I'm at the horns of a dilemma! I have a chance to buy my first T, a 1922 Touring with Ruckstell. The body, doors, upholstery etc. looks to be in great shape and I'm going back to have the owner and myself try to get it started, (he's never cranked it and the battery is too low to turn it over) I can probably get it for $8,000 but I hesitate. Am I being stupid and that's a great price for the car and I don't know it? Even if the engine should need rebuilding? I don't want someone else to grab it from under me but I don't want my emotions to get the better of me either. Though my heart is firmly planted in the Brass Era, this seems to be a great entre into T ownership... I place I really want to be! Any advice?
Please post some pictures (resized to a file size under 194K) if possible. If the car is in good running shape, it sounds like a good deal to me.
For reference, I bought the car shown in my profile picture for $8000.00 last year and have put over 1000 miles on it with no problems at all. It has a standard Ford rear axle (no Ruckstell).
The previous owner paid a restoration shop over $11K to restore the running gear and bodywork, then pulled the plug in 2008 before the shop got to the upholstery and top. He wrapped an old blanket around the seat springs and drove it to a couple of shows like that, then parked it until 2014 when he decided to sell it to finance his daughter's college tuition.
I put another $1000.00 into finishing the upholstery and top myself using kits from Classtique.
You really want to hear it run and it would be most beneficial to either drive it (if you know how) or get to go for a ride in it. Obviously, you should not hear any really loud knocking nor peculiar noises from any of the main chassis components, wheels & steering tight, etc. If you could find a knowledgeable T owner nearby to possibly look at it with you, that would be even better.
The price is not unreasonable for a sound, drivable black Model T.
Not a bad price for a RUNNING T in decent shape. I wouldn't pay that for one NOT running.
Whoa, nice looking car! If it runs well, go for it!
One question to ask the current owner: Has the rear axle been rebuilt to replace the original babbit thrust washers with bronze? See the link below for why this is important. If not, plan on pulling the rear axle apart sooner rather than later to install the bronze washers.
Thanks Mark. I will most certainly ask.
If the wheels are solid and the tires are good I don't think you can go very wrong with that car. If the pictures are accurate the interior, top and sheet metal look to be very good. Check to be sure the wood is solid and if it is I would go for it if you are planning to keep the car and enjoy it. However, If you are looking to get a deal and flip it for a profit I would not buy it at that price unless it was running well
From what I see on those pictures I would grab that car. The mechanic's can be fixed as long as the engine is loose. That thing looks good on the pictures.
Just my thoughts
One more pic to replace that small one... I hope...
It looks good, Jerry. If it runs well, go for it. You can always get a brass one later.
The top material has shrunk to where it doesn't fit anymore. You can plan on purchasing a top kit.
Let us know when you get it and post more pictures!
To my eye, the top and bows look a little out of kilter, but during the driving season the top will be down most of the time anyway. Here is a side view drawing from elsewhere on the forum showing how the top and bows should look:
My guess is that it runs just fine, but you might be able to buy it for less if you don't start it. You might release the emergency brake and jack up one rear wheel and block the front. Push the spark lever all the way up then down about 4 notches, put the throttle about 1/4 the way down, then choke it and see if you can crank it. If you hear the coils buzz, there's hope it will start. You could also jump it although it might give the owner the hebe jebes when you apply 12 volts. Be sure you have fresh gas and turn the gas on. You could also peak in the gas tank, smell it and see its has old gas and is gummed up. If it is it can be cleaned but this would give you another negotiating point.
In short, its a nice looking car and I would not be afraid to buy it if if won't start.
Thanks all. Going out right now to to try and start it up. Fingers crossed. I remember somebody posted a couple of weeks ago that all the good cars they were seeing were hundreds if not thousands of miles away. This car is literally 3/4 of a mile from me. Even if it doesn't run I could push it home... albeit in the middle of the night down the side streets and alleys.
There are a few things in the pictures that you might want to change down the road, but if it runs, that's a great price for a California car.
People east of California don't realize that cars out here are more expensive. Even if you put a couple of thousand additional into the engine, axle, etc, that's a good price.
Except for the top, nice looking car! Does the engine and running gear match the restoration of the rest of the car? Does he have the proper paper work for your state? If they don't I would make the sale contingent on them getting it.
The current owner has only had it for, say, the last 5-7 years (with not much usage-- he estimates about 20 hours or so) but is friends with the previous owner who owned it much longer, is a professional mechanic and is the one who did the restoration. I will have a chat with him very soon. Could not get the car started as when we were experimenting with the choke he determined that we'd check out the carburetor and in doing we did not like the look of the bends in the gas line. He's going to his dealer to get a replacement... so hopefully sometime next week or weekend. Thanks for all the input and advice.
Your profile says North Hollywood.
There are many members in the L.A. area. Find someone in a nearby club to go with you and look at it together. It should start up. Either take along a battery charger or a good battery. If the battery has enough charge to buzz the coils, it should start with the crank. If it has a starter, a good battery should turn the starter. It could be low on gas and coolant. Be sure to check the coolant and oil level before starting.
I have found that most cars which I and others have bought have had some bugs. Some big and others small, but the body looks very good. A working Ruckstell itself is worth and extra $1000 so the price is very good. You can see from the pictures that you will need a new top, but it will run with the top just as it is, just doesn't look right.
If you like it, buy it. That is my input.