Is it possible to be a non-Model T purist but be a Model T Speedster purist?
The most important part is to enjoy your T no matter which way you view it. And many of us have been into T's and had to put them on hold either for families or work etc. and then when we have a chance we come back to them. Not a right or wrong -- but rather what is a good fit for you.
And note the MTFCI has judging standards for the speedsters if you want to get to that level of detail.
Hap l9l5 cut off
I think a correct speedster from a real body or re-production or something from early pictures built as in the day would be in the purist camp along with period correct equipment.
But as Hap has point out enjoy and have fun, not a lot of the factory built speedster bodies lived.
I think Larry Sigworth said maybe a couple of hundred that he knows of are left, with Mercury having the most still around.
It is possible, i think i might be one. Would be loathe to modify any genuine part hence purist.
Were Model "T" speedsters built all through the '30's and up until World War II...?
I have long said that I want my speedster(s) to look like they have been ripped out of an original photograph. I try to use original type materials and original type methods (as well as often original era tools).
I often stay away from "purist" discussions because I don't really agree with the "purist" mentality. Unless you make your own, the paint you use, the tires, the upholstery materials, even much of the wood and steel you may use, is NOT exactly like what was available 80 to 100 years ago. Why should someone (or their car) be put down because a non-obvious part is incorrect by a couple years, or it has an after-market accessory, when the paint job and coverage is ten times better than any done on the cars when new? Why nit-pick whether a change was made in March or April when the factory was probably still using up the old ones in July?
Yes, the research is good and I fully support it! I personally like cars better if they look like they truly represent how they were way back when.
Speedsters are as much a real part of automotive history as is any Packard or Cadillac. Yet most surviving speedsters in the '50s were parted out to restore "Real" antiques. Early in my involvement with speedsters (over 40 years ago), I bought the remains of several after all the "good stuff" had been removed. I "resurrect" speedsters from their remains.
Some would say that only an original car with "provenance" should be of interest. But the reality is that most speedsters were local built and local run. They rarely made the local papers, let alone record books. And maybe a few photos of them survived. Most of them, the name of their builder was forgotten long ago. If you are fortunate to get one, a speedster with true provenance would be a real plus. Most of us will play around with the other 98%
I would like to see more speedster people become a little more semi-purist like. I know about a dozen people that try to "build them right".
When it comes to speedsters. I do have "purist" leanings. I changed the front spring mount on my '19 Boat-tail because I knew it needed the earlier one. I do like my Muncie with overdrive! And it does bother me that these weren't available till about 1924. I also keep wondering if I have correct for 1919 demountable wheels on it. I am guessing my wheels are the wrong ones! Maybe I should switch it back to non-demountable wheels with square felloes. Those I know would be correct.
The "mostly 1913" I am working on will have almost nothing showing that is not appropriate for 1913.
Yes, it is possible to become a speedster purist. Actually, they would produce speedsters that I would really like! As long as we don't have to get into the modern paint formulations thing.
And that is all me! MY way for my Ts. Everyone else must find their own comfort zone. The right amount of authentic mixed with the right amount of "I like it".
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I often tell that model T speedsters have been built in every calender year from 1908 (the factory test chassis) all the way through till today and beyond.
1909 was the two factory built cross-country race cars. By 1910, dealers started building similar cars of their own to use in local promotions and races. By 1911, many people were building there own as road speedsters. These went through brass era styles, black era styles and more cars were being built for real racing as well.
After Ford stopped production of the model T, the old Ts continued to be the clay best used to mold from. Styles of racing cars and modifications changed quickly from the late '20s up until WWII. Professional racing may have suspended for the duration, but high school kids still wanted and sometimes needed a car. Cars were tough to come by, and the model T behind the garage was better than nothing. And a road speedster was even better than that! Many years ago, I got to talk to several people that had built speedsters during the war.
After the war was over, it was back to fun! Model T polo and Pig-n-Ford races included. (I have seen the Movietone News Reels)
In the 1950s, some people started restoring remains of old speedsters as their choice of antique automobile. Other people followed a slightly different path, continuing to build their own creation out of that model T clay. Both of those paths continue to this day.
I am planning a speedster build. I plan to limit parts to those that would have been available no later than 1926. Multiple side draft carbs, bigger rear mechanical brakes from a non - Ford, and who knows what else, but it should be fun.
Appreciate your thoughts and knowledge regarding speedster history. Pretty much confirms my limited knowledge and beliefs,...one of which is that speedsters have been built since the Model "T" and right up to the present, but mostly during the late '20's and during the depression when money was tight and lots of Model "T's were available for very little or no money. I'd like to build one that would be similar to a "bare-bones" speedster built during the depression by kids that scrounged around for whatever they could find,....cheap or free.
Appreciate your thoughts and views also, and what I just wrote above (and what you posted in this thread) leads me to a question:
I believe you've come very close to answering questions I have about the "typical" '20's-'30's speedster and I'm especially wondering what your thoughts and ideas are that led you to mention a sort of "cut-off date" of 1926 for parts,....???
I am not trying to answer for Royce but, since I also had a target of 1926 and prior, I'll explain my reasoning.
1. Gives you a wider range of parts to choose from.
2. Large drum rear axle.
3. 1926 front spindles which sit the car lower.
4. Wide drum transmission brake.
5. Ford stop lights. (mine are currently 1928 Model A style but I'll correct that now that I have found reasonably priced 1926 stop lights)
6. 1926 wire wheels, (a cheaper option than Buffaloes)
Those are the top reasons. I also think a boat tailed body would have been more available in the later 20's.
Royce - Interesting speedster picture for sure! Sure does look like a Model "T" crankcase, however, not much else looks Model "T"! The steering column and maybe "T" headlights and the RHD steering sure makes it look British, but the tree looks like our West Coast! Whoever built that car was certainly not too concerned with weight! That frame is a monster, and some of the weird exhaust "system" looks like iron pipe fittings. And I sure don't understand what that thing is that looks like a steam whistle???
Thanks Jerry,....we were typing at approx the same time!
Wow. I must have been tired last night. I used the wrong "there" there. They're going to have their fit over there.
The photo that Royce posted was shown before and discussed at some length. If I recall correctly (IIRC?) another photo of the same tree was found and it was a rather famous photo op in BC Canada?
That has become one of my all-time favorite speedster photos. It is a T engine, steering and axles maybe, but not much else Ford on it.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I just posted a bunch of period speedster photos on the MTFCI site: http://www.modelt.org/vbulletin/forum/mtfci-speedster-discussion-forum/1327-vint age-speedster-photos
Some were taken from previous discussions here, and some were found through Google.
Thanks, Derek — those are some dandy pictures.
Too cool, Derek! Now who has a dirt track we can use?
I chose 1926 because I think there are way too many Model T's using Model A parts, and I don't care anything about 1927 T wire wheels either. I like the look of disc wheels, and the sturdiness.
Also downdraft carbs are simply too easy, and I want multiple carburetors for sure. I don't want to use a non - T frame, but I like the overall style of the car by the tree.
I think there is a lot of confusion here. There are old race cars,and speedsters. The later are built for fun and the relics need preserved.
Royce - Thanks for the response. I certainly understand your thoughts on keeping it ALL Model "T", and I guess I didn't realize that as you say,....."I think there are way too many Model T's using Model A parts,...."
When you think about it though, because "T" speedsters were built during the depression in the '30's, I can't help but think that there were a few wrecked "A's in wrecking yards then, and I'd bet that a few "A" parts actually were used on those "T" speedsters in the '30's.
I sure agree with keeping a "T" speedster ALL Model "T", however, my one "hang-up" with "T" speedsters is having only two wheel brakes (on what I consider, the WRONG two wheels). Nobody will convince me that a hard "panic" stop, especially on a curve with rear wheel brakes ONLY could easily end in disaster!
This will make you "cringe" Royce, but I wish there was a way to EASILY adapt Model A front wheel mechanical brakes to a "T" speedster without using the entire Model A axle assembly. Last thing I'd want on a "T" speedster is hydraulics, and the Model A mechanical front brakes, added to '26 (large drum) rear brakes would sure make a much safer braking speedster! Yeah, I know, it'd look like heck, but still be "era correct" and also look better than drum or disc "juice brakes".
Bottom line,.....I'm sure that if I'd have built a Model "T" speedster in the mid '30's, it probably would have been all Model "T" except for a junk yard Model A front end! Wonder if anyone actually did that?
Oops,...I should have said,..."depression era correct"!
Small contracting band brakes for the front make a good compromise. Not enough braking to make steering difficult but enough to slow the car to make fitting them worthwhile.
I am definitely not a purist in any sense when it come to speedsters. My '17 Speedster "The Becker Special" was built to satisfy my want for an early Mercer Type 35, which I have come to the conclusion I'll never be able to afford. We also built the car for my late father so he could relive his glory days!!
I tried to build it to be some what correct but since I had a limited budget and decided to use Marine grade Plywood for the body and Cardboard and fiberglass for my fenders and trunk. She still looks old and I have fun with her, which is what I built her for. Speedsters are fun cause there is no wrong way to build them.
I am not sure how to classify Clayton's Gow Job "Josephine" as it is neither a Hot Rod nor a speedster, but I'll tell you one thing it gets lots of attention!!
I love Tim Williams Speedster "T-Bone", for it shear simplicity. Being all stock drive train with no over drives or 2 speed rear axles makes it a fun machine to introduce new young people to the Model T affliction.
Personally, I feel there is no right or wrong way to build one! As long as it has vintage running gear and is safe to drive, that's all that matters!!
actually Chris, if you build one with a totally stock chassis it is correct but unsafe to drive.
But other than that I do agree with your statement.
My first speedster had a stock chassis, it was nowhere near as roadable as the one I built with a five inch lowered chassis, longer wheelbase and outside brakes.
I agree if you are going to build one you need to get it down on the ground. Otherwise she's a little top heavy.
When I bought our Speedster, it was lowered, with the fender brackets gouging the tires with every bump.
I saw my choices were remove the fenders, or remove the lowering blocks. When driving coast to coast in whatever weather and road conditions, I like fenders.
The reason I asked this question was because back when I showed my Buck T Special (Bobtail racer) I was always snubbed by the T Purist when I show it at an AACA event. The proper T is not a speedster. Now that never really bothered me because the show goers loved it and that was good enough for me. Yet I felt I put as much if not more research, effort, and pride in my "speedsters" as they did in their original car.
Now that there is so much interest in the "do it your way" speedsters, I hate to think that when I see a speedster I find myself acting like a purist in looking for faults like Phillip screws, disk brakes, electric cooling fans etc. But on another hand, I feel that like a factory T, a speedster has its original time period and should remain as such.
Or maybe I'm just getting old and crotchety. I put my money here. Thanks all for your input.