O.k. guys, need some friendly advice. I have an opportunity to purchase a pretty complete, near-original 1914 Model T. It's been in garage storage for 40+ years and has original interior which is really nice and the motor runs but needs TLC. The car needs new wheels and a top and (hopefully) a tune up and she should be good to go. Problem is I already own one T and would have to finance this other car. Don't know if I want to go in debt again, but I really want an earlier brass car and love the "rescue" aspect. Also, I don't know if my wife will be too thrilled with "enlarging" my hobby. Any advice?
If you consider cost to the amount of pleasure then it most likely is a wise decision. And, if your wife is anything like mine...that which keeps you out of the house and in the barn is "OK" with her.
Mr. Bill I'm always a fan of buying another T. Especially one like you are talking about! However, I am never ever a fan of going into debt for any reason. There's lots of T's out there - save your money and pay cash for the next one, even if that means it's not this one. You just never know what's going on with this crazy economy.
Also - motor needs TLC, new wheels, and a top - that could be under $1,000 or it could be way over it, depending on what's up with the motor. And you haven't mentioned rebuilding the rear-end (which probably has babbitt thrust washers), and driveshaft, rebuilt coils, bands, I could go on and on. If you're anything like me once you get the car it will grind your gears every time you see it and it's not up to snuff and ready to drive.
Anyway, you asked for it. There's my two cents. If you go ahead and get it I'll be super excited and demand pictures. =)
All things considered it is probably not a good idea to buy it, but I would.
Two T's are better than one. If you get tired of one then move to the next one,don't worry about the wife she will get use to it.
Go with your gut. You only live once. It sounds like you are very excited over this, that you could get alot of enjoyment, pleasure and satisfaction from it and you really want to do it.
As for the wife, it is better to act and seek forgiveness than not to and regret it, or worse yet, to blame and resent her for preventing you from seeking your heart's desire. When she sees how happy and excited it makes you, if she is a good supportive wife, she will be happy for you, come to accept it and even come to embrace it, as she sees the ugly duckling turning into a swan. Jim Patrick
Thanks, guys, for all the support. I'm trying to look at it as an investment - after all, they aren't making T's anymore and there's a limited supply so that should be better than money in the bank, right?
If you're contemplating more debt, it's very important to know how comfortable you are with how you're going to repay it. How secure is your job? If retired, how secure is your retirement income? If something ugly came up in your life that needed still more money, could you cope?
Also, where do you live, and what do you do with the T you have now? If you meet/show/tour only with other T drivers, the T you have now is all the T you need. If you'd also like to expand your touring opportunities to include Snappers or HCCA, and have room in your life/budget for the additional activity, you'll need a brass-era car sometime. But if those Snappers or HCCA tours are a long way from where you live, you'll need a trailer and a tow vehicle that you might not need now if your activity is local. Is this the time, and is this the car? And would you be willing to sell your present T when the '14 was up and running, to recoup some of your costs?
Bill I don't know if it will help or not but...
The Joke my wife likes to tell new people we meet is " When we got married he told me it was either Cars or Bars either way we would probably end up flat broke. Since he was a Sailor I felt Cars was the better option and I don't regret it"
If you have to borrow the money to buy it, you won't have the money to fix it and enjoy it. I'd pass! You'll think about it the rest of your life, but, you won't regret it. Use the "payment" money to enjoy the one you have.
Bill, your last post appeared while I was typing mine.
Don't buy a T as an investment, especially if you have to borrow money to do so. You'll have to pay sales tax, and insurance, and registration. You'll have to pay interest on your loan. Brass Ts hold their own in value, but they rarely soar. A loan is a sure expense. A T as an investment is pure speculation.
Buy a T because you love Ts . They will enrich your emotional life, but they won't enrich your wallet.
YES --- IF:
You have covered storage space;
Enough discretionary funds that you can spend on the debt and still comply with life's necessities (as per Gil's advice above).
DO NOT consider it as investment - too many past posts about that - you will most likely put more money into it than your heirs will receive should it leave your hands: wheels, tires, top (you already know) - maybe rear end work - thrust washers, aux brakes, radiator???? - lots of unknowns.
(Speaking from experience).
DO CONSIDER the joy and happiness it will bring you and your family.
Good Luck !
Gil & I typing at the same time, also....
What I say if I'm thinking about blowing some money on an old car is...50 years from now who's gonna care?
Especially a '14.
Very limited supply.
They do seem to multiply.
My first one turned into four!
I've borrowed money twice in the last 40 years to buy airplanes. How much sense does that make?
Gilbert and Dave are correct. If you buy it, you have to consider it an entertainment expense, not an investment. It may bring you years of joy and fun, but it's practically guaranteed not to bring you a profit.
If I were to buy it, I would promise myself that one of the cars would have to go should a financial crisis arrive. This gives you time to decide which one. I'd like a closed car to go with my open car but I won' t buy one right now for all the good reasons listed above. Is it possible you are getting bored with your present T? Buying a second one will only help that problem for so long.
I am thinking deep down that you really want this car, but you are now looking to have someone talk you out of it, as you have been advertising for one in the classifieds for quite some time.
As said above, it's gut-check time. Will you buy it and have buyers remorse or pass and kick yourself now and then for not getting it.
For me, if the price is right, buy it. If later on it is cramping you financially, you can sell it off.
Perhaps you could give us a hint at the price without letting anyone know where this treasure is. I'm sure you will get plenty advise with regard to price.
Good luck and follow your heart.
Bill, if ur still looking for "advice" here's my two cents...I started the hobby late in life and jumped in with both feet. Never regretted it. Now have a Model A and FOUR T's, and bought all the T's in a span of less than 18 months! Yes, I "financed" two of them...but one is from my annuity, so basically I'm paying myself back over 5 years so it's still my money, and the other I actually did on a L.O.C. Dumb I know, but I had to fullfill the passion! I'll have it clear in a year or two. Go with your heart. Have faith in the Almighty. I live by the saying.."If He leads you to it, He'll see you THROUGH IT!" If the economy goes so bad that your investment, and they really are to a point, it won't matter because we'll all be in the same boat anyway! Enjoy the moment, you may be gone next week.
BTW..is your profile pic from last summers H.F. 150th. tour? Looks like the parking lot of the Piquette plant, I was there. Great tour.
Bill -- You have only one Model T? It's time to correct that.
I bought a '15 Touring about 12 or 13 years ago. I had some cash but needed to borrow $6K to have enough for the car. I paid the loan off early and never regretted it. Go for it!
It depends on what the price is. The last 14 touring around here sold for $18,000. If the price is WAY, under that go for it. But if all you car is for an investment FORGET IT. Very seldom do you buy a T, spend a bunch of money on it and make a profit selling them. For one thing do you do all most all the work yourself. If you don't you are going to have a ton of money in it no matter what the original price is.
Virtually everyone here who has restored a model T knows that we will probably never be able to recoup our 2 years worth of labor and the small fortune it took for parts, upholstery, bodywork, painting, etc. so why do we do it. It obviously provides us with something intangible. For each of us the reasons vary. Perhaps it is the thought of rescuing a historical artifact that, were it not for you, would be destroyed. The thought of leaving something of you behind after you are gone. Making a difference, even if it is a small difference important to only you and your children. Whatever it is, the Model T provides us all with a something important to each one of us that nothing else can provide us with and no amount of money can buy. Jim Patrick
you've had an add looking for one for about 4 months?
I'm with Mike B. If you can't repair it over & above finance payments exactly what are you doing? And Dave states you've been advertising for another one besides. You obviously had a plan but are getting cold feet. If you have doubts stand pat. If it's not the right time stand pat. I've had many collector cars over the years and have ALWAYS sold them when some personal need became apparent but I never financed any of them so it was clear profit or I should say the total ammount went into my pocket.
Clearly you want the car. This is not about that. It's a budget consideration. I think I'd sit down with my wife and review all aspects of the family budget, both current and upcoming. If you're like most of us, your list of wants and needs will exceed resources. So, is the "new" T a high enough priority to make the purchase? It needs to be a mutual decision or you'll be headed for trouble, particularly since you will incur debt to buy it.
Tim - yes, I was at the Henry Ford 150 birthday tour throughout Detroit/Dearborn last year and it was the greatest tour I've been on so far! My family and I really enjoyed traveling through some pretty historic (but questionable) neighborhoods and seeing the reaction of the residents. I know I've been looking for an older brass car for some time now, and most of them have been north of 18K. The car I'm considering is just under 14K. I have an open loan at 0% interest for 15 months, with a 22K cap - just not sure how to pay off the loan in 2015. I would be willing to sell one of the T's if I haven't come up with any other option. I love my '16 Touring but my heart has always been drawn to the early brass cars, especially the '14's. Believe me, if there is any way possible that I could keep both cars, I would do it. You all have really given me a lot of good advice and I really appreciate the comments. I will keep you all posted as to my decision. Thanks again!
As Bill Cosby would say "There's always room for Jello!"
Looks like you have two boys, a T touring for each would be nice. A 14 is to me a nicer car than a 16, but your 16 touring looks pretty nice. I suggest you see how you can scrape up enough cash to get it without borrowing. If you are short on cash now with teenagers looking at college, you are really going to be short we they get a little older.
I'm selling a couple Model T's. They are just sitting there. Think I will keep one and take care of it a lot better that I have been.
Anyone who has more than one car has cars that always need something done to them. They are NEVER finished.
How will you keep one running if you don't have good parts to borrow from the second one? Interest rates are at all time lows. Do you have a place to keep it? These are considerations? I believe most T owners own more than one. Follow your heart and don't carry regrets for your decision.
Bill Elliot - With the money you made from NASCAR buying another T should be pocket change!
I clearly remember the day you won one million dollars!
OH your not that Bill Elliot
Model Ts like company - You should have seen the smile on my T when we added a Model A to the collection.
They now keep each other amused and both seem to run better now.
Seriously - as some have said it is hard to justify buying a T based on money alone -
It is for the enjoyment of a Sunday ride with the kids, grandkids, family, or friends
It also might be knowing that you are working on a piece of history or just enjoy the challenge.
Make the decision with your heart -not your head!
If I may make some assumptions from your profile pic?
For the good of the hobby.
Just Do It!
I remember the first chapter meeting my wife and I attended. The wives were chatting and asked my wife how many T's we owned.
Her response was "one".
The ladies said "just one"?
It appeared that we were not the norm and neither should you.
I am not an expert on the 14's, but the price seems a bit high for what you know needs to be done. Factor in the unknown and counter with an offer that is appropriate. If it's accepted, move on to step 2. If not, just move on.
I have two WWII vintage Ford jeeps, one is mine and one is my wife's. Mine costs nothing to maintain, but hers is very expensive. Of course she has noticed that I use the parts I buy for her jeep to keep mine going so I am only fooling myself. Zero interest is not cheap if you do not know where you are getting the money to pay the loan, if yo have to sell a car in a hurry to make a payment, expect to discount the price by as much as 50%. It is better to have one paid for car and no worries.
I have four T's right now, I bought them all "cheap" and spent money to get them reliable and reasonably good looking. I doubt very much if I made any money in the hobby of owning Model T's so it is NOT an investment, but GREAT fun and you meet some wonderful people.
Cars are money pits........but at least they are FUN money pits.......
The short answer:
Stop. You’ve already stated that you can’t afford this.
The longer, slightly more diplomatic answer:
You said you’re not sure your wife would be on board about this purchase. Unless she’s a very, very enthusiastic car gal, she’ll be at least a little apprehensive about putting the family into debt for the purpose of duplicating something you already own. Now, if she is not a knowledgeable car-gal and you explain to her why this money-pit ’14 is different from the beautifully restored ’16 you already own, it’s possible she will hear, “But Honey, this one has a wooden dashboard and a more brass!” And you know what? She’d be right.
Assuming it is current, your profile photo tells me you have a college-age son and another son approaching college age, and you yourself appear to be no more than middle-aged, so perhaps you have reason and time to postpone. If, on the other hand, you were my age, maybe it would be time to stop waiting and get about checking off the items on the ol’ bucket list before got to be too late—but it looks like you’re not there just yet. Philosophically speaking, it is way better to be young with a need to be budget-conscious than to be old enough to buy what you desire, but not have much time left to enjoy it. You have a beautiful family and a great-looking car to enjoy with them. You’re blessed.
From a car-guy’s perspective:
This purchase might make sense if we were talking about a rare, golden opportunity that isn’t going to knock on your door more than once or twice. Were it a clean restoration going for $14K, I'd say go for it, but an inactive ’14 that has only recently been pulled out of storage, with a top and wheels in need of replacement and an engine that requires TLC, at a price high enough to require financing, just doesn’t sound like much of a deal. In other words, if we were talking about a rough-around-the-edges 1912 or earlier, it might be worth taking out a loan, but a 1914 isn’t rare enough to justify that.
If, when money is less of an issue, you do a little classified advertising and a little networking on the MTFCA and MTFCI websites, and check out the ads in Hemmings, the Horseless Carriage Club of America’s website, etc., you’ll find that brass Fords aren’t all that difficult go come by. As for me, I’m hoping that someday, I’ll be able to buy a 1910 or ’11 Pierce-Arrow, Packard or Locomobile—but I sure can’t afford that right now.
I can’t imagine anyone lying on their death bed and saying, “My greatest regret was buying another Model T.” It’s more likely that the thought would be, “Damn, why didn't I buy that second Model T. Just think how much fun I could have had driving it with the Misses and the grand-kids.”
Here's the way I look at it. I look at the buying price and estimate the selling price. If I can buy it for 18K and guesstimate I can sell it in 5 years for 17K, then I've spent $200 a year to enjoy a fine old car.
Only you can decide if its worth that to you, but the main point of what I'm saying is you can't look at it as 18K out of your pocket, because you'll get most of it back and might even make a few bucks.
I've owned 10 different British sports cars over the years. All of them were kept a few years and I made a few dollars on each. But even if I lost a few hundred on each, the fun I had with driving them and working on them would have made it more than worthwhile !
unless you have your wife's blessing, it's not worth it. Simple as that.
Buy it! I have seven and I could not afford any of them when I bought them but somehow I managed and still regret the few that got away. Model T's are not an investment for financial return they are a passion that you can't put a value on.
Tough call....but 1 is never enough.If it's a hard top , you could sleep in it after the wife throws a wobbly!
My wife told me if I bought another Model T I would have to live in it. So I agreed with her and let her win. But boy it is sure cold out side in it this winter!
I used to get wife's approval by telling her how much it'd be worth when finished. She finally caught on and told me last time, it didn't matter if it was worth a million dollars, since I just accumulate and never sell anything, but, she went along with it anyway.
Buy it if you can afford to pay for it and enjoy life.
I am single and the above discussion confirms it is best I stay that way. :>)
I got my wife interested in a hobby of her own so now she doesn't bother me about the cars and I don't bother her about her hobby. Now we have a house full of dolls and a garage full of Model T's.
Regards the wife -I have discovered it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission
Buy it for her birthday or an anniversary. Of course I type this when I'm 1000 km away from my wife . . LOL
Go for it...
If you are like most members here, the T will become a member of the family and will remain with you for life for you to enjoy. Even if it costs more to restore than it is worth, you will be doing something you enjoy and that will be your reward. Since you will never sell your T's, you don't have to worry about recouping your investment in your happiness. That will be up to your heirs after you have passed on and for them, whatever they get out of it will be strictly profit, perhaps exceeding $20,000.00 so you are really investing in your family's security after you have gone. Jim Patrick
Get all your figures. Add everything up. Take a step back. Think it through. Then let the calculator make your decision. If you can afford it, why not? If not, your financial security and family are more important than any car.
Many folks buy a vintage car to restore, then pay others to do the work. Anything you can do yourself is like paying yourself to do the work. For instance, if you teach yourself how to do your own body work it is like paying yourself $2000.00 depending on how much work you need to do. Priming and painting it yourself, it will be like paying yourself $5,000.00 or more. If you can do the upholstery yourself, that is $2,000.00. You can see how it can add up very quickly. In 1970, at the age of 16, I bought my '26 coupe for $600.00 and taught myself how to do it all myself, so that I had nothing in it but the cost of the parts and materials, plus 2 years worth of labor. I estimate that in 1970 dollars, I probably spent $1,000.00 in parts in those 2 years and then there is my labor? Regarding labor, I look at it this way. If I hadn't been working on my T, I would have been doing something else like watching TV and since I don't really consider something I love to do, work, the pleasure of doing it is my reward, which is payment enough, so my car really was an investment. In these 43 years since purchasing my T, I have probably spent another $3,000.00 on it. All in all, I think I am one of the few who spent less on it than the value it has appreciated to which I estimate to be about $12,000.00 as is, possible more. Jim Patrick
Money spent on our hobbies is rarely an investment. When I was about 20, I bought a metal detector, mainly because I was interested in history and seeing what was lost under the ground. It wasn’t a money making thing. I didn’t have visions of finding fabulous lost treasures (oh maybe few). One of my uncles thought it was a waste of money. He asked me, “Have you found enough pennies to pay for that thing yet?”
Knowing he was an avid fisherman I said, “Have you caught enough fish to pay for your bass boat yet?”
That put it all into perspective. We don’t buy a Model T because we think we will sell it for a lot of money someday (most of us anyway). If you restored it yourself and kept a record of what you spend, you will see that you will lose a lot when you sell it.
I grew up around antiques and collectables. My parents collected antiques and ran an antique shop for awhile. Over the years I have seen many fads in collecting. For a short time, back in the early 1970s, old bottles and fruit jars suddenly became hot. The old “1858” Mason jars were selling for big prices at auction. Then suddenly, when everyone found out that the jars were not rare, the bottom dropped out. They have never been worth much since then.
The price of Model Ts has always seemed low to me. You never know what is going to happen to influence the price of something. If James Cameron was to produce a historical movie in which Model Ts were central to the plot, then a lot of people will start wanting one. Something like that happened with the movie Smoky and the Bandit (1977). The Pontiac Trans Am had been a slow seller for GM, selling less than 5,000 cars per year in the early 1970s (only 1286 in 1972). After that movie, the Trans Am became the hot car to own. GM sold 93,341 Trans Ams in 1978 and 117,108 in 1979.
I can't see counting time either. I do keep bills and records of parts just to know what I've spent. A kind of gauge if you will on actual cash out lay. I've never counted time as working on them is the real pleasure to me and besides I've never seen a $50,000 Model T that was worth more than $15,000 anyway. Which is what it would cost if I tallied every thing. It's also why the $50,000 muscle car at an auction gets sold for $26,000. You can't count it all in. You'll never get it all back.
I count my time as "tuition cost" since each car I own/restore is a learning experience that is well worth the education it provides.
For me, I guess it all boils down to my passion - I love history and the Model T. I also love the quest; the "find" of a near original car and the prospect of giving it new life. When I discovered my early '16 in a barn in Ohio (where it had sat untouched for 40+ years) I knew it was a diamond in the rough and I could see the potential. I loved working on it and bringing it back to life from the frame up, and now my family and I love touring with it and just enjoying an evening drive. We love our "Old Joe" as it is known, and indeed it is a part of our family. As much as I love the earlier brass era T's like the 1914, and as much as I really want the new challenge of buying and giving life to that '14, I know I can't pay the loan when it comes due next year unless I sell my beloved '16 - which I'm not ready to do yet (if ever). So as much as I hate to say it, I think I need to cool my passion and start stashing away some cash until I can afford another T . Thanks for the reality check and the wisdom (not to mention the humor) you guys always provide!
Bill, if you do choose not to buy it, perhaps you would agree to provide the contact information of the owner of the '4 to interested MTFCA members in your area of Michigan that contact you through private messaging. That way we can be sure it will be going to someone with the means to properly rescue it from a life of deterioration in a barn somewhere, to its' former glory. Jim Patrick
I can't afford buying new project cars, but I do buy T parts from time to time as much as I can afford - eventually the parts accumulates and become projects
The total cost will likely be higher than what restored or good original cars would have costed, but I don't have to put my family in debt - the house loan is enough for us.