Ok, so my next-door neighbor has a 1918-1922 (I do not know when, but I know its in between these years.) model T roadster her late husband bought.
it has the wooden "artillery" style wheels, and it is 99% complete, but I say, there must be not a single bolt attached to a nut! it is literally a "Pile of Ford"! She said she does not want to sell it, but she was thinking about it. I have restored plenty of vintage automobiles with my grandfather, including a 1929 ford Model A Phaeton, A 1925 model T truck, and a 1927 Indian scout. I am thinking of offering to restore it for her for free, being that it is almost 100% complete, so that if she sees it running again, she will see that I can take care of it, and sell it/(really hoping here!)give it to me. she is a working lunch lady at my H.S. and i see her every day. I am asking this here because I had hoped to hear a similar story like this. the restore it's self should be quite easy, but would it be worth the risk? and if so, has anyone done this scenario before? I hope to get a response, and I am sorry for the lack of information about this beautiful artifact, but i have only seen the car/parts up close once. it looked mostly complete, with the exception of the need for wood replacement in the floorboards. The wooden spokes/rims looked very complete/in good condition. this thing was piled in her garage about 15 years ago, and not touched since. thanks,
If you can manage to post a few pictures, this forum should be able to give you an idea of its value so that you can provide this lady a fair, educated offer if that's what you're interested in.
"A pile of parts" can really mean a lot of things and values can range anywhere from a couple thousand for parts to $20k on the high end for a restored car.
Kurt, i think offering to restore a car for free that you have only seen once, is a huge mistake! It might look like all the parts are there, but you have no idea the condition of all the crucial, expensive parts. Engine, trans and rear axle all need to be evaluated before jumping in head first without a life preserver...just my 2 cents.
OK, time to define the scope a bit. Even if all of the parts are there and in good condition there will still be some somewhat significant expense to "restore" the car. A few hundred bucks might get you the gaskets and minor hardware bits to reassemble the car but a real restoration would be far more involved and expensive. If you decide to go forward, make it clear in your own mind and to the owner the level of work you are willing to pursue and who should be responsible for expenses that arise. Expect that while it appears complete, there will at a minimum be some small parts missing and that some of the parts would need repair or replacement prior to reassembly. Most likely there was something wrong with the car when it was taken apart. Maybe it was just cosmetic and the owner intended to refresh and repaint and ran out of time, interest, or money. Maybe there were significant problems with the drive train or the body. Does the lady know any of the history for what the car was torn down? You may get some clues for what it needs.
I'm not trying to discourage you from taking on the project, it may work out wonderfully for both you and the current owner but you both need a clear understanding of what you can do and what she wants.
If you do take this on, stick with the forum for answers to the questions that will surely arise, there is a wealth of knowledge here that folks are willing to share. You should also check in with the local T club, I don't know how active the St Petersburg chapter is.
It will be a real learning experience, you should anticipate that she might smile sweetly and say thank you. If you want to do it for the experience, fine, but if you are thinking it will grease the skids so you can acquire it, I would say its a long shot.
Restore means different things to different people. Even if everything is there and you just stick it back together, it's going to cost $$$. If you really restore it, meaning make it like new, it will cost $$$$ or maybe even $$$$$. I agree with Walt. Be clear on what you'll do about that before you begin.
Thank you everyone for responding so quickly!
I am young, and I may be a Bit inexperienced, but from what I understand, my neighbor has all of the parts in good condition, being that it has been internally stored in a climate controlled environment, along with some spares of some major parts listed. Such as: 2 spare 'radiators'; various suspension parts that were expected to be worn out over time(but due to sitting unused, have not); I also have various engine spares from a 1929 Ford model A, and I also have a supplier for spare wooden spokes for the wheels, if needed. But as I said, this vehicle is in a dire condition, as I have gotten word that her grandson has thoughts of taking it and scrapping most of it, or letting it sit out as a 'yard decoration' I will do my best to convince her not to let this happen, but it is still her decision. I just hope i can spare this thing from either of those horrible fates. Now, it is my understanding that these ford vehicles are mostly compatible in running gear? say, that Model A engine spare, would i be able to use it? it's a Four-cylinder in-line standard for the 29' Model A. I have anticipated the restore would cost at-least $1,000. I have $ some saved for another restore i would like to do, but this is way more worth it. not to mention it would 'break the ice' for future work, as her late husband had collected more decrepit vehicles, including an original 1942 Indian scout. (WORSE CONDITION THAN THE MODEL T! but still worth the work)
another note: I only wish to repair/rebuild this car to running condition, and maybe some body-work. the paint is the original black, and was sealed very well. I would very much like to keep it that way. I unfortunately cannot get pictures at the moment, for my camera is broken, and i do not have a fancy smart phone. but I can say, as working on restoration of previous vehicles with my grandfather, this is in very well off condition. i will try and get pics posted when i can.
and another note, my nickname, 'Kurt Meyer' is a historical reference to a brilliant Panzer commander, and bears no affiliation of mine to the Nazi party, or the atrocities committed by said madmen. I mean no offense by using it.
Several words of warning! Even just re-assembling a car will prove more expensive than you first estimate - it always does. Secondly be aware that unless you have some sort of written agreement the car will be more saleable once completed and either the neighbour or one of her children will see $ signs flagged up and sell it. Perhaps I am too sceptical, but I see all sorts of future problems. My recommendation would be to offer to buy the kit of parts, and once reassembled say you will take her for a ride in it.
No, the 1928 - 1931 and later Ford parts do NOT interchange readily with the 1909 - 1927 Ford parts. The engine will fit in the space under the hood but to hook it up would take all sorts of changes and would not really add to the value of the car. (You could fit a Ford Pinto engine under the hood etc.)
The 1909 to 1927 Ford chassis parts are almost all interchangeable or the major units are interchangeable. I.e. any 1909-1927 engine and transmission assembly will fit any 1909-1927 Model T (you may need to change the fan and fan bracket out as well as the upper radiator connection because the earlier cars had lower radiators. And if you use a 1926-27 engine in an earlier car you need to change the foot pedals slots in the wooden floorboard just a little. The body parts do not swap out as easily -- but complete bodies will swap out easily except for the 1926-27 bodies that will not just drop onto the 1909-25 frames without modifications. Hoods and radiators need to sometimes be changed to match the body.
If you want to invest time and money in the project and you are happy with knowing it could still be sold for scrap or become a yard art project -- go for it. If you will be disappointed if it is not offered to you at a reasonable price when completed -- avoid it.
As others have suggested -- purchasing it at a fair price and having it under your control is a much safer way to proceed. It is a wild car of what will happen. But the story of the lady who found the neighbor's dog who was basically abused but not enough for the SPC to come rescue it. Later it was hit by a car. She took the dog to the Vet. She paid the vet bills. She wanted to keep the dog but the neighbor wanted the dog back. And the justice system ruled it belongs to the other person. So it went back. And it was still neglected. This time she waited until it went loose again. She called the pound. The dog went to the pound. The owner that did not really care did nothing. After the appropriate waiting period the woman that cared went to the pound and adopted the dog. Now she was the legal owner of the dog. The dog had a much better home. But you will notice it was because the lady now was the legal owner.
Speaking of which -- is there a title for the pile of parts? And whose name is on the title if there is one?
So my recommendation would be, if you can obtain legal ownership at a reasonable price you may want to consider it. Otherwise -- I would recommend not messing with it. The risk reward is stacked big time against you.
Note, I would also advise anyone looking for a T, to purchase as complete and in as good a condition T as possible rather than a project. It sounds like you have done projects and are doing projects. But in general many people become discouraged during the project process but are really motivated during the driving process.
Hap l9l5 cut off
The Model T and Model A are totally different animals. Even though both are 4 cylinder, the drive trains are not interchangeable. The T has a planetary transmission that is integral with the engine by way of a common crank case or lower pan. The A has a bolt up standard sliding gear transmission that is separate.
As to the cost of "restoring" this car, those of us that have have also learned that it usually costs thousands more than the value of the end product. That is not to say it is not worth it to do a restoration. Once finished, you have a real knowledge of your machine and what it takes to make it go!
The pic in my profile was a mechanically rebuilt running gear with "all the parts" except a cab. It belonged to a friend of mine in AR whose health had gone down and he was going to have to move into a VA home in MO. He wanted me to finish it for him and offered to give me a speedster project for my efforts. After $5000 and 6 months of working almost every night and weekend, I returned it to him and brought home my speedster project. He kept it at his grandson's home and got to play with it occasionally for a couple of years until he died. The family sold it back to me for $5000. I now had about 12k tied up in the p/u and speedster. I don't regret it one bit because of the joy it brought to my friend. However, when I did this, I had already been working on T's for 25 years, rebuilt several, still owned several, and had a good stash of spare parts. You're not going to put it together in a couple of weekends. When something is in a pile, it usually means it has just been taken apart with the plan of "restoring" each part as it is put back together. Still "in a pile" is not a good indicator of "in good shape."
Personally, I would leave it as a pile of parts and make an offer based on the current value of what's there. If she is not interested at the moment, give her a time frame the offer is good for. The minute you start pumping money and labor into the car you are vulnerable that she will opt to sell the car to a more attractive bidder and leave you with no recourse to recoup the value of your labor and any money invested. I don't know about anyone else, but unless it is a bona fide charity, I don't like to give away my cash or free labor.
All of above is true. Best advice for-get-about-it if you don't own it.
The local Model T club should be most helpful in your project. Not to buy it from under you but to help. Several of us are in your area and if you want to contact our club: suncoastTClub.com
Some of us have experience from buying completed projects to complete restorations. (Contact me on e-mail if that is better.)
Kurt one good thing about restoring a black era T (17-25), the roadsters of this era will be the easiest to restore. Body wise it will be the cheapest also.
I would make sure of the condition of the parts that's there and if they are mostly correct for the 18-22 Runabouts (roadster).
When I say cheap and easy you will still have to spend some $$$$$$ and the labor putting it back together.
I built 2 T's from piles of parts (1919 Roadster and a 1921 Touring) BUT I made sure they were correct and restored in the right way.
Each car took around 2-3 years each to restore.
Model T's are a poor mans antique car because of the availability of parts and being fairly easy to do for most mechanically inclined people.
KNOW what your getting into before hand and get advice from other T guys. There are plenty of restoration manuals and service books available on this website.
From what you described in your post and if AND THATS A BIG IF, that's the car is mostly complete, a ball park price for the pile would be no more than 1500-2000 dollars and that may be to much.
Hey! Thanks again for such quick responses! I have taken all into consideration, and thank you Hap Tucker for the information about Engines/various other parts, and have decided a new tack is the best effective way to secure this. my Grandfather has also decided to help me with this, with a renewed sense of vigor, so that I will not be doing this alone. I will certainly not drop this interest, and have been saving some more $ than usual for this. Jeez! I think the 1925 model T was picked up by my Grandfather for $250. And it was partially put-together!
but I am sure that this vehicle is still mostly complete, and still mostly in good condition.
over the next few months, I will try and make her an offer, and it will probably be pretty high, but as the most she was offered for it was about $350. it was some older gentleman at a Garage sale she had. she is planning another soon, so does $1800 sound fair for something like this? it would be totally worth it in my mind. she also has (after talking with her some more today) a lot more parts for it than I realized, as her husband had bought the complete car (Disassembled), along with At-least 3 more 3x5 Crates of various parts for the Model T.
thanks again, Tank.
Side note, Anyone here with Pin-Mar Antique car club? if so, do you know William (Bill) and Betty Miller? that is my Grandfather/Grandmother.
The last "pile of parts" I bought (6-8 years ago) was a running/drivable (around the pasture) 26 running gear with good front and rear fenders, running boards, splash aprons, and hood for $800.