour. Until then i was just a passenger, but after seeing how much fun they were having, I had to have one of my own. Im proud to say that at 16 I was driving my own T and have attended several tours since. I did end up taking a break from the hobby, joined the service, got married, and then when the time was right sought out a local club and joined. Since then I am the owner of 5 t's, more parts than i can store,past president of my local chapter, and currently hold the editor position in my local club. I am 37 years old, and am one of the youngest in our club. I belong to both the national and international clubs. I must say that the Milwaukee Model t Ford Club is comprised of some of the most talented, and generous people I have ever met in my life. Most everyone would give you the shirt off thier back if you needed it. Yes we all can have differeces, but we all respect one another and learn from one another, and we all help one another. I have belonged to other organizations, and have never run into a better bunch of people. I still attend national tours when affordable or time permits, and can honestly say that people I have met over the years, and total strangers have always made me feel welcome. Some times i think people take the generation gap and culteral differences to personal. Just thought I would share my personal experience Kent Sumner