I am a long time reader of the forum & have been looking for a model T for a couple years while reading here along with books, manuals, etc. I am 35, not the most computer savvy but pretty mechanically inclined & generaly just like old stuff. I have a Model A Ford & am ready to try a Model T. I have always loved the look, sound & era of the Model T. I find myself drawn to them constantly, no muscle cars for me! I have included a link below (I think) that I spoke with the gentleman about earlier today. I'm interested in your off the cuff comments & thoughts.
Go easy on me, this is the 2nd time I've ever posted on the public interwebs. I got chewed up pretty hard the 1st time about 8 years ago over an unrealated matter.
Travis D.W. VanGorder
Welcome Travis, I don't think the guys and some gals will be to hard on you, this is a pretty good and active forum you can learn a lot from the people here or a little your choice. As far as the car you ask about. It looks pretty good to me but I'm not too picky one thing I see right off the bat is it will more than likely need a radiator since it has a water pump that should not be there and probably a wiring harness. Jim
I'm a relative beginner myself. The blue beast appears to be in pretty solid shape from the photos ... are you close to, or have you joined a local T club? Most would be tickled to g etc a chance to go kick some tires for someone else to spend their money. :-) price for a runner doesn't sound too out of line. If you're married with kids, the touring might be just the ticket to keep them interested and invested in it as well...
(Don't be too afraid... MOST here won't bite your head off! :-)
That car may be OK, but plan on spending some bucks on it. The most obvious expense is for a top. The presence of a water pump suggests the radiator may be shot. On the other hand, it may have been installed "just because". Some will consider the non-Ford color a hideous outrage, and some will think it the cat's pajamas. If you want it Ford black, that will cost you. Years ago I might have paid the asking price. Now I'd be inclined to offer five grand and pass if that's not enough. If it doesn't sell the price will drop. If it does, something better will be along.
Looks nice enough, some obvious missing pieces such as the top but that will not effect you driving the car. I assume you have seen and heard the car run, none running cars can be tough and expensive for a novice. The missing lid on the coil box might allow the coils to come loose and cause a hard to trace a misfire. The water pump is a period design, really it should not be necessary and will probably leak. The radiator has had some work, the overflow tube is a recent addition, the original was steel or tin..... There are some additional wires on the ignition switch, could be a brake light or could be the start of a rats nest, look carefully.
If you do buy it, have fun and use it for increasingly longer runs until you trust it.
Steve's advice is sound. This car will take some bucks and some time to make it a good, dependable driver. But don't let that stop you, most of them need some attention. Getting a complete running car is the way to go. You can make improvements to it as you enjoy driving it.
Too much money.
Passenger side of body is wavy gravy.
Discount for lack of top, bad upholstery and interior door panels.
Other funky stuff going on.
I would pay much less or find something nicer.
Thank you for the quick responses.
I have not seen the car & trying to determine if it's worth a 5 hour round trip to kick tires. The owner got it in trade semi recently & is unfamiliar with Model T's so not a lot of useful back story there.
I do have a family of 5 so Touring cars have been my focus.
I noticed the overflow tube, water pump & rust on the radiator. A new Brassworks radiator would be very high on the priority list. I fought an old one on my Model A until I bit the bullet & replaced it. That was money well spent & a lesson learned.
The lack of top doesn't bother me, this would be a summer through fall car. I'm looking for a driver, not a show car.
My biggest fear is hands on learning about coils, timers & checking / replacing the rear end thrust washers. I've read, looked at pictures but never done it myself.
Are most of you guys members of local clubs or have you figured it out along the way? I've figured out the A's O.K. on my own but that seems a lot more modern or normal.
I'm in some clubs, but most of the members are too far away for much help and instruction. My dad had the mechanical touch of death and I was raised with no mechanical experience. So my limited knowledge has come from trial and error and reading, much of it here on the forum.
With that background established, here's my take on your biggest fear. Don't worry, be happy. Any average guy can do most of what needs to be done on a Model T. It was designed that way. I choose my battles, relegating some jobs to experts and doing others myself. Example: I could learn to test and rebuild coils, and maybe someday I will, but so far I'd rather just send them to a specialist and spend my time on other jobs. Timers? No big deal. The hundreds of brands all boil down to a rotating switch. Rear axle rebuild? Get the book. Glen tells you what to do. My only quibble is that he's neutral on whether to use the stock pinion bearing or the one from Fun Projects. I'll go FP every time.
New radiators: Brassworks for brass, Berg's for black. But in some cases a recore is a better choice.
"...but that seems a lot more modern or normal." You got that right. The Model T is relatively simple, but it's unlike other cars and contains some surprises (don't just unbolt the starter and try to pull it), so when undertaking a job you haven't done before it's not a bad idea to ask about it on the forum.
Travis, where are you located ? Finding mentors in your area will prove to
be an excellent idea, if some can be found. Here in Spokane, we have a strong
local following, based around the Antique Auto Ranch. Great bunch of guys,
always ready to offer help on any range of T subjects.
I am from Canby, Mom and Dad still live outside of there on Township Rd. There are at least 3 members of Rose City Model T Club that live around Canby. There are a few T for sale in the greater Portland area which would be a lot closer them Seattle not all are posted on Craigs List. There's a guy in Canby that has been trying to sell a 26/27 touring. Don't know it's condition and the price might be a bit high for you. Send me a PM with your phone number and best time to call and I will try and get you a few more leads.
I've read your guy's posts for a long time & want to thank you for the responses & support again. I never thought I could receive such pertinent information so quickly & I feel honored you take the time to do so.
Burger, I'm in Mulino, near Oregon City. There is a T club near Salem I've corresponded with briefly but never made it to a meeting. Family, business, employees & life in general cut into my free week night time when they meet, this is why I'm reaching out to you knowledgeable folks here.
Steve, I love your website! You sir are a man after my own heart & have gone above & beyond to help people in my shoes especially if you've delved into Model T's wholeheartedly via trial & error. So a question, why Berg's for black? The Brassworks produces a "correct" looking Model A radiator, Bergs produces a better "touring" radiator albeit not as correct looking in the A world to my understanding. The T world may be different so your input is very useful.
Erik, perfect! Things like wavey body I didn't even notice, I was a little hung up on it not being black! Also as to price, maybe I'm not looking in the right places. Locally I find T's on the Craigs List, otherwise it's sites like this, Hemmings & etc. If the price is off the mark, how far? I understand there are to many unknowns to put a solid price, I'm only looking for ballpark numbers.
I've looked at a pile of T's from Craigs List locally in my price range that just didn't feel good. Would't start, wrong color, no top, on & on. I'm in the $7k price range for a black T. More for a better one. I seem to be limiting myself out of the local market unless you guys have a secret modus operandi?
The blue thing looks pretty decent, and the price is not very bad(?). But I do see a few things wrong with it.
The best advice I know for beginners with antique automobiles (okay, a model A makes you not quite a beginner), and especially for model Ts and other pre-1930s cars. Is to first ask yourself "what you want"? And "what do you want from it"? Not all cars fit into all clubs, tours, groups, shows the same as all others.
How do you WANT to feel about the car? How CORRECT do you want it to be? What clubs would you like to be included in? Do you want to run with clubs at all? All of those things are many shades of gray, and they all matter, to how happy you will be with the car. So be honest with yourself. Ask around. Clubs are good for this, even if you are not inclined to become an active member.
For example. I lean heavily toward earlier cars. I sold the '31 Ford A and '29 REO coupe I had about 40 years ago because I decided that they were just a bit too modern for me. I have had several '20s cars since. And I still tend to lean toward Horseless Carriage cars and clubs (means mostly pre'16). Because earlier cars tend to be worth more, my pre-'16 activity has been limited more than I like (gotta be honest about what you can afford). I have struggled, and have and am working on a few brass era cars still (because it is important to me). I also love and enjoy driving my '24 T coupe, and '19 boat-tail roadster (which are not brass era cars).
I cannot afford the really nice cars I would like to have. And am very pleased to have the couple good cars that I do have and the variety they give me. I may not be able to afford the really nice cars I want, but I try to make my cars as close to "era correct" as I reasonably can. I want my cars to look good enough to park at a tour or show next to the best cars there, and not feel too ashamed of mine (Yes, I do care about appearances). I have also often said that I would rather have the worst car on a tour than have the best car sitting in a garage! Look nice, and "era correct" is my goal.
Reliability, and practical drivability are also both important. How much do you want to drive it? How far would you like to go? A good, well sorted model T is a fairly reliable car, and many people drive them many thousands of miles every year. Except for the earlier brass model Ts, ANY part you could break and may need can be had almost overnight if needed. You cannot honestly say that about very many nearly hundred year old cars. From 1912 through the last of them in 1927, model T Fords are the best value for the buck in a truly antique car.
Drive carefully, and enjoy! W2
RedmodelT on the Model A forum? If so we may have corresponded over a Model A hub puller some time back. Emails are not the best for me & I can't figure out the PM thing here. Please don't hesitate to give me a phone call, if I do not answer please leave a message. Texts are good too.
You honestly summed up my feelings well. I would love to be able to park my cars next to the best at a local car show & not be ashamed. My Model A is not that car. I drive it because I absolutely love driving it, through town slower then everyone else, back roads or highways when it shimmy's (sp?) a little, it makes me happier than a pig in . . well you know. That's what I want most from a Model T, happiness in driving, wrenching, fixing, learning. Someday I'll have that car next to everyone else's. Today is just getting me there.
Travis, from all the good advice here, and from your responses, I would believe that you are thinking in just the right direction. A T to enjoy as a driver, might just be a starting point for you.
Basket cases can sometimes be acquired at low prices, and if you already have a driveable car, then a pile of bits to work on in spare time is a good way to become very conversant with the mechanicals of the car that is whole.
I started off with a T in 1959, and never got it on the road for a variety of reasons. A couple of years later I bought a 1930 A for a daily driver, and enjoyed several A's over very many years. It is fascinating comparing the T (basically a fairly advanced 1908 design) with the A because in those 19 intervening years so much automotive development had taken place.
If you decide against the blue car, then keep looking, and keep in touch with the Forum for friendly advice.
Travis - As a reference, for only a few thousand dollars more than the asking price, you could have this:
I know they're not exactly on the west coast, but there are great deals out there if you are patient.
I see a lot of work just correcting things in that car that you posted, and that doesn't even factor in the minimum things you'll need to do/check to make it roadworthy.
I think that's a $4k car. Would be fun, but ALL Model T's are!
Take your time, a good solid car will come around. Too many guys run out and buy their first T, only to be reduced to tears once they take delivery. Join a local club, talk to the members, and you will get a good one.
I don't think you could do better than the 1915 touring offered by Lang's (first link above). It would be worth the investment of getting it shipped to your home. Eventually you would have just as much invested in the lesser blue car that you are looking at. It appears the 1915 is mostly "sorted" out, and it already has a top (which eventually you will want). My humble advice is that you may be happier, and money ahead in the long run, to make the extra investment now. There is something special about a brass era car. As others have stated, it will be hard to "beat" that 1915 for the money. Happy hunting!
Jeez I don't know. A few "not so hot" items for sure. First off (in my book) I'd have to see it. The color, no top or bows, he mentions a starting problem + it's going to look worse (and be worse) in person. Keep looking Travis. Even at $4 large you're going to spend over that $6+ asking price in a hurry.
The Puget Sound T club has several T's listed in their Newsletter for sale. The newsletter is on the club site found on the MTFCA website. There are usually running cars there in your price range. Check out the other Washington and Oregon clubs that have websites. You are sure to find something, and the active club members that list in the newsletters will likely treat you well. Good luck, and hope to see you driving on one of the tours soon.
If I didn't have too many cars and too little space, I'd hitch up my trailer and go get that 1915 from Don Lang.
Travis- I think a price in the 4000.00 range is about right for the car. If your looking for a 'correct' near original car for its year range than look elsewhere BUT that depends on what you want to do with it. There are a lot of restored T's that have later T parts on them that are nice cars. Some guys are perfectionist's and others just want a nice looking authentic T era driver.
Like I said there are many out there like that.
One thing to consider is the condition of the wood structure and the main body sills. The sheet metal body overlays the wood structure. This is a big concern for most T's and should be considered. If I was interested in the car I would want to hear it run and drive. As others have stated the condition of the radiator will make a difference in the price. The added water pump raises questions about cooling. You probably could find a T in better shape. Good luck
There seems to be some VERY good cars for cheap in Washington and Oregon.
In the last few years I have been tempted to make the 27+hr drive many times for cars that seem way under-priced in that area.
Be patient, Model Ts come up for sale all the time, and you're in the best part of the country to find a good one cheap.
Travis, as the owner of a 23 touring and now 2 other T's, I need to say you will want a working top. We use ours a lot in the summer and the top prevents sunburn on hot days and more importantly keeps the rain off you and the kids head if a rain shower unexpectedly shows up. We've put ours up in a hurry numerous times. Between bows, irons, and top material, expect $1000-1500. Our 23 had no top initially and we use it now a lot.
I can't offer much more in the way of advice than others have posted. I will say touch base with club members and this forum. I didn't join this forum till after we purchased our first T (in profile pic)and now feel I could have done a little better pricewise if I had. Our second two T's were purchased through forum contacts and did substantially better. The second was a speedster with fully rebuilt chassis/driveline for $4K built by a former poster who knew his way around T's. I purchased it only because every mechanical component had been rebuilt and I fully intended to mount a touring tub on it, but still keep it a speedster w/o fenders or splash aprons. The third was a made up roadster pick up that was far better than your Craigslist ad we bought for $4500. They're out there so don't settle or give up your quest.
Steve Jelf has just given you the best info anyone could give you on this forum.
I'm part of the Puget Sound T club and that blue car is overpriced for the NW. You will want a top for the unplanned shower although I rarely put the top up on my touring unless the rain really started. Our current newsletter has a '26 touring with wire wheels that looks good in the photos and is priced about right for our area at $7500. I haven't seen it in person yet but will on Wednesday and would be glad to pass along the phone # and my impressions of the car.
That car in the pictures looks pretty good. As some have already posted, it needs a coil box lid, and the water pump might be a hint that there could be a cooling problem. The lack of a top is the biggest problem and since you live in the rain forest, you do need a top! Bows can be found in swap meets. That particular car takes a two man top. If you are really interested in that particular car, I would recommend that you take with you someone from your local club or arrange to meet someone in a local club near where the car is located and start and drive the car. The body looks presentable. The price is about right if the mechanical condition is good. As someone above has posted, the wheels look like 25-27 split rim 21" wheels. They will work just fine, unless you want to be authentic. You can probably sell them for what a set of 30"x3 1/2" wheels would cost at a swap meet. Most important thing about wheels is that the spokes are tight.
The windshield is same as a 1922 and that car might be a 22. I have seen 1922's with either straight or slant windshield, but this is the first 23 I've seen with straight one. Ford didn't always change things by year model as is presently done. Sometimes he made a change and the assembly plant used up the existing parts before changing to the new style, so it might have either been assembled at a plant which still had the older parts, or might not have been sold at the end of the year, but the next year, and so was registered a 1923. If it still has the original engine, you might be able to tell more by the engine number.
Anyway, it is important to join a local club and get help when first looking at the car. You might also find leads on other cars in the club which are for sale and find a better one.
I have far less space than Steve and if the timing were just a little different, I'd be bowling him over to get to "The Lang Car" first. Heck, it's already taking on a persona of its own - probably because it's still unspoken for.
The point is, Travis: Take your time, meet up with local club members, and READ AND POST ON THIS FORUM!. You've already stuck your name in the heads of many here who pretty much know what you're after, want you to get a fair deal, and will pass info along. It's out there.
Travis: First and foremost get you a couple copies of the "MODEL T FORD SERVICE MANUAL. now you noticed I said two copes, one for the shop and one on yo9ur computer desk of kitchen table, as you will think of something that you want an answer to and the copy closet is the one that will give you the answer.
If you live close to Don Blain pick his brain for info. He is a fart smeller, opps I meant "Smart feller".
Find a club and join=, as most of the guys will more than happy to get you started on the right track.
Welcome and enjoy the "T" to the maximum.
That body is older than 1923, it is a 1921 and older. Count the rear body panels, 1923 top, upholstery, sheet metal and wood parts will not fit well.
In case not everybody has seen it. I'd say make an ridiculous low ball offer the worst he can do is say "NO" and get off my lawn. Jim
You guy's have given Me a ton of information. I see there is a world of help available thanks to all the posts here. I will hold off on the blue car for now. I think that I will make a more diligent effort to join a local club first so I can have someone's help looking at a potential car as so many here have suggested. I have also taken to heart the necessity of a top in serviceable condition.
The two links posted above have had my attention for some time. You guys just about had me ready to pull the trigger on Mr. Lang's brass car. I thought it would probably be better to see my first T purchase in person though & I've never had a vehicle shipped.
Walt & Mark, I would definitely appreciate any local information you may have to pass along.
Thank you to all who took the time to post! I look forward to asking more questions in the future.
Travis D.W. VanGorder
Had a good talk with Travis tonight. Gave him two leads and invited him to join Rose City Model T Club. Told him about several member that were close to his location.
Way overpriced---buy the best you can afford A very nice older restored car should be bought for 10K or less. Be Patient and something will turn up--- you will glad you waited.
I'm a year older than you but have a good bit of Model T experience even though I don't currently own one. After reading thru the this topic I would suggest you step back and think. It has nothing to do with the condition of the cars listed or prices.
I see you mentioned you have a family of 5 and like to drive your model A considerably (I was putting 200-300 miles a week on ours). Perhaps if you look at what you will realistically be doing with the car. Mostly shows (you mentioned parking next to cars), tours, personal driving, family outings? ? ? Loading 4-5 people in a touring and all of a sudden that small hill might seem a mountain or that 1 mile stretch where you have to merge onto a highway running a gauntlet. Now don't misunderstand me please I love to see more T owners and happy ones and I think finding the right T for somebody is all about that.
Personally I have a family of 3 (probably will grow more) and will be building my own T to satisfy what I want. I consider it a prewar touring/speedster.
PM sent regarding a 26 touring.
I agree with Chadwick but must state that our touring with a Ruckstell, Z-head, and accessory brakes climbs hills well with a full load in the back seat, and chugs along at 45 on a highway. If you can find a decent car with either a Ruckstell or accessory transmission in good shape, buy it, put a higher compression head on it, better rear brakes, and have fun!
I would find a friendly T owner who will allow you to drive his car. I was fortunate to be able to drive two different '24s for two years before I bought my '27 touring car. Even with a bit of experience, there were a few surprises. I agree that the water pump could be a sign of cooling system issues. A new radiator is a little north of $800. Ask me how I know. Be aware that the T has half the horsepower of the A with one less forward speed , and less then half the brakes to stop it.
Having said all that, When I get settled in our new digs in Florida, I'll probably be looking for another T.
Could this a possibility?
Concerning the picture posted by John From Oregon, The fifth picture doesn't go with this car. Note the seats and steering wheel are not the same. The car in the picture appears to have some type of auxiliary transmission and also has wire spoke wheels. If the wheels are any good they are worth over $500 and the hubs a couple hundred extra. A good auxiliary tranny would be at least a thousand dollars. The body looks straight but you would need a top and upholstery as well as paint. The price looks about right. This, in my opinion, would be a better choice than the "1923" you posted earlier, however it is a later model. Since it needs paint, you could choose the color. If you paint it yourself maybe a couple hundred dollars for paint. If you have it done over 1,000.