Short segment but some may find it interesting. I think it will be replayed again or you can watch it on their site.
Shame it couldn't be a correct example.
Yes Mike, I caught that on TV a couple of nights ago and was so disappointed in the Smithsonian that they will be displaying a car with so many incorrect parts. Oh well, it is not my museum. (Or is it? Tax dollar supported?) My two cents worth, perhaps overvalued. Bill
It's a nice looking wagon with an interesting heritage, and I believe the owner is a good ambassador for the hobby:
Whether it is an accurate example or not at least it will be there and most people that visit the museum will not know the difference, besides people in 1914 modified their model t to suit their needs.
I’m usually kind of liberal about this kind of thing because I look at it from the point of view of a hobbyist. -That’s what I am and that’s what most of you are. -Okay, yeah; a lucky few of us do own pre-1912 Fords and they’re rare and precious enough that nobody is going to drill holes in them to mount turn signals or switch around hogs-heads to accommodate an electric starter. -Yeah, I get that. -But most of us are just concerned with maintaining a weekend driver in good, safe condition; and taking it out and playing with it on a nice, sunny day is what it’s all about. -We don’t pretend that our hobby cars are museum pieces.
I guess it’s about honesty. -For instance, I just read today about a Tucker that, having recently been assembled from left-over parts, just made its public debut. -Now, nobody is saying that this car is an original, assembly-line Tucker—it’s being presented as what it is: a real, live Tucker assembled from spare parts—and it was good enough that in its class, it won a few awards. -Okay, fair enough.
But now we’re talking the Smithsonian (sound of herald trumpets and angels singing in the background) and that’s a horse of a completely different color. -I mean, there’s museum quality and then there’s Smithsonian museum quality. -When it comes to historical accuracy, those guys and gals are the keepers of the flame!
Back in the day when I wrote aviation articles, I was privileged to be taken on a back-room tour of the Smithsonian’s aircraft restoration workshop and the impression I got was that these folks make anal-retentive compulsive types look like lackadaisical goof-offs. -In every room was a paper sign scotch-taped to the wall that read, “Work hard, not fast,” and the cleanliness of the place was absolutely surgical. -The lengths these craftsmen go to for the sake of accuracy and preservation for future generations is legendary and I won’t bore you with a repetition of what everybody already knows. -Point is, when these folks finally complete a multi-year restoration and hold the public roll-out ceremony, that airplane (or automobile or whatever artifact) is as original in the truest sense of the word and as historically correct as is humanly possible to achieve—and hang the expense. -That kind of effort is consistent with the reputation of the most respected artifact museum in the whole wide world.
So, okay; what we have in this ’14 Pie-wagon is a modified driver in #1 condition. -It’s like a newly restored ’63 split-window Corvette with disc brakes, radial tires and a Bose sound-system. -It may be in mint condish and desirable as the Playmate of the Year and boy oh boy, would I ever love that have that Flivver in my garage, but in no way does it belong in the Smithsonian. -Just my humble opinion.
Doesn't bother me so much that it's going there especially if it's not the only T on display. I feel it doesn't properly represent what the T was which was transportation for the masses. It's not a Ford body and as Danny explains is an example of the many styles & uses the T chassis had.
They could have at least put a generator on it instead of an alternator. At least it would have been period correct. JMHO Dave
David, that bothered me as well the distributor set up. That thing has no business being in the Smithsonian.
OT--Tucker. Bob, I haven't heard about that Tucker, but it's very possible, there were some frames laying about at the time. Back in the '70s I met Alex Tremulous (sp?)and we talked about the Tucker (what else-although he did some other fantastic designs). He told me that Tucker was building prototypes to work out the assembly line details and was waiting on parts to begin production--steering wheels, I recall was one of the missing parts. Alex told me that if they'd had two more weeks, there would have been a thousand Tuckers out of the plant & there would be no question as to their being a bona-fide manufacturer.
Oh so close. . . And yes, it was a conspiracy to stop him--the car was too good and too advanced for the times.
Here's the Tucker article. It's nice to know there's another one:
Ok, so the guy "says" it's going to the Smithsonian. Has anyone been able to (or want to spend their time to) verify that? I would think with all the obvious non-original, and even non period-correct parts, that the Smithsonian would either refuse it, or re-work the car so that it would meet their standards. I somehow doubt that I will see this car in the Smithsonian during my next visit. JMHO.
Dave- Valid point indeed. A lot of people talk about donating objects to museums but change their mind and/or the intended museum declines their object.
I am assuming that IF this story is true, the car in question is being donated as opposed to being purchased by the Smithsonian. If that is the case, maybe one of us Forum members with a "pure" brass T can donate their car to the Smithsonian. I, for one, would gladly give up one of my brass Ts so it can sit unused and un-maintained for the next 10 decades. We all know that museums have such great reputations of maintaining and caring for cars..... (triple sarcasm)
What are the odds of that happening?
Recently there was a guy who fabbed a totally bogus 1904 Thomas race car that never existed. He entered it in a major auction and it sold for west of 1 million dollars to the lawyer from Texas. He was told the car was a fake and the transaction did not go thru. The auction company continued to try and hock this repro for several years until it either died or was sold. The auction company allowed the builder/creator to stand on the stage and spew his b/s to the crowd. I know the car was a figment of the creators mind as I sold him the tubular front axle for it which was from a model 10 Buick. I also sold him other brass era parts for this project(not Thomas)
Another recent repro was a 1907 Oldsmobile advertised as a prototype "Limited". The auction company advertised this as a rare 1 off proto limited and suggested the value in access of 1 million. Once the true story got out the value fell thru the floor, it sold but for far less than advertised.
There are more fakes and repros out there that you might imagine. As long as its stated as changed or modified I'm ok with that. I'm against the complete misleading of any collector on the purchase of a non authentic car. The adage "buyer beware" is of paramount importance.
We seem to take care of those especially the ones listed on tbay. With the experts here that can spot the incorrect or un authentic parts. Perhaps some of the more educated chatters should send a letter to the Smithsonian for their information and help them sort out the mistakes made by the restoration guys that mislead them as to their being experts. It must have made good reality tv, I suppose they restored the car in 42 minutes of a tv show
I'm sure we have all visited museums and collections displaying cars so far from authentic that its just a joke. Its the owners prerogative to show a car the way he wants to.
A National museum has an obligation to present their displays correctly and authenticly. The need to be better informed and lets hope they pay attention to our real experts here.
just as a point of interest no taxpayer money supports the Smithsonian, or so their literature tells us. Most of the cars on display are kinda shabby and not really authenticly perfect.
The owners claim that this was a orginal pie truck from his family's company.....but what's odd to me is there is absolutely no period pictures of the truck or stranger still no pictures of this body before restoration.
My thought is that's a great story that will sell a lot of pies.
I also believe his Smithsonian story is pure Hollywood too.
I would mention that the wheels are demountable, which are not original. When I see a car from this era with demountable wheels I look for five lug bolts like the Firestone brand of accessory wheels. The wheels on this wagon appear to be standard Ford wheels of a later period.
Sounds like a lot of sour grapes to me.
It doesn't say this wagon is going to replace the Apollo capsule or be on permanent exhibit. Pieces displayed in a museum are often part of a larger interpretive theme. It's from an old Washington D.C. company, maybe they are doing a piece on business or businesses who have held onto their heritage. Who defined that it has to represent only transportation for the masses? Henry Ford himself liked to see his vehicles used for all sorts of other purposes that made life easier.
Many of the people on this forum own T's taken out weekly that have more egregious authenticity issues than this and have exposed the public to it. Maybe it's not about how it was when delivered on day-one, maybe it's about how they've held onto it, it saw service, evolved, and there are some era upgrades still attached to it (like the wheels). Who knows. The Smithsonian has even displayed hot rods and low riders. How do you fit that into the narrative? There is likely a bigger picture here you're not getting.
Displaying it is more likely to ignite a flame in someone than were it not displayed at all.
I am just happy when a reasonably authentic Model T is showcased in any show nowadays. It is better than having someone trash them or worse yet, being turned into a rat rod. Just my two cents...
Oh, let's not be too hard on the Smithsonian. After all, it's federal government just like the USPS, IRS, VA and DOJ. We don't have high expectations of these alphabet soup agencies and they've lived down to them by performance.
I'd ya'll want to fuss about a museum; go look at the '14 touring in The Henry Ford. It has squared-end springs and '17-'25 differential halves and I've forgotten everything else you'd deem incorrect.