After nearly five years my 1912 Torpedo is finally winding down to completion.. I was held up two years by a painter who in that time only managed to complete the frame, front and rear axle and the so called, “black parts”. Understand that I brought the individual frame and parts to him already disassembled, blasted and primed. Aside from the long time he took to do the parts he did finally complete, I was not satisfied with the quality of the work.
Royce said it correctly, my car was in "paint jail". It’s a long miserable story, parts of which many of you would not believe, so I will just let it lie. I am suing him, so hopefully I might receive some justice.
My engine and transmission was just recently completed , which was also held up by the painter, and is now in the frame and connected to the driveshaft. Also had a bit of trouble with the ball cap and hogs head connection as was mentioned recently on this forum, but we got it done…
In any event getting back to the paint work yet to be done, I was now a little apprehensive as what to do now with regard to the body parts, the so called”midnight blue” parts, of the torpedo which ,thankfully, had never been delivered to the painter. At this point I had to wonder what the next painter was going to put me through.
So I will take a step back at this point in my story to say that I already decided at that I would paint the car with the formula suggested by a forum member Jon Grisbeck. Jon used a Standox midnight blue formula engineered by Mercedes in Germany which he had copied from paint chips from a section of his original 1911 Torpedo. I also went with Jon’s theory that you paint the car first with a coat of black paint , then a coat of blue paint.
So now we roll up to the my dilemma of choosing who would paint the body , the “blue” parts of the Torpedo. I found out that the forum member Jon, was not only a Model T collector but also owned a very large auto body shop in Virginia, some 800 miles from me in Massachusetts.
Now three things occurred to me which made my next decision inevitable..One, Jon was a T Collector. I remembered what Don Lang had told me when I spoke to him early on about the restoration I was going to attempt. Remember, I knew virtually nothing about Model Ts or car restoration other than my late father knew most everything. Don told me, whoever you get to do the different elements of the car, “make sure he’s a T guy”. What did that mean? Now I know.. Don was right about that and I have never had a problem with any “T” guy,Furstnow, Regan,RV Anderson, J and M Machine,etc. or any T guy on this forum or elsewhere. All helped or did their element perfectly.
So Jon fit into that category of “T” guy. Two, Jon owned a body shop which services high end automobiles. So he knew how to correctly do a paint job.
Three, Jon had won the Stynoski Award in 2005 for his 1911 Torpedo. So he knew how to pay great attention to detail and had a pretty intimate knowledge of the car I was restoring.
So those three elements led me to carefully pack up the entire amount of body parts of the torpedo into a shipping pod and send them down , over 800 miles away to Jon’s shop in Virginia sometime last September. Jon said he would get to work as soon as time allowed.
Now remember, I am sending my car which has a very special meaning to me to a stranger nearly 1000 miles away from my home. It is also true that I could not insure the parts that I was shipping. So I was a bit nervous and there was a certain element of trust involved here which was based essentially on gut feeling and the help and goodwill I had experienced on this forum. Somehow I knew this was the right way for me to go. This guy,Jon, was the guy to paint this car.
I got a call in May that the paint work was done and that Jon was going to personally deliver the torpedo parts to me during the first week of June. Now I have to say, because of my previous experience, that I was more than a little nervous. This despite the fact that I had come to the logical conclusion that Jon was the best possible person to paint this car based on all that I have stated. I will also say that,like my dad, I can be very critical and difficult to please with regard to the quality of workmanship. I even arranged to have a friend with me the day Jon was to deliver the parts to me. My friend Neal was more of a “car” guy than me and far more critical to the point of extreme or being unfair at times.
So June 16 was the day Jon delivered the car parts to me. It also happened to be the fortieth day of my mother’s passing and Father’s Day.
Jon arrived and it took the three of us over two hours to unload Jon’s truck and trailer which had been extremely well packed,stabilized and cushioned within.
Now the downside of this story is that the paint work is so beautiful , it is almost impossible for me to do it justice by my photography. Jon also did photo work as well but his photography was worse than mine. Too many reflections. The difficulty of photographing detail in dark paint, etc.
My extremely critical friend was nearly shocked by the quality of the work and believe me when I say he is one miserable critic. Deep, rich, dark and flawless. And can tell you that I looked for flaws. The paintwork on wood elements that were supposed to be smooth was smooth and magnificent. The wood parts that were not originally smooth, or unfinished remained that way but were treated to enhance the strength of the wood before they were painted.
And Jon detailed what was done to the metal and wood. I know essentially that the body parts were done 2 stage. The parts were painted black then painted blue. I know that Jon used an etching primer as well as what appears to be a black primer. He also used a quik poly to enhance the strength of wood parts. Its all too long and involved for me to detail but it will be at some point within the book I am writing on this restoration.
To say the least, Jon is sick when it comes to attention to detail. And the quality of his paintwork is sick. And I mean sick in a good way.
As I have stated, the photos I can post really do not do justice to the quality of the paint work. But I will post some that may give you an idea of the work done. What you will see in the photos is some of the early prep work and the finish work.One of these days I will get my friend who is a professional photographer to photograph the car and I will have something better to show the forum.
Now we move on to the assembly of the car. So now comes the excitement and misery of completing the car. The misery being, doing it without scratching the paint. Once assembled the last tasks will be the convertible top which is done and fitted to the assembled car and the pinstriping…
And I was told that a T was a simple car…Trying to get it correct and all the issues that happen along the way certainly has not been what I would define as simple.
My sole intent on this project was to complete the car my dad did not have time to finish and do the best possible job and I have tried my best to do so. But, in the final analysis, this has been quite the rewarding experience through which I have met and communicated with a lot of good people and found an interesting hobby that happened to be my dad's life long passion.
Road gear and speedo clamp brass plating and oil can copper plating as original, recently done and RV Anderson's restoration of the coil box and coils
A good example of how we could not get good photos . reflecitons of the area and photographers in the image..
Wow. That looks great. I am impressed. I do my own paint and bodywork, and know what it takes to get a nice dark paint job to look good. Everything has to be perfect, or the flaws will show.
Btw, make sure you tape/cover everything to protect parts on reassembly, things can and often go wrong, like parts not fitting together or dropping parts or bolts on painted surfaces.
Well Greg, you wouldn't have had problems getting good photos if you had just left it alone.
Seriously, it looks GREAT!!! Please be sure to post more photos once you get it assembled.
She's gonna be too pretty to drive. Not that she shouldn't be driven, I'd just end up getting stuck on the front porch and just looking at it before I ever managed to get it started.
Keep these threads coming Greg, this is a gorgeous. What kind of tires are you going with? I don't know what would be considered correct for this car but it seems almost criminal not to get some white smoothies on there.
Thank you and to all who take the time and expense to restore a car this way. Its a joy to see.
Just beautiful! Cant wait to see this car completed.
Seth, yes,, I have those white smooth tires.and that's another story....
It is looking wonderful.
Who did your upholstery?
Please keep the updates coming!
: ^ )
Looking really great! Can't wait for more pictures. Like the color.
Thanks for the good words from all.
Keith, Marks Upholstery, Foxboro, Ma did the leather work.
Adjectives abound! Beautiful, wonderful on so many levels (for the hobby, your dad, yourself), and what looks to be becoming one of the finest examples of one of the best looking models of model T ever built.
Yes, please more updates as it progresses.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Sorry for spelling the painters name incorrectly.
Jon Griesenbeck from Roanoke VA
I first saw this car disassembled 27 years ago at your Dad's house in Westboro.
Is it a widetrack?
Thanks Ron. Yes, this is the car you saw in 1987. He did buy another 1912 Torpedo in 1993. That one I still have as well. That car is complete and together but unrestored.
No this car is not a wide track
Greg I am so glad you are happy with our work. I love these cars and also enjoy the people I have met along the way. I have met some of the finest people you could imagine. The people I did the reenactement of the 1909 cross country trip will always be part of my family. Love this hobby!
You are doing my fantasy restore. This is just the way I would do it if I had the time,money and patience..
A great story all around..
Some more photos of stages of paint progress. sorry for poor photos.
For those who wrote and asked for upholstery photos. Marks Upholstery in Foxboro, Ma did an excellent job duplicating the seat and cushion from the orignials.
All I can say is:
Can I ask how much, approximately, does a paint job like this cost?
If I revealed the cost, no one would believe me on this forum or they might think that I am crazy,which I may be. Suffice to say the cost of this particular paint job is not for the faint of heart.
As I have said before, I had a dad who did the best for my family and me so I was determined to do the best for what I believe was probably his favorite car of all that he ever owned. I am fortunate to be able to do this level of restoration and like many of you I owe much to both of my parents.
In the end I am pleased with the result and cant imagine that it could have been done any better. Right now, I am more concerned with getting the car assembled without damaging the paint and that the parts will fit as they did in the dry fitting.