This car looks old, tired, distressed and worn. I've spent some time making every part look as though it had sat outside most of it's life. Mechanically the car is strong and works very well. The problem I have is with getting a new commutator wiring harness to look as old as the rest of the car. Any suggestions or ideas?
Let it sit out in the weather for a few weeks.
How about some really thinned out paint? Color is your choice. Brush on.
Rinse in muddy water. Let dry.
Lightly oil it then sprinkle dry powdery dirt on it. That's essentially what will happen to it after many thousands of miles.
Leave it alone. It will age all by itself.
Lightly sand/scuff the surface, bleach some of the brightness out of the colour, lightly oil and dust with powdered dirt. I've also rolled wire around a grubby garage floor with my foot to help break in the appearance.
PS: I commend and admire your attention to this sort of detail.
Just drive the car around for 10 years and it will look old. I just changed a timer on a car which was restored 10 years ago. I could hardly distinguish the colors of the wires because of dirt and oil. The fan blade tends to throw dirt and oil all over the wires and they will soon look old.
Bread it with flour and egg and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Yum
Is it a new model T wire harness, or is it one you made up? If I am using modern wiring I use Friction tape. It blends in nearly perfectly within a day or two. If it is a model T harness, install it, rub your dirty oily hands over it every so often, within a few weeks it will look old.
Send it to me and I'll send it back to you in ten years or so.....
Sweep your garage floor really well (right into corners you haven't touched in years) and make a pile of the dust, bits of grime, etc. Take your commutator harness and put some masking tape over each of the connections. Get a can of hairspray and spray the harness down really well - almost dripping - and roll harness in the pile of garage sweepings. Remove tape from connectors and install.
Just did the same thing on my '21/'27 doodlebug - which has also sucked up two quarts of boiled linseed oil thus far in her preservation.
Thanks for the ideas, I think I'm going to combine a few of your ideas and see what comes of it? Added note; Ron I thoroughly enjoy doodlebugs. Each one is unique and often the engineering is interesting, it would be fun to put one together someday.
I like the idea of taking light grease and darkening the bright colors of new cloth insulation. Whatever you do, don't fray the insulation to make it look old!!
I have a couple of old ones for a 21 with a starter.
Close the garage door for 80 or so years, then open the door, and bingo the harness looks aged...
Ya know I just don't understand this obsession everybody seems to have in making their car or something in it look old as dirt. To my mind it gives people the wrong idea...they don't see a Model T in good condition, they see a rust bucket missing a few bullet holes...something they are likely to do if you leave it in one place long enough. I people to look at my car with a kind of reverence you only get when it looks like it just rolled off the show room floor.
I'm with you Martin.
I want my T to look like it came off the line TODAY!
I'm sick of driving rusty, dented, faded old junk. And I am sick of looking at cars like that.
But I do admire cars that are original but well kept.
I don't want my T to look all shiny and new. I've been there and had that. I respect people who put time and money to get their Model T's to look that good but, there's something to be said for keeping them running good enough to keep them touring after 100 years with as little expense as necessary. At any rate I say that now but, I just put several thousand dollars into the running gear on my '26 sedan and know I'm not going to stop for a long time. I'm considering new interior, new glass, new tires and other improvements in the future. The thing I don't want to lose is it's uniqueness. It's recognized by most people in the area and I get a lot of people walking up to it to tell me stories of where they saw it before. I don't ever want it to be another clone looking Model T in a row of others. People identify with 100 year old cars and wonder where different dents and scratches or other beauty marks came from. But as I said its a work in progress and there's no telling where I might stop. The only thing I can say with certainty is that it will always look like a much loved old car.
I'm with Mike. I have a restored 26 Tudor and a 26 barn-fresh Roadster. When we take both to a show, everyone walks past the Tudor and wants to know what the Roadster's story is.
At my first show with the Roadster, I had an older gentleman ask me what I was going to do to it. I said, "Nothing but keep it running good." His response was, " Good for you, they're only original once." That was 10 years ago and nothing has change my mind yet.
Just because your car looks like it just got hauled out of a pasture someplace doesn't make people want to talk about "th good ol days"...it's the fact it's a Model T Ford that makes people want to talk about what they heard their parents and grandparents tell them stories about it. I probably get just a many stories about peoples experience with the Model T as you do and yes everybody around here knows my car also, mainly because it's the only bloody Model T around here. Plus I have the confidence that whichever direction I point her in, she'll get me there and back in style, my car may look the part but she ain't no trailer queen by any means, she's a first rate drivers car and looks as good as she drives.
Yes, they're only original once, but that was when they were shiny and new...not old and rusty. That being said...if I were to run across a car that had spent the last 70 years or so in a barn...I would probably agree and leave it in a sort of original condition (after making all the necessary repairs to make it drivable). But to make your newly purchased Model T or Model T parts into a derelict condition...no I don't understand that reasoning at all, never will.
I gave my Shaw Conversion tractor a "nut and bolt" - better than she looked when she was originally assembled I'm sure. I'm going through the doodlebug now, but maintaining her patina. More a preservation than a restoration.
Try a 50:50 mixture of coffee and Coca-Cola. The coffee will stain and the phosphoric acid in the cola will give it texture. Don't over-do it.