I love that phrase. Constantine used it in poking a little fun at my determination to paint my wheels black "as God and Henry intended". I was being facetious with that statement, of course. The fact is that whether we don the purist hat occasionally or wear it all the time, we're hypocrites. We're like religious fanatics who quote the Bible verses that seem to support their crackpot notions and ignore the ones that don't. The guys who make that headgear part of their daily uniform would be very disappointed in me, with my FP pinion bearing, improvised hand brake spring, Timkens in my front wheels, and other heretical transgressions. So if you catch me pontificating about "correctness", don't be fooled. I'm as guilty as anybody else.
"Pure as the driven snow"
Snow is ice crystals, which are formed around a dust particle. That is why even the purest
snow tastes like licking a dusty bookshelf.
The parallel is obvious. However, bare wood wheels just look silly.
Let's hear it for silly!
I sure wish my T and my '29 Nash still had silly bare wood wheels instead of disc and spoke wheels.
As far as modern bearings and such-if you don't tell anybody, no one will ever know.
Why would you want to put Babbitt spacers in the rear end? Maybe so you could brag about how much they cost.
If you dip the T parts in Japan black... never mind
Yes, I know, I can get as nit-picky as the worst of them! I even very recently told of me visiting an old friend that was on a tour near where I live and he apologized to me for the gas headlamps on his '15! I was shocked! I mean, I know I can pick a car apart, but geez? Am I really THAT bad? (Anyone wanting to chime in here, either side, feel free, I can take it)
I often use a phrase similar to "make my cars as era correct as I reasonably can". That means I want the car to look right, but I recognize that there are a lot of things that cannot be "reasonably" done. Paint is not the only thing. You could actually almost duplicate some of the original formulas. But why would you? It would be a lot of effort. It probably would not look as good, or last as long as a good modern paint (just look at the probably '60s restoration "barn find" on eBad right now. Looks like 40 years in a barn and there is a shine under that dirt!).
Beyond paint? New tires are not made the same. You cannot get upholstery or top material that is exactly like the original. In many cases, you cannot even buy the same species of wood used originally.
Many, many, years ago, I saw an otherwise beautifully restored 1920ish Dodge at a car show with these hideous finished wood parquet running boards on it. (Moment of stunned silence) I asked why he had done such a thing, and he replied that he had spent two years trying to find gray linoleum but could not get any. There was in fact a time in the late '60s and early '70s when it was virtually unobtainable (I still have a small amount I grabbed at a yard sale because of that.) The entire rest of the show, that fellow was bragging about all his efforts to restore the car perfectly to like it was when it was new. (Those running boards just ruined the car!)
One of my early restorations? I spray canned gray common linoleum. For several years, I had other hobbyists begging me for my secret where I got the linoleum. Yes, I usually told them the truth.
Some purists are only fooling themselves.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I appreciate the purists, somebody has to keep and spread the knowledge regarding what is truly "original" and how to achieve it.
I also agree that "originality" has to be the over-riding criteria for judging cars in the "stock" classes at judged events.
One request - If you're going to tell someone in a post that some feature of their car is "incorrect", at least tell everyone what "correct" is in the same post, please!
I agree with Mark you guys that have the knowledge of whats original thank you for spreading it to us guys that want to learn
Like I always say about my RED 1916 Touring :
It Ain't Correct ... And It Ain't Yours !!
If it makes the owner happy and want to drive it - it's correct
I wear the purist hat with caution. Black wheels are a must along other visible details. I too am ashamed of my FP pinion bearing but would rather let people see my stock appearing car driving on the road than hide it in my garage. One thing must change though. No more Wards Riverside tires. Next time, I will pay more money and get Firestones!
OK Burger, call me silly, but I like the stained wheels. Like I always say, " The only pure Model T is your Model T "
" ... and he apologized to me for the gas ... "
At least he apologized.
Dave... What's wrong with the Wards Riverside tires? Is there something wrong with them or is it just that you're putting your purist hat on because they never came standard on the Model T? LOL Anyway, I was just getting ready to buy two of them because my Martin Parry truck has two of them on the fronts that are almost perfect and they've been there about 50 years I guess.
I have a red T, a yellow T, 3 T's with Model A wheels, and a closed cab p/u made from several years' parts. But, I also have a couple of correct ones--even an AACA Senior. I've met many "experts" over the years, but, I've met many more people that thought they were experts but were armed with bad info. I once met an AACA national judge for T's that saw my 15 off the show field and shared with me that I could never be competitive "until I replaced that 1914 bulb horn with the correct hand operated Klaxton..." (The bulb horn is correct.) It's your car to do with as you wish. It's nice to know what's correct, but, don't get so obsessed that's it's not fun any more. I once new a guy who's 16 roadster door sagged due to worn hinge pins. He built them up with brass and turned them in his lathe because he didn''t want to put any repro parts on his T. Most of us mess with T's for enjoyment--don't let the fun go away!
To Harvey and others of the natural wood preference,
I would like to engage in a civil discussion about this topic.
My first wood vehicle was a Model AA mail truck with wood body. Careful study
of the crumbling body showed it was largely made of oak and ash, and as it was
rebuilt from salvaged patterns and fresh wood, the thing was a monument to the
beauty of natural wood. I was utterly gut-punched at the thought of painting it
over with olive drab U.S. Mail paint !
As a lifetime carpenter. cabinet builder, general contractor with a bent for fine
finish, I totally "get it" about liking the look of natural wood.
So, here's my question:
Does the preference for non-OEM natural wood spokes stem from just liking the
look of wood ? Or is it something else ?
As a counterpoint, my reason to override my desire to see the natural wood was
that I placed more importance on preserving an image of an unmolested Model T
or similar era car as it existed "back in the day" than I did on seeing the wood.
I suppose it was 1950's T enthusiasts that started the notion of leaving the wood
exposed for the beauty of the wood and it has caught on with a certain contingent
of enthusiasts since. And I suppose it is easier for me to reject the desire to keep
the T in natural wood because I can go out in my shop and build a cabinet or guitar
with any wood I desire at any time, so the novelty isn't as strong as my desire to
create that "1934" look with my T.
Anyway, ... I want make it clear that this is not any sort of attack. I'd just like to
hear argument FOR natural wood and how/why it overrides any desire one might
have to go OEM with painted wood. In other words, I'd like to get it from the horse's
mouth to understand why some like natural wood over OEM paint.
James, there's nothing wrong with the old Ward's Riversides like you have. They have a great reputation for lasting a long, long time. The current ones are said to be made in the same Vietnamese factory as most of the other current tires, and therefore not as good as the old ones. I don't know that they're any better or worse than any of the other tires from that factory. I haven't done enough T driving yet to speak from personal experience. I'm just going by what I've read. Not long ago Bob Coiro had an excellent piece in the Vintage Ford on Model T tires.
I had intended to include this picture of my coupe in my earlier post, but got interrupted. I went back later. thought I posted it? But it vanished. Anybody see my head laying around? Can't seem to find it?
I was going to say that my coupe has natural finished wheels. It was that way when I bought it. I do prefer black wheels (that is me), as Steve says "as God and Henry intended" (sorry Steve)). I may paint them black some day. But do not hold your breath. I have way too many projects I need to work on, and can enjoy the car just fine the way it is.
Drive carefully, and do enjoy your T however it is restored! W2
Thanks Steve... The vehicle I'd be putting the Riversides on is mostly a display vehicle anyway. Besides, I may leave it as it is.... the right rear actually has a Firestone "Oldfield" from the 20's! It's completely bald but it looks cool.
Mike Black, Can you post a good photo of your built up enclosed pu
Interesting discussion on black vs.natural wood spokes. I definitely prefer black and all my Ts/TTs are black except my speedster/racer (profile). The racer wheels are natural only because they are the only *respoked* wheels I have and they came raw wood. I debated whether to paint them...then I figured to leave them natural...I could always paint them later. You can always paint...unpainting is difficult. Was a debate. Anyway I only use old, refurbished, reconstituted wooden spokes which require paint to cover.
Ford offered natural wheels starting in 1925, but ONLY on the 21" wheels.
Aftermarket, non-Ford companies offered their wood spoke wheels for the Ford in choice, you could have finished natural wood on these wheels in the 'teens. So even when the T was rather 'new', some owners then and now liked the 'look' of 'varnished hickory'.....me too
This self-assured gal has natural finished wood spokes on her sedan!
One other thing about natural vs painted spokes. The general viewing public (non T people) is not always aware that painted spokes are wood. If the spokes are painted they just get a casual glance and no real thought as to them being wood. On the other hand if they are natural, I hear all the time "wow" look at those wood spokes, or something similar. The natural wood just gives the car a more "antique" look. I just sold a model T project that had the best set of 21 inch wood spoke wheels on it that I have ever had. They may have been NOS. They were beautiful and had nice slick paint. There was a local man looking at the car, and I mentiond how the wheels were the best wood spoke wheels I have ever seen. He was amazed they were wood. and he looked and looked at them. He thought they were made of steel. As to paint vs natural, its just a personal preference thing. Main thing is have fun, and be safe ... Donnie Brown ...
I am well aware that Henry would never have gone to the expense of doing the spokes with one finish, and the wheel another. My touring had the wheels in natural wood (not a great job, either). One wheel was bad, but the car came with another set. I spent a lot of hours sanding the replacement down to bare wood and metal so that I could refinish the spokes in natural wood and the hub and wheel black. I simply think that it looks better. Since it's my car, it's my choice. I have no problem with someone who feels differently. I also have a permanently lubricated ball-bearing fan pulley. There was nothing wrong with the original, but I didn't like grease all over the engine compartment.
I agree with Donnie Brown. The natural spokes seem to garner much more interest than painted wood or even wire wheels. At the local car show a lot of interest was shown in the wheels because of the natural wood. One young fellow commented that my unit looked just like a buckboard with a motor and rubber tires on the original wheels. During my discussion with the fellow many people gathered around to listen. I explained that basically what the public was looking for was a faster horse and Henry Ford provided just that. Harv.
James, nothing wrong with Wards Riversides, it's just that I can't hide the lettering or the tread pattern and I like my car to look as close to factory original as possible.
Donnie is correct. 90% of the NON-T folks out there have no idea that under the tin - Lizzie is made from a lot of wood. The natural wood wheels help folks understand why it is called a horseless carriage. And it looks pretty cool too. (My opinion and that's what counts, Right? ) My Dad made the choice in 1969 and he heavily influenced my decision to keep the wheels un-pigmented when I got a new set of front wheels several years ago. Our Fords were the driving force for the transition from the horse drawn carriage to the modern era. I think that's part of why we enjoy them. A throw-back, but you don't have to shovel out the barn.
Obviously Model T owners have their own thoughts about Model T purity and as a group we could discuss thousands of details. Personally I enjoy these discussions; they are interesting and new things are learned occasionally. What is very disappointing is reading comments like "...their crackpot notions...". Just because one doesn't understand or believe the same as someone else, calling such 'crackpot notions' is disrespectful and rude.
The interesting thing about putting on a purist hat is that people do so when looking at OTHER people's cars, NOT their own.
I too am guilty of such evil ISIS type behaviour...
You go to a car show and notice a T that you've never seen before. You then suddenly, without knowing it, find yourself scanning the T looking for "problems". OH! why did you put on a 14mm plug Z head not the 1/2" pipe plug one? OH! your front floor rubber mat should be white not black! OH! why put 26-7 wire wheels on a 24??
Yes okay, there's nothing wrong in having an opinion about a car, but why are we so fixated about "original" and "correct", rather than being grateful that someone has put a lot of time and money into putting and keeping the car on the road? Afterall, it could have ended up as scrap on it's way to China to be turned into a non-period correct washing machine...
Does this mean that I should take my "GUM DIPPED" Firestone whitewall tires off of my 26 buick put them on the ford and put the riverside's on the buick? They do hold air but the sidewalls look like the mojave desert and the buick isnt roadworthy at this time!
At least wheels and tires are things easily changed. I built my car from parts, I tried to use all correct year parts and replace the incorrect ones when I run across the correct ones. My wheels are black but if I ever sold it then I guess the new owner could sand them and varnish them. I hate watching those hot rod shows on TV where they take a perfectly good 36 Ford and chop the top, lower it and all that. Wheels, easy. Un-chopping a top, not so much.
Barry, to whom is the phrase disrespectful and rude?
To the parties to whom it was directed, in this case apparently religious fanatics, whom ever that definition includes.
I decided to go with stained and varnished wheels instead of black paint for two reasons: First, the bare wood wheels Mr. Stutzman made for me were just so beautiful, I didn't have the hear to hide them under paint. The other reason was more self-indulgent. As an artist by trade, I couldn't help but notice that when viewed from the side, the vast, flat, black sheetmetal expanse of my '15 Touring was just screaming for a little texture and detail. It wouldn't have been a problem with a Runabout or any other body type, but I thought the Touring really needed it.
OK, I'll be more precise. I'm perfectly willing to be rude and disrespectful to outfits like Westboro and People's Temple. You can add racist groups that claim divine inspiration, and if you want to take it outside a Judeo-Christian context, we'll throw in Al Caida, ISIS, and the nuts who don't commit violence directly, but support them morally and financially. All of them have their very selective interpretations of scripture, and any rudeness and disrespect directed their way is well earned. Perhaps it was a poor analogy in the context of dealing with old cars, but the point was that we do choose to follow some tenets of orthodoxy and not others.
Steve, well said!!!!!! Dave
With you on that one Steve!
An observation on a local "judged" show:
I took my Speedster to an invitational show on Labor Day. All the cars were there by invitation only. I was in the antique class with five other cars, including a really nice '22 Oldsmobile. I wasn't expecting to win anything, and I wasn't surprised when I didn't (I just like to give folks the chance to see my car, and enjoy talking with them about it and it's history in my family for the last 88 years). But I must say I was a little surprised, and a little disappointed, when a beautiful 1930 Essex took first place in the antique class. In speaking with the owner earlier in the day, who happened to have his car parked next to mine, I realized why he didn't have his hood open. He informed me that he did most of the restoration work himself. He told me he had got it running with the original engine after he got the car several years ago, but had pulled the entire original drive-train out and sold it. He replaced the very restorable original with a modern Corvette LS-1 motor and transmission.
He sure looked happy when he walked up to get his trophy. The Olds owner and I were standing together. We just looked at each other and smiled.
When I started preserving my 16 coupelet three years ago I was not wearing the purist hat. With spending many hours on this forum I now wear a large purist hat. There will be a few year incorrect parts on my 16 but they will be replaced in time as correct used parts come available.
One of my biggest reversals was with nuts and bolts. I've now gone back and replaced all incorrect replacement hardware with Ford originals that Grandpa had. That meant me de-rusting many nuts and bolts then running a tap or die to clean up the threads. I've just completed the engine and every nut and bolt on it is 100% Ford (except the cotter pins).
Of course there some items which will not be correct due to age like the top, interior leather, radiator, tires etc.
While my coupelet will not be a beauty queen by any stretch of the mind I'll know that it's as year correct at this guy can get it.
"Purist correct" is cool, for sure. It can give the careful study an unmolested
look into history, even if it has been "put back" to original. This applies to any-
thing from old cars to homes to coal stoves.
Personally, I prefer a little looser approach, with the crosshairs more on "period
correct" than super-dooper-exactly-as-built correct. More to represent how
Farmer Brown would have maintained the vehicle in 1934 than as-delivered. I
find many of the period gee-gaw bits just as interesting as the vehicle itself.
But that's just me.
Well said Burger. Harv.
Philip -- Good on you for using original Ford bolts & nuts on your Coupelet. That's the way to do it right, and a rare car such as yours deserves that. Yes, it is a lot of work to clean them and chase their threads when new ones are so readily available. But it's time well-spent, and you will be much happier with the result.
BTW, you can save a lot of money on the interior if you have the seat done in vinyl (or whatever its proper name is) rather than leather. The '15 Coupelets had leather seats, but not the 16's. They used "imitation leather" on those. That was one of the cost savings which made the '16 closed cars so much more affordable than the slow-selling higher-priced 15's.
To add a bit to what Burger said, I wouldn't think that there were very many original Model T owners "back in the day" that were at all concerned with being "period correct"! In fact, I'll bet there have been Model "T's "over restored" to absolute "correctness" that were cars that had actually had changes made to them by the original owner just a year or two out of the factory!