To me it is all a matter of degree. Any modification of a T from factory moves it a little toward being a hot-rod. Some folks can put up with a lot and some very little. In our local club we welcome anyone who has what they think is a Model T. Anyway, I got to thinking about modifications that were not easily detectable and how many of them you'd have to do before you would have a hot-rod rather than a stock T. Following is a list that I came up with off the top of my head. I am sure that there are many more. Some are virtually impossible to detect, and some (Z head, flat-tube radiator e.g.) are somewhat easily detectable to the aficionado. The "X" after each denotes modification I have indulged in.
|50 candle power headlight bulbs||X|
|Anderson style timer||X|
|Balancing of factory unbalanced parts||X|
|Ball bearing 4th main||X|
|Body filler (Bondo)||X|
|Bronze thrust washers in later cars||X|
|Bronze valve guide liners|
|Connecting rod dippers||X|
|Dynabeads in tires||X|
|Fiber/bronze/plastic cam gear||X|
|Floating rear hubs|
|Foam rubber in seats||X|
|Gasket material substitution e.g. silicone rubber||X|
|Grade 5 or better bolts||X|
|Grease cups with zerks|
|High compression pistons|
|Kevlar head gasket||X|
|Kevlar/wood/woven band lining||X|
|Large funnel oiler in early cars||X|
|Lined brake shoes in early cars||X|
|Model A crankshaft|
|Modern profile cam (Stipe e.g.)||X|
|Neoprene crank seal||X|
|Neoprene front wheel seal||X|
|Neoprene rear axle inner seal||X|
|Neoprene rear axle outer seal|
|Neoprene timer seal||X|
|Non-felt gas line packing||X|
|Plastic insulated wire||X|
|Plywood in floorboards||X|
|Polyester coil capacitors||X|
|Pressure fed engine bearings|
|Radiator core modification e.g. flat-tube||X|
|Rear end ratio modification|
|Replacement carburetor float|
|Roller triple gear bearings|
|Stainless steel valves||X|
|Steel transmission drums||X|
|Synthetic rubber tires||X|
|Synthetic rubber tubes||X|
|Tapered rear axles in early T's|
|Timken front wheel bearings in early cars|
|Timken pinion bearings|
|Two piece keepers on valves||X|
|Watts/Jack Rabbit etc. clutch.||X|
Not that I need any but please enlighten me about the steel drums.......
There are cast steel drums available and I've also fabbed them up on the metal lathe.
Google defines "hot rod" as I would:
A motor vehicle that has been specially modified to give it extra power and speed.
Drive a hot rod.
I think I would say that most of the things you listed as "modifications" or "modernizations."
What do others think?
You could do all those and it would still be a model T. Just one with more modifications than i would want. Not sure there are many un-obvious mod's left to list.
One thing not on your list that I think you have in your T:s is regound camshafts with modified valve timing. More hot roddish than the other reliability and safety related modifications most of us may have to do to keep 'em running since new Ford brand parts haven't been available from local dealers since before WW2..
Nothing wrong with modifications in my view since T's are so common - for me it ain't no hot rod as long as the wheels are of period style and size. Others may have different views, that's OK
Oh, I've got a reground camshaft from Ford 'n' more too - your Montana 500 results gives a lot of credit to your ideas on timing
Sorry, now I saw you've got the modern profile cam in the list too
I agree with:
" A motor vehicle that has been specially modified to give it extra power and speed. "
That is where it starts ...
I don't know that I would consider any of those "Hot rodding". There are quite a few on there that I would probably never do because I don't see the need. There are only a very few on there I would see as making a T less of a T. I'm sure you can spot them.
Then there was at least one I am not familiar with. Kevlar head gasket? Is that real or are you jerking our chain?
"I can't define it, but I know it when I see it"
I would consider T mods that relate to period parts something less than a hotrod. Around here a true hot rod is a car modified to handle like a sports car and run like one. That leaves the "street rod junk" out, most of them are death traps.
Safety glass I would consider a must have.
In Ontario the original glass is allowed if it is indeed the original. Any replaced glass must be safety glass.
Matthew, I think your Google definition is partially correct, but somewhat incomplete. Certain hot-rod mods have nothing to do about speed or power. Looks or style plays a big part, as far as MY definition goes.
Jim, I agree. That is where it starts. In other words, it is all a matter of degrees. At some point a fella decides "this car is a hot-rod", or "this car is not a hot-rod". For one, the motor could be the tipping point, for another the wheels could be.
Hal, I agree. There are things on my list that I wouldn't do again because they are unneeded. I disagree that only a few make the T less of a T. I would say nearly all make the T less of a T to a degree. Yes, kevlar head gaskets are for real. Originally T head gaskets had asbestos in them, but that was banned so fiberglass or some such thing was substituted. This did not work out well. Gaskets with a kevlar core were designed. At one time they were only available from my company "Ford-n-more". Now I think other companies supply them too. I debated about listing this, as "Gasket material" three above it is the same thing.
Is there a widely accepted definition of streetrod vs hotrod? Part of the definition has to include an excess of power that can only be useful in a drag race. Same goes for the tires.
In spite of all the hidden and visible mods, I still consider my ol' brass picup a Model T, because it has a T (era) engine and original sized wheels and tires. I might call it a Model T hotrod if it had a T era Chev engine.
Can't Forget The ALTERNATOR upgrade and starter upgrade modification But , NICE list of add -on's
That's from a 1923 Science magazine.
"When is it a hotrod?" Easy. It's a hotrod whenever a T guy sees it and it elicits a feeling of outrage or sadness. Jim Patrick
It's a different answer for each person. Some see it as a good thing, others, not. To each their own. (Even though we don't have to personally agree.) ;>)
Uh Oh, I'm a "hot order". Looks like I'm in good company though.
I think a Model T with a hotter cam, milled head and a few other minor mods might have been considered a hot rod in the 20's or 30's, but today wouldn't fit the category.
In the '50's I had cars that were considered hot rods and took offense when in the 70's someone decided that they were now street rods.
Just to enlighten Jim Eubanks, I think you are referring to Rat Rods, as many "street rod junk death traps" are built with more sophisticated components than your daily driver and go, stop, and handle better. O.K. so they don't have airbags...
Rob, Your wife might think you're a "hot order"...LOL!
Um, a hot order who doesn't proof read.
Oh..... It's the damn "auto correct". I type "hot rodder", and it conveniently changed it to "order".
I love technology......
Rob. Sounds like a Freudian slip to me. LOL
i think the major factor is the power plant and drivetrain. ANY T with a different motor is a Hotrod. That is unless the motor is pre 27... then its just a period correct speedster!
When a vehicle rolls off the assembly line it's built or ordered to a specific set of requirements. I consider that vehicle a "stock" vehicle. You can order a vehicle to manufacturers specifications or to your liking with additional performance parts. Now you have vehicles that come "stock" with parts that add power or handling characteristics that are different from original design.
For me the definition of hot rod is somewhat muddled, you have user modified after purchase of a stock vehicle or you have user purchased from manufacturer with factory options.
For me I don't spend too many nights worrying about when a vehicle becomes a hot rod. I just want my t to start and get me down the road.
Phillip "...down the road"...and back...
You have a Phoenix 3-in-1 front plate! I have 2 of them but each one has it's troubles. The worst trouble being, no water pump housings.
VERY cool car!
I stand by the street rod not safe statement. Put all that chrome, paint, uphols. with 400hp in a very short wheelbase and whip it hard on a crooked road, see what you have. Take a real hot rod with sway bars, extra shocks and so on with a flathead ford and try staying up with him on a crooked mountain road. Those big old garbage truck engines (brand X) chromed up may be pretty and run down the interstate but thats about it. Most of the so called T buckets would not be safe in much of anything except a straight line.
I accidentally hit my pants with a gas welding rod recently. It burned my pants and me. I think it must have been a hot rod.
I say if there's no Model T engine, frame, transmission and rear end its not a Model T, and you should find a new forum to participate in. Simply having a couple of those components doesn't make a Model T in my opinion.
Obviously if it is your car you can do what you want. I could care less if anyone else is impressed by my car or what I think. I don't expect all of you to be the of same opinion. I respect your right to have an opinion 100% opposite of mine.
Weight of Ford flathead 569#
Weight of Brand X 350 garbage truck engine 575#
I think you can use shocks and sway bars with
either (as well as Jaguar suspension, etc).
Of course, I'd rather have a flathead any day, but it would still be a death trap junk.
Nothin' wrong with "Flavor Enhancements" :D
Several years ago, our small town had a parade as part of a celebration focused on the replacement of the old school house that was a vital part of the town for 80 years. The organizers contacted me to drive one of my T's and carry the oldest living teacher. I arrived and was told where to line up. I soon realized I was not the oldest car as it was a 1924 and a 1923 was scheduled to arrive in the parade. In came a "bucket" car with a chrome frame and front end, a plastic body, a 350 chev engine with auto trans and wide oval tires. He parked in front of me in the parade and while we were waiting I struck up a conversation with the guy. I eventually asked what part of the car was 1923? He looked at the car and said, "the front axle is a lot like the Model T". As far as the registry of motor vehicles was concerned, it was a 1923 Model T because he had an original title for a 1923 Model T when he registered and transferred the title to his name. Was this a Model T, Hot Rod or Kit Car???
Nice Bonny pic ....
"Real" Model T's are still around because many of them obeyed the speed limits "in the day".
I wonder how many of the "flavor enhanced" vehicles will be around 30-40 years from now?
8 miles an hour"
I like to think it’s in the eye of the beholder.
If you’re an AACA-type who packs a magnifying glass and a vanful of trophies, your guidelines for determining this issue were specified when you took the club-sponsored class on judging. Certain exceptions are allowed and spelled out, like safety-glass replacement of original, guillotine-glass. These subtle compromises with accuracy may driven by a variety of criteria ranging from actual sincerity to political correctness. In any case, it’s all spelled out with excruciating detail in the published judging criteria. The cars we’re talking about have ceased to be automobiles and have become works of art that are only driven the distance between the trailer and the judging area. Else the tires and seats would accumulate noticeable wear, flying pebbles would chip paint and so the restoration would begin to unravel. Cars of such quality belong in the Smithsonian, not on the road.
Then again, the AACA has begun to acknowledge a need for the acceptance of unrestored cars because they have their own undeniably obvious historical significance. As the saying goes, “It’s only original once.” I think the club is also working on a set of criteria for a “driver-class.”
For guys like us, there arise simple matters of safety and practical utility. Our concerns are about keeping the car on the road and making such experience survivable and reasonably pleasant. We’re not considering a supercharged, big-block with chrome headers up front and a pair of slicks in the back. In my neck of the woods, there are occasionally antique car shows that specify, “No modified cars.” I used to think they were disqualifying me because of my Rocky Mountain brakes, high-compression head and varnished spokes. Oops, my mistake. They meant no hot-rods.
Insurance companies like Hagerty require a photo to determine a car’s category before issuing a policy (and I assume street-rodders pay higher premiums). For an insurance company, the difference is obvious (and I’m reminded of a time when there was a big, political ballyhoo over the definition of pornography and what was and wasn’t obscene. The dealer, on the other hand, had the criteria nailed and knew exactly what to order from his suppliers). Likewise, a Model T pilot knows a deviant when he sees one.
I went to a really nice car show in Cincinnati with my '15 touring several years ago. I parked in the "1900 - 1927 Antique" class area and was given a coupon for a free ice cream at a nearby Cold Slab Creamery store.
I returned a few minutes later with my ice cream and a 1927 T runabout was parked next to my car. It looked really nice, and externally completely unmodified, but there was only one pedal and a shifter with a Ruckstell knob that looked odd. I looked under the car and saw it had a Pinto engine with a C4. One of the other guys in the class saw it before I got there, he had the show organizers come take a look. Shortly thereafter the '27 owner was asked to move to the street rod class. He did.
I too would have to agree it is all a matter of degree. I've been thinking of all the Non-original at time of MFG changes I've done to my Model T, Only a person with a real sharp eye would be able to notice the things what were not correct. I once had a conversation with a "hot Rodder" from town about all the things he had changed on his car from stock. example: Ride height, wheels, tires, engine mod/conversion, transmission conversion, diff conversion, non stock paint job and the list went on. I then showed him a picture of Tom Carnegies 1917X and rattled off the list of modifications from stock, in the end 1917X had nearly as many if not more Mods that the hot rod.
The Take out T
Which one is the hot rod?
Here is one of the uglier street rods I've seen. Currently on ebay, item 271258992895, it has a buy it now price of $22,900.00.
Made by destroying a 1927 Tudor, this is the type of monstrosity that enrages and saddens me. It has no redeeming features, such as beauty or grace and is just plain ugly. Like most rods made by undisciplined amateurs, this incomplete rod, with its primered surface has all the signs of a project in which the builder lost interest and just wanted to get the ugly thing off his property. That, plus the fact that it is undriveable. If there is a pebble in the road it will bottom out.
What other hobby, besides the hot rod hobby, depends upon the destruction of beloved relics from one hobby in order to indulge in theirs.
Sad fate for a Model T to wind up being destroyed to create something like this...
Usually I try to be nice or at least fair but that thing is a piece of crap. The license plate is an insult.
What is even sadder is that piles like this often sell for twice as much as a stock T.
It's a "rat rod" - folks trying to recapture the days of their youth (real or imagined) when they couldn't afford shiny paint jobs or fancy speed parts and had to make do with what they could find. Like most fads like the "pro-street" cars, it eventually gets taken to absurd extremes by folks trying to outdo each other.
Exactly Mark. The term 'Rat Rod' used to refer to the cars that kids with very little money built with what was available, 'to drive', as transportation.
That is what I call a 'Ratty Rod'. Something that was put together by somebody with way too much 'disposable income' and has no practical purpose on the road. Like you said, they are very much in the vogue these days but this too will pass.
I hope so Dennis. We can't afford a fad which destroys authentic Model T's in this way to satisfy some old man's nostalgic desire to relive the good ol' days when he had no money.
All too often amateurs embark on a project only realize after it's too late that they don't like what they created. Jim Patrick
Bonnie and Clyde's 34 Ford didn't have holes that big in it when they died.
My uncle had a project like that. It was a 26 coupe, after he cut the rear quarters off and cut the dash and firewall to make room for the steering column he realized he didn't have the ability to fix or finish what he had done. The body was then given to a friend and we have since rebuilt it and made it into a nice car.
I personally draw the line (for the most part) as a stock car (as outfitted at the factory and dealership) with period correct parts/accessories.
Our Model N has an aftermarket mother in law seat, fenders and running boards (instead of the factory installed step plates and "plow share" fenders. It also has Gray and Davis bullet headlamps and horn added. However, we have a photograph of the car taken at a Ford dealership, exactly as I found the car years later. I consider it an restored original Model N with period modifications.
Rob, in the musclecar world, your car would be called a "day two" restoration, not identical to the dealer-delivered "day one" state, but modified with period options / accessories.
Rarity counts. I've put a bunch of mods on my '15 Touring—things like turn signals, a high-compression head and 5:1 steering. But if my car were, say, a 1911 or '12, I'd be a whole lot less likely to consider such changes. And a 1909 or '10? Forget it!
If it has one stainless steel cotter pin, it's a hotrod.
Where you gonna' find babbit thrust washers for the rearend?
Gee Ricks, you got me. Doing what I can ya know. I'm gonna have that new bronze thrust washer plated in zinc just in case anyone happens to see it.
Yes Ralph. I saw that. Very interesting show. I believe it was built using plans of the 3,300 year old solid gold chariot that was discovered in King Tut's tomb by Howard Carter in 1922. Jim Patrick
Here is my Day 2 Hot Rod...hmmm...can ya see 'em ??