An email correspondent I have replied to a link I made from this forum. I thought I would share it with you.:
I REMEMBER IN RIGHT ABOUT 1955-56, I PUT TOGETHER A NIFTY LITTLE '15 ROADSTER...BASICALLY UNPRETTIED, BUT IN ALL MATCHING GREY PRIMER! EXCEPT FOR A MISSING TOP, (FOR ONLY A SHORT WHILE), WAS COMPLETE EXCEPT FOR A TURTLE BACK; THEN FOUND A NEAR PERFECT '24 ROADSTER BODY THAT I WAS ABLE TO TRADE (NO TURTLE BACK!) TO A KID FOR AN ORIGINAL 15' TURTLE BACK WITH A PERFECTLY STRAIGHT METAL, AND HINGES AND LOCK AND HANDLE. DROVE THAT NEAT LITTLE CAR ALL OVER SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA...AND HAD A BALL! I THINK A GUY NAMED EGGSGARD, (?) WHO HAD A MODEL T AIRPLANE, AND LATER PRODUCED ALUMINUM PISTONS AND OTHER HARD TO FIND PARTS.. HE HAD A MACHINE SHOP AND WAS A MACHINIST BY TRADE I THINK. I REMEMBER ON A TOUR, WE WERE WAY OUT ON THE OPEN HIGHWAY AND MY T STOPPED RUNNING, AND HE WAS RIGHT BEHIND ME, AND STOPPED IMMEDIATELY WHEN I DID, AND CAME UP TO MY CAR, AND DID WHAT HE KNEW WAS NEEDED TO GET ME GOING AGAIN (SOMETHING ABOUT THE CARB) , AND WE WERE ALL ON OUR WAY ONCE MORE. HE WAS SUCH A GREAT GUY - ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING THAT I WAS JUST A KID. THAT WHOLE BUNCH OF T GUYS WERE SPECIAL, AND EVEN INSTALLED NEW BANDS ON DAN POST'S " '13 YELLOW PERIL SPEEDSTER," OUT ON THE ROAD AS WELL, USING A NEARBY BIG ROCK AS AN ANVIL, TO FLATTEN THE BRASS RIVETS OF THE CLOTH BANDS...I WAS ONE HAPPY TEENAGER. NOW, SADLY, ALMOST ALL, IF NOT ALL, OF THOSE GREAT MEN, AND TRUE FRIENDS, ARE GONE. BUT IT'S PRETTY NICE THAT I CAN REMEMBER AND ENJOY THOSE GREAT MEMORIES, AND PRETTY CLEARLY - JUST PLEASE DON'T ASK ME WHAT I HAD FOR BREAKFAST THIS MORNING!
On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 6:25 PM, Don Black wrote:
I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS ABOUT AN UNRESTORED, RUNNING, OLD, ALMOST ORIGINAL MODEL T...I DOES LOVE 'EM' - YES SIR!
He wrote me some more thoughts:
By the way Herb, going back to the little, unrestored '15 Roadster that I was running the wheels off of as my local, fun driver, as well as tourer, I was stopped at a red light, and as it changed this guy came along side of me and yelled out through his window, "Hey; Wanna top for your car?"
You know where this kind of thing can lead, like, "Yeah, there's a really old car sitting out behind my neighbors house ya' otta see. It's the oldest car I've ever seen!" And the totally exciting lead turns out to be something like a '54 Nash upside down bath tub model...
Well I yelled back to him and said, "Yeah!" And he yelled back and said, "Follow me!"
I did, and we headed for the old housing part of downtown Long Beach, California, and down an old alley way, and then he stopped at one of those old garages with the barn type opening double doors. He yelled out, "Wait here - be right back!" He went around a sidewalk out of sight, and I suppose entered into the old garage from the unseen side, and very soon appeared with a complete set of Model T Roadster top bows, basically all ready for a little primer (!) and some J.C. Penny Naugahyde/oil cloth type material! I was still waiting for some kind of a catch, and asked him how much he wanted for them, and said, "Nothin"! Hope you can use them!" And I thanked the friendly stranger sincerely, cranked up the T, and went on my way a much happier Model T driving teenager than I was only minutes before!
Another high adventure for a kid when a Model T was a very fun part of my life!
I never met Henry Austin Clark, Jr., the gentleman who got me into this hobby by way of his institution, "The Long Island Automotive Museum." And, not that I would expect the knowledge thereof to cause him to jump for joy, he never knew the positive effect he had on my consequently less boring life. I do wish I could shake his hand and thank him, but he went to Heaven a good many years ago.
I remember so clearly, seeing for the first time, his incredible museum collection and how enormous some of those old brass dinosaurs looked. I was only a schoolboy in 2nd grade and at that time, the whole world was a wondrous smorgasbord of discovery, so it was very unusual for any single experience to stand out. But the towering brass automobiles, with their hip-high runningboards, hula-hoop-tall wagon wheels, bucket-sized gas headlamps and diamond-tufted seats were ever so much larger than life. And holy cow!—It must have taken a giant every bit as strong as Daddy to start those locomotive engines with just a hand-crank!
And so, at the tender age of maybe six, I became a Brass Car Guy. As we left the museum, Dad said, "Yeah, well, maybe when you're older and you have your driver's license, you can buy yourself one of these cars—but, you know; first you'll have to learn to drive a 'standard-shift'."
The phrase, 'standard-shift,' always made my Mom shudder. At the time, Dad was teaching her to drive our old '51 Mercury and she just wasn't catching on to how to handle 'three-on-a-tree.' I presumed, therefore, that learning to shift gears by hand was going to be a challenge of Odyssean magnitude. I had no idea that the abrupt, pubescent addition of copious quantities of testosterone to an already-existing XY-chromosomal makeup would cause me to awaken one day with a fully-developed knowledge of handling a manual transmission. Never having done it before, muscle-memory experience, which I presumed must have suddenly dropped into my being from a previous life, was simply there. You don't teach a game fish to swim, a junkyard dog to bark, or a girlfriend's cat to be a pain in the neck, because those abilities are just part of the fabric of what the animal happens to be, and so it was with the red Marvel Mystery Oil now coursing through my veins.
By then, a lot of years had gone by. Alan Shepard was the first American to ride a rocket into outer space and John Glenn was the first into orbit. There’d been miniskirts and Beatle-boots and the music that went along with it and then there were mood-rings and that absolutely ridiculous musical aberration known as Disco—which crossed all cultural lines and for an all too brief half-decade, seemed to eradicate all racial tensions as everyone from every background was dancing together to the same stupid, disco-duck music while wearing the same, equally stupid polyester leisure-suits. A mixed blessing if ever there was one.
But I digress (always wanted to say that).
Then I got married, bought a house and raised a daughter. After paying off the resulting credit-card debt, I found myself well past the age of combing my hair over and indulging in the traditional, incongruous, old-bald-guy-in-a-new-top-down-Corvette, mid-life crisis. Fortunately, there was this antique car hobby, populated to a great extent by gray old farts like me who still pledged allegiance to the flag at club meetings, wore their baseball hats the right way and thought the Beatles were nowhere near as good as Elvis.
Dad was well into his eighties when I surreptitiously acquired a 1915 Model T like the one he and Uncle Lou had gone partners on just before WWII. He was surprised as hell. He walked around the car and noted the "NON-SKID" tire treads that he had once pointed out to me back at the museum a thousand years ago. And he reminded me to tuck my thumb when cranking. The engine caught and went, "kisskisskisskisskisskiss," and we climbed aboard.
And then, without breaking his straight-ahead gaze through the windshield, he commented, "So, you learned how to work a standard-shift."
Well, anyway, thanks, Mr. Clark.
Thanks Bob. It's good to hear another friends reminiscence.
Lovely stories both. Thanks for sharing.
I totally agree about Henry Austin Clark being a huge influence. I got to see him in 1978 at the Pierce Arrow Society meeting in Buffalo New York. Didn't meet him personally, and don't remember a thing he actually said other than it was in memory of Bill Harrah, who died the day the meet started.
Austie was a very wealthy heir to a sugar company fortune. He became interested in antique cars in the 1930's, and like me and Bob, ended up buying a 1915 Model T to restore. Unlike me and Bob, Austie was able to go to Dearborn and meet Henry Ford at Greenfield Village to discuss Ford history and see the collection. What a day that must have been!
Austie was able to populate his collection using cars rescued by Barney Pollard in his magnificent junkyard, and from other early collectors such as James Melton. These guys were collecting and restoring brass cars 80 years ago, including Model T Fords.
When you read things that were written or edited by Henry Austin clark remember what he knows and see how it affects your perception of what was written.