Just talking on another thread made me think about a speedster an owner wants to "restore". Since T speedsters were not factory made, can they be "restored"?
Yes, but not to factory specs, except for some bodies like the "Mercury" for example.
Anything that is used can be restored back to new. Just how much do you want to restore and how far back in time do you want to go.
p.s. Where do you put your luggage on that neat Speedster of yours?
The word "restore" has been discussed several times before on this forum. There has not yet been a conclusion to those discussions that has been accepted by everybody. I once quoted out of my rather large 1960s dictionary. Others disagreed with that definition. The fact is, the word "restore" by itself does not in any way mean "restored to factory specifications". If that is what someone wants it to mean, they need to be clear about that themselves.
An item or object or even faith can be restored back to any point it had in its past, whether completely or only partially.
Yes, speedsters can be restored. IF they were speedsters before. I have "restored" six speedsters so far. Personally, in general use, I rarely use the word "restored" about my speedsters except in discussions like this one. Mostly, it is an inside joke. I often refer to my cars as "resurrected" because I raised them from beyond dead. Most of the speedsters I have resurrected came to me as remaining bits of one or more speedsters. Every one of those six had parts from some speedster or several speedsters from way back when. None of them were complete enough for me to believe the car I ended up with was exactly like any one car was originally. Yet all of them do truly represent the heart of an era-correct speedster. All of them do have the remains of at least one original era speedster, which by definition, has been "restored" back into a running, enjoyable car.
If you have a speedster, that retains a significant amount of what was an original era speedster? So much the better! Provenance, even better yet, is a good thing. Most model Ts do not have it. Speedsters or otherwise.
Speedsters are an area all their own in the world of antique automobiles. They are as much a part of automotive history as any Packard or Pierce Arrow. They are also one of the longest running automotive hobbies, running almost as long as automobiles themselves. Model T speedsters specifically, have been built in every calender year from 1908 until the present and probably beyond. The first ones were built by Ford to test drive the prototype chassis. 1909 had two custom built cars come right off the assembly line for the New York to Seattle race. By 1910, dealers were building their own speedsters to demonstrate the superiority of the new Ford in local events. By 1911, everyone else was getting into the act, and it hasn't ended yet.
Today, you can restore an original, recreate one to exacting detail, resurrect some parts, or just do your own thing and build whatever you want your own way.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
My opinion, if you build a speedster from parts or restore one that was built back in the day, is that the parts should be period correct to some specific era.
So often I see a speedster with Model T engine and frame, downdraft 1953 Ford carburetor, 1967 Volksbuggen distributor, 1980 Datsun alternator, and billet rear view mirrors from the 1980's. This drives me crazy.
It's your car, but think about what you are trying to achieve before buying parts. Is it a depiction of something that existed then, or is it a conglomeration of the easiest and cheapest stuff you can find?
Personally, I very much agree with Royce. While I accept that people are still creating "their" speedster, and using parts and technology, color themes and other things that truly are modern, I much prefer speedsters that are "restored" (there is that word again) back to a specific era. That era can be what the chassis is, like my "mostly '13", which is as similar cars were built around 1911 to '14. It is a horseless carriage by club definition. My 1919 boat-tail has a few wrong parts on it. I am little by little correcting most of those. I am trying to keep most of the accessories to things available before 1924 to keep it in the early '20s era.
The era a model T race car could be restored to can also be in the '30s or '40s. Many such cars were built and raced in those years and they should be preserved also.
A person contemplating building, recreating, or otherwise restoring a speedster of any sort, should first ask themselves what era they want the car to represent? They should figure out what kind of a car they want? And what do they want from the car? Too many people spend a small fortune building their own dream vision. Then find out it is not welcome in some clubs, tours, and shows, because it is not an era anything, and the organizers of these events have preset rules and standards of acceptance because they want to run alongside other vehicles that fit their interests and/or visions.
Just the way the world is.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I was waiting on someone to say you could restore a speedster, but you would have a bone stock Model T when you were done.
Here's a 2012 thread about a speedster "restoration":
Here's a 2014 thread with a similar theme:
I almost made that comment. Because I appreciate speedsters and their place in automotive history, I found it sad, when I was first getting into this hobby, to hear about "bone stock" model T touring cars and runabouts that had been "restored" from really nice original speedsters. I did end up buying some of those speedster remains for my cars. I found at that time, there were many, many, nice original speedster parts stashed behind garages and storage sheds. Talking to the then old-timers in the hobby, I would find out those parts were the leftovers from the parts cars and cars they had "restored". Good parts were kept in the garage. Those "butchered" parts were the fortunate ones not scrapped, but tossed behind the garage to rust away. I still, to the last past several swap meets I have gone to, still, find quite a few bits of original speedsters at swap meets. I suspect most of those parts are the leftovers from speedsters being parted out in the '50s and '60s
In the '50s and '60s, only a few people seriously restored or toured a model T speedster. Most people in the hobby considered speedsters to be "undesirable" and parted them out. Bruce McCalley was an early champion for speedsters. He put articles about their history and restorations in the 'Vintage Ford' in the late '60s and throughout the '70s. Ed Archer was well known in the hobby, and did one of the first really high quality restorations of a model T race car in 1967, a car he still owns and drives a lot! About 1960, Vic Sala truly restored an original speedster with known history back to Oakland CA from about 1921. I believe that Ed archer has that car now.
I always found it sad that the hobbyists themselves destroyed so many original cars in the name of "restoration". At that time, there was no shortage of good cars that really needed restoration. I have commented other times about my same feelings about fully restoring the best original car you could get. That is why there are so few truly original cars left. My feeling always was that the really nice original cars should have been preserved. Rusty and non-drivable cars should have been restored.
But that is, and was, me. I always was an opinionated $@&.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Here is a nice candidate for restoring:
Seems like the price has got way out of hand while travelling from New Jersey to Denmark - I find it hard to believe he will get $18,250 for that seemingly without any rare speed parts in the running gear..?