Buying Tips for my First T

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: Buying Tips for my First T
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ryan Fenrich on Friday, August 05, 2016 - 01:28 pm:

Hello all,

I'm pleased to say that I have now sorted out insurance issues. To my pleasant surprise, Intact Insurance has lifted all age restrictions for classic car insurance. The only restrictions being maximum annual mileage, no driving to work, etc. This means that, with sufficient funds I expect to earn over the next 8 months, I can buy myself a Model T, fulfilling a dream I've had since I first saw them up close in 2008 at a car museum's exhibit for the 100th anniversary of the T.

There are several concerns I have that I would like some answers to, if you guys could please chime in!

I have a budget. I'm prepared to spend about $10,000 for a car. Other expenses like insurance, transportation, etc. will add onto that obviously, but for a car itself, $10,000 or a reasonable amount more is what I am prepared to pay. My biggest fear is something breaking and myself not being financially or mechanically prepared. What if the crankshaft breaks? I wear down a tire due to poor alignment? I know I have the knowledge of you guys here as well as the hands on experience with a few local T owners, but due to my limited resources, I fear that a major problem will force me to sell the car.

Locating a car. Living in Canada, I probably will find at least 10 times as many suitable T's in the US (close proximity to myself) than what I would find locally here. I would like to buy within Canada to avoid import charges and the exchange rate. At the time of writing, $10,000 CAD = $7600 USD. I want to begin looking almost immediately to find the best car I can in 8 months. I can't help but wonder what will happen if I find one highly suited for me, then can't make a deal because I have to wait until next year to obtain it. Has anyone had similar experiences/issues when looking for a car?

I am going to do some searching on my own and post a classified here in the future, but any input you guys have would be appreciated!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Keith Gumbinger, Kenosha, WI on Friday, August 05, 2016 - 01:37 pm:

Without knowing how tall you are, etc., make sure that you are comfortable sitting in and driving any Model T you are considering buying.

I've never had a problem with this, but others have. Please refer to the Forum thread today "Have you ever purchased a Model T from a distance and found you didn't fit". This is a very serious consideration for some people, especially if you're going to buy a home built car like a Speedster or Depot Hack that was built by a person on the short or Skinny side.

Just trying to help.....

Keith


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Friday, August 05, 2016 - 02:31 pm:

Here are some pages from Bob Coiro and David Grant Stewart about shopping for a T. All prices are USD but you can convert them.

http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG98.html

http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG99.html

I haven't studied the Canadian Model T market, but my guess would be that if you want a brass T, with some patience and luck you might find a decent 1915 for under ten grand US. If you'd just as soon have a black era car, it should be easy to find one in your price range.

I agree with Keith about making sure you fit. It's also good to have an experienced T hand help you check out prospective purchases.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey, N. California on Friday, August 05, 2016 - 03:39 pm:

Good advice here; make certain your body fits well, or well-enough into a T--and that varies from year & body style--or whomever built the speedster (if you go that way). As for breaking a crank--that can happen at anytime to almost anyone; we learn to live with (or without) it. Worn tires? Happens to the best of us, but not a big thing to change out AND correct.
Starting shopping before you are ready is actually a good idea, as you can become familiar with the cars and with what is out there--although once in a while something just "falls from the sky" and those that are prepared can "catch it." Like the nice Coupe that was posted about here in the last few days. WOW!! what a deal-even if the gas tank wasn't full of fuel! :-)
Good luck, and don't be afraid to ask!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Seth - Ohio on Friday, August 05, 2016 - 03:45 pm:

Check with and visit a local club and see if they will let you drive some of their cars or at least sit in them to see how you like the different models. Talk with club members and see if one of them will assist you when you go to look at a car. I think with the budget you have you should be able to find a good running car to start with.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Evan Davis, Prince Albert, SK on Friday, August 05, 2016 - 04:45 pm:

Welcome aboard and good luck with your hunt. I see by your profile it says you are in Edmonton. If that's the case, I would get in touch and join the Edmonton Antique Car Club. They are very active and have many model t's in the ownership of their members. That may give you some experience with different models, years, etc to see what is best for you. They have an excellent facebook presence- short of that- Foothills Chapter for MTFCA is in Calgary- another great group that is very active and I'm sure would have access to T's for sale in and around your area. I'm next door in Saskatchewan, not much for sale around here that I know of, but feel free to email me if you have any questions. evan dot d at skyvelocity.ca


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ryan Fenrich on Friday, August 05, 2016 - 06:21 pm:

Thanks guys for your replies.

I have driven a 1914 Touring, as well as sat in the driver's seat of a 26 Touring and a 27 Speedster. I am looking for a black era roadster. I assume the seating in a roadster is the same front row seating in a similar era touring? I'm not overly worried about not fitting in. Or, at least, I think I've got that bit sorted out.

A 1917-1925 Black roadster with good paint, an okay interior, useable top and well running is what I am after. With the exception of maybe a touring from that era, I don't know if there's a more common T.

I was in touch with the Edmonton Antique Car Club last year. I wasn't able to join due to a prior commitment taking place during the same night as the club's monthly meeting. The guys there have been quite helpful and welcoming for a young guy like me, especially C. Bamford who is a member on the forum here. When I get a T, I hope to have a driving lesson from him or any other experienced T driver in the area.

As some of you have mentioned, having an experienced hand to assess a car with you is important. I worry about buying a car out of travelling distance to view it. I talked to the Fawcett Motor Carriage Company out of Ontario a few weeks ago and they can help me locate a car, but without an experienced hand on site, that does leave several tests go unchecked.

Ah well. You guys are helpful and I've got some time to make an informed decision!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Friday, August 05, 2016 - 06:37 pm:

A '17-'25 Runabout is a great choice for your first T. You can remove the turtle and put on a wooden pickup bed to make the car much more versatile. Many, if not most, Runabouts were done that way "back in the day," so it's a period-correct alteration. You shouldn't have much difficulty finding a nice black car for $10K. The best move you can make at this point is to get to know the Model T folks in your area. One of them might know of a suitable car just waiting for you. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Saturday, August 06, 2016 - 10:45 am:

If you can take someone that knows T mechanical stuff with you that would be a good start. I am sure it's true even in Canada, there are a lot of what I call "Ice Cream" restorations, looks 100% on the outside but under neath, junk. Worn out engines, rear ends etc. Not sure how it is up north, but make sure the seller has all the proper paperwork to transfer ownership to you.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Saturday, August 06, 2016 - 11:32 am:

Mark has said exactly what I was going to when I read the title. Get help from someone that knows. Without a doubt that's your best chance at a decent car. With 10 G's you'll find something. Don't know about a brass car but something. Non brass should be well under that figure. Don't jump at the first one because there's more out there than you think. They made A LOT of these cars. Car club is a good idea too. Paper work is a must as you shouldn't take on the responsibility of proving the car is yours or even if the seller has the right to sell it. Bill of sale does not cut it in my book. it's not proof.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Saturday, August 06, 2016 - 01:01 pm:

I called the president of the local Model T club when I started looking for a T, figuring he would know someone in the club with a car to sell. He didn't at that time, but he did send me a copy of the club's latest newsletter, which had a classified ad for the car I eventually bought (see my profile picture). :-)

(Message edited by cudaman on August 06, 2016)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Saturday, August 06, 2016 - 02:43 pm:

A few things to do first. Contact and join the nearest active Model T Club. They usually have some Model T's for sale or know about some in the area. Have a member who is quite familiar with Model T's go with you to look at the cars you find for sale. Don't jump at the first opportunity to buy one. Look around and you will find a good one. Three things to consider: What era car do you want. There are basically 3 eras. Brass, Black, Improved. Look for something which fits your body, which looks good to your eyes, and which runs well.

Most important is a good body. Body work is expensive and good body parts are hard to find. In the older Model T's the body is a sheetmetal skin nailed to a wood skeleton. If the wood is bad, you will need to take everything apart and replace the wood. Next is rust removal and repair of rusted out areas and dents. Then painting. At least paint the inside of the body where it covers the wood. This will seal from moisture getting inside. The wood should also be sealed. Wet wood against bare steel is sure to create rust. Next is upholstery condition. The older ones had leather seats and later models had artificial leather. The closed cars had cloth upholstery.

While working on the body and upholstery one can straighten the frame and rebuild the engine, transmission, and rear axle assembly. Usually a new radiator or at least re-core is necessary to have an efficient radiator. Usually while one is waiting for parts in one area, work can proceed in another.

You will also need to decide whether to do engine work which will increase power and install an auxiliary transmission and brakes.

Much of the above work can be avoided if you just want to have fun driving the car, by buying a car which is already restored and in good condition. Members can also help you in this way. There are many members who have become unable to drive or have died. The cars are for sale. Other members can assist you because of their experience and knowledge of the cars which are for sale.

There are at least 6 reasons people have Model T's:
1. enjoy working on and restore the car.
2. Show the car at car shows.
3. Drive in parades.
4. Drive around town as a daily driver.
5. Take long tours, such as driving
across the country in a Model T.
6. Enjoying local tours with your local
club.
Anyway, I hope you find a good T and enjoy it. One usually leads to another and another.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Sunday, August 07, 2016 - 09:10 am:

Ryan one thing to remember when buying a T is that they aren't a modern car in the way they drive, handle, and most importantly and how the can be stopped!
I'm not trying to discourage you but those are things to learn if you've driven modern cars all of your life and gotten use to how they handle.

You may already have driven a T and know what to expect. Joining a T club or having friends that have them can really help and make owning a T really fun.
Good luck!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By JohnCodman on Sunday, August 07, 2016 - 11:42 am:

I joined a local T club and they were able to find me a suitable car very quickly. If possible, I would take any prospective car for a fairly long ride - 8-10 miles. I didn't, and very soon found an overheating problem that took a new $800 radiator to solve.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Verne Shirk on Sunday, August 07, 2016 - 12:10 pm:

I owned a 1925 T roadster once. I don't like the way the top is on the 23-27 models because they wrap around and tend to hold the heat in the car. In Kansas, that is a problem in the summer. I would agree with those folks that recommend joining a local Model at club. Those folks tend to know about cars for sale in the area. Those prices can be a lot cheaper when compared to those in various social media locations. If you attend the meetings and participate in the events they will probably accept and help you a lot quicker because they will view you as an "active" new member.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Garnet on Sunday, August 07, 2016 - 06:10 pm:

Outside of the currently rotten exchange rate Ryan there's no reason to totally discount buying a T from the USA if you find a bargain. I exported a roadster pickup in 2006. I had the owner fax the Title from a lawyers office to the border I would be going thru a month ahead of time so they could check on its status. I paid the owner in US cash. The most important part of the process I would learn later that day on my return home was getting the seller to fill out the back of the Title, something which he forgot to do. The US officers really helped me out though and I was on my way in a short time. On the Canadian side I paid a bit of tax but nothing painful - a couple hundred as I remember.

Regards,
Garnet


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