I recently noticed that a Model T guy known for his expertise and long experience in the department of what's correct had "natural finish" wheels on his T. For me, this drove home the point that there is no sharp dividing line between pure and impure. It's a continuum, with heavily modified cars at one end and almost just-as-it-came-from-the-factory correct specimens at the other. I think the totally correct Model T is the rarest kind. Are there any? A few, maybe, but mighty few. So if you're new to this game and inclined toward going original, don't be intimidated by the guys who know a lot. They may know what's "correct", but they don't necessarily always do it. Even the folks who appear to be purists are no more pure than Ivory soap.
99&44/100% pure is pretty pure. There are no model T's anywhere close to that. Even the Van Winkel Ford has later air in the tires and I'm sure the oil has been changed. So much for total originality. Sometimes I think it's overrated, but I have a lot of respect for the guys who try to get as close as possible. Some of them have paid me large stacks of money in the effort. Even so, most are pragmatic in making some modifications to make their cars safer or more reliable if the mods are unobtrusive. Every car and it's keeper are unique.
I, for one, have sinned and fallen short of the glory of originality. Sometimes spectacularly short. Come see our T powered hill climber smoke the model A speedsters in Auburn on Sept 26.
I once heard the lament about model "T's" that "If they didn't build them correctly, How can we restore them correctly ?" I think this was referring to Ford's well known philosophy of use it until it is gone!
Indeed, 'ol Henry himself never bothered much about making them "correct" - he kept on changing the small details all the time trying to get them out the door as fast and cheap as possible
Even his personal 1919 coupe was updated with the latest parts (and driven until 1931)
AS soon as I don't have something more important to do, like work to pay bills, I plan to paint the wood wheels on my cars. It has always bothered me, but the cars came to me that way and it has been expedient to replace loose wheels with new ones a few at a time, thus all are natural finish still. Two rear wheels for the '15 and all the wheels will be less than 20 years old. After that they can start getting painted.
I wish I had all the "free time" you have Steve!
First thing I did when I got my '23 Roadster Pick Up? I spent hours and hours stripping and cleaning the the black paint off the wheels and wooden tray, then oiled and sealed the wood.
Natural timber looks so much nicer than black paint...just an opinion.
I think the only way to know if a car is "correct" would be to see it come off the assembly line and as many(don't know the number) were assembled by the dealer then who can say for sure. I think the closest we can get is to use original or repop T parts that we know would be correct for the period. KGB
In some cars it's been over 100 years,and i for one would paint our 14 red if Grandmaw would let me!! Getting old and i drive her model A more than i do the T so i think sell but she say's NO!!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
My 1919 is ABSOLUTLY 100% CORRECT!!!
It is close to original and CORRECT for me.
Henry Ford never put out a perfect Model T so why do we think we can?
Is the 1909 New York-to-Seattle Ford a Model T or not?
Of course it is, that means ANY PERIOD CORRECT change or addition you do to a T is 100% correct!
During the Model T era, Henry as well as everyday Model T owners made changes to their cars...into tractors, into snowmobiles, fitted after-market bodies such as PACO or purchased a running chassis and made their own body, fitted wire wheels, Ruckstell, Warford, OHV, etc, etc...I could go on for hours.
USA made factory correct Ts are great, BUT the Wanderwell Expedition team didn't want that, Ford Canada, Australia, Britain didn't want that, huge numbers of new T owners didn't want that.
This topic is like politics or religion, the only 100% is that not everyone will agree!
A $4 can of black rattle can will have that problem squared away in less than an hour. You can
do a concours "shaving mirror" finish later.
I shoot for a 1939 presentation on my trucks ..... keep the "old" feel (nothing gags me out more
than over-polished and billet), but won't be so anal as to miss the "Farmer Brown" patina and
repairs appearance that were very real for 99.99999% of all pre-30's cars by the time WW2 came
It is how I remember these cars. They weren't new. They were old beaters and barn dwellers
that those either too lazy to junk them, or those too conservative to get a newer car (I remember
many of my Grandparents' generation saying "Why get a new one when this one is still perfectly
good ?") just kept around, either in total neglect, or maintained any way they could.
And let's not overlook the Henry Ford Principle of doing everything on the cheap. His followers
were cut from the same cloth and repairs were often done in the simplest and crudest possible
way. That is PART of the history of these cars. A much more real and representative part of their
history than the brief moment when they were sparkly and new.
Had 2 T's with natural wheels and refinished them the same way. Just like the wood look + folks are really surprised when they notice it. Guess it doesn't compute that their wood when painted. I think because so many moderns have spoke-like open looking wheels today. I concede painted is totally correct..It's a fact they used parts until the shelves were empty but there's still "correct for the year" examples if you simply must change out fenders or whatever.
I have been accused of being very knowledgeable on '13s. That may be true, but I don't have everything correct at all, because I drive my cars. I don't let them sit in the garage year after year. I love Ruckstells, and can't imagine a T without one. I also have genuine original Rocky Mountain brakes on all of my T's, because I'm not a big fan of relining that brake band. I have modern valves, and 280 cams in all three cars. So there! Like Royce, I acquired a '13 roadster a few years ago with natural wheels, but they will be painted in the future, in fact, I already have the paint.
Period correct accessories are fine, even if a repop. Speedsters are "if they'd a had, they'd a used it." There I said it.
I'm from the school of: "Pound it to fit and paint it to match, if you have any paint..."
I spent a good number of years in muscle cars. You want to see some nuts, go hang out with them. Correct date coded parts (sometimes to the week), paint dab inspection marks, correct finishes on the many thousands of parts--It's great for significant cars, but no thank you, not for me.
I find there is a great wealth of people here that know what is correct and what isn't, that too is great. Most of them don't get anally annoying to me, they say their peace and that is that. What I like about most T'ers is that they are at the very least just happy to see another vehicle of the era on the road.
I for one own a cut off touring/pickup. I am fine with that, I love telling people of why it was done back in the day and it adds history---real history to these vehicles and the hobby. I can never "restore" it as it would cost way more than it is worth. It would be akin to restoring a race car that was built from a production car back to it's original off the line specs. Most cars are not worthy of that in terms of value.
I like looking at cars that are used and as my good acquaintance Ron says "in their work clothes". That interests me the most, especially being so many Model T's got used for other things as the years passed. I will keep my pickup as correct to the era as I can, but there are and will be some mods done. My doodlebug/tractor is great because no one can ever say what is correct--but again, I try to mostly keep to the period it was built--mostly.
And as far as correctness promoting the hobby, I think it scares more people off initially. When a newbie gets on here and is proud of what they bought, when most of the time it is built from parts and/or modified with aftermarket parts, I would feel better if we encouraged them to get it running and on the road before we start fixing the correctness of it for them.