1. In the world of speedsters, is there classifications for the different types of speedsters? ie: I call the open body with hood and fenders a "Traditional" speedster. Then of course a Boattail and Bobtail type based on the rear of body finish.
2. Then at what point of design or finish does a Speedster become a Racer? And maybe they are one in the same. Maybe when a "Number" is attached?
3. Was there a classification of race car design? Dirt track, Asphalt track, Road racer, Hill climber?
Thanks for any help.
1. Open deck speedster, Boat tail speedster, bobtail speedster.
2. When it has race/speed equipment attached, in addition to a speedster/racer body. I'm thinking more than just a high compression head. Racing wheels, steering, o'head valves, etc.
3. Yes, depends on how the chassis and gear ratios are set up. Each type of racer is designed and set up for its intended purpose & use.
But when it's a speedster anything goes. If it looks like a racer with a stock engine; it's a racer. It's bad enough we've got the Anal Alliance worried about which side of the bolt the cotter pins go on. A speedster is a speedster is a speedster. There are boat tails, bob tails, open body, closed body, green body, wood body, aluminum body and yadda, yadda, yadda!
What about composite??
Oh, I forgot the most important one of all. Composite body. Oh, oh, I forgot the most important; no body!
Mike G and ex t illustrate it well! Even beyond that. Model T Ford speedsters have been built in every calender year from 1908 clear up to it ain't ended yet! Now, it needs to be considered (but not the prime consideration) whether the car is a true original, a well restored representative, and if so, what era does it represent? I have seen many incredible race cars built in the '30s, '40s, and '50s, that should be preserved for exactly what they are because what they are is every bit as important to automotive history as any truly original '10s or '20s speedster.
Speedsters can be re-created and/or restored to represent any era as well as any of dozens of different styles for any of those eras.
Different clubs, and even different meets have different rules to follow. A person thinking of getting or building a speedster needs to research a few of the options and before almost anything else, decide what he wants for a car and what he wants from that car before investing much time or money into something that may not be what he wants.
For me? I prefer speedsters that properly represent the era from the '10s through the early '20s. A time frame of just over a dozen years, and styles along with accessory options changed a lot! But I am not a true purist. There are a lot of beautiful cars out there that are a lot of fun to own and drive, and I can appreciate that.
To simply answer the original question? Might take about a hundred pages of text. Even what to call them is still open to major debate. "Speedster" in itself was not the most common term 90 years ago. Several major automobile companies actually used that word for specific models. Paige had a car in 1912 that looked a little like a Mercer Raceabout. Their sales books called it "Speedster". In the early '20s, Hudson offered a four passenger touring with slightly lower body sides than the five passenger touring. It also was called the "Speedster", but doesn't look like we tend to think of speedsters (some years ago, a good friend had one).
What we tend to call "speedster"? They used to be called "bug" or "cut-down" or a dozen other colloquial names, as well as speedster. "Torpedo" is another word used by many different people in many different areas to mean different kinds of cars. What we (maybe especially I) call a "boat-tail", during the early '20s was more often called a "torpedo". Boat-tail was used also, but did not become so widely used until the Franklins and Auburns of the late '20s and '30s. They are hardly what we think of when someone mentions a speedster. However, because of them, when someone says "boat-tail roadster", most people seem to know what it means.
Have we sufficiently muddied the waters yet?
Any question about a specific type of speedster?
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Wayne, my fear is that someone will start to define these great creations with certain classifications. These cars represent freedom of choice. They're a free form of art that needs to be respected as such. When they start to pigeonhole these cars in order to judge them they will lose their true identity which is, as I said, "a free art form".
The neat thing about speedsters or racers is that you classify the car since you are the builder. You don't need no steenking rules!
That being said, I think a successful speedster needs to achieve a commonality of form, sort of all the parts singing out of the same song book if you will. It is really annoying to see for example a Model T speedster with billet street rod accessories and modern bucket seats.
Thank you all. Good points to ponder. Thank you Royce and Wayne. I hate going to sanctioned Antique and Model T club meets/shows and getting snubbed by the purist. Yet I have grown to understand their frustration. These people spend much time and money to return their loved cars back to factory specs. I respect that.
The "Speedster" for better or worse is a sub history of the early car. Mostly the Model T. The speedster does have a place in the T's history. But just like the factory car, the speedster in all its glory can only be if it is period correct. As much as I hate admitting it, I have become a purist of sort when it comes to Chevy S10 seats, speedway billet headlights and I'm ever going to "walk the plank" with disk brakes. Then you have pearl paints, candy colors, metal flake. But I'm anal I guess.
Its liking to, because a persons 1924 T hotrod has the fiberglass body and raditator cover of a 1924 T, makes it a 1924 Model T, can be claimed as a 1924 Model T and can be tagged as an antique?
LOL, ok,I'll shut up now. Heading out to the garage now.
This is a very interesting post that Tyrone has started.
I believe that there are many more classifications to this subject, but only two
#1. As Henry made them (purest) class.
#2. As the masses (owners) changed them to suite there needs.
Now with #2 there are Speedsters,Race cars, Tractors, Snow units, four wheel drive, speeders(Railroad)use, Ambulances, Air Craft started unites,Delivery units, that were made in
Blacksmith shops, Barns or cabinet shops in the beginning. Now Henry may have copied and put some of these ideas into his production later. These all started out as Henry's cars. The masses(People) created all the rest. It is all one big hobby, where do you want to draw the line. My vote is to just enjoy the hobby.
As dad said If you are going to restore it buy 6 bottles of aspirin along with all the parts you need then be prepared when someone trashes your work by telling you that the "framitz" is installed backwards! If however you wish to customize throw the "rule book" in the circular file, you are only limited by your imagination and your wallet. Just remember it takes $30,000 worth of parts to build a $10,000 car!
The first requirement of a model T speedster it must be fun....
For the 26 years of the San Diego speedster run we do have a formal definition, but as Tech inspector I have overridden the "rules" in the interests of fun.
The formal definition is:
Model T frame, front and rear axles, model T block with planetary transmission and model T clutch. Wheels are model T or period accessories.
Over the years no one had complained and we have only had one exception to these rules after inspecting over 250 cars, so that's my definition.
Clearly the body can be whatever the owner want, one or, two seat, roadster based, simple or original (Mercury) body. Pays your money and takes your choice,
As for sanctioned meets, MTFCI has three Speedster classes and judging guidelines. (Below quoted from Judging Guidelines)
Brass Class: Year of T engine or chassis won't alter placement. Speedster needs brass radiator, stock or repop.
Black and Nickel Class: Black or nickel radiator shell or accessory shell on radiator. Year of T engine or chassis won't alter placement.
Racing/Modified Class: Any T speedster that could have raced during the Model T era. Owner decides to enter this class. (i.e. made like a period racer even if never really ran in the old days)
Speedster class judging is on construction using Model T parts, and accessories, and parts are awarded for period correct and quality of restoration. Repop parts can be used which appear period correct, while modern replacement parts that are not period correct will result in point deductions.
Lots of points awarded for real stuff, like 50 pts for Mercury body, 40 pts for Rajo, Fronty, 15pts for period high tension magneto, etc, etc.
Points deductions are for example: -10 for alternator, -10 for modern carb, -10 for modern fuel pump, -5 for plastic covered wiring, etc etc.
Sure are some fine speedsters in those judging classes!
Thanks Dan. Explains a great deal. Good to know about the points gain or loss. I don't expect to ever show one of my cars for points. Perhaps I should. But when I build a car, I build it to be as true to the period as I can possibly make it. Half the fun in showing my cars at car shows is the look on peoples face as I explain the simple period technology. My Buck T Special (Bobtail racer)always drew a steady crowd and 90% of car shows, won 1st or 2nd place for peoples choice or most unique.
I love speedster/racers. When my dad gave me his 24 coupe, I had to promise not to turn it into a speedster. So far I hav'nt. So far!
Very simple in my book, a racer is a car of any description that HAS Raced and can be proved in what period it did race. That is the basis world wide to obtain a historic log book and certificate of description to compete in genuine historic racing events. No brainer actually. But then I am lucky as I have one.
There is provision for replica racers and they certainly have there place as long as that is how they are described. I plan to build a speedster in the near future because I have seen how much fun my mates in the US have with theirs on the road. I can't drive my real racer on the road here because of its noise emissions.
Speedsters have always come in a variety of flavors. You can check the old ads and see a lot of different choices for bodies, wheels, speed parts. For every Mercury, Paco or Speedway car there were probably 10 homebuilts. So there is a lot of leeway when it comes to speedsters. As far as racers go, most ran the fair races and were single seaters. Jay has posted a lot of pictures on the MTFCI Speedster forum.
It's hard to find the photo gallery on North West Vintage Speedster's site, but here it is.
Oh. I forgot. click on "thumbnail"
When you see a speedster you like if you click on it you may get another or more pictures of the same car.