Iíve just sold the very nice í13 runabout Iíve had for 12 years. Iím looking for a í13 or í14 touring car in comparable condition. Hereís what will, or wonít, excite me.
Authentic appearance. I want it to look pretty correct. If itís a í14, it should be black. If itís a í13, it should have a dark blue body with thin stripes. I want correct black and brass lamps and horn. I donít want demountable rims or í26-í27 wire wheels. Period-correct accessory wire wheels are fine, but if I have to pay a premium for them, Iíd rather put that money into mechanical condition. 30x3-1/2 wood wheels in front are fine if itís a Canadian car. Correct windshield, folding forward for a í13 or backward for a í14. Correct top and upholstery, but I donít care about side curtains since Iíd rather get wet than try to drive a tent if Iím caught in the rain.
Generally correct running gear. No starter, generator, distributor, or water pump. I donít want the complication of a Warford or Ruckstell. Since itís hilly where I live, and since I almost never drive a T above 35 mph, 4:1 gears are fine. Flat tube radiator is fine. Band linings can be wood or Kevlar. Correct coils and functioning magneto are essential.
Mechanical improvements. Rebuilt rear end to get rid of troublesome bearings is important, but I can have that done if need be. Stipe or Chaffin 280 cam would be a plus. Scat crank would be a plus. Balanced running gear, including the transmission, would be a plus. If it doesnít have an outside oil line, I can put one on. AC or old-style (work forward or backward) Rocky Mountain brakes are a plus; disc brakes are a turnoff, even if they stop beautifully.
General condition. Probably the best car for me is one that was restored to a high standard a few years ago and has been driven and well-maintained since. Thereís no point in my paying more for a car that would win an AACA first, since itís going to get driven in the rain, and on dirt roads, and with sticky-fingered kids piled in back. Thatís how I used my runabout; I just decided I needed room for more sticky-fingered kids. I will continue to teach people to drive a Model T, because I think itís important to share these cars and keep the flame burning.
Location. Within 500 miles of northern NJ would be highly desirable. Within 200 miles would be a Very. Big. Plus.
Iím 80 years old. Iím still in pretty decent shape, and hope to be able to enjoy old cars for years to come. Iím also a retired actuary, so Iím very familiar with mortality tables. Iím looking for the last Model T I ever expect to buy, and I hope to be using it a long time.
What might you offer for my consideration?
Gil Fitzhugh the Elder, Morristown, NJ
Gil, I'll sure continue to be on the lookout for such a car, and I hope one will turn up sooner than later !!
When I finish the 13 touring I have it should be just what you are looking for but it might take me 10 or 20 years to finish it and 20 or 30 more to decide to sell it!
Hm. There was an old song that went:
"It won't matter a helluva lot in 50 years from now,
We'll be down where they can't reach us with a plow . . ."
Gil, sent you PM re: 1914 touring yesterday.