I did not want to see the fantastic thread about a new (?) fellow and his dad's very original late '15/'16 T touring being drifted by a good question asked on it. So, I decided to stick my neck out, put my nose where it may not belong, copy and paste the wandering posts and start a new thread about it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message By Steven Mackinnon on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 08:49 am:
"Gilbert, question for you - what is the HCCA stance on Speedsters? A little curious on that one - do they go by model year vehicle is registered, or are do they even fit the bill?"
"Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message By Gilbert V. I. Fitzhugh on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 01:40 pm:
Steven, I'm not sure there is an official position. A lot of brass Ts come to HCCA national tours with clearly non-period accessories - starters, Ruckstells, aftermarket brakes, electrified lights - and they're welcome. Some other cars come "as converted" for instance, there's a '14 or '15 Hudson, unrestored, that was converted to a pickup truck back in the day, but probably quite a bit after 1915. There are a lot of depot hacks that tour. My personal, highly unofficial view is that if you show up with a period-looking brass-radiator speedster that's not all gung-ho with a Rajo or whatever, you'll be welcome. If it's got two extra transmissions, four-wheel disc brakes and no fenders, you might not be thrown out, but you might find yourself sitting alone. Carl Pate is national vice president and Chris Paulsen is national secretary, and they post here from time to time. Maybe one of them will elaborate, or correct me.
Gil Fitzhugh the Elder"
I think that Gilbert knows the HCCA better than I do. But those rules are a bit hard to explain. Some of the rules, as they stand, are not enforced as well as some members would wish they were. Trying to run a club like this is a good exercise in "you can't please everybody".
In the first place, there is the national HCCA. Their rule is fairly strict, but not so strictly enforced. There are members that wish it was a lot more strict. (sometimes, I am one of them)
The national HCCA, years ago, recognized that the needs of various local clubs (called "Regional Groups" by the national) were often different than the national focus, and often driven by localized needs. For that reason, the national allows the Regional Groups a lot of room to set their own limits on years and authenticity accepted (personally, I prefer the stricter pre-'16 groups). Many Regional Groups accept cars up to about 1930, and some up to 1942 or even beyond. Most Regional Groups accept speedsters with no problem at all (within their own year-model limitation).
If I recall correctly, the national rules say that all the basic engine block, frame, front axle, rear axle assembly, and wheels, must have been in part manufactured before January 1916. It is generally accepted that at least some of these assemblies may have later replacement parts. Exactly how much of each assembly must be original pre-'16 or not has been the subject of debate for decades. It is said that technically, a Ruckstell does not qualify because it is a significant and visible portion of the rear end assembly, and misses the vintage by about five years. However, that item is almost never enforced.
It is a very difficult problem. I have often said that to "draw that line is not difficult, it is impossible! You cannot treat a Stanley Steamer like you would a Lozier, like you would a model T. They are all so different that they just can't be treated alike". I can elaborate on that a lot.
If a pre-'16 speedster is properly restored, to basically "era correct", and most of those sub-assemblies are in fact largely pre-'16 parts? The car absolutely qualifies for the HCCA.
If a "wanna-be" brass T (speedster or otherwise) is put together using mostly later and reproduction parts? It technically does not qualify by HCCA standards. It may or may not technically qualify for specific Regional Groups. And most likely (but no promises), if you showed up at a national tour with it? You likely would be allowed to participate. But as Gil said, you may find yourself sitting alone.
Most HCCA people, like most model T people, are friendly and helpful. I have always felt welcome anywhere I have gone in that group. And I am not anybody special.
Part of my personal view, and I truly believe this. Horseless Carriages are special, and unique within the antique automobile hobby. While the absolute definition of the "Horseless Carriage" era is still open to debate, the era itself is unique. Only the Horseless Carriage cars are the true stepping stones between personal travel by horse, and personal travel by automobile. Whether you enjoy black era Ts (I love my '24 coupe!), model As, the great classics, or '57 Chevys? They are all stepping stones from the cars made before to the cars made after.
Horseless Carriages are special, and unique. As such, they do need clubs devoted to them. The HCCA is and in this country should be that club. Certain "Veteran" clubs fill that need in other parts of the world.
Personally, I for one, do not want the HCCA extending further into later years. I have seen it happen with other clubs. And frankly, I think it happens too much in the HCCA. The later cars are used. The earlier cars get left behind. I do not want the HCCA to do that any more than they already do. But that is my opinion.
I do hope we can hear some further discussion here. And I hope that Gilbert F will share some of his opinions. And, hopefully, I did not offend anyone too much and was able to help answer the question and clarify some things.
I also hope that Gilbert F is not ever offended when I sometimes have referred to him as "GFtE" on threads, here and the HCCA site. I have based that on his sometimes sign-off.
I also hope that Chris Paulsen will comment. He posts on this forum fairly often.
Thank you GFtE for all your tour reports on the HCCA site! I always enjoy them.
Drive carefully, and enjoy! W2
(Message edited by wayne sheldon on April 16, 2015)
Hmm. I tried to link the other thread so anyone reading this one could find the other one and see where this came from.
I have been touring with the HCCA since I Was 10, and with my own speedster that was put together from a bunch of parts since I was 17. It has a 27 engine, who knows what front end, and rear end, a brass radiator and lights. To date this is the most fun car I own, and I still bring it out on occasion on HCCA tours including to Colorado a couple of years ago.
People are gracious and happy to see another member. NO one has ever told me to put in in the trailer and go home. most members will invite you to their munch table and ask me about the car.
This is only my experiences with the HCCA, the North Jersey Region, Southern Ontario Region as well as a smattering of other clubs around the country.
Wayne, thank you and thanks to Gilbert F. for his feedback as well - I absolutely did not want to inadvertantly hijack the OP's thread on a very cool car as well!
Most helpful and interesting info. HCCA does not sound that different from AACA (of which I am a member) or CCCA (of which I am a former member) in that regions have a little more leeway based on common sense. For example our annual AACA show here in Central CT has allowed modifieds for as long as I can remember, and we even have a "general class" for just about anything else - the idea being to grow a show that supports charity, and therefore also grow some interest in our club. You would not and should not see that at a national meet.
That said, I would not expect/desire that much leeway in a HCCA tour. Trying to see if a period T Speedster would fit in or not. One thing we hope to accomplish with this car is to learn a bit more about cars of the era and see if we may possibly have an interest in another brass car "T" or otherwise. I enjoy checking out the HCCA site from time to time, and have thought about joining but, and with no hard feelings, if the club is does not have warm and fuzzies about speedsters not sure it makes sense - no one likes to sit alone, right? On the other hand, would hate to miss out on the opportunity to get more involved with brass guys if that is not the case. It might just be like the Mercedes club we belong to - everyone from the member whose "guy" handles his gullwing to the fellow eking out a late 60s sedan on a shoestring. What seems like a stuffy club to some is in actuality a pretty diverse group of enthusiasts - my point being some may be unnaproachable but most are just good old enthusiasts. Anyway, any feedback is welcome and thanks for opening a new thread.
Agree, Wayne HCCA cars are pretty special, and I would not want to push any envelopes, but I am curious.
John, great looking car and a lifetime keeper without a doubt!
Thanks for your feedback on this question!
I would agree with what has been said above. The national club is strict on vehicles built before January 1, 1916 for national events. At the same time, regional groups and registers are welcome to allow any vehicles they choose. In fact, some are pre-1916 model year, just to try to avoid any debate.
As far as speedsters, John is correct. He started touring a couple years before I did with my pieced together '14 Pickup (below). I echo his comments. Although there may have been times in our youth that a few people would have sent us away, but let the cars stay!
I'd say, speedsters are welcome if they are relatively stock in performance and appearance. There are many Rootlieb kits with brass radiators and lights, and most people don't have a problem with them. The more the merrier!
Chris, love the truck - seems to nail a nice period look. Thanks for the feedback.
Wayne, John, and Chris - thank you for these very helpful and informative posts.
Some HCCA Regional Groups, like the Autoneers in New England, pride themselves on having only pre-'16 events. But many of their Ts have demountable rims, starters, Ruckstells, Model A wheels and electric lights. There are Rootlieb fenders, Brassworks flat-tube radiators, aluminum pistons, Z-heads, Scat cranks, Chaffin cams and Kevlar bands. Virtually all the restored cars have modern paint; some aren't the color that Henry painted them. There are depot hacks, huckster trucks, pick-up truck conversions, and even - GASP! - speedsters that Henry never made at all.
Some Regional Groups emphasize pre-'16 tours especially the multi-day ones, but have a few other events that allow later cars. The North Jersey RG has a couple of 1-and 2-cylinder events every year, as well as one week-long pre-'16 tour to which we traditionally invite the Southern Ontario RG (and which, every 3 or 4 years, they sponsor in Canada and invite us). There's typically a one-day mystery run sometime in the summer that allows later cars. The Susquehanna Valley RG sponsors (with the AACA Snappers) the pre-'16 Hershey Hangover tour and will probably take over sponsorship of the pre-'16 Brass in Berks County tour in May, but they have some one-day runs that allow later cars. And period-looking speedsters are welcome. At last year's NJ tour a fellow showed up from Canada with a speedster made from a 1914 American-La France fire truck. What a thundering, smoke-belching, fire-breathing dragon THAT was!
Where population is dense and brass-car ownership is high, this approach to tours works quite well. But three years ago I trailered my '13 T out to Colorado Springs for the 75th annual HCCA national convention and tour, obviously a pre-'16 event. The week before was the 55th (I think) annual HCCA Midwest Tour in Fargo/Moorhead, so I went out a few days early to amortize the cost of towing over two tours. There were about 24 cars. A third were pre-'16. Another third were post-'15, but pre-WWII. The others were postwar cars including a Hudson with Chevy running gear, a Camaro and a couple of gargantuan Cadillac flower cars, painted bright red. About a third of the participants weren't HCCA national members. One day I was driving my poor little T due south into the teeth of a midwestern wind; with both ears down and my head tucked behind the folded windshield, I was managing 27 miles an hour! When we turned due east I had to hold 5 degrees of right rudder just to stay on the road. That Camaro was looking pretty attractive! This tour drew people mostly from 6 very sparsely-populated states, where someone might have to trailer for a couple of hours just to meet up with another brass-car owner. The Autoneers approach probably wouldn't work there.
Bottom line, in my opinion: If you build a T speedster with a brass radiator, and somewhere in it is a two-speed planetary and what was once a Henry four-banger, bring it on an HCCA tour. You'll be welcome and have a great time. If your speedster has a Pinto engine, a Honda five-speed transmission and alloy wheels, you'll be welcome in some parts of the country but not all.
Wayne, I'm absolutely not offended at being called GFtE. For those who don't read other old car websites, I post fairly often on the HCCA website as OldCarFudd, and I sign off as Gil Fitzhugh the Elder. This distinguishes me from my son, who also suffers from the old car affliction; he has a '12 T commercial roadster and an '09 E-M-F.
Thanks Elder Gil! I now know the story behind the signature - as I believe you are a somewhat regular posted on the AACA forum where I spend a fair amount of time -
Great feedback from all. My car won't be "pure" in the plan calls for Rootlieb fenders, splash pans and running boards - just easier, IMHO than restoring rusty dented stuff for a Speedster unless a pristine set should materialize - and the engine is a '19, wheels are demountable "heavy" wooden wheels I believe for a closed car, and a few other transgressions. In other words a typical built up speedster but on the other hand, I am running a magneto ignition, may or may not electrify headlights, etc. so I am hoping it fits.
Will be checking into HCCA and Autoneers as that sounds like the region closest to me. We are finally thinking about the plunge to getting a trailer so that might free up ways to use this car at events that are a bit of a distance. Not really necessary with some of the later stuff, but I think, kind of essential with this era unless one plans to stick pretty close to home.
Steven - We don't check serial numbers. I look forward to meeting you and your car. Come and have a good time!
Steven, et al,
Using Rootlieb fenders, seats and etc really should not be a problem at all. Most of the speedster parts they make are basically (in fact often fairly precisely) copies of parts that were offered back in the day. One of the most common Rootlieb Speedster kits is a close copy of an Ames kit offered during calender year 1915, and therefore should be considered as a reproduction of a pre-'16 body just as many Curved Dash Oldsmobiles and Stanley Steamers have. There is that nasty "impossible to draw" line I talk about. There are many desirable Horseless Carriage automobiles with fully reproduction bodies on them.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I am happy to hear about people accepting speedsters and will, as my car comes closer to running will hopefully find more time to be able to participate! It would also be nice to find as many "other" local old cars to tour with as there are many pre 1928 cars that do not really have a touring club.