Okay, I am currently unemployed and canít afford to work on anything now but that doesnít stop me from making plans for the future. I still do not have a running Model T even though I have been very interested in them for several decades. I once had a partially restored 1915 Model T Runabout that I sold a few years ago but it was never to the point of being drivable. I do have a lot of original parts that I have collected through the years but have not had the time or money to put anything together.
I have enough parts to piece together a 1914, including a good (real) July 1914 engine block. However, I have long had my heart set on an earlier touring from the 1911 to early 1912 era. I have an early frame, DB front axle, aluminum hogshead, firewall, hood former, gas tank, muffler, coil box, steering column, brass steering wheel, fender and running board brackets. I have an assortment of mixed lamps but not a complete matching set at this time. What I donít have is an original engine block or a 1911-12 era rear endówhich are the most difficult components to find.
I have read a few comments on this forum that would lead me to believe that some restorers may have used a 1917-18 block when putting together an early chassis. There seems to be a gray area here that isnít talked about much. I would like to hear any comments about using a later block in an earlier 1911-12 chassis. Would you do it? Is it ethical? What are the differences between a 1911 (closed valve) block and the 1917? Would you be bound by honor and honesty to disclose that fact, if you put the car up for sale? How much would it affect the value of the car if that fact were disclosed? OR would it just be better for me to save my pennies and wait until I can afford to buy a real 1911? I know that many of you are good with the advice, so have at it.
"Would you be bound by honor and honesty to disclose that fact, if you put the car up for sale?"
"would like to hear any comments about using a later block in an earlier 1911-12 chassis. Would you do it? Is it ethical?"
Nothing wrong or unethical as long as you never represent it as anything other than what it really is.
"How much would it affect the value of the car if that fact were disclosed?"
A whole lot. That's why it's something that needs to be disclosed. Don't worry however about the decreased resale value as you already "made" the money on the front side of the project by not paying for an early engine.
I built a '13 RHD touring from pieces. Yes I have a true 13 block.
Consider this; lots of people want electric start and at least brake and turn signals.
Also consider that you could always eventually find the right block.
Yes I would disclose the "deviations" if I sold it.
If it helps, I have a nice rear axle housing that I don't ever plan to use myself!!!
Putting a later block in an early frame is certainly ethical as long as you don't try to pass it off as something it's not, and that most certainly would include hiding a later engine, either verbally or by re-numbering the block.
There's nothing wrong with building a car from parts, including reproduction parts, as long as you don't try to (see above).
For someone in your position, a late '11 is probably the earliest feasible car to build correctly, or mostly correctly. Early bodies and engines are tough, as you indicate, so you'll probably have to build or have built a repop body. Fenders and other sheetmetal has long been reproduced mostly correctly, so no real problem there aside from the cost. The late '11 "clamshell" rear end is getting pricey but they're out there, and putting in a later closed valve block will look 99% correct if you can find the correct head.
You can always drive and enjoy the car while you look for more correct parts.
Looks like three of us were typing at once.
I'm in the process of doing something similar. Wanting an early brass car and something more sporty I know for a fact that even if I had all the parts I would not be keeping it stock. There will naturally be some "upgrades" including a ruxtel, engine, and a speedster style body. I will however be doing my best to keep it as prewar as possible, therefore no starter/generator. For the engine I've found an unstamped '14 replacement block. My assumption is that in '14 the engine was replaced/built using a new block. As this is a car I have desired for a long time resale is not remotely crossing my mind so value is not that important. I realize that when it comes to HCCA and even some T clubs my car would not be "welcome" considering it is far from factory. Most of my driving is done outside of any club activities and I would not be surprised if I end up logging 500-1000 miles on the car every month using it more as a primary driver.
It is your decision. You need to decide what you want and will be happy with. My "1909" has a 1920 block and '14 frame and axles. It is nowhere as satisfying as having an authentic 1909. It's worth is a fraction of what the "real thing" is. However I can drive it anytime I like and anywhere without the worry of damaging valuable earlier parts. It is a trade off but it was affordable.
I have made no attempt to misrepresent it. The folks on tours who know the difference have been very polite and accepting of what it is. Most of the people who see it don't know the difference. For me it is exactly the right car.
Everyone has a different opinion of what these cars should be. You are the one who has to live with it.
Just my opinion.
Several things I would say: It's your car and you can build it anyway you like. You could probably find one for sale complete for less than what it would cost you to "put one together". A car is "original" only if it has not been restored or altered. So if you "put one together" it is not original anyway.
If you decide to sell the car later, it would not be unethical to sell it as is, but if the buyer asks you whether the engine is original or correct for that year, you should tell the truth.
If you want the car for driving on tours and parades, you have no problem with mixing the various year parts, but if you want to show the car where you might win a prize for the best car etc. You will lose points for any incorrect parts. So it all depends on what you want to do with your car.
I have a question . . . suppose you can eventually collect enough authentic "year-model" pieces to assemble a complete early car ? Would the result be considered less desirable or valuable than a car that had remained pretty much intact from day one ? I presume a person should disclose that it was an "assemblage" at a point of sale, but how many early cars ended up with later power plants, axles and other parts during their using lives, and have had to be "reverse retro-fitted" with "correct" parts during a meticulous restoration ?
Any road, it seems to me that it's not in anyone's best interest to invest the amount of time and treasure that's required to restore an old car with an eventual sale as the goal. It's just not a profitable endeavor in anything other than the enjoyment we get "fixing old cars" -
Back in the early days of the automobile, many people would have there cars 'overhauled 'by the dealer over the winter, getting it ready for the next'season'. This would naturally involve repairing or replacing as needed. 12 rivet clamshell rear ends were replaced with the the current housings. And so forth and so on. My point is, put it together using parts that would be logical for a car that would have been maintained over a period of years. And enjoy it! When you run across 'correct 'parts, pick them up. Store them for future use.
And another thing someone has likely already mentioned. The Model T part of the antique car hobby started to take off right after WW2. At that time, brass cars, early brass cars were the only desirable T's. I guarantee you there are more complete early brass cars in existence now than there was, in, say 1950.
Jim, my 1912 Haigh's chocolate van is built from parts around the discovery of a B series engine assembled on Sept 26, 1912, so it would be considered a 1913 car by some. It took me 8 years of collecting other parts before I started on the restoration. It hit the road in 1995, with the wrong steering column and the wrong drag link.
I did as you suggest, and found correct parts and fitted them as needed. The correct drag link went on just 3 years ago when someone else was looking for one like I had on the car. There may still be parts considered incorrect. I don't know.If I find originals, I will replace reproductions when I get around to it.
Allan from down under.
It's pretty hard to do now anything 12 and earlier. I had collected all correct 12 parts and had the motor rebuilt and assembled. I looked up one day and figured I was still 35,000.00 bucks away from a completed car with restored brass a new body and upholstery. With what I had in the chassis that would have put me above 50000.00 so I sold it and decided if I wanted one I would go buy the best one I could find for that kind of money. In the end my restored 13 is very satisfying to own.
We owe a debt of gratitude to those who have preserved early original cars. I am envious of those who can construct a completely authentic early car from parts.
I sometimes cringe when I see some of the obviously incorrect and misrepresented cars that come up for sale.
Some people will never see an authentic Brass car on the road let alone get to sit in or ride in one. If some of these lesser correct cars are out where people can enjoy them they may be an asset to the hobby. I would encourage anyone building a T to make it look as authentic and period correct as possible. I feel the charm and joy they can bring to folks may outweigh the details that make them valuable.
Well put. I could have said it better myself. I wanted a 12 touring and making teacher's wages the only way to have was to build one up. I began collecting parts and was using some later stuff and when the correct part became avaliable that I could afford I would purchase them. I was going to be completely happy with a 13-14 rear end in a drivable car. My advice is put one together and enjoy it. I still think a 13-14-15 is pretty doable from parts but they too are getting expensive. Enjoy this hobby.
Wow should have read that one more carefully. Sorry for all the errors it's been a pretty rough 12 hours or so. That for the distractions though they were very needed.
OK. I've been stewing this around for a few days and here's my 2 cents: You claim to have enough real/actual parts to build a '14. If you could do that, I'm saying everything from the ground up is correct, then you have a 1914 Model T and could sell it as such. Actually I don't think it would even be necessary to tell a buyer you assembled it from parts. It's a restoration as long as all is correct. And I do mean ALL.
Never actually answered the orig. post: By my thinking and if all you say is true the simple answer is yes to all 3 items. It's ethical if all is correct. It's feasible and and affordable if you have all the stuff you say you do. Would it be profitable? Hell no.
Thank you to everyone responding. Yes, I know how expensive it is. Charlie B's last statement sums it up very well. So, I'll just keep waiting until I can buy the car I want.