My friend Walter has what I think is a really cool survivor '25 Coupe. I've shared with him my opinion that a Model T is only original once and he agrees that it's nice to preserve them as close to as found as possible. He's had to do a few mechanical repairs to his Coupe (rebuilding front and rear axles, steering collumn, and exhaust) other than that, he's had the wisdom to leave it just as it was when he found it, right down to the '45 Iowa registration sticker. Now, he's thinking that he really wants a shiney Model T Touring. So, he's going to sell this one. Should he sell this one to somebody who's willing to put a fair value on it's patina, or would he be (fiscally) better off to shoot a coat of paint at it first? At his asking price of $5,200, I've been really tempted to buy it just to keep it as is, but that wouldn't fit into my current theme of downsizing my stuff.
I like to "refurbish" to new. I agree a really great "original" car should be maintained, but a truly restored original is tough to beat.
At the end of the day, it is ultimately up to the owner. The only wrong answer, in my opinion, is to veer away from original restoration.
How could you respary the body in a glossy paint, paint the engine and renickel the radiator and dust caps and put in new upholstery?
It would destroy what is such a sepcial and original car. How many truely original cars can one find now. They surely must be rarer than any restored car.
But hey thats just my opinion!
I certainly hope someone with some space will appreciate the car for what it is. I think $5,200 is a real decent price for what I could see in the photos but my three cars already take more space than I have.
I like original cars. Some may remember the Rip Van Winkle 1917 Model T that was in the VF a couple of decades ago. It had 26 miles on it and was just as it left the factory. I have seen the car and it now had over 100 miles on it. But nothing had been changed, I remember Bruce McC writing that one tire still had 1917 air....
The little coupe shown in the picture is not original, it's had quite a bit of work over the years, look at the radiator, the generater cut out, manifold, carb, the list goes on. So while the body may be 'original' it certainly has had quite a bit of work done over the years. Does that make it "original", I'm not sure.
My 25 coupe looks very similar, but has some extras like a ruckstell and RM brakes and is not original.
Just how much work changes it from original to restored???
Shiney paint sells.
Are the wheels non-demountable?
I think that if it had most of its orginal paint that would be one thing. But from what is shown in the photos I think it could do with at least a repaint. But unlike Sutter(?) I would go with maybe a little duller mat finish. I know that when I paint Nellybell I am going to go for an aged look. OK just my OP
If nothing else it needs a coat of something to contain the rust...I would have to paint it, what better way to preserve it.If Ford hadn't painted them they would not be here today, personal choice I guess.
Bump up the price and sell it as is !
There are clear coat options worth investigating
As the owner of an original car, one thing that was pointed out to me in my early days with it was that once restored it can never be unrestored. To strip away what was painted on by hand in 1926 would be criminal. Fortunately, I discovered I could get the car registered in its original condition, provided of course it complied with the relevant safety requirements as any other T would.
Besides, doing body work on a car is in my opionion the most boring and tedious part of working on a car...I bought my T to drive, not to spend years trying to make it look better than when it came out of the factory.
Well, if it was mine I'd just spray it with diesel to hold off the rust, and drive it.
And if I was selling, I wouldn't waste time doing anything to it. The buyer is either going to love it the way it is or want to tear it apart & restore it: new paint is going to deter the 1st type of buyer and the 2nd type will just strip it all off again. This is what I believe you chaps call a 'no-brainer'
This 1925 Model T looked worse than that one three years ago. Some of you saw it at the Richmond Birthday Party. It has been invited to Dearborn twice for events. It also spent a day parked in front of the U. S. Capital in Washington DC to promote passage of a bill to authorize a Model T Ford Medal or coin.
Jem, what do you chaps call a 'no-brainer'?
P.S. Just finished a medical translation from Dutch into UK English. Takes me a lot longer because I have to be careful of spelling and vocabulary. They gave me a list with the US terms and their UK equivalents. Have to use -ise instead of -ize, tumour instead of tumor, haematology instead of hematology, etc.
I like to use the term "as found" rather than "original". A Model T Ford was meant to be used and driven. Little things (and sometimes big) things have been done to the car to keep it running. A running Model T that is "as found" are becoming rare. "Restored" Model Ts are very common. Can't we have both? I notice at a gathering, it is the "as found" Model T that gets the attention.
Here is what I would do with this car. First, replace that exhaust manifold - it's too shiny. Look for a used one that is straight. Same goes for the intake manifold. I'd also replace the hose clamps on the radiator hose with some used originals - complete with surface rust. I would try to dirty up the fan belt and radiator hoses so they don't stand out as much. Also, remove those adapters on the spark plugs and find a nice set of used X plugs.
I would then go through the rear axle and make sure it had bronze thrust washers in it. Don't do any cleaning or painting to the outside of the axle - keep the patina just the way it is. Go through the front end and replace what needs to be replaced to make it safe to drive - again not touching the patina.
Finally, I would drive it just the way it is.
I have a 24 coupe that is in this condition. It looks a little nicer since it was painted sometime in the 50's but I really wish they had not done that to it.
Keeping a car like this looking right is actually hard to do. Replacement parts really stand out and don't look right. It takes time to find good used parts with the right patina. I spent a quite a bit of time looking for a front license plate bracket for my coupe as the new ones were to shiny. I finally found one that had just the right amount of old paint on it to match the rest of the car.
In my opinion, a car like this has lots of value in the historical sense. If you want to see how Ford made it, this is the kind of car you need to look at. A restored car - no matter how well done - is simply the restorer's interpretation of how it was. A car like this is documentation as to how it really was.
As has been mentioned before - once you restore it there is no going back and you loose the historical value.
Many of us want someone else to keep their car as found, while we paint ours up to look like new. Just an observation which includes me.
Is that a 1911 Buick Model 14 in the garage?
Gil Fitzhugh, Morristown, NJ
i mostly agree with what dave said - but, a summer of driving will "dirty-up" things like the rad. hoses and fan belt, and less driving will take care of the shinny exhaust manifold.
i've got a body that has been left outside for three years now in an attempt to replicate this type of patina.
just my 0.02¢
Very observant. Walter's Buick is a '10, I believe. I can't recall the model number; it is one of the rarer variants. It's a real sweetheart and a veteran of many New London to New Brighton Tours.
Here is my 1931 Model A Ford wide bed pickup. We just went through the chassis, including the engine, and rebuilt what was needed. I replaced the running boards, but painted them to match the rest of the truck. It runs and drives very nice, but retains the old look. It gets a lot of attention at meets. I have owned it since 1969.
Eric: Where is that car and how can I get in touch with the owner. My email is email@example.com Thanks, Dan
Here is that original 1910 T that was the subject of a previous thread. Would anyone really want to restore this one?
These cars did not come from the factory with tarnished brass or covered in grease or dirt.
I don't understand why some are so proud of dirt.
An original car can be greatly improved without jeopardizing its integrity via detailing it with soap and water, mineral spirits, brass polish, Simoniz cleaner, a good wax job, etc.
Below is an "after" picture of my well-used, but unrestored roadster. Now, if I could just train the mice that removed the cotton stuffing from the upholstery and deposited it in the trunk to put it back where it belongs, I would really have something to brag about....
Erik Johnson - Mpls
Hello Darel , absolutely not....
Boy, we got the full range of opinions. I'm with the guys who prefer to leave this car pretty much "as found". But, it sure would be nice to start a restoration project with such a solid car, rather than the schlok we usually have to work with. I appreciate Erik's attidue toward preservation too.
Tony's comparisons to the Rip car don't really seem to apply to this one or other Ts that actually saw service. Of course, Model Ts that got used for twenty years had some work done to them. Even the Rip car would need a bit of work to make it roadworthy and to be enjoyed as a car. The Rip car is a wonderful time capsule, but it's long past being useful as a car. Attemting to use it as a car would destroy it's true value. So, the real question seems to be; is there a need recognize the historical value of some fairly well preserved, but well used Model Ts by leaving them in "as found" condition? My vote is in the affirmative.
Several folks have emailed me asking if I'm going to buy the car. No, I'm too busy with my other projects (and short of storage space) and coil rebulding to buy another T right now. Walter has asked me to post an ad for the car in the want ads section of this site. I'll try to do that this afternoon.
Here is that original 1910 T that was the subject of a previous thread. Would anyone really want to restore this one?
Very interesting thoughts here. My thoughts are that whoever owns a car should do what he/she wants regardless of what others think unless what others think is important to that person. Drive what you want and make it look like you want it to. Easy..
Any old car is fun. I have a '53 Dodge dump truck in fine original condition, a '53 M38A1 Willys that has been worked over by someone in the past but is so scratched that I can drive it anywhere, even through a brush field and over trees, banging into rocks and not worry. Looks funny next to the Porsche, but I love it just the same. The 1912 Roadster is nice and clean, and the TT truck is original paint, a bit rough here and there, nice clean body and wood, and I plan to leave it that way so it looks old and antique.
I love the nice cars rebuilt so they look so clean and perfect and think they are fabulous. I also like the old ones. I rode in one yesterday, a 1927 Tudor that is original paint having been stored in a barn in Virginia City, Nv. for the last 60 years and is old and wrinkled a bit on the paint but is fantastic as well.
Drive what you want looking like you want it to and love what everyone else does as well because of the variety. No judgment at all!
I have never seen a car posted on this forum (in my few months of being here) that I did not like!
since it is everyones .02...
Cars in this condition are fun cars. You usually do not hesitate to take them anywhere at all or worry about what happens to them while you are getting there.
But I do agree with others to some extent, they are only as historically accurate as the state they were parked in. That dull dim, dry garage did wonders for preservation. Want not too much more deterioration? Leave them where they be. That upholstery sees any significant sunlight? Yep,it starts to turn to dust. That surface rust surface? can get some flakes if the new home is not as dry. The perils of the game, and then when something needs fixing or replacement where do you stop?
Years ago I envied the way one guy in Northern Illinois approached this same dilemma. I liked his style all said and done. He worried about the some new/some old...then about some of the new wearing out before some of the old wore, etc.
He bought a coupe  that appeared in about the same shape as the original post. He took off what was left of the original body paint and did a foam brush sandable primer....and left the outside like that! Enjoyed it, rode it, toured with it, etc. Seat split, broke out a turkey needle and some thread.
But here is what he did unique. When something did fail, he bought the replacement, but still managed to patch what he had one way or the other with leftovers etc. He made every club tour, even went on regional tours and it took maybe 5 years...but then he awoke one day and had all he needed for a complete resoration in boxes
His new 'vocation' was the total rebuild and it actually became a chapter project <wink> to get him a ready to run chassis rebuild. Had the sandable primer then 'sanded', went to the Channel Green as part of the new paint was able to do it with the roof off but the new already in a box..........and then started having a whole new experience.
Eventually, he got a good deal, and had the cash, to buy a brass car in great #2 condition.....which is what he wanted in the first place, and sold the 27 to someone who wanted a 'driver'. That sounds like win-win to me
Thank you for your comments. Your logical, well phrased response is a prime example of the way these forums should work. You've made srtong points that you've backed up well in an inoffesive manner.
Hey George you have a bad habit of judging everyone by how you would react if you were in the same situation. <wink><wink>
locally there used to be a 28 A Leatherback that had under 25K documented miles. It had won in preservation class at MARC meets. Then the owner sold the car to get funds to buy another original car. The seller was sick when he found out that the buyer (who raved over the fact it was so nice) had it professionally restored. Now its just another "A" and all its history is meaningless....
took years to get that paint finish!
preserve it and reap the attention;)
It's a habit all right, but I wouldn't call it 'judging' everyone. I offer answers to questions with what I would do in the same situation as in most of the technical replies it is a been there done that. On others I offer stories of people I have known in similar situations and what worked or didn't work for them.
Too old to change now and if you want to skip over any posts from 'george' then I wouldn't be offended at all. <wink><wink>
I love this forum for its varied users. Everyone has an opinion on every subject, and can explain why they feel the way they do. My T project came as a pile of parts, in the back of a pickup truck. Everything looked kinda cool with its patina, and imperfections, but I decided because it wasn't an original, that I would restore everything now. I don't feel bad as there was no original car to alter. My plan is to have it look like it rolled off the factory floor in Ontario, and no better.
An absoloute 100 percent agreement to what Micheal Herndon said at 4PM on Saturday. One of the great joys of "T" ownership (I often think my T owns me rather than the reverse) is that they all are great regardless of condition. In short "to each his own"
Edward R. Levy
At the celebration in Richmond (a great week which I shall never forget) I saw this 100% beautiful brass era Touring car & when I got close to the car, which was running it was so noisy(seemed like Rods, Mains etc.)I thought it was about to implode or is it explode). I often wondered if it was perhaps one of those rare cars which had never been overhauled or perhaps had the rods adjusted by a RANK amatuer like myself.(they say confession is good for the soul
Edward R. Levy
P.S. It was a great joy to see Bruce MCCally(sp)honored for his long service to us all.
I didn't think my comments were that hard to understand, but perhaps I just wasn't clear enough in my explanation. I tend to be a preservationist and am more interested in the historical
All Model T's have had things changed over their lifetime. As soon as the car left the dealer, the loss of information as to "how Ford did it" began. As time went on the cars were worked on, parts changed, and more and more information was lost. The more work done to the car, the less historical information remains. Since there are no cars preserved exactly the way they came off the assembly line, the best we have today are examples like the cars discussed here. Granted they are not 100% as they left the factory, but there is still a lot of untouched areas on these cars that information can be acquired from. It may be impossible to say that some particular part was not changed back in the early 30's, however the more of these cars that are examined the more confident we can be in making statements of just how Ford did it. The problem with restored cars IN THIS CONTEXT is that only the general historical information is preserved - the detail information is lost. An example would be the paint. Repainting a car black would preserve the fact that the car was black, however the details of the quality of the original paint job (things like drips and runs in the paint, varying paint thickness, dipping vs flowed on) would be lost forever.
A couple of other points:
The fact that someone has a 1910 touring, or a 1924-25 roadster that is older and in better condition than this coupe is meaningless. You can't determine how the upholstery was installed in a 25 Coupe by examining a 1910 touring. If you want to see how a 25 coupe was made, you have to look at a 25 Coupe. Going down to your local car show and looking at someones shiny example with his brand new interior is great, but that is the restorers interpretation of how it was done, which may or may not be the way it really was done. The only way to know for sure is to study cars like the coupe above - and not just one but as many as possible. Even though this car has had work done to it, and changes made to it, there is still a lot of original pieces. The body appears to be very original (all based on the few photos provided) with the exception of the top. That is why a car like this has historical value.
The Benson Research Center has lots of documentation for the Model T, however if you are going to use it as the basis for determining exactly how the car was built down to the smallest detail you are going to be very disappointed. Chassis parts were well documented, but when you get into the body that all changes. For the 24-25 coupe pictured above, there are actually four different variations in the construction of the body. Two are not documented at all - not one page of documentation. The other two variations are partially documented. There is also a fifth variation which seems to exist in the documentation which I so far have not been able to locate a physical example of. The archives provide an excellent resource, but to fully document these cars you need to physically examine original cars (or as original as possible)- there is no other way to do it.
I agree with you 100% that it should be documented with photos so that it is available in the future. I've spent the past 5 years trying to do just that - with the 24-25 coupe as a matter of fact. At last count the book I'm putting together was around 400 pages with over 400 photographs - and that is just on the body. I would love to spend a day with the car pictured above. I need a good example of an unrestored 25 coupe body to photograph and document and from the few photos I've seen this one would be a good candidate. Of course, as soon as someone restores it it becomes useless to me for historical documentation.
I hope this
Sorry, I hit the submit button before I was done typing. Meant to say:
I hope this better clarifies my original comments regarding the historical nature of these types of cars. As more and more are restored, examples like this are harder to find and should be documented as much as possible.
To be honest I would preserve and drive the car as is if I bought it.I have plenty of "exploded view" T's and parts.I would enjoy the driveing of a complete, running car.
We all know a restoreation is not the same for everyone.Budgets,equipment,and resources dictate how a restoration is done for most people.
So the judgeing would start all over again if it was restored."Oh,he made the paint to shiny" or Oh My,the engine is the wrong color and the sparkplug wires are a 1/2 inch to long".
The list would never end.
For each his own,but I would drive the wiz out of it just as it is.
As long as it was safe,which it sounds like the car has been gone thru in that respect.
Doesn't it depend on how far the car has deteriorated? I love original cars and would check out an original at a show or swapmeet hands down over a restored car. But in the example above, I think I would do something to the exterior. I wouldn't give it a full blown paint job but might gently blast the exterior and spray it with black epoxy primer sealer. If you could hide the rust with diesel or oil, I'd consider that as well.
I owned a 17 which was the subject of a Vintage Ford article titled Another Rip Van Winkle that I did nothing with the exterior, although I rebuilt the chassis parts that needed it, using NOS or good used parts that looked right for the car. I now own a 16 which is an original car that was brush painted in the twenties. Rust was bubbling thru the paint and the top was shredded so I bead blasted the body and spray painted it with DP 90. I also replaced the top and restored the chassis. So my point is this. It really depends on how good or bad the condition is.
I like the comment above to the effect that we all advise others to keep the cars original while we drive shiney restored cars. LOL
This has been a great conversation with many good points. Here is the 1925 T Coupe that I own. It was used until just after WWII when it was put up on blocks in good dry storage. The owner of the car had me get it running for the centennial (1990) of our small town. The car went back up on blocks until I purchased it in 1999. Other than replacing the tires and normal maintenance, the car is original including the top. The color of the car is black. . . the blue tint in the photos comes from poor photo processing. I am the second registered owner of the car and have the original bill of sale. Mert Swartz (Dealer), Mr. Frank (Salesman) and Elmer Stewart were all men I knew. This car was sold new in the small town (350 population) where I live. The old photos are of Elmer Stewart and his bride on their honeymoon in 1927. There is a lot of local history in that car and I plan on preserving it as long as I live in this area. I own two restored Model Ts (1914 & 1927) so I have no desire to restore this original. There is one thing I am thinking of doing and that is replacing the glass because the windows in the doors are both cracked. At the present time, I just drive the car when having the windows down makes no difference.