Cost of parts and restoration services rise year by year (look at the price of a SCAT crank now compared to 3 years ago), but the value of cars seems static. In the USA well restored non-brass Ts can be had for < $12K. I've seen a few real nice Model A Coupes and Pick-ups for < $15K. In Australia prices are a bit higher as the supply/demand ratio is perhaps more even and that fact it costs more to restore and buy parts Down Under.
Production of some real nice products such as the Model A Burlington Crankshaft and Bill Stipe's Model A shocks have ceased. Chaffin's business is up for sale...would be a big loss to the T hobby to loose Rajo and Ruxstell kits.
How have we got here and in which direction are we going? Could there be a surge of interest in Model T and Model A cars like the one in Muscle Cars? Are the clubs doing enough to promote themselves and the hobby? Is it their role to do so?
What are your thoughts?
One correction: Bill Stipe is still producing the Model A shocks. He recently accepted deposits for the current run.
I recently taught a class. After breaks, I start with a short story or video to quiet everyone and make the stragglers realize they're missing something cool by coming back late. I was pleasantly surprised that my monolog about old cars caught the attention of one student who is promising to bring me two children who are nuts about Model Ts. Coincidently these kids are about the same age where I caught the car-bug and my wife and I plan to show them the cars at the Old Car Festival. Who knows, in ten years one or both of these kids could be asking the forum about water pumps and engine oil.
In my forty or so years in the car hobby, I notice our suppliers come and go. I've lived through two generations of Bobs and I think that he is only experiencing a temporary set back. I've also witnessed the demise of Rick's in Kansas and I can understand why he went out of business.
There are some parts that disappeared that I miss. Why didn't someone pick up the production on the 25-27 accessory tail light bracket? Why doesn't someone offer a cap for the dashlight bodies that I find everywhere with no cap?
In many of the car parts businesses I've visited, I am delighted to see that one or two generations are in the wings, chomping at the bit and ready to take over. These businesses have to be profitable to pay for bricks and family and I understand the prices. I believe that we as restorers must realize that in many cases our cars will have more money in them than what they ultimately fetch when sold. Considering the money I spend to maintain a shop for me and my son, cars are definitely a losing proposition. However, I get a priceless joy from texting my wife with "@ shop" as I leave work and being able to spend a night with my cars after grabbing a burger at the bar down the street. My mission at the shop is to restore what I have to the best of my abilities and preserve my cars for the next generation. I think of my shop as micro version of the Henry Ford where visitors can see a dusty rotary dial phone, a drive in speaker, or a typewriter. They also can see my cars in various states of dis-repair.
I believe the hobby is alive and well. I also believe we have to take the time to share our hobby with the kiddies to ensure its health.
Tom, Rick"s was sold to a friend of mine and is going strong. Ron's Restoration in Glade KS.
Model T's and Model A's will always be popular to some extent but we have to be realistic about the changing of the times.
The people that grew up with these cars are either getting to old or not here anymore.
Whats popular and getting more popular are the cars from the mid 30's through the early 70's.
These cars you can drive faster and are more the daily driver type. You can drive them on main roads without worrying about getting run over.
Its just a fact.
I am a manufacturer and supplier for the antique car catalog industry. The past few years more & more companies big or small are selling out to their competitors. We noticed in our wholesale customers we have dropped over 40% of the accounts due to discontinued business's
You also can tell by the Flea Markets how they have downsized the car parts to tools toys and junk!..very few parts.
Is there any truth to the rumor (from a good source) that Ben Hardeman of Texas T Parts is retiring?
I'm not so sure that "growing up with the cars" is a valid argument. I know that some of the folks here are in their 80's and 90's, which is how old you'd need to be to have "grown up with" Model T's. I was born in 1945, and I first got interested in cars in the mid-50's. The little town where I grew up had a couple of Model A's, but no T's that I remember. But I'm pretty well immersed in Model T's now.
I think it's more a matter of sharing what we like about T's with others, regardless of their ages. Some will be interested in joining in the fun. Drive your T's a lot -- to the grocery or hardware store, to Wal-Mart, or wherever. Every time you park it, a conversation will ensue if you let it happen. Those who show enough interest to walk over and ask a question or two are possible future Model T enthusiasts. It's all on our shoulders to continue the interest in our cars by continuing the conversation.
Jon -- Yes, at the end of this year. He won't be fully retired but wants to sell the Texas T Parts business. He still will work on making parts and accessories for T's, but at a more relaxed pace. He and Nancy want to have more time for touring in their T's as well.
Jerome, I looked at Ron's website. I don't think we're talking about the same Rick's Antique. The one I remember sold parts in Rick Packs containing parts such as Model A gas gauges where the individual parts in the bag would not fit together. He also sold fiberglass parts that appeared be cast from the same resin that they use to make swimming pool slides. I remember that transaction well because the first invoice said "out of stock-reorder in 30 days" and two weeks later I received four rear fenders. I was instructed to cut a chunk out of each fender and send it back in a smaller package so that I could receive a refund for the two extra fenders.
Ron's site bears no resemblance to the company I dealt with.
The "Fade to Black" isn't around the corner and I don't think any of us will see it but I believe it's certainly in the future. It's the nature of the beast. The vehicle that is. Not the fans of it. At some point way ahead (I hope) these cars will be strictly parade/museum pieces. A lot depends on parts availability. Not so much the cost but the actual availability of these items. As these jobbers fade so does the hobby. If you can't fix it you can't drive it. Prices will rise. They always do and it puts some people off getting involved or doing certain repairs. Some of these barn cars were stored for just that reason and stuff was a heck of a lot cheaper when it happened.
I agree with Charlie B. We may not see it happen but we certainly can shape what happens in the future by getting the cars out where young folks can see them, hear them and yes, even touch them. If interest fades in them for a time they will decrease in value enough that folks can afford them.
The information on this Forum will certainly be a resource for future enthusiasts.
I can see guy's going for Model T's, if you think about all the parts it takes to build a car from 1974 to present, the T starts to look a lot better, if you want a project car, most every thing can be done in a home work shop with a T.
The T has a lot of area that can be changed an improved to let it move into the future.
I think their a good bet, to stay around.
PS--When I first started messing with Don on Becky's Yellow T, I didn't even care for the look of a T, but the darn things have grown on to me.
is he really talking about Model T's & A's?
Maybe I'm just jaded after seeing so many cars sell for six, seven, and eight figures at this year's Monterey auctions
I would suggest that we enjoy the old cars and life itself. None of us know for sure what life will bring. (If God knows, he is not talking) We could get hit by some object flying in outer space and end life for all of us as early as today.
Enjoy life, get the children and grandchildren interested in the cars and hope for a bright future.
IF THERE IS A BETTER PLAN, I HAVE NOT HEARD IT.
Being one of the younger (I'm 38) and newer people haunting this forum I want to throw in my view on the future of the hobby. My generation and those behind me cannot relate to a time when the Model T was an active part of society as some have already stated. We don't even have parents or grandparents who can talk about the age of the Model T with us. Today's younger generations have to be drawn to this hobby for reasons other than nostalgia or even the (now expensive) "old car bug". The interest comes through an appreciation of history, age blind comradery, and/or a love of all things mechanical and electrical.
Until a couple of years ago owning a Model T had very little appeal to me. I lived and breathed old cars but nothing that old. It wasn't until last year when my father passed away that I took a good hard look at the rusted out C cab that we pulled out of a relatives barn when I was about 13 years old. He always wanted to build it with me but I was always too busy with other cars, life in general, and more recently my own young family. With regret and guilt I pulled it out from the corner it was buried in and started researching it. Unfortunately, I had to do it alone without my mentor, my dad. Well, through reading on line, on forums, and in books, I have become hooked...big time. I find myself obsessing over how this contraption works and the rich history behind it. It has become one of the most interesting and consuming hobbies that I have ever approached. I work on it when I get time and love every minute of it. I'm only sorry that I didn't start earlier.
I do not have the luxury of a nearby Model T club so I revert to forums. This one, in particular, has become my favorite. You may see my name pop up here and there in posts because I like the group and, while I don't have much knowledge to convey, I like to participate. I enjoy all of the information and also the enthusiasm and comradery of the members even if I never meet any of them face to face.
I have never driven a T. I understand that it is a rewarding and exciting experience but let's be realistic. As much as everyone enjoys driving a T, it is difficult to do in many places. I'm building a truck that has me stressing about trying to gain another 5 or 10 MPH over the factory speed of 24 or so!! Yes, I may be able to blow the side curtains off of an unsuspecting Amish buggy someday but in the end I am limited to a small radius from my home due to modern traffic. I know that non-TT's are faster but still they have limits. Do you know what? I don't care and neither does anyone else in this hobby. The hobby is more than having a practical vehicle and that is what needs to be passed along to others. Look, someone will have a vehicle that they can more or less build themself and, if careful, at a reasonable cost. Much more reasonable than an overrated "hot rod" with a boring 350. In addition, the builder will learn (or re-learn as in my case) practical applications of basic mechanical and electrical theory. Younger people need more of that today than ever. I'm sure that the younger guys or girls reading this can relate and attest to that statement.
So, when you find that curious person, try to find out what sparked their curiosity. Was it history, mechanics, those buzzing wooden boxes, or the memory of a loved one? Don't just answer their questions, ask them some. You may just then be able to tailor your talk, give an education, and hook another enthusiast. That will help keep our suppliers in business and new people joining "The Affliction" to keep the future bright.
I'm 30... and I'll happily buy as many Ts as I can get my hands on. I'm interested in nickel-era Packards, Franklins as well, but can't really afford those right now, so Ts are the bee's knees for me.
Maybe not Ts and As, but the main point is money or lack of it. Most people are broke. Owning a T isn't cheap from the viewpoint of any young person. I often give away spare parts and my time to younger enthusiasts, to keep the flame alive.
I had a 911 Porsche that was still accelerating at 130 mph. Wonderful. I'm not a race driver, did not have high speed tires, was not friends with the law, and paid $1,000 every time a mechanic got near the car. Changing a spark plug meant taking half the car apart. People did not wave and honk as Judy and I drove by. No pictures taken. Three Model Ts!!!!!! 28 mph, pictures, smiles, fun.
Everything will always be worth something. While the price of brass Model Ts continues to escalate there are and always have been cheap black Model Ts to drive. Same with Model As, there will always be a butt for every seat at some price. An A 400 or a Model A town car will always be expensive.
Every couple months someone asks if the sky is falling. I say that the hobby is great for hobbyists. If you are into cars as an investment you need to know what you are doing to keep from becoming a statistic. Key advice: buy low, then sell high.
I got my T when I was 29. I will be 47 in October, and I still have it. I put a down payment on it, and made payments for 10 months. How unheard of is that??? lol It's in my profile.
I would love to have another one, but I am "retired" on disability now, and the prospects of me having another are slim.
My father never had one, but he remembers people just starting to restore these in the 50's. My grandfather rebuilt one on the kitchen table, but he never owned one.
There's just something about a Model T that grabs you, and won't let go. I like looking at the Model A and like other makes of cars (Buicks, Maxwells, Franklins, REOs). But I'll never own them.
Parts availability makes the T attractive as a potential car for restoration. Orphan brands, while cute, turn me off because of the expense in obtaining/manufacturing parts, finding donors.
Someone bought the Lincoln Futura Concept Car/Batmobile at Barrett's for 4 million plus. They will NEVER recoup that investment. I just might on a Model T.
i would be interested to see what 3D printers could do for the home tinkerer. Even orphan brands might suddenly become more repairable.
A 3D printer that uses metals for making the objects is insanely expensive. You most likely would have to use a printer that uses plastic to make a mold and then make your parts from that.
I checked prices over the whole spectrum of printers. They can range from $300 to over a million dollars.
Baby boomers with big money ruined the muscle car hobby for the average car guy. If the prices of Model Ts and some of the Model As get driven up by big money then it will be another car hobby enjoyed only by an elite few.
That's just one dynamic of course, but it was a huge one for the muscle car hobby.
I remember since before the day the training wheels were removed from my Schwinn, the goal of my life was a driver's license and a set of wheels. -Back in the Ike Era, all American, male babies were born with the lines of the right palm configured in an H-shift pattern. -We grew up on the Kat from AMT and received, at precisely nine o’clock on the morning of our sixteenth birthday, a learner’s permit. -Suddenly, our parents became our closest companions and wherever they needed to go, their pubescent chauffeur did the driving—which frightened my mother and caused my father to use words such as could only have been learned after years of toting a Garand through the malarial jungles of the South Pacific.
Cars were important. -They were as much a part of the American culture as listening to Elvis sing and watching George Reeves fly. -On Sunday afternoons, we’d “go for a drive,” something that families simply no longer do. -Oh, how well I remember that. -You went to church, came home and changed into human clothes, then Mom and Dad piled you and your sibling(s) into the car and burned through five gallons just getting to the local drive-in burger joint. -Then you hit the highway, the gas pedal got planted and the family enjoyed a speed limit ten miles in excess of today's national standard. -The likewise-standard fudge factor of 5-10 put you at a cruising speed of 70-75 mph—and in little danger of attracting the attention of the local constabulary—which meant you could go pretty darn far in one day. -Somewhere along the line was an obligatory stop for soft ice-cream and then, after the phrase, "Are we there yet?" had been endlessly chanted, we arrived at the world's largest ball of twine, or the world's largest frying pan, or the Baseball Hall of Fame—or, if you were a car-kid and had brought home a red A+ in arithmetic, one of the many automobile museums that dotted the landscape of America.
Nobody does that anymore. -Yeah, I know; gasoline is too darn expensive, but I think it's mostly due to the fact that our kids, whose minds are now absolutely transfixed by digital distractions of questionable value, are simply loathe to get in the car and actually go somewhere with Mom and Dad. -The age of the roadside attraction is over. -So, also, is the age of the road, for American boys are no longer born knowing how to drive.
I suppose that’s not surprising, for cars are no longer the stylized, 2-tone freedom machines of the American middle-class. -Nowadays, cars are just a bunch of uniform, cough drop/Chicklet-shaped tools of transportation, available in a choice of boring-bland colors, and which, when used up, are unceremoniously discarded and recycled like so many plastic, 2-liter Coke bottles.
I remember the greatest car museum on the east coast, The Long Island Automotive Museum. -In its day, its corrugated Quonset-hut buildings held the greatest collection of Brass Era cars this side of the Mississippi. -It was a holy place, but due to lack of public interest, closed its doors for the last time in the 1980s. -I also remember the Gast Classic Motorcars Museum, in Strassburg, Pennsylvania. -That one closed too. -Same reason. -And that same sad story has been repeated and repeated from one end of Route 66 to the other.
For now, the antique car hobby is mostly held together by gray, arthritic white guys like me who do such quaint things as pledge allegiance to the flag at club meetings and wear baseball hats the right way. -We’re not going to be around forever, or even (in the grand scheme of things) too much longer. -What we need are more minorities, more ladies (we have some, but nowhere near enough) and most of all, we need the young blood which now is almost totally absorbed by twiddling their collective thumbs on smart-phones, black-berries, blue-teeth, green-thumbs, hazel-eyes, etc. -I wish I could see a bright future for the antique car hobby, but…
Not gonna happen with Ts. The gold chain and mine's bigger than yours guys aren't interested in the old stuff.
Who knows. When some of the old timers on here were getting interested in Model Ts in the mid 60s, some of those "old" cars were barely 40 years old. There are muscle cars older than that by 10 years now.
So what's "old"?
It saddens me to hear that probably by the end of this year, and surely by the end of next year, that three of our prominent vendors will close their doors. They may continue operation under new owners, or they may close their doors, entirely. Either way, I feel sorry for anyone who is forced by a situation beyond their control to close their doors. It is also, a great loss to our hobby when three vendors disappear in roughly the same time period. Yes, there are lesser known vendors scattered around the U.S., but soon the "big five", will be down to the "big two" vendors of Model T parts, and because all of the vendors leaving the hobby make parts that are sold by the other vendors, who knows whether the parts they make will continue to be available.
Bob write some more. I want read whatever you have to say.
Bob, I was lucky enough to have had a father who cared about all that you written about. I saw the ball of twine and weird roadside exhibits. I drove across the country with my father in the never ending quest for cars hidden in barns. I have eaten beef jerky sold on the side of the road from the back of a farmers truck, and guzzled fresh squeezed apple juice to wash it down. I miss those days, and I miss my father more.
I am 47 and still considered to be one of the youngest in our hobby here in South Australia. I always dreamed of owning a model 'T' of my own. Through our great hobby I have met some great people. Sadly I am attending their funerals one by one. We do not have enough young blood coming in to fill the ranks.
Sadly I can only agree with its gradual demise. Here we have a state government that seems to be hell bent on stopping anything to do with traffic and flow. Many streets now have been lowered to 40 km/hr (25mph) for "safety", huge fines of $400 plus for travelling just 5% above the speed limit, increased weekend traffic is getting worse year by year. The cost of fuel here is over $1.50/litre or $6/US gallon. Add to the fact my children are not really interested in being seen in an "uncool car", it is just my wife and I on most runs.
The other problem we have is the cost of living is sky rocketing exponentially year by year. Money is simply not available for hobbies. My family's electricity bill is over $3000 per year, water $1200 year, council rates $1300 per year, my Toyota Prado is about $700 per year to register: the list is endless. Money is not as free now to tour and stay overnight anywhere.
We have given serious thought to leaving Australia and emigrating to another country such as Canada. Australia is finished in my opinion with no future at all. Manufacturing is dead, we only import from China and provide services. Not a good recipe for the future.
Having said all of this, Michele & I still put petrol in the tank of our old Lizzie and we picnic wherever and whenever we can. We will stop driving a Model 'T' when we are too dam old and not before!!!!!
Stop it guys, you're killing me!
AS past National president of the Horseless Carriage Club of America for the last 20 years our membership has been dwindling due to age, cost of restoration, and difficulties getting to and from tours. We have studied and studied our membership to determine how we can increase the interest in brass era cars.
I suggest the main reason is cost pure and simple. For example if you have a model t or similar based antique automobile, with the roads and traffic today its nearly impossible to drive to a tour. This necessitates a towing vehicle and a trailer, which adds to the cost of the hobby.
Let alone the cost of acquisition and restoration, and the issue of many younger people today just do not have the knowledge or ability to do their own restorations. This often places the hobby outside the financial reach of the younger generation. For your consideration I purchased 1 gallon of Ferrari red paint for a restoration by the time I bought the paint, hardner and thinners not counting the paper, tape and sanding supplies the cost was just at $700.00.
You can place the blame on a number of different things but the base line is we are not teaching young people how to use their hand in schools. Today is all about computers and team building efforts, not fixing anything. We have become a throw away society.
The schools have eliminated sewing classes, home economics, metal shop, wood shop, and all hands on skills classes. Where is a young person to learn how to work on or fix the most basic of vehicles the model t Ford. If they can't do the work themselves they must hire it done adding a huge cost to restoration.
AS I have grown up in this hobby from the age of 12 and was lucky enough to be mentored by my father and other older car guys, my perspective is quite different from the impatient now generation. I go to a swap meet and see some parts and think about the restoration project, the younger generation see rusty junk. I have seen very interesting car projects go by the wayside because of lack of interest or knowledge of the younger generation.
Go to Hershey, Chickasha, Bakersfield and what you see is less and less good stuff and more rusty parts, the older guys just don't come or bring the good stuff anymore. I have been attending Hershey off and on since the late 60's and its all changed for the worse. I believe some is due to Ebay. Put a part on Ebay and get world wide exposure from your computer. No packing hauling displaying and reloading back on the trailer if it don't sell. Now consider the gas, motels, food and other expenses just to get to and from a swap meet.
In conclusion today an old car is a '57 Chev to the now generation. They can't get their hands around a model t or a. They remember Gramp's antique car the '57 Chev or the mid 60's Falcon. I believe complete running cars will still be saleable but projects and parts will continue to diminish in value. I have incredible brass lamps and horns collected over the last 50 years and their value has dropped each year to the point now they are just shelf items with little or no value. They are to good to throw out but not valuable enough to sell.
Sadly I'm not sure there is a fix for our hobby, think of the widow selling our cars after we have gone to meet up with Henry Ford. Who is she going to find to buy them? Who is she going to get to show the prospective buyer how to start , and drive them? Lots of questions damn few good answers. I see more and more cars going into collections and museums never to see the light of day or the pavement again.
As a "young" Model T owner and lover myself, I must agree with Zach and Justin I do believe there are young folks like myself out there who if we had the money and space would buy every Model T we ran across, because we love the Model T for what it was and can still continues to be. My brothers and I, all under the age of 25, own 2 Model Ts collectively and run across many youth in local and National T club events our age and younger who have just as much passion and love for the hobby as we do. So even though we may be hard to find at times I think the youth is out there and I believe the hobby is in good hands and the Model T will live on long into the future. My advise is if you see a young person at a tour or club event don't be afraid to come over and say hi, you may make a lifelong friend like I have in the hobby over the years, many of which now I consider family. Thank you for you time and see you down the road!
I think we need to lighten up and not be so down on the future of T's and A's. When I think back to when I was in high school, I was the only one that ended up with an interest in cars that followed through to this day. Because you don't see a lot of kids interested in cars now, there wasn't that many back in the sixties either, at least not a lasting interest. I'm ninety nine percent sure one of my grandsons will have an interest, as he is so into my cars, especially my Model T's. The other grandson is not a year yet, but you can bet he will be along side the other one. Below is something I wrote in another post earlier this week. As I mentioned in my post below, with all the Model T rides that are being given in Greenfield Village, there has to be a lot of kids and adults that will want to have one of these cars for their own, and I'm sure a lot will in the future. As far as suppliers go, look at the mammoth expansion at Lang's. He wouldn't be doing that if he didn't think there was a future in it.
I wouldn't worry to much about the future of Model T's. I was 33 when I bought my first one. At the time I was the only young guy around that had one. At the time everyone was saying, Model T's are all done because all the old guys that liked them were dying off. That was back in the seventies. I go on National meets now, I'm no longer the young guy. There are a lot of younger people there with T's. Another thing is, all the rides that are given at Greenfield Village in Model T's has to spark an interest to many people. You read this forum and there are newbies on it all the time. Look at all the new parts that are constantly being made for them. I think there will still be an interest long after most of us are gone.
The V-8 future is not so bright. With so many TV shows promoting hot rods, people are destroying V8's and history. The EFV-8 Club of America has really lacked promoting V-8's for years. There is hardly any young people at V-8 meets, at least any I have gone to. One of the things I enjoyed about our picnic this past weekend besides the camaraderie was there wasn't a mag wheel in sight.
I agree with Dan, i think the actual experience of driving in a T works miracles. In today's fast pace lifestyle, and when you tell someone that a T only has 20 horsepower and is happiest when just rolling along at a brisk 35 mph, they look at you like you have two heads. Then you take them for a ride, and they turn into the little kid all of us act like when we drive our T's..(yes the sickness has been transmitted). Last week while i was out driving i had a truck follow me for like 3 miles, every turn i took, he took, until finally i turned into a gas station to see why this guy was following me. He jumped out of his truck and immediately started apologizing to me for following me, but he loved the car and just wanted to ask me some questions about it. The guy turned out to be a huge car enthusiast but had never owned anything as old as a T but had always wanted one. We talked for at least a half hour as he looked over the car and when i offered to take him for a ride, his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. After the ride he was positively hooked and asked me if i would be willing to go with him if he found one that he liked, the answer of course was, absolutely. Keep the faith!
Several years ago, I took a friend for his first Model T ride. After about 30 minutes of watching me work the pedals and levers, all the while waving to passers-by, he said, "You know, I think driving a Model T is a little like wearing a bow tie. It takes a certain kind of person to pull it off."
Im 27, and i cant wait for it to stop raining this weekend in IL so i can get the depot hack out and drive around the neighborhood. Im lucky enough to have a local friend who is more than willing to share any and all knowledge he has about T's. I believe that is the key to the future of the hobby, find young people who are interested and help them anyway possible.
There is a Model T Ford Club of Facebook. Some of the folks who post there are old timers, but there seems to be a steady flow of new people who just got their first T or are looking for one. That's a good sign.
Steve, are all of your T's still down? What are you working on?
Now in my late '50,s I will put forward an "opinion" from down under.
Run of the mill mass produced vintage cars, eg, made in the '20 were worth far more in real terms 25 years ago than they are now. (The same can be said about antique furniture.)
Australian cars of the '70,s are now becoming very collectable.
Cars that you could not give away 20 years ago are now selling for a small fortune.
I have a 30 something son and son inlaw who are both firmly into the 1970's cars. Neither really understand my love of real vintage cars. They see them as expensive shed toys with limited use. Club licence and special conditions do not interest them.
I wonder if the grandchildren will feel the same about the '70,s and be flat out collecting current model Japanese and Korean cars that we find so bland and boring?
John, funny you should ask. http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/411944/468978.html?1407558477
Steve, i really admire your work ethic, as a self employed carpenter, i can relate.
It comes from being too poor and/or cheap to hire everything done.
I went from overpowered muscle cars with some significant dollars spent on engines to basically waking up one day and saying I had enough. I was lucky to sell my car and get 1/3 of what i had in it over time. But it's not about the money---right?
Then i decided to do a 180 and get something old---really old. Being a die hard Mopar guy for years, I started to look into a Dodge Brothers car. Problem was, no support, no parts. Somehow stumbled to this site and Model T's, and found a wonderful group with great support.
I still do alot of work for others on muscle cars and the such of the 60's and 70's, but if you want to see me light up, start talking about Model T's. I pushed out of my comfort zone and I am glad I did. I am 41 now and still spread the word when i see someone has even just a little intrest.
Someone mentioned giving a short ride, that may be all one needs to get into these cars. Yes, they are quirky, yes they can be slow, and yes they don't stop on a dime. Using a little caution and common sense out there should keep you safe, and if you can get someone to follow, they too might get someone to follow them. It is hard to do in this fast paced world, but it can be done if the exposure is put out there. Something I am going to try and do when I finally get my car going---hopefully by winters end.
Oh, and as far as costs, I still have less into my T now (10 years of ownership) than I had into 3 years of my hot rodded Dodge Dart. It takes 5k now to build a basic street 60's v-8 engine, I could buy a bunch of T's and T parts for that.
While I'm pessimistic about the future of the antique car hobby, that doesn't stop me from painting on a happy face and taking the car to shows and cruise-ins and trying to get spectators involved.
In my neck of the woods, most collector-car gatherings consist of Fabulous Fifties Fins, Sixties Sleds and Seventies Muscle Cars. I can pretty much expect to be the guy with the oldest car there and I take advantage of the fact that it sticks out among the others like a sore thumb.
And the other guys make it too easy for me. They sit in their lawn chairs and chat with each other or stand guard with cold eyes, lest some spectator come too close. That's the wrong attitude.
We gotta reach out and grab spectators. We gotta get them interested. Be friendly; have a schtick prepared so you can give a little talk about what it was like back in the day. Maybe show up in period costume. Hey, Model T Fords have an adorable magic to them and we need to take advantage of that. A little PR work at car-shows can only help.
Good on you, Bob. Most T guys are too cheap to do car shows. Besides, they're too busy with projects. When the public sees the ol' brass picup, it's being used for transportation or hauling.
Everywhere I drive is a parade;
Everywhere I park is a car show.
I came up with those lines on this Forum back in about 1998.
I'm only concerned with my own hobby and others which share in it. Whether or not the hobby endures? The T's have endured for 100 years. Interestingly, although you don't see horses and buggys going down the street every day, there are still some who maintain them as a hobby.
It depends on what the interests of the people involved. The manufacturers and dealers of ready made parts are only going to remain in the business as long as they can make money, or at least break even if they have another source of income. We might have to become like the hobbiests interested in other non-Ford cars. Many have to manufacture their own parts. This will be more expensive, but it can be done if the will to do it exists.
Anyway at my age, I am sure the hobby will last for my lifetime. My plan is to get my 3 cars in as good condition as I can, so that they will continue on after me. I have 5 children, and they don't seem to be interested, so maybe the hobby will die out? Maybe not. There are still some younger people interested.
Norman, I have two sons and no hope of seeing any grandchildren. It could happen but the problem is the Model T Ford. I started teaching them to drive when they were about 6 or 7 in my TT truck. By the time they were in their early 20's, they went Model T crazy. They are now in the low 30's and the T collection keeps growing.
Sometime I think I am to blame as I took them to a lot of tours and club events.
THERE IS A HAPPY MEDIUM SOMEWHERE?????????
That is why, I think, my children haven't taken interest in Model T's. My youngest was 19 when I got the first one. If they had been younger and rode in them and helped me with them and learned to drive in them, I think they would have been more interested. Now all my grandchildren and great grandchildren live in other states or other distant parts of California. One grandson has driven one of my T's 4 of the children have driven them and the other grandchildren have ridden in them.
The only one who expressed any interest in owning one was my daughter, and now I find out it was her x husband who wanted it to make a rat rod! Anyway, he is no longer in the family.
We do have some members in the club whose children and grandchildren have already learned to drive Model T's and I think they will keep the hobby going.
My other concern, is availability of used parts. Alot of the older T people have hoarded parts for years and amassed large collections. What happens when they pass? Do those relatives know what is in those garages and basements? Or will they simply look at all the "junk" and call a scrap guy to come take it all away? Kinda scarey to think about it, but THAT is a real issue.
I am not saying we all need to be hoarders, but keeping in contact with older members consistently and possibly meeting a relative or too might not be a bad idea to save parts for the hobby whether someone buys a whole collection or splits it up to other T people.
I went to an estate auction today with lots of T stuff, expecting very little competition--according to the FORUM. There were a few non-old(I wouldn't call them young)guys buying some T and A parts, but, many of the old guys were sure not hesitant to spend big bucks! A 25 Touring project went for 7500, and a rebuilt engine went for 2600. But, a completely disassembled 1930 A Coupe pile went for 650. There were a lot of T parts there, but, they went too steep for me. The deals were in the out-buildings, where the auctioneer would sell "everything along this wall from here to the corner." The interest may seem to be waning, but people are paying top dollar for things they want!
The automobile, tractor, and truck replaced the bulk of the horses. But there are still lots of people who enjoy riding horses and they have clubs and/or private stables.
The Steam Ship replaced the sailing ships but there are lots of people who still enjoy sailing and not just at the really expensive end of sailing but the Sunfish [see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunfish_(sailboat) ] and Hobie Cat type of sailing as well.
So I think there will likely always be a place for old cars -- including our Model Ts. In fact when I visited Maryland one time and saw the extra lane for the Amish (?) buggies, I thought could something like that work for our Ts as well?
And for parts – yes, we need to make sure there is a plan for them. There was at least one 1903-1905 ish two-cylinder Ford engine that was scrapped because it was apart and the heirs thought it was an old tractor engine. If a car is together and in relatively good shape it will be sold some how. But parts can easily be tossed by mistake. I would recommend for folks to have a will and llist who gets what parts etc. Better to have them given to someone who will use them than melted down by mistake. Selling/giving them away before you die is also an option (how many projects can we finish in the time remaining?) There is often a Model T Youth Auction held by the MTFCI. Also some good labels on the parts/boxes and an e-bay account could help to keep them out of the scrap pile.
Hap l9l5 cut off
This issue comes up every year now. I am one of the young ones (35). Here is my take:
Minnesota has a very strong T presents. The club closest to me meets every Wednesday about 5 miles from my home. The only problem is that its in the morning. I don't have a problem with this. I have made it to a few of their meetings along with their swaps when I can. I work in the construction industry and put in 60 hrs. a week my wife is a solid 50 hrs. we also have 2 young daughters under 6. This is the world we live in now. If I need to be sick I have to schedule it in advance...
While I agree that the schools are not teaching the basic fundamentals any more. My Father and more over my Grandfather made it a point to teach me how to weld and paint and to use my head when it came to troubleshooting something. They are the reason for my passion. Don't blame it all on the schools. They have a very limited pool to work with.
I agree with Steve when he talks about the local clubs and their Web presents, but I do not know how to solve the issue. The young people that are web savvy have no time and the older folks with the T knowledge are still working on dial up... (no offence)
I can tell you that I am on this site more than any other, just ask my wife, I'm trying to soak up as much knowledge as I can get.
T parts will be there if we have participation in this hobby. Supply and demand. We just need to work on the demand.
I see the price of all vintage cars dropping sharply as the market is flooded with our cars as either we go to the great garage in the sky or loose
the right to drive and the younger generation lacks the skills to keep our cars on the road. I suspect T and A's are somewhat insulated from this situation as the parts supply is incredible compared with any other vintage vehicle.
There are some old ppl i've seen is that they hoard, i mean hoard, lots of old cars thinking they are saving them but i know if they die they will flood a slow moving market.
David Chantrell's comments are very true, myself being a similarly aged Australian. And, as I'm likely to be out of work in the near future, I'm already questioning the ownership of the two cars I have, the T and the modern. My dream of also owning a Model A has already been terminated.
With the exponentially rising cost of living in this country and the determination of state and federal governments to screw everyone for every cent they can get, the prioritising of hobby expenses has to be looked at.
As for the hobby of owning vintage cars, the reality is it's an 'old man's hobby'. Of course there are a few younger people into it, but they are not replacing the older members at anything like the same rate. This is no surprise because kids are no longer interested in mechanical things. Unless it has icons on a screen, they're just not interested. I see this all too often, working in the education system teaching trade courses. They go there now for the piece of paper at the end and the thought of how much money they'll make...not because of any personal interest.
One other thing that I think about is that one day the government with it's ever restrictive laws, is going to ban vintage cars. I think about this so many times I'm out enjoying driving the T that one day it may be no longer.
As for repro parts, we are very fortunate with T's and A's, but there'll be less and less suppliers in years to come.