I've always loved vintage automobiles, especially brass era and early racers. So ive finally decided I'd like to get started on a project of my own. Having read quite alot online lately I am still unsure where to find an engine and drivetrain to start building a speedster. I would greatly appreciate your insight on vendors, what to look for, where to look, etc. I have a great deal of mechanical and automotive experience to work with but your expertise in this area would be a great help. I look forward to hearing from you.
Darryl, welcome to the affliction, as they say. I expect you'll get lots of specific information on sources of parts and supplies, but I'll start you out with the basics you need first. In a way your previous experience puts you at a disadvantage, because you'll find that you have to unlearn some of what you know. The T is relatively simple, but not everything in it will be what you expect. Here's where anybody new to Model T's should start.
You need to join the local T club. As soon as you meet a few members, you will find all the parts you want easily. In general it is cheaper to buy a whole car and sell the parts you are not going to use for your project.
There are at least two very active T clubs in Kentucky. One is based in the Cincinnati area, the other in Louisville. Go to the local clubs page of this website for contact information.
Craigslist is your best choice, and a local club.
I will certainly check into those in the very near future. I have been looking at several vendors online also. What concerns me most i guess is getting an engine and transmission and rear axle. Are the ones online reliable for rebuilding without braking the bank? lol It's a small bank. The frame i could make if i have too. The body i certainly look forward to crafting. I would prefer not to get a tourer or something and destroy its historical signifigance by making a speedster as this is my goal. I have looked at Bob's, Snyders, ModelThaven etc.
I assume you are talking about a T powered speedster. If so, most, if not all, are built on T frames. You will not really be ruining anything of historical significance by starting with a running, or at least rolling, car.....so long as you sell off anything you aren't using to someone who can. It may even result in putting more than one car back on the road.
Indeed a t powered speedster. One of the vintage speedsters that really caught my eye though its an E.M.F. is certainly an inspiration. Its an amazing car from a bygone age.
Darryl where are you located? I have several frames front ends, rear ends, engine and transmissions here for such a project also steering column's all need rebuilt I'm 100 miles up I-70 from St Louis Mo firstname.lastname@example.org
About 50 miles south of Louisville, Ky.
Ebay for parts. Make a frame if you like as the originals are flexy, Which is fine but some people dislike that.
If you buy anything from Craigs list, be sure to take someone with you who knows about Model T's both condition and value. Best place to get a Model T would be from someone in the club. There are usually some good ones for sale. Buying from an unknown, could get you something not very good for a steep price. I say could. You could also be lucky.
There is a Somerset, Ky chapter listed that does not exist any more. It was solely populated by my dear friend Andy Mounce who passed away recently.
The rest of these are good:
c/o Bill Baker
207 Stirrup Cr.
Nicholasville, KY 40356
•Golden CrossRoads Chapter
c/o Jerry T. Mills, Jr.
6495 Bardstown Road
Elizabethtown, KY 42701
•River City Chapter
c/o Jim Hicks
112 W. Flaget St.
Bardstown, KY 40004
•Northern Kentucky Model T Club
c/o Anthony (Bud) Lung
4171 Greenbrier Rd
Batavia, OH 45103
order a Langs, Snyders and Macs parts catalouges.
Look in the parts suppliers section of this website.
You can gain a lot of knowledge on parts, an idea of parts prices and a wealth of information on what fits what years and so on.
If at all possible try to go to the Chickasha, OK. pre war swap meet. It happens every year in March. A LOT of T parts and etc. pretty much all in one place. Its THE T swap meet to go to.
Also get the T service manual to familiarize yourself with T engines and transmissions.
You can save a lot of time and misery using the information manuals that are available on this website.
If your patient you can find a running chassis that's been rebuilt for around 1 to 3 thousand depending on what cond and whats been done to it.
They are around from time to time.
Good luck and have fun!
And if you go to Chickasha make your reservations early. Soon if possible so you find a nearby motel. They go pretty fast.
Have fun with T's and welcome!
When considering the frame I must say that I am quite taken with the aesthetics of the springs on the above EMF. Is anyone familiar with this type of setup? or any thoughts on converting a T Frame like this? not sure if those are leather wraps.
Charlie Owens lives right in town with you,give him a call. He has several T's.
Give me a call.
Speedster info (updated Jun 2013 )
Welcome aboard! As mentioned above joining the local Model T club will be one of your best investments. The term “Speedster” is sort of like “Jumbo Shrimp.” They are large for shrimp but not compared to an elephant. And “Speedsters” are often not that fast compared to a modern car. And their brakes are not that great so you don’t need them to go very fast to have a very exciting ride. Go for some rides and gain a perspective about life in the slow lane. And the old adage is still true – “Speed costs money – how fast do you want to go?” A T can go over 100 mph – but that will cost a lot more than a stock chassis that is happy cruising about 30-35 mph.
There are some excellent sites about speedsters see the Northwest Vintage Speedsters site at: http://www.nwvs.org/
Both of the following are more heavily into the 1928-1934ish Ford four cylinder engines but also have some Model T information. SOSS at: http://www.secretsofspeed.com/ -- their SOSS newsletter has a "for sale section" where speed equipment for Ts is sometimes advertised. Equipment for the 1928-34 four cylinder Fords is more commonly listed there the last time I looked a few years ago. F.A.S. T. is a Model A Chapter -- but they also have T parts advertised in their quarterly newsletter at: http://www.hotforhotfours.com/
You can build a simple speedster for less money than just about any other type of T. There was an article about the "Low Bucks" speedster a while back. If you keep the chassis relatively stock -- it doesn't cost nearly as much as if you start going for all the speed equipment accessories. In addition to "Speed costing money” that also applies for appearance. A simple plywood body can be built using plans from the 1920 (available on the Northwest Vintage Speedsters Site) or you save up money and hunt carefully and purchase a Mercury, Ames, or other early speedster body when it occasionally comes up for sale.
Rootlieb produces a nice speedster kit -- available from them or many of the vendors. See their website at: http://www.rootlieb.com/ and click on speedsters. You can also do the 1911 Torpedo Roadster version -- but it is considerably more cost than their speedster version. There are several other bodies that are being offered -- so let folks know if you are interested in a body, plans, or chassis parts.
Lang's has several pages of speedster related items -- you can view their catalog on line. The following link takes you to their page with several speedster related items see: http://www.modeltford.com/model-t-parts/speed-equipment/ . On other pages they have wire wheels, fenders, the Rootlieb kit etc. Note -- you can request their current catalog for free and it has the current prices. They along with our other Model T Vendors are great folks.
Sacramento Vintage Ford offers the normal T parts as well as "hot rod parts" some of which can be adapted to use on a speedster see: http://www.vintageford.com/sect_main.cfm?Line=main
T-bay (you know - ebay.com) also has items and the e-bay store: http://stores.ebay.com/Antique-T-Motor-Sports-llc has some neat speedster items.
Recommend you purchase a copy of the old time classic books “Model T Ford in Speed and Sport” and “The Fast Ford Handbook” both available from the vendors (and some of the local T clubs have libraries you may check them out from). A little dated but still some good information in them. There are also some more modern books available.
Run a search on this forum on “speedsters” another on Chevy Cranks and Model A Cranks – use the “and” selection it should narrow your search.
See also the Tulsa Model T Site – http://clubs.hemmings.com/frameset.cfm?club=mtfctulsa again hit the technical pages and also the member’s projects– lots of good ideas.
Have fun and remember you can build up your car all at once or go from a relatively stock T speedsters/dirt track and keep up grading it over time.
Some links to some speedsters:
b. http://www.museumofamericanspeed.com Drill down for the Ts
d. http://www.vintagehuntingphotos.com/index-2.html click on C006 and D031 – period speedster
f. Model T Haven has a 1912 speedster project for sale see: http://www.modelthaven.com/cars1.html That would be retail price – but if you had purchased it from the individual it probably would have been less (or more if you had to purchase the other vehicles etc.)
g. Posting on cost of a T – both of these were low sales prices
As mentioned before in general you can purchase a Model T in good driving shape for less than you can build one up to be in good driving shape. Also – the good driver often will still often need some work.
Hap Tucker 1915