I'm new to the Model T and am not sure how to value the vehicles I view for purchase. Currently, I looked at a TT with a good chassis and fenders, a homebuilt flatbed, an engine 10 years older that didn't want to start, incorrect rear wheels and tires, and a hood that was only half there. The coils didn't fire when hooked to a battery. I offered $1,600 to no avail. Was my offer much too low?
Did it have a cab? If so what style (c cab, enclosed steel cab, or aftermarket wood cab)? what was incorrect about the rear wheels and tires? Do you have any pictures? Pricing depends on condition of parts, what is missing, whether it runs and drives (and how well it does this).
If the TT was close to running condition, the offer may have been a bit low, but it's almost impossible to tell without pictures. What type of body does it have?
Rusty? Condition of the wood?
There are thousands of TT's in various conditions over the United States so you'll soon find others for sale - but if you don't want a wreck that'll need thousands in parts and years of work until it's drivable, then you may have to go up in starting price. The cheapest T in the end is often a running T - or one that has been put into running condition in recent decades, so someone else has taken the large bills for the restoration.
Now that you've made the best first move (posting here), I think that for your next action the best bet is to join a local chapter of one of the T clubs. Their members will want to help you get off on the right foot. You will usually find someone who will be happy to go with you to look at a car and offer good advice. Sometimes one of them has a car for sale.
No body or cowl. Home made wood seat. Wheels were not the heavier spoked one ton TT wheel or wider tire. Under gear worford, newer taller radiator with shroud lengthened to accomodate. Brake lever teeth worn off so won't hold neutral/brake position. I don't have a pic. Some parts were nice unrestored, but a lot were just worn out. It's advertised at 2,500 but he also said it runs and drives nice. He couldn't get it to start. Coils don't engage when hooked to a battery.
No, I don't think you were too low on that incomplete project.. But there are always others out there
"Engine 10 years older" by the way.. In T's and other early cars older is better, rarer and more expensive - as long as it's earlier than 1917ish or back in the brass era. How old was the engine?
Thanks for the opinions. Unfortunately, I have a limited budget and not many Ts come up for sale under $4,000. I liked the truck but it could get real expensive to get it to start and run dependably and it still has very low gears and no cab. I thought my offer was fair, but I was willing to come up a little. It appears he is holding out for closer to full price. I just want a driveable T to chug around our little town and enjoy for its history and uniqueness.
I love vehicles that "run and drive nice" but won't start. You can't wear them out.
Nothing beats taking an experienced hand with you to check it out. Next best is posting pictures here. That's pictures (plural), not picture. Ideally, you take them outdoors on a day with slight overcast to soften the shadows. You want a combination of long shots and close-ups. Eight long shots you want are of the whole vehicle from front, back, both sides, and from the four corners. Move in closer for views of details: front axle & springs, rear axle & springs, engine compartment from both sides, interior (seats and controls), and undercarriage from front and rear. Those are the minimum shots you want. You may think of others to add. Dozens of digital pictures cost no more than one.
If the owner doesn't want you taking pictures, walk. There are other vehicles for sale by people who aren't hiding anything. Take everything you're told with a grain of salt. That doesn't mean the owner is being dishonest. He can believe everything he tells you and still be wrong.
I should add these links. They may provide some useful information.
It sounds as unless you want a project to possibly pass on that TT in my opinion. But again, with no pics it is hard to say, but it almost sounds like a mish mash of parts.
My personal experience, if you really want one and are ready to buy, do as R.V. says if at all possible and find a local club possibly using the references found on the Home page under Chapters---or follow this link http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm
There also may be people to you that are reasonably close that will help you if you find something--possibly posting a want ad here looking for help.
There are three ways to buy a T in my opinion.
-Basket case--literally in baskets or boxes
-Running but possibly pieced together and worn out in some/all areas.
-Ready to drive and needs nothing to very little.
I really don't recommend a basket case parts car approach nowadays. Far too much can be missing or needing repair and cost you plenty if you don't know, but you certainly will learn all about your car as you will know every nut and bolt.
Sometimes, people like me will buy into the running but needs work--or lots of work, and get in a little cheaper and add dollars to fix over time. This is ok, but you must realize you may well have way more into it than it is worth in the end from fixing things---again, you will learn quickly about all aspects of your car. This also gives you a chance to possibly drive and fix as you go. I like to pick a major project about every year or two and tackle it--rear axle rebuild, front axle rebuild, etc.
Buying a true ready to run/restored car is the fastest way to get going, but you will more than likely pay for that convenience, but sometimes you can get a great deal too. If you go this route, I HIGHLY recommend to get a second EXPERIENCED opinion as more than once has a car been taunted as ready to run and restored and it clearly to the experienced eyes needs work.
Again, this is my view/opinion from my experience.
Some possible useful links:
Good Luck, ask us any and all questions, and don't feel as if it is too dumb a question to ask. If you want to search topics on Yahoo, Google, etc, it is very helpful in your search query to put MTFCA at the end so it finds topics with in this forum.
Engine was 1913, but chassis is 1924. No brass anywhere. The seller bought it 30+ years ago when in high school and built the flatbed as a school project. Has been in his garage since so wood (pine) is still like new. He painted the chassis then. He had a phone video of him driving it a few weeks or months before. I suspect it sat in his shop and he got it started so that he could sell it. I didn't check the condition of the fluids or inside gas tank. I think a good clean up and tuning could make the difference, but I don't know that 100%.
I have worked on many 60s cars over the years so have some experience with engine repairs and swaps. I took my ex husband with me because he is more proficient. His opinion matched mine in that overall it was sound, but basically more a rolling chassis with a seat that may or may not run. It would turn over but not fire. I don't know how it could start if the coils were not firing, but then again I am a beginner to the workings of the T.
Gale, I think possibly something on a car chassis would be better as a first T. Nothing wrong with TT's, but for the beginner, you may not like how slow they truly can go. Yes you can make them faster somewhat, quite easily, but it takes what I consider a decent chunk of money to do so.
I think I would also find something that truly runs, and runs fairly decent. I see deals out there, but you need to be patient. $4000 can buy a decent T in my opinion, you may be able to stay under that if you look a little bit. Someone just posted on a deal they got on their first T and I believe they said $4500 bought it and it looked decent if I recall.
Also something to consider, do you want it bone stock they way it came off the assembly line or will you be ok with something that is running but pieced together or just has some wrong parts on it. If you get the put together car and want to factory restore it, it will probably cost you a lot vs. buying a good original car.
BTW, my car/pickup was a pieced together car with stock parts, but to the average Joe, I just tell them it is all stock. I enjoy it for what it is, a near 100 year old piece of history.
The coils may need some troubleshooting to see if they get any electricity from a battery - and if it starts, wether it'll run on magneto. It may take lots of work and money to fix a bad magneto, so it's important when bargaining for a good price.
A true 1913 engine in running condition would be worth the asking price for the truck by itself. But sometimes engine numbers have been tampered with, so more details have to be confirmed. A true 1913 engine doesn't have any starter or generator and the pedals have letters C,R and B for clutch, reverse and brake where you put your feet.
I don't care if it is Frankensteined from different years. I wasn't looking for an all original T, just one that could be safely driven without a major overhaul, even if 25mph was top speed. I can't afford to have a car shipped, so will have to find one in the northern California area. I started out looking for a speedster, but quickly realized they are above my budget. I will just have to save my pennies a bit more. I do have a beautiful custom 3D painted 06 Honda VTX 1300 motorcycle I am wlling to trade for a Model T if anyone is interested. Thanks again.
Buy the BEST that you can AFFORD---you will never regret that. I have gone the cheap route and ended up with way more into the car than if I had bought a better car to start with and I had a poorer car in the end.
The check if the engine is real and rare would be for the reason you may think about swapping the engine for a newer/cheaper and more practical with a starter - and maybe get money in exchange..
The northern California MTFCA chapter is in Rodeo. See Chad's link above. Maybe they know about members closer to you who may know about cars for sale?
Not sure that I can help you out in your decision making. But I agree with what was said above. You need to decide on how fast you want to be driving. Here is a picture of our $300 basket. We are collecting parts and have bought quite a few now (wheels, hubs, body, etc). We are into it almost $2000 and it still looks the same. I hope that gives you a little insight on the dollar value of a T. We knew what we were getting into and this is a project for my sons and I.
I was looking at this and daydreaming today. It's not a TT but I'd sure like to have a chance to play with it for a bit.
Here are some of my personal opinions. If you want the lower cost. A Roadster or touring or some sedans or coupes from the "black" era would be the lowest price to purchase. And they would also be easiest to find spare parts. The early Brass cars are the most expensive and the "Improved" 26-27 somewhere between.
The most important thing is to find a vehicle which is complete and preferably in running condition to start with. You will still find a lot to do as you drive it. Next important is a reasonably good body and fenders. Not all rusted out or wood rotted away. If the car is complete to start with, the price would vary according to condition of body, paint and mechanical condition. The body, paint upholstery and mechanical parts can be worked on a little at a time, but if you don't have a complete car, you will need to attend many swap meets and look for parts on the forum and on line. New parts can be purchased from many of the vendors.
In regard to a TT. They are interesting vehicles and no two alike. I think you should look at many of them if that's what your heart desires. Try to get the opportunity to road test, because you might like it or not. They are hard to tour with unless it is a tour of TT's, because of their speed. They have tremendous pulling power which is accomplished through the low speed high torque engine and the gearing, and on flat land they will move along, but pulling hills they will be the slowest on any tour.
There are many T's for sale almost all the time, so do a lot of looking before you decide what to buy.
Anyway, those are my opinions. Not necessarily those of others or yourself.
Gale, the rear wheels being different piqued my interest. Are you sure it is a TT? A TT will have a worm drive rear axle. The tailshaft will meet the rear axle at the top, rather the centre as on a car.
A TT rear end has much heavier axles and the wheels need to be heavier too. Car wheels will not fit on TT hubs.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
Does Erik in Auburn Calif still have the coupe for sale?
I think that might fit your budget and your needs.
TT is a deep and evil sickness. Those afflicted (if honest) will tell you to flee, while you still can.
But if the charm of a TT as iconic Americana just won't let you go, then by all means, immerse yourself
in the demented waters of the "heavy" T truck !
I am just a year or two into committing my $$ and energies into TT ownership (not too interested in the
cars) and love them. I would be happy to share what I have learned about them and direct you toward
the resources I have found.
I will be helping a friend sell his TT soon. A truck I would buy myself, if it was not near identical to the
two I already have. Somehow, choking my shop full of multiple copies of the same thing doesn't seem
to be the best plan, so I will be helping him sell it.
If you wish to explore what TT's are all about, drop me a line.
Keep a few things in mind; You buy something that doesn't run, no matter what the seller says, you've paid for the privilege of repairing it. It's your problem. Buy a car without a title and you've just paid for the privilege of proving it's yours. Or even if the seller actually owned it to sell in the first place. Look around. Don't jump at the first thing you see. There's plenty of them out there.
Gale, I don't think Lakeport is a hot-bed of T activity, but Bill's question deserves some looking into, I think Auburn is about a 2 to 3 hour trip for you, there may be other Ts available in the Auburn area too.
Auburn is the home of one of the best T swap meets around, but not until June 5.
It is a little ways from you but not a lo g ways, I know of a 17 touring in southern Idaho that is running but needs some work. I know it could be had for a sum we'll within your budget. Send me a PM if you are interested and I can tell you more about it.
I second the recommendation to save up your money a little longer and buy a complete, running car.
Don't worry, there will still be plenty of projects to do on the car!
The first question should be, "what do you want it for?"
If you primarily want a T for touring, you might find the average 12 mph speed of a TT Truck a little too slow to keep up with the other cars or safely drive on a highway.
I often drive by on highway 20 on my way to visit family in Eureka (often with very little warning or the middle of the night). I think there is still a lot of activity around Santa Rosa, not far from you. Auburn, like Grass Valley, is close to three hours drive. The swap meet in June is definitely worth it if you are interested. And there are several people (including Erik B) that you should want to meet.
Napa (also) should be close to you, and is a very popular tour destination for Bay Area clubs of all types. Sometimes, it can be possible (and fun!) to join in for part of their activities.
I can be difficult to get a hold of, and may not be good for much, but can sometimes give good advice.
Welcome to the affliction!
Drive carefully, and enjoy! W2
I may be selling my mixmatch chassis (mostly 25 but a 26 motor and some other year parts) in order to possibly buy a nice roadster or buy back my grandfather's 26 coupe from the man he sold it to 50 years ago. Chassis has been completely redone amateurly, just needs a few things here and there to get it running (hook up hand brake, time the motor, wire it). It comes with shields, running boards, and rough set of 20's rear and front fenders. I was going to ask 2200 for everything. Figured I'd throw it out there.
I was in Lake Port this past weekend, My daughter lives there!!
Gal, understand the TT is not made to go fast. They are slow. Good for parades and working around the farm but that's about it. If you want to enjoy your T, get a car. Fast enough to drive with modern traffic. Plus haul more than 1-2 people. Not knowing how big you are, TT cabs are tight especially for a big guy.
Yes as long as the modern traffic is driving on a road that has a 25 MPH speed limit and everyone is doing 35.
Tyrone, I enjoy my TT whether I am driving it, working on it, or just looking at it. What are you talking about ???
A friend recently asked me to use my contacts to help him sell his TT. Here is a link to my posting:
It is a nice, complete truck. Has some mismatched year parts, but few don't. Asking $3750.
A TT with the high speed rearend gears and an auxiliary transmission with an overdrive will cruise very nicely around 30 MPH without over revving the engine. The under drive makes it very nice for parades, or pulling stumps<g>. Dave
T and TT'S are both good remember t good 30 to 50 mph car and a tt is good 20 to 40 mph truck
That being said your choices are endless
AS TO BODY STYLE
NOW the big question is how you want jump in
Pay more and enjoy riding or pay less get a prodject.
Projects can cost you more in the long run if they are rough .
Best thing I can say is join a locale club even one that's within 100 mile or radiouse and go to few event clubs like anyone with interest
Swaps are good bakersfield and auburn both good places for parts or cars
Next thing is budget and amount of work you want to invest my first T took 2 years to get that first ride and that was in the 80's.
Watch the ads here hemming ebay and local sources
Give you an idea my current prodject motor trans was about a grand luckily babbitt work was done and wheels cost me 500 tires another 500
So I guess I have around 3000 in my chassis befor I biuld or find a body
Biulding bodies can be fun and great way personalize your T/TT and skills I had and learned along the way invaluable
Best luck in your search and welcome to row rusty nut club
I'd pass on that one. Buy McCalleys black book on all Model T's, and you should be able to narrow your search on what you really want. If it's a TT truck, great. Go for it, but try to get one that is relatively complete. They are out there, and not expensive either.
Gale, the Auburn swap meet is only a few months away. While you are looking, that would be the best place to both look and visit with us T folks. You will find that we all have different opinions, and we are quite willing to share them! We could all arrange a meeting time at the pie stand (OK, they sell other stuff to eat, but PIE!! Unfortunately the county won't let them sell lemon meringue pie anymore (eggs), but there are other good, although less significant, pies there. We would then be able to talk to you, suggest stuff that's available. Believe it or not, there are great buys out here in N. California--however, quite often you do have to be in the right place at the right time.
As for Auburn, one year I bought a complete unrestored, with bad wheels chassis for $300. Another year I bought a completely rebuilt, but not assembled T engine for $400--and both purchases were done late in the day!(Late, at that meet, is about noon). I know, you want a complete car, just pointing out that it can be done within your price range--not easy, but possible!
You will probably want to drive over the day before and find a cheaper motel to stay in--they do exist nearby--as the meet does start "at the crack of dawn." Now I didn't say this, but sometimes folks set up the night before and you never know what you might see "scoping the grounds" the afternoon before. . . .
As Larry said, ... I looked at a number of TT's before spending $10K for mine (with shipping) ... but
it was complete and purty and ready to go. All I have seen up to that point (and most since) were half
that price and one-fourth missing AND requiring double that to buy all the parts and do all the work to
make them decent, reliable stump pullers !
I did not expect to buy a ready-to-go TT. Rather, I was hoping for a truck like the one my friend is
selling ... complete and nicely equipped, but a work-as-you-go project. Had I found it first, I would
had bought it.
Something else to consider .... how much time do you have left ? At 55, I might live to be 85, I might
croak out tomorrow. But if I spend a year or five searching, that is a year or five I could have been out
enjoying that vehicle. How much is money really worth when it comes to how much time we have left ?
There are times I will over-pay "the going rate" for something I will enjoy NOW, that a relatively small
amount of cash will save me a lot of hassle and aggravation in searching for something similar at a "better"
price. "Better" is a relative term, and I have found I can ALWAYS come up with more money, given a little
time. Finding unobtainium, or the value of my pleasure time vs. aggravation time are very real factors
in my world.
Burger has a point (he often does!): as I am nearing 63, I am wondering how many of these projects will I get to finish & how much will I get to enjoy them?
Must get away from this keyboard and do some real work!
It is not clear to me that Gale WANTS a TT, I think that is just what she found on a first look; I think mostly she wants a T she can putt around Lakeport and have fun--am I right on this Gale?
BTW, you WILL have fun putting around too!
Here’s a start.
yeah, but that's clear back in Pennsylvania! Auburn, Ca is MUCH closer!
Sadly, I think we all know what is going to happen to what appears to have been a complete, restored, car. The buyer should request the title, as whatever the current owner is going to do to that body, it will not be a '26 T.
That's going to be a waste of what looks like a clean old car. Sad to me. It seems wrong to me.!!
Sad. But what is up with that fuel filter on the exhaust manifold?
Kep - it's not on the exhaust manifold - it's an additional filter connected to the standard sediment bulb, thus there's some distance sideways from the engine.
out of curiosity, I checked Craig's list tonight, and it showed a pretty nice 27 T coupe body only in Lake county; although the pics show a chassis, the ad says 'body only" #3250. There's a Depot Hack in Sacramento stored since '96 with title for $5K. Says "On Non Op. Stored since 96, dose not run , Motor is free hand crank. Call for more info". In Wilseville (a bit farther away) is a TT closed cab flatbed truck that looks very complete for $5,500,if you want a TT.
So, lots out there, but I still think you should go shopping with a person familiar with model Ts so you don't buy something that will cause you more pain than fun!
Hey everyone, thank you for all the information and offers. Please don't think I purposely ignored you all. I am battling cancer and sometimes it lays me low for a few days or weeks. David, I had to laugh about your "hotbed" comment. I don't think Lakeport is a hotbed of anything, but I love it here anyway. I have hope that all my plans will come together in the end. Happy Valentines day to you and your special someone (s)