This probably an old topic but since I am new to the Model T hobby, please help me out. I am the new owner of a 1915 Model T roadster pickup that I am told once belonged to Gene Autry, when he was a member of the Long Beach Model T Ford Club. There is a dash tag on the vehicle from 1988 when the club held its annual turkey shoot. Supposedly, Gene Autry sold the truck to Richard Farnsworth in 1992 (California title in Farnsworth's name was issued February 6, 1997. I acquired the vehicle from a gentleman who bought it from the late Farnsworth's son in 2009. I will appreciate any help on this project.
Welcome to the hobby.
Finding old info on your T will be an adventure, the only way is to contact the CA DMV and request a search for owners on your T, expect to pay for the effort. And expect it to take some considerable effort on your part.
Some reading here on general ways to trace old cars:
Another way is to contact the Long Beach Model T Club and find the historian of that group, they may have old newsletters or info that supports the rumor that the old cowboy singer once owned your T.
I have never heard anyone in the Long Beach Model T Club ever talk about Gene Autry being a member.
The club's historian and current President is Jeff Hood, a frequent poster here on the forum. He may have access to the documents.
I know the So. Cal. club had some celebrities as members in the early sixties.
Pics of 15 here.
California is one of the many states that purge their records after a few years. You won't find anything there. The club might be a better bet. It's a long shot, but I'd also contact the Autry museum in Griffith Park and see if they have anything on it.
Look up Gene Autry on the internet to see if there are any photographs of him in the car. That would at least provide you with some evidence that he owned a Model T. Stars were always being photographed so maybe you'll get lucky.
Calif BURNS their old DMV records. Mind you not on purpose but there have been at least 3 fires in the DMV records department in the last 60 years.
Don, I looked through several club rosters from the 70's and 80's and did not find Gene Autry or Richard Farnsworth listed, and I have never heard any of the old timers talk about Gene Autry either.
The report in the Magneto News on the '88 Turkey Hunt says that 105 people participated in "lots of T's" one A, a 1912 Jackson, a '27 Bugatti, and a red chevy speedster. Of course, all of the participants names are not listed and the few pictures are not very good.
We just celebrated our 60th anniversary on Sunday, and I have a few of our scrapbooks at home, but I took ones covering about every 10 years, '54, '64, '74, '84, etc. I don't have the one for '88 here. When I take these back to our storage, I'll look for some more and better pictures of the Turkey Hunt and see if I can pick out your pickup. I'll also ask Humble Howard about Gene Autry. If anyone would know it would be him.
Perhaps these folks may have some documentation that may help you:
or this organization (if still alive)
If no luck there, and you're still curious, perhaps Phil Reed http://www.whittierdailynews.com/general-news/20080531/couple-travel-3000-miles- in-a-1926-flivver may have some information for you. (Read thru the story - a longshot, yes, but there may be a gem or two for you from him)
Good Luck !
It looks like a nice Model T Don.
One bit of advice, if you do indeed document that it once belonged to Gene Autry - and it happens to be the movie star and not just some guy named Gene Autry - there would not be any impact on the value of the car. It makes an interesting story. Richard Farnsworth is an interesting actor in his own right, but again, the story adds interest but not dollar value.
As I always say - Buy the car, not the story.
There are some celebrities whose prior ownership would raise the value sky high of any item if (but only if) it can be documented. I'm talking about iconic world celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, John Lennon etc. Gene Autry not som much, but it may turn into an interesting story if you find something.
Whenever you are trying to do detective work, the best thing to do is try to get directly to the source.
If Gene Autry was supposedly the owner, then you should contact any estate, trust or organization, etc. that was set up upon his death and inquire if there are any sort of personal or business archives and what organization houses that information. Gene Autry was a successful businessman - people like that usually kept good records.
When doing detective work, my experience is that you have to do the legwork yourself.
Spending a morning making phone calls will probably get you on the right track.
Sometimes the stories you get when considering the purchase of an automobile are not entirely accurate. Richard Farnsworth (one of my favorite actors) had two daughters and no son. Perhaps he meant son-in-law?
Scrambled history passed by word of mouth is not restricted to cars. When I worked part time at the local museum a man came in asking for more information on the house where he lived. He had been told it was the former home of Judge Parker, the hanging judge. Well, Judge Parker lived in Fort Smith, Arkansas, not Arkansas City, Kansas. The house is the former home of a local JP known as Judge Vaughn. His daughter Fanny was the second wife of Albert Campbell, brother of my grandmother Clara Mae Campbell Parker. That was quite a stretch connecting Judge and Parker to that house.
Richard Farnsworth did, in fact, have a son. His name is Diamond Farnsworth.
He works as a stuntman in motion pictures, just as his father did in his early days of acting.
Sorry. I meant to say Terry. My apologies to Erik.
Could this be your T with a movie prop camper on it?