Yesterday Humble Howard Genrich and Fast Frank Harris entertained Ockert in Long Beach, California. We learned a lot about one another in the true Model T manner. Ockert lives in South Africa but is currently living in Switzerland and his wife is staying with him while he is doing a stint there for the Nestle Corporation. He travels world-wide setting up facilities to produce Nestle products. Just this year already he has spent six weeks in Korea, and five weeks in China. I may be wrong but I believe he spent eight weeks in Russia showing them how to build a factory to roast and process coffee beans so that they can make instant coffee.
Now I am telling this next story from memory and I didn't take notes but here she goes. The story is true but the facts may be in the wrong order.
There are approximately 100 known Model T's in Africa and 25 in the close proximity of where Ockert lives. Four years ago they celebrated 100 years of the Model T in South Africa just as we did and Ockert was invited to attend the event by some friends. He had some collector cars but had never driven a Model T. One of the members taught him to drive one of his model T's and let him use a 1926 sedan for the event.
After about 90 miles out on the Tour the sedan's engine gave out and they were out of the event. But the owner had an 11 Touring that had just had an engine rebuild but was not yet installed, they ran back home, put the 1911 engine in the 1926 Sedan and rejoined the tour after working all night switching engines.
The 1911 engine was an open valve job and it threw oil all over the place and made smoke from the hot boiling oil. After the tour they went back to the owner's house and Ockert wanted to help him fix the sedan's engine. The man said no and instead took him out to a shed and gave him some fenders, an engine block and transmission and demountable rims and a horn. He then said, "Now I just got you started, go see what you can find and bring it back next year running.
Ockert did it and now has three Model T's in various stages of restoration. You must listen carefully here. There are no T parts available in South Africa and folks have to make them out of chunks of metal. If they have a broken part they add on to it and make do. They work much the same as the Cuban's do to keep their American cars on the road. So they hammer things closed and weld them shut. Then they file to fit and paint to match. Ockert found a T frame being used as a gate to a cemetery and the torque tube was a fence post. He found some scrap oak at his company when they changed over from oak to an easier cleaned and more sanitary material, He milled it out and built a beautiful oak bodied C Cab pickup truck. Perhaps he will post some pictures for us to see. After we left Howard's place I took him to our house and fed him a nice home cooked dinner after which we talked and showed each other pictures on our computers until about 10:30 that night. It was a fun night and we both learned a lot.
Below is a picture of Ockert seated in my number 22 and another one in Howard's number 7.
Earlier in the day he had gone for a ride in Gene Carrothers's Montana 500 car and I believe he also met with Ralph Ricks. Ockert told me that it was fun to put faces on the names he has been reading about on this web site.
Thanks fellows that's what this hobby is all about
He is coming to San Diego and we are looking forward to meeting him. Thanks for the pictures. Now I know who to look for when we reach the meeting place.
Okert is coming to Cars & Coffee in Irvine Saturday morning. I will be there with my 24 Touring to meet him.
Normon he has a little facial hair and is the one wearing the blue and white shirt, he is not the old buzzard sitting in the passenger's seat of the red car. ;~)
Yes, Ockert is an amazing guy!
Norm, make sure to take the time to view the pictures he has of the C cab pick up that he built. I was amazed at how he was able to actually make the fenders that really looked correct from simple pieces of scrap steel sheetmetal. With the many pictures that started out as a small pile of T parts on the ground and turned into a car after many shots during the assembly reminded me of the old time flash card movies.
It is really something that I hope he will someday post. Would be an inspiration to anyone wanting to build up or restore a T to see how it can turn out in the end.
I hope the rest of you guys reading here on the Forum will do the same as Ockert when traveling to contact other T members. Not only did Ockert have a good time We all did as well and all learned a lot about our brothers in other parts of the world.
He actually offered to come up and help me put the engine back into my touring. I told him I was waiting for parts. Well I have the parts now and the engine is in and all bolted down. Just have to finish hooking up the stop light, place the starter, the manifold, the steering column,the wishbone ball, the radiator, the lights. Maybe get it running by tomorrow. These days, I don't get in a hurry. I just try to do things right. When I get tired, I call it a day. I am on my lunch break now and plan to continue working this afternoon. I have three Model T's so I still have two drivers ready to go.
Okert paid us a visit today. We gave him the grand tour of our facilities, Model T Museum and collection of parts. We were able to help him with one of the critical parts he needed for his 1913.We get a lot of foreign visitors but not many from South Africa. Very nice guy.
What a neat deal. It's really cool how this forum can bring people together.
Ockert had a good time driving Lucky # 7 around the block several times. I am off to San Jose Sat. morning early to have Ed pick me up near 1:00. Eats about 4:30.5:00. The Run on Sunday. Home Monday, but Dorlyne and I leave to Orange County airport to head up to Big Bear. Be home Tuesday in time for the Orange County T meeting. Are you driving or what?? See you next Tuesday. Humble Howard
Sorry I was so quiet but had a very bad internet connection in the hotel I was staying.
I would like to thank everybody that took the time to meet up with me and also entertain me so far. Your hospitality is MUCH appreciated!
I am having a ball in your country and looking forward to the next few days in San Diego.
I promise I will post pictures as soon as I have some free time but for now I am toooo busy enjoying the people and their cars!
Welcome to the U.S. Ockert, I'm in mid-Missouri, but know Frank and Humble Howard and lots of other T'er's in Calif. This hobby is great w/great people Have fun