I have been trying to think of a neutral way of asking this question to avoid having
it taken wrong, but it seems the best way is just to make it a long, explained question ...
I have always been puzzled by the dominating interest and attraction the T community
has for brass cars, or more specifically brass T's. Personally, I never felt any attraction
to them, leaving me thinking I must be missing something ???
So, ... I'll just throw this out there for discussion: What is it about brass cars that
you find attractive ? ... or to broaden the question, since I've wondered the same thing
about Improved Cars, ... what T periods interest you most and why ?
To some of us, Brass is very beautiful either polished or even tarnished. Also for some of us, the older the better. I have early cars and later cars. Glossy paint and patina you can see through. I can't pick a favorite. They are all fun.
I like TT's to but I don't have one yet.
Its certainly not a sore subject with me no matter how you ask the question. I am attracted to some but not all brass Ts. Specifically I like 1909-11 Model models because of the lines. Aesthetically, they are pleasing to my eye. I also like the 17-22 Models for the same reason, roadsters particularly. The two best looking early Fords in my opinion are the 1905 Model F tonneau and the 1909-1910 T, touring or roadster.
I like the earlier cars of all makes and love the look of polished brass glimmering in the sun, polishing brass not so much, but it does keep you busy. I am attracted to the craftsmanship and attention to detail that the early cars epitomize and the brass work is perhaps the finest example of those characteristics. That said I love black T's for their utilitarian practicality and unsurpassed reliability. If I had the room and the money I would have at least one T of every production year!
For me it's not just a matter of liking one or the other better. It boils down to simple economics and storage but the truth is I just prefer the 1914 to 1923 T's. I have a friend that I am sure would let me drive his 12 if I really wanted to. It is a 1950's restoration of an original car with original seat covers etc.
For me it's aesthetics --- I just like the overall looks of certain years. I like front doors of 1912 and 1913, whereas other brass guys insist that no front doors is a real brass car.
But it's also the history behind the cars. What the world was like at the time, which for me is pre-WWI. Also, for Fords, assembly line versus the older way of assembly which is why I prefer 1913 to 1914. And also the overall quality of the car, such as spark and throttle lever end knobs and full leather seats. Henry hadn't squeezed the last penny out of the car yet.
But also the individuality of the various cars. I have a 1914 Franklin and that certainly is unique among cars at the time. Everyone had their own idea and there was not real standard "must do" way of designing a car. Everyone was looking to see who's idea was the best on everything from starting, lighting, cooling, clutches, transmissions. Even gear shift patterns were different depending on the car.
But that said, I like black Model T's up to 1920, and other cars through about 1927 or so. My first T was a 1926 Coupe which I loved. Cars of the 1930's are entirely different and I don't care for the experience. And post-War cars, in my biased opinion, can be found in the parking lot at WalMart. (Apologies to those owners).
It was instilled into me when I was growing up that the older the car, the more desirable. This probably came about due to my father having a 1901 curved dash Olds as a long term project.
However, I don't know what it is that makes Brass cars and especially Brass T's so attractive to me....its just the way it is.
Presently I don't own one, but in desperation, knowing that the years are running out, I'm building one from bits and pieces.
You raise good points. I recognize in my own preferences that when cars are too early,
they are "horseless carriages" and look as if the horses were simply unhitched, ... a look
I don't care for and a tipping point comes right about 1916 for me on T's, however more
upscale cars of the time preceded Ford in getting away from the horseless carriage look.
But that's just me, and it's not that I don't find earlier cars fascinating ... I love to study
the mechanics and engineering, but they don't really turn my crank for aesthetics. A big
thing for me is forward mounted headlights and generally, the larger the better. High mounted
ones like early Dodges look too froggy. Same goes for Improved Cars and Model A's.
Just not a look I care for.
I presume that my tastes and interest will shift as I get deeper into these early cars. I
wonder how much brass polishing was done by early owners ? Or is this polishing thing
a restored car hobby thing that isn't really how it was done way back when. I find it hard
to believe that the very practically minded person of my grandparent's generation found
much amusement in polishing lots of brass all the time.
To me it was love at first sight. I was 12 and a kid from my old neighborhood drove out to our house with his "new" '15. He had just gotten his drivers permit so he and his dad decided to take it for a spin.
Now, I had never seen a Model T Ford before in my life, but listening to my dad and the kid's dad discussing the virtues and flaws of the Model T was the most exciting car conversation I had ever heard.
From that day forth it was a quest for me. I read every book I could find in the library about model T's, and all I wanted for Christmas and birthdays were more books about Model T Fords. Finally My wonderful dad decided my sickness was not a passing fancy, so he and I spent every free day he could muster looking for a car... We finally found one but it wasn't a car it was a 25 TT in a junk yard.
My dad and I spent every free minute bringing that truck back to life. That truck was my constant companion through grade school, jr. high, high school, college and marriage but was finally betrayed when we had our first child.
Fast forward to my retirement in 2000 and two kid's later... one day my young son discovered my cache of Ford T books and the cycle started all over again.. thanks to this very forum finding our brass car, a 16 T, soon became a reality and the rest is history.
So you see Burger, some reasons are as irrational as a single place and time in a young fools life!
I have always like brass era cars, from when I was in grade school. None were in my family, so I don't have a clue why--just like my interest in ANYTHING steam powered. My brothers were taking apart the Model A that I used to slide down the front fenders as a four-year-old. It belonged to Ma Green, who ran the cafe on the resort & they were fixing it up for her (stopped being driven when Mr. Green died in 1954). She passed away, and gave it to them just before she passed. The got out of high school, and it sat in pieces in a garage. Come 8th grade and I started to re-assemble it--drove it to my High School graduation. Always wanted a brass car, but not a T, a Stanley, or Stuz, or Mercer (Champagne tastes, soda pop budget). Did restore a lot of As (not mine, other folks mostly), very active in A clubs too, and then one day Tom Sharpsteen and some friends decided to build a T railcar for the Portola RR Museum. After getting the car running, and before modifying it, Tom invited me over to learn how to drive it. I was hooked (I think that was his plan)! Told a friend that if I could find a brass T reasonable, I'd restore one--ooops, he had an old friend's widow who had one in a barn on an old Dairy in Sacramento & that's when I got my first T. Still working on it, but now have a 26 tudor, a barn-fresh 25 roadster, and enough parts for a TT C cab and a speedster I hope to build (boat style I'm thinking). So now I like them all---and, Burger, even a '15 Dodge Brothers with "frog eye" headlamps. Tastes change. But back to my first idea of a Brass car, would I take one if it chanced by? WOW, yes, if I could swing it, but I know now I never will in this life (and I say that knowing I have a 1915 20hp Stanley engine in my garage now).
Irrational?? You Bet!!
The barn itself
The treasures inside (the car was in MANY pieces)
Great-Grandpa bought it new.
I prefer Brass simply because they are older. For me older the better. There is noting greater than pulling up somewhere and telling the interested bystander that its 102 years old. The T is unique in that my 1913 T mechanically, performance and reliability wise is not a lot different to a 1927 T. Hence as well as being old they are very usable. Compare that to my 1910 Hupmobile which as of yesterday has the engine out for the third time in 12 months!
For me there are so many reasons I like my 1910 Touring. In no particular order:
-I can participate on HCCA and Brass & Gas Tours with it.
-It's green-original color. Not the stereotypical black.
-There's lots of brass. Ok, I don't necessarily like polishing it.
-No front doors.
-It's lighter, and (my opinion) more agile than later T's. Seems faster, too. Maybe it's the lack of front doors.
-Wooden body. Lots of people see that as a negative, but it is typical of most cars built in 1910.
-Lower production. A friend once pointed out that Ford built about as many cars in all of 1910 as they did in about 3 days in the 1920's.
-Our family tour car growing up was a 1910 Touring. My father still owns that one.
I guess that's the great thing about Model T's-everyone can pick their own favorite and they are right.
Kids like them too.
Look in this thread:
I love the driving position in my 09, far more comfortable than later cars, and it is so light that it is a really lively drive. And I love the look. And it's simple, no fighting a starter if you want to remove the light aluminium hogshead, none of that pesky elektrickery, apart from the ignition.
Jem-I agree completely. With the shorter steering column, smaller steering wheel, and no doors in a 1909-10, I feel claustrophobic in anything newer. I also forgot my strong dislike of electricity-I am not convinced it will ever really catch on.
Real men buy and use stem-winder only ignitions...
Real men keep their car tuned and adjusted so that it starts on MAG with 1/4 pull...
Real men only consider the BATT side of the switch as that redundant back-up to get you home if something happens while out on the ride and MAG start just wheezes...
Real men don't mind polishing brass and do so with a secret family formula they refuse to disclose...
Real men can change a clincher is sub-8 minutes and are happy to demonstrate...
Real men usually know how to set a carb so that a compression start actually runs at proper idle with no further adjustment...
I started with a 25 Fordor and over several years proved to the Icons Deciding Improper Ownership Through Stewardship (IdiotS) of brass era machines that one of those ubiquitous black hunky things could work just as a Real Man wanted a car to work...but they poo-poo'd because there was and would always be the bolt up spare, a starter, a generator, etc.
After 15 years I then bought the '15 and proved to those Icons Deciding Improper Ownership Through Stewardship that I too could be a real man too....
Once there were unanimous nods of approval they asked was I ready to try an 09-12...the rogue that I am replied...NAHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
After 15 years of that I then went and bought a bitsey to add to the stable...one that has the best (and simplest) of everything ever produced by Ford on it, plus turn signals, plus era stop lights, plus a heater, plus an A/C magneto meter, plus an air bag!...and I drive the cr@p out of it and don't give a cr@p what anyone says or thinks about it...Any of the cars usually are all ready to go on a moments notice...but the bitsey seems to be in the preferred spot for selection...
But I'm not too obnoxious about things...someone wants me to bring one of the others out for a day, I'll humbly comply
>> I love the driving position in my 09, far more comfortable than later cars
Indeed. I learned this from experience but if you think about it, early T drivers sat atop cylindrical gas tanks. Then in 1921 (?) they lowered the bodies a little and changed the gas tank to oval. Then in 1926 they moved the tank to the cowl and lowered the bodies even more. All the time keeping the 100 inch wheelbase. Now, did they make the bodies longer? I don't think so. So the driver sat lower and lower without sitting farther back. That's why brass-era cars are so much more comfortable for tall guys than 1920's cars.
My 1913 Roadster was very comfortable, but I can't fit into a 1926 Roadster !
I always heard it said "Never buy a Model T with more brass than your wife can polish"
I bought a 1925.
I love my 1911 touring because of all the things that are "different" about it compared to the late "black era" and the "Improved Models."
I love the riding height and the windshield that is far forward.
I love the horsehair stuffed, diamond tufted leather upholstery and the acetylene powered headlamps.
I love the deep dark blue, especially when people ask me if it is black or blue.
I love not having to fiddle with a "generator third brush" (whatever the hell that is...) or a starter motor. My "Armstrong" starter has not failed me yet.
I love my 1915 runabout because it still has the vertical body lines and the high seat.
I love my 1915 because it has "just enough" brass that can be polished while waiting in the parade line up.
I love my 1915 because there still is no starter or generator to fiddle with. I agree with Chris, those newfangled starter motors and generators just make things complicated.
However, I also love my 1919 touring for all the same reasons as my 1915 with the exception of having to polish the brass. I brought my 1919 home as a basketcase 38 years ago. It is my old standby that I will take anywhere.
George, I concur wholeheartedly. I've never had an attraction to a car with an ignition switch on the dashboard.
Although the late black era (high radiator, slanted windshield and lower seats) and the Improved Models (1926 & 1927)are still wonderful Model Ts, I prefer the straight body lines of the earlier cars. And none of them have the quirky charms and unique differences as the early brass era cars.
: ^ )
Over the past 35 years I have had a '10, two '11's, a '13, and three 14's. I guess I like the 1914's best of all but deep down I think the black cars from 1917-1922 are some of the most understated and beautiful T's made.