Hi, after many years fascinated with the car, I'm taking the plunge to get a model T. One challenge being in a NE rural area is finding cars close by. I looked at online pricing guides but did not find much. A non-running 1926 touring is available. It's been stored indoors since the sixties ( not climate-controlled, however. ) Using the 1-5 rating system, it's a notch of from a parts car, but does not get to the level of a "2". i will see the car this afternoon and would appreciate your pointing me to any posts that tell me what things I can look out for and test. Also, any posts on pricing. (I looked through the forum and one post stated $1000 for a restorable car, but that struck me as low based on advertisements I've seen. In advance thanks!
Look for rust through and consider your own capabilities to fix metal. A '26/'27 Touring hasn't got any structural wood in the body like the earlier cars, so restoration should be easier unless the metal is totally rotted out.
Check if the engine can be cranked with the hand crank. If it has wooden spoke wheels, check the condition of the wood carefully. A rusted out hulk T project with rotted wood spokes and a stuck engine shouldn't cost much more than $1000, while a dusty car that looks like it can be made drivable with some cleaning and fixing, with a serviceable interior and maybe even a top, then you may have to add several $1000's. We need pictures ;)
Do you have any T:ers nearby? Having someone that knows T's with you would help.
Remember that the figures in ads are asking prices, not necessarily selling prices.
Maybe something here will help:
Keep in mind that the '26 is limited in repair panel availability. I replaced my rear panel on my '26 and only one supplier wanted to mess with ordering it from Howells. Good front doors are non-existent and people have told me they've had various success fitting the door skins.
You might want to check what sheet metal is really available with a reasonable delivery time.
If you take some pictures during your inspection today and post them here, you may get some assessments of value.
Howell's is the supplier for much of the replacement sheet metal. If your dealer does not have it in stock it would be shipped directly from Howell's if and when it is in stock at Howell's. Chances are your dealer would not stock sheet metal and would be shipped from Howell's anyway.
When needing something that only Howell's supply, the trick is to buy it from them through eBay. They only list parts they actually have in stock there and ships it in time since they wants to avoid negative feedback - there. Howell's Ebay seller ID is "09-40".
IMHO, I agree with Roger and Dan - Take lots of pictures (all sides and corners of the exterior, interior, engine, firewall, wheels, axles, differential, floorboards, top, etc.) and post them here (250kb size limit per photo). You'll get an amazing amount of information from experienced folks who can give you an excellent appraisal from what they see (and/or don't see).
Howell's eBay website currently lists two parts that fit a 26-7 Touring. I found these two items after searching for "touring" and then "1926".
Wood body blocks
Front rocker panels
I was very fortunate that Smith and Jones was able to procure the rear panel for my touring.
Bill, i have restored old fords all of my life but i feel its much easier and cheaper to find a T in nice runner shape and repair as you go. I was glad i purchased my first T in running shape. I think it is some cheaper in the long run and you get the model T experience while you learn about these cars. Or that worked for me. Ebay and other online source prices are not always true to the value of the T. I would suggest the 26-27 because of the lack of wood in the structure as posted above. Tim
I paid $3,500 for my '26 Touring from a highly reputable and well-known individual in the T community. It was mostly complete, absolutely solid (though with lots of surface rust), motor not stuck but not running (needed machine work to set right). It has wire wheels. I felt like I got a good deal since I was looking for a project anyway and I bought from the best.
Roger, thank you for the good information. I attach 3 pictures. I do not know any model T owners nearby unfortunately (I have not been active in the T community yet.) I'm in Northern Vermont. Again thanks for your comments. ~Bill
Steve J. Thanks for the links. This is very useful. I will review these. ~Bill P.
Tom, Thanks for the information RE repair panels, ~Bill P.
Dan B., I posted pictures and appreciate any guidance. Thanks, ~Bill P.
Dave B., Thanks for the good guidance. I will take pictures, as you indicate.
Tim L., thanks for these good comments. I wonder if I should hold out for a car similar to the one you describe from a member in the T community. I already have an appointment to see this car, but if that does not work, in advance thanks for pointing me in the right direction to make my search known to the right folks -and how to identify if it is someone reputable (my current hobby car is a '68 Chrysler, and I know from the owner forum for it that there are mostly folks on it who are all about the cars --but also others who seek a quick buck). Anyway, the type of car you were able to get is exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks, Bill P.
Looks like a nice project that might be drivable without too much trouble if you appreciate the patina look
Might be a car that was fixed up during the 1950's or so, but has deteriorated somewhat since.
No 1927, looks like a 1925, but could also be 1924. Check under the body for the condition of the wood structure supporting the body.
The interior looks like some home made cover up, and the hood might be the low 1917-23 style?
Does it have a title? That's always important for the value, though more important in some states than others.
Zachary D., First, thanks for your comments.
I made a mistake in my posting message to Tim L. I meant this part of the message for you:
"I wonder if I should hold out for a car similar to the one you describe from a member in the T community. I already have an appointment to see this car, but if that does not work, in advance thanks for pointing me in the right direction to make my search known to the right folks -and how to identify if it is someone reputable (my current hobby car is a '68 Chrysler, and I know from the owner forum for it that there are mostly folks on it who are all about the cars --but also others who seek a quick buck). Anyway, the type of car you were able to get is exactly what I'm looking for." Thanks, Bill P.
To all in the thread, Just a short note that I am grateful for the incredible level of support evident in this thread -and impressed by the community. Thank you! ~Bill P.
P.S. I don't know if I'm responding incorrectly. If there is a way to reply to specific posts, I have not found it. I'm replying by adding to the thread at the bottom. Is this correct?
Roger, Did I understand correctly that it does not look like a 1926 to you?
I noted the hood seems wrong, and also the upholstery is not in the original style. Good guess about the car sitting; the owner says it has been sitting since 1960's in --and I hesitate to use this word as it has become so abused in the car hobby world -- a true "barn". Thanks, ~Bill P.
Bill, i would get something that keeps you interested and encouraged with the T. If you can find a driver needing work,the price of a projects that wont run seems to me to be very close to the car that you can start and drive. I have seen some great deals on the forum classifieds. Tim
First about the forum format - it's old, and all the posts in every thread are straight down. You're good at it since you were able to post pictures - it isn't as easy as with more modern formats.
And yes - it's certainly isn't any '26. At the latest it was built by july '25. One part that is missing is the radiator apron - it isn't important for the running of the car, so it may wait until you find one at some swap meet or at the classifieds here.
There is a risk it was placed on blocks after something happened in the engine or driveline, but you may take at least some of it down for inspection anyway since it has been sitting for so long time.
All T's that hasn't been fully restored in modern time may need the rear axle torn down and inspected - the original composition metal thrust washers tends to self destruct with time and needs to be exchanged with bronze washers for safety - the brake sits in the transmission and works through the rear axle gears. There's always something that needs repair when an original T driveline is torn down, but it's much easier to fix than more modern rear axles - no preloads or complicated measurements, just easy to follow instructions in the club's handbook (and Ford's service manual)
Tim and Roger, Thanks. This is very helpful. I'll make sure to see if I can see signs of wood rot as it is not an all-steel car. ~Bill P.
bill p - If you include the 4 cement blocks with the deal you can add about $6.00 to the deal
It would be good for you to get in touch with someone in your area that knows Model T's or some one that is willing to travel to look at the car.
There is nothing like a hands on - in the face - look at a vehicle to get a good idea about what it is.
Even then there are numerous unknowns that can be expensive or time consuming to fix.
The good news is that Model T parts are available from numerous sources so people don't have to make them from scratch.
Also there are a lot of people that still have the skills and knowledge to work on a model T and care willing to help.
Most outsiders make the mistake of over valuing a Model T.
40 years ago they were the "mussel cars" of the era.
Not big and powerful but the first car many owned or the car they remember their grandfather or dad had and there was a big market.
Today - in this fast world - they have limited appeal and to be truthful, not very practical, but they are fun!
My 1919 belonged to my dad and it will be passed on to a deserving child or grandchild that will respect it.
Today we use it for family outings to get ice cream, pizza, etc., participate in a few car shows, do a parade or two, and take friends for rides around the neighborhood.
I probably spend as much time tinkering in the garage as I drive it - but I enjoy tinkering.
It looks like a high radiator car with a low hood. You should ask about the headlights, are they their somewhere ? Are their any other parts there that might come with it? Can you turn the engine over with the hand crank? Since it's on blocks it would be easier to turn the engine over with the hand brake in the down position. It's a late 23, 24 or maybe 25. Likely a 24 since it's a high radiator car with the inner bead on the front fenders exposed. Pull up the floorboards and look at the wood sills and see if they are solid.
It's looks like a good project car. You could restore it or it might be fun just to clean it up, get it running and drive it.
I would offer them a $1000 and see what. It would not be a bad buy at $2000, particularly if the wood seems solid and the engine turns over.
Fred, RE "...include the 4 cement blocks with the deal you can add about $6.00..." funny! I like a bit of levity in this, as I am out of my element. I would know exactly what to look for in a sixties Chrysler, and be able to know a dog from a rough but basically good car. But with the T it is another ball of wax...
It sounds like the 1919 is lots of fun; as my grandfather used to say, drive it in good health! Thanks, ~Bill
Ted, thanks! I'll ask about the headlights and also the radiator apron indicated by Roger. I'll inspect the wood as you suggest. Thanks, ~Bill
That would be a great 2nd T for you.
As Tim L. previously stated - look for something that you can drive now. Truly, there are enough differences between a T and your '68 Chrysler to keep you pleasantly occupied just maintaining and learning the differences.
Although some have done it successfully, it is all too easy to become discouraged (and give up) when trying to resurrect a sick T.
Look under the hood and see what you find. If the engine turns over its likely with a little effort you can get it running. It is a project car but you can learn. The are reprints of the original shop manuals, MTFCA how to do it manuals and videos. Most parts are available from vendors. Joining a local MTFCA or MTFCI chapter would really be a plus and make your project must easier to accomplish. If you are mechanically inclined and have the time to deal with it I would not be skittish about the car.
I agree that it looks like a 24 or 25 with the radiator apron missing. I'm no good at spotting a low radiator (1917-1923) or a high one (1924-1927) from a picture. I have to measure. Low is just under 17"; high is almost 18".
Another detail that can be a clue is the hand brake quadrant on the side of the frame. 1925 has two rivets; years before that, four.
I haven't seen any mention of the engine serial number. That will date at least the engine, if not the car. http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG90.html
The body is a 1925, as it has equal-length door hinges.
Passenger front fender is correct, the drivers side is '17-23.
Top Bows are wrong. Rear bows look to be earlier 2-man version, and modified to fit a later car with 1-man version that didn't have a vertical bow in the center.
Key switch and ammeter are missing, lights are missing, hood is for an earlier car.
21" demountables were an option in '25, and are very nice to have compared to 30x3-1/2" clinchers. Tires are cheaper and better quality.
If I were looking at it, I'd be a buyer in the $1500-1800 range. If I were selling, I'd be asking $2000-2400 assuming it has a title.
The rear door hinges hint that it is a '25 body. The seat upholstery really looks strange though! And, of course, the top material is odd too. The body side that is visible looks very straight, so the wood might be OK. This might be a "sleeper" or it might take a lot of work too, very hard to say from pictures. Maybe the seller can tell you something about it--parked because owner died or couldn't drive anymore, etc. etc.
If it's a real '25, the cowl will have mostly metal reinforcement, the wood sills being about the only wood in the cowl area; the risers for the front floor boards will be metal--note attached pics.
OH, and be very careful around those concrete blocks--the way the car is setting on them, they could collapse with no warning!
Roger, Steve, Tom, Dan, Mark, Tim, Zachary, Fred, Dave, Ted, Derek, and David,
I cannot convey how impressed I am with the extensive knowledge evidenced such that you were able to get so much from only two pictures. Your comments plus the two links about buying a car anticipated basically everything I found in the car. Thank you!
The owner was very nice; the car had belonged to his father. I checked out all the items as indicated. The positives included solid wood as far as I could tell and while there was plenty of surface rust, the only rust through I found was at the mounting points of the fenders (bottom), except for the radiator shroud, which is rusted through. Also the engine turned freely. On the negative, it is missing several pieces, included the ones noted -and also the dashboard switch panel. The son understandably knew little of the state of the engine when parked, so there's that basic uncertainty that the engine can be made to work at an acceptable performance level without a rebuild (as well as the risk of a core with cracks, etc.) I offered $1,650 as I've already invested time and it is relatively local. If this is not accepted, I'll probably switch to a car that's operating, as suggested in this thread.
This is a great community. I will join and be back. See you in the threads! Thanks again, ~Bill
Never Ever, Ever use cement blocks under a car and the way they are is the worst possible way to support anything. The webs can break away and everything falls right down. If a wheel is off and you are under it bad things happen quick. I don't get under anything on a jack without jack stands and don't like that much without wheel blocks so nothing can roll.
That is one scary picture with the car sitting on those blocks like that.
I forgot to mention: Based on the criteria in the thread, it is a 1925 car.
Bill, Well there's at least two of us horrified at the concrete blocks! The dash instrument panel is a common item, not hard to replace. Why the wrong hood is a ???? What the heck! thing. As is the missing instrument panel--maybe something went wrong with the ammeter or wiring?? Maybe it's around on the place??
I paid a bit more for my Barney, without top, and with some strange parts on it, like a much earlier windshield. However, the spring shackles are all good,steering is tight. I was able to get it running in 10 hours! However, now I will take the rear axle apart and check the thrust washers, add some AC brakes, Radiator is cleaned out, and then I will replace the two-piece valves before I drive it around--oh, and the wood in Barney turned out to be dry-rotted, so there's that to do too. I now have the correct windshield, top bows, and seat springs. I think you've made a fair offer; you might let it "wiggle" it a little higher-but not much!!
IS there a title?? That makes a big difference; it cost me about $300 once I paid for the facilitator and the DMV fees; although part of that was going with Year of Manufacture plates, which costs more here in Califunny.
BTW, the body on your car looks very good; notice the straight line the driver's side has from windshield to rear panel; that's a sign of good wood and good craftsmanship, many folks miss that detail.
Here's a picture of Barney ('25 roadster) "as found"
I think most know the least expensive way to buy a T in the long run usually is to buy one already restored. That being said, some of us are crazy enough to restore a pile of parts. My opinion on the value of this T from my experiences; I bought a solid 24 body shell and a sedan that was cut down into a farm truck. The price for both amounted to $850, and this was a pile of sheet metal, no wood, no fenders, no top bows, etc. If the car you are looking at has a solid rust free body, no bondo, good wood, If that was at Hershey or any of the large car meets, you could expect an asking price of around $5000-6000. For the labor and expense I have in mine, I would have been farther ahead to have paid this much for a car like this. I have more in labor and money in mine than it will ever be worth. i knew this going into it, but I was up for the challenge of bringing this car back from the grave.