I'm just about to buy my first Model T, perhaps one in Noblesville, IN. Might I hire someone between Dayton, OH and there for a few hours to help inspect and put a price on a car?
You are right on the track with this request. I always advise newcomers to get somebody who knows what they are about to have a look at any intended purchase. Unfortunately, I am not able to help.
That said, my first ebay purchase was a 1927 T Tudor bought sight unseen, because my contact was some 800 miles away at the Hershey Swap meet. The price was such that I could afford to work on it, and I do have a lot of experience with Ts.
Best of luck.
Allan from down under.
Kevin, welcome to the forum. There are a few of us around Dayton. Are you going to Richmond for the homecoming?
Tony Wilshire lives very close as does Dan Conder.I'm about 40-45 miles from there.Dick Harrold is also close.
If you can get a general description of the mechanical condition from the owner and a set of detailed photos posted here you should be able to get a very good idea of the value from forum members.
Thank you for all the replies so quickly.
I'll ping those ya'll mentioned.
First I've heard about a homecoming; I've much to learn about the community.
Right now working on what T to buy, insurance, plates, and how to get it home if it dies on the drive back home. Oh, and clean out a spot in my garage in which the neighbor boy wins a riding lawnmower.
The one I'm looking at right now is at ....
Click the pix to get more info.
sweerek @ gmail . com
I don't know your background or why you are interested in a T but there are a few things to be aware of.
1. A model T is not an antique automobile - it is a horseless carriage. This means that unless it is modified it is slow, doesn't stop, and can have a mind of it's own.
2. Most people will think it's cool but will not understand what it really is.
3. You can have a lot of fun with a T but it can also be a royal pain.
4. It will run forever but stop running at the worse time.
5. It can cost very little but can get expensive quickly.
6. It is very simple until you attempt to fix a problem and realize that it is complicated.
7. You can easily purchase all the replacement parts except the one you need.
8. You'll soon learn to love your T.
Seriously Kevin -
If you are a newbie it would help to have a model T mentor.
My dad had Rodger Lee in the 50's and I had my dad thru the 70's.
Now I use knowledgeable people in the local T club for face to face help.
Connect with people in your local T club for hands on help and frequent this forum for all kinds of information.
It may also be a good idea to spend some time with a T owner before making the plunge.
I know of a couple T's that are not being used because the owners are afraid of them.
By The Way --
The power to weight ratio of the riding mower will be higher that the T.
The T will go faster and not stop as well.
And the T will be a lot more fun.
Kevin - I noticed the auction that you posted the link for had ended on Sunday night with zero bids. From the pics, it looks like it may be a reasonable deal, but you are completely correct to have someone who is knowledgeable take a look. In fact, if you can, you should go with whoever you find to check out the car. Nothing like seeing it yourself with someone who knows what to look for. I'm sure it would be a great start to your "education" and familiarization with these wonderful cars.
BTW, I'm located in the south end of Beavercreek. PM me for additional contact information, if you like.
If you want a T that appears ready to drive, you need to look at this one. It's amazing that there are 2 Fordors in Noblesville for sale at the same time. Contact me offline if you need help.
Kenny - He's got that one listed on our Classifieds here as well as on craigslist.
Some of the above comments might scare and discourage Kevin.
I would suggest that he contact the closest club and get a ride in a T and maybe someone will even let him drive a T so that he can experience it first hand before buying one. Then go with him to look at a prospective purchase to evaluate it.
I have also found that every T that I have purchased has had some problems to iron out before becoming dependable. Some of the problems are minor and others can be major. Even a car which seems to run just fine can have hidden problems. Try to find the best one you can. A complete and running car will cost less in the long run than a "fixer upper", however even one which looks and sounds good can have some need for repair.
Be prepared to do some fixing on any car you buy.
Again, thanks for all the replies.
I've been rebuilding small engines / carts / cycles for ~30 years, never bought new, I drive slow and prefer walking when I can. After 6 months of debate, I took Gilmore's Model T driving course Sunday and that pretty much decided it.
The machine itself doesn't scare me. Its the Boy Scout in me trying to prepare for 8 things Fred wrote... and #9, the huge time-and-space suck a perpetual-project-car will take. For example, I spent an hour last figuring out if I could safely, slowly pull a ~1200# T on a 1000#, 3000#-rated trailer with a 3500#-rated Toyota Sienna... and where I'd buy & store that particular use-for-breakdowns trailer.
I'd definitely rather drop coin on good/rebuilt co re mechanics than authenticity, appearance, or extra/modern features.
I'm looking to commute w/ it to Base and use it for local Scout trips. More geek than glamorous.
Kevin - Based on your most recent post above, here's a few more things to consider.
A Model T Fordor Sedan weighs about 2,000 pounds. I have a '27 Fordor & had it weighed, and that's what I base the 2,000 pounds weight on.
It's good to know that you've had a Model T driver training session. You should know that because of the Fordor's heavy weight, they are a very slow car. The brakes are adequate when you get used to them, but that's all.
Whether you want to tow this car with a Toyota Sienna is open for discussion. What engine does it have? Does it have a weight distributing hitch? You might get by renting a car trailer from U Haul or a similar place, rather buying one your self.
-Kevin, and others-
A very good reference / starting point is a quarterly publication: "Old Cars Report - Price Guide"... (www.oldcarsreport.com) by Krause Publications, Iola, Wisconsin. It has an explanation of grading to understand 6 different levels of condition, then reported ranges of sales throughout the country for cars in those different conditions. A knowledgeable starting point.
There are a number of videos on you tube on inspecting a model t ford.
I start on does it run or not
check compression, ease of start, wheels and suspension play, steering wheel play, magneto, charging, etc etc. Lots of folks will help you check it out. Also on the enclosed car, I did buy one that had bad wood.
Right on Kevin!! Bought my first T at 17 and I was one of the best things I ever did. I also used my car as daily transportation my senior year in high school and a few years in college. Commuting with a T is possible with a well maintained car and a lot of common sense.
I agree with all said above especially Freds. It is spot on. I will add,
If I were to buy my first T again I would first join a T club or hang around the local T guys. Trust me you will make plenty of good friends and gain knowledge quickly. Second I would buy the very best T you can afford. I would highly recommend you stay away from project cars for you first, you will have you hands full just learning and maintaining. A tour proven car would be on the top of my list. Don't buy a nonrunner if it can be helped. Let the car condition prove itself, not the story of work done that cannot be proven.
and lastly, most all T's and great deals are not rare. Take you time and save up to buy the car that best fits your needs. Good luck hope to see ya driving soon!
Again, thank you all.
I'm taking your advice and going for the best I can afford. I think I found one -- http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ford-Model-T-two-door-sedan-/321758806183?forcerrptr=tru e&hash=item4aea51c0a7&item=321758806183.
Looking at eBay's Completed sales for "Model T" 's (and there aren't that many) it seems to be a pretty good price. Thoughts?
Except for the disturbutor "for more efficient running" and the circus wagon wheels, I like it. But I don't know that I like it enough for eleven grand. No telling what the reserve is. I don't blame the guy for trying to get back some of his investment, but I'd skip the BUY IT NOW price and play out the auction. By Monday evening it may be over the reserve but well under ten thousand.
There are thousands of T's and many of them are for sale, so I don't think you'll have to wait all summer for a good car at a reasonable price even if you're very particular in your taste ;)
There is no mention about the thrust washers in the rear axle in the ebay listing, that's something you'll want to know has been done (the originals tend to crack with age and leave you with almost no brakes) before driving much with your "new" T, so calculate a rear axle teardown into any unknown T you think about buying.
Odd with a Tudor made just a few days before end of production that doesn't have wire wheels? Wires were thought to be standard equipment on closed cars by then?
Kevin, that's not a bad price for all that "new".
Suggest you get ahold of Kenny Edmundsom, president of the Indy500 Model T Club.
Roger - Wire wheels were standard at that time, but you could still get wood spoke wheels as an option (so I've heard).
From the encyclopedia: Wire wheels became standard equipment on all sedans and coupes in late 1926 and early 1927, but were always optional on the open cars. If wood wheels weren't a factory option on closed cars in 1927, that doesn't mean you couldn't get them from the dealer.
Just looking at the photos in that ad, to me it looks like another fine restoration of the outside with no work done to the running gear. I have seen plenty of those both Model A and T. Unless the seller can say what, when and how the running gear has been worked on I would walk away. Rebuilding the engine and rear end can start running into the thousands of dollars. You will note reading the ad there is nothing said about the engine/transmission, radiator or rear end.
I'll say Amen to Mark's comment. I learned that lesson on this car. Looks pretty decent, doesn't it? It's one of those cars Mark described. Pretty good work on the cosmetics, but mechanically ignored. The carburetor was full of rust with holes rusted through the bowl. The front end was loose as a goose with all the bushings worn out, so I had to rebuild the front axle. One day the left rear wheel seized and the car had to come home on a trailer because the old Babbitt thrust washers disintegrated and I had to rebuild the rear axle. Tick tick tick from the front was the car's announcement that the wheel bearings were shot. All the work I've done on the car has been a good learning experience, but it also means I paid too much for it. I'm sure the guy who sold me the car didn't realize all that. He was mechanically clueless and hired the "restoration" work. I was new to this game and also clueless. Now I know a few things to check before I plunk down my shekels. This is why a first time T buyer wants somebody experienced to help check it out.
Steve - I thought it was your '15 that was full of "surprises" once you'd owned it for awhile,.....???
I think that if a "T" can be purchased for a decent price, the important thing is the sheet metal. But I also think, and I'm not afraid to tell the seller, that phrases like,...."rebuilt", "overhauled", and my all-time favorite,....."engine and transmission completely GONE THROUGH",.....such phrases are completely meaningless without verifiable receipts for whatever work was done. And even that can be pretty meaningless if the work was done by some "hammer mechanic" that would put new rings on worn pistons an then put such pistons back into out-of-round and tapered cylinders. FWIW,.....harold
No, Harold, I had a pretty good idea going in that the '15 was a put-together and I knew it had some later parts. I just didn't know how many. But that's why it was cheap.
The closed car might be preferable in cold or wet climate, so could be a very good choice in Ohio. The price seems a little high, but if the mechanical is indeed rebuilt, might be worth it. What was said above about thrust washers is true. It is not hard to pull it apart to be sure, and if the rear end is quiet, the washers might be all you would need. In fact you could probably pull off one side of the axle housing far enough to open the case for inspection and if they are bronze, put it back on and drive as is.
If the car did have good wire wheels and hubs, it would be worth at least $1,000 more, than with wood wheels. A Ruckstell would be worth another $1,000. Be sure to pull back and forth on the top of the wood wheels to see if the spokes are loose and spin them to see if they run true. A wobble of up to 1/2 inch is acceptable if otherwise tight. There is no Ruckstell axle or Warford, but in Ohio the hills are not steep, so it would be fine just as it is. I would, however, recommend auxiliary brakes.
I think you need to look at a Model T that you can put your hands on. eBay is buying a pig in a poke. You might do well but could likely get stuck.
Kevin, You NEED to have an expert opinion of the vehicle before you purchase it. You are quite correct. Watch out for wood ROT!!!! A lot of people have painted or had it repainted when all of the wood needed replacing!!! I have seen this several times in T's. Wood dust coming down on the splash aprons! Doors not fitting up correctly, etc.
Rewooding a T is a nightmare. It is a hard process to learn. I do them but they are time consuming. Not profitable when you are charging by the hour. So you have to find mentor-friend,
To close out this thread, I visited, inspected, and then won the 27 Tudor at the reserve price, $9400.
It certainly looks good and I have all last owners receipts. He knew lots about T's and seemed like a good guy, but he didn't do his own mechanical, electrical work. I can drive it for ~10 minutes then it boils over, coil heats up, chugs surges and dies. Two very black oil changes. Body & wheels solid. Chicks dig the look. I'm still checking it out, bit by bit. Re-learning auto skills I had 30 years ago.
I'm aiming to have it be a touring and nice-day commuter car. (I work in the Air Force Research Lab where being odd is sorta expected.)
Thanks again everyone for your advice, even if I didn't use all of it like I should have.
Now the fun begins. I predict you'll have many a happy hour correcting the "upgrades" and making the car run the way you want. It costs some dough, of course, but it's an enjoyable exercise researching all the ins and outs and applying what you learn. It's very satisfying to drive a well-running Model T after you've fixed whatever ailed it. Here's a little info to get you started:
Kevin, even though there was lots of good advice last month about "buyer beware" and all that, I quickly developed the philosophy of EXPECTING to do some fairly expensive repairs/rebuilds on anything you pay less than say, $16K for. No one in their right mind would sell a nice car like that '27 for less than 10 grand if they put 4-7 thousand in it for an engine/rear and rebuild now, would they? It's an old car no matter how you look at it, and if the engine's old, the radiator's old, then chances are, they need rebuilt or replaced. Simple as that. Pay up front, or pay down the road like Steve, myself, and hundreds of others do I tell guys. Don't let the need for "upgrading" scare ya out of having the fun that goes with it. Oh yeah, I can't wait for my new brass radiator for my '12 to arrive! Just sayin!