Hello new member here. I've been following the forum for many months. I have recently finished restoring a 1970 F100 and am about to start on my next project a 1924 Model T Roadster. This Roadster was purchased in the 1940s by my father when he was 13. He really did nothing to it other than drive it all over north GA while growing up. I also grew up driving the T.
My question is "If given the chance to go back and begin again with your first T, would you just leave it alone and just drive it and keep in in its original state of fermentation, or would you restore it to its factory roll off condition?"
The F100 I restored I took it close to factory spending 5 years rebuilding it. It was allot of work, pain and joy. The T is different because it runs well but is rusting away and the mice have eaten allot the wiring away. I'm torn with keeping history the way it apears and having a restored T to pass onto the next generation.
You'll get more attention if you leave it as is. Make it run right and safe.
Its your T but i would put a wiring harness in it and keep on riding. They all need a few repairs to keep them on the road. I to live in GA in Ringgold, your the only other person on the forum that i have seen in this area. I never see any other model T s where i live so the forum is my way of keeping my car going. There are tons of knowledgeable Model T people on here and you can always ask questions. Nice car! Tim
I agree with Tim. Leave it as is and just make it safe to drive.
My preference is to keep it in its original state as far as appearance is concerned. However, if it's not been "gone through" mechanically I think it's important to do so from a safety and reliability point of view.
When I acquired my TT, which has been in the family since 1946, I removed the cab and bed (both wood) and the sheet metal, set them aside, then "restored" the running chassis. When I was done doing that I put the body parts back the same as they were. It now runs great and looks as it did when I started.
Just my $0.02 worth.
That car is not in its original state. It's been molested. You shouldn't feel guilty if you restore it.
At a minimum, clean it up. Also, do things such as straighten the rear fenders. No reason to run around with them looking like that.
Also, get rid of that awful yellow jerry can.
I have an unrestored 1917 roadster. It is not the greatest example of an unrestored car, but it is not dumpy, dirty, greasy or oily because I spent time detailing it.
Honestly I had a lot more fun with my cars before they were restored so nice I can't drive them for fear of damage.
I really like your car just as it is, however I also agree with Henry. A full chassis rebuild would be wise, then you can decide if you want drive it or go full resto at that point.
I have 26 RPU unrestored and very rough, took it to a cruiz in and parade. There were some very nice restored cars . Every make and model along with some high dollar hotrods. The whole evening there was a crowd around my rusty , original model T . So many in fact that I couldn't see it from a distance.
I also don't have to worry if a kid comes up and climbs up on running board or somebody leans against it. I love and respect the restored T's for all the detailed hard work that goes into building them not to mention the talent. Mine runs stock everything and no water pump. We have a lot of fun.
You must deside for yourself but they only have that patina one time unless you live for another hundred years.
I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one with a green T.
Drive safe and often
Ditto most of the above... but this is what I'm doing, anyway .... I'm doing as much as I can, to get my roadster/Pickup as safe and reliable as possible, but not doing much to the visible bits. Yeah .. I swapped out the turtle deck for a pickup bed I made .. but I want to USE it, not just look at it. There are some pretty important upgrades, that probably ought to at least be checked:
Rear end thrust 'bearing'
Properly working brakes
Visible and functional lights .. turn signals brake lights, etc
'Tight' front end .. steering bits, etc
Wheel bearings, and safe tires.
Re-build the coils if needed (this is the single best thing I did!!)
Your mileage may vary ...
Best of luck! It's a looker!
My wife said the car can stay green but ( quote ) I do t like the dog piss yellow wheels.
I'm not fond of the green but I need to make that decision to
I tend to agree with several posts above.
My 22 touring has been modified for safety reasons.
My 16 black smith built roadster pickup is going to have the same safety stuff and dependability but the rough used parts will be left as found including cracked fenders and rust.
From past experience with my 22 folks are more interested in what vintage folks drove then a restored model T.-----my opinion!
There's 70 years of family history in that car ó I sure wouldn't restore it to factory new condition.
If you restore it now, the next generation will get a 25-30 year old stock restoration. Leave it as is as much as you can, the next generation will get a unique ride with 100 years of family history, dents, dings, and shabby paint.
I would however, get the wiring up to snuff, install bronze thrust washers, tighten up the wheels and ditch the yellow jerry can. And if it were me I would rough up and stain the new wiring harness so it didn't stick out like a sore thumb.
My late Dad's '12 Roadster jalopy went to my son in 1999 when he was 12. It would rival your '24 in general shabbiness but never ceases to draw a crowd and innumerable thumbs up. It's his car now and he can do with it as he wishes, but so far there's been no inclination toward a restoration and I'm just fine with that.
I say restore it if you have the means.
I would 1) make it mechanically safe and functional. 2)arrest rust (many products out there for that) 3)repair any bad wood so the body won't get worse.
All of the above can be done without "restoring" the visible parts, but will prevent further deterioration of the car. Then you'll still have a "survivor" and the car is the way your Dad had it when he drove it, and you're not spending years in a restoration project, although it might be a few months to do all of the above, depending on how much restoration time you have.
OR! You could restore it, but be ready for that to take much longer than you expected (the Pickup restoration should have taught you that already!)
We have 2 T's and an A. The A was first and we went to a lot of time, work and expense restoring it. It's nice. It's pretty. But it sits. Neither of the T's (TT and a Touring) have been restored. Both have been kept up over the years and both have been repainted at some point in their life, but certainly not recently. I keep them both in safe reliable working order and that's it. Both get driven more than the pretty A. And both attract more attention at a car show.
BTW, my youngest son is crazy about that era F Series truck. He has a '78, but truth be known, I think he prefers the '67-'72 body style.
On the side of leaving it as is, except for safety issues, here is a picture of one that has been left as I found it. Otis ALWAYS gets more smiles than any restored Model T.
Some vehicles need and deserve "restoration". That term being reserved for stupidly anal
nitpicky perfection work to take a car back to dust collector status. Others have more "value"
in the experience, be that operating it or the joy it puts in people's hearts just seeing it going
down the road. I am of the opinion that most Model T's fit into the latter category, and practice
such belief with my old truck. I keep my old dog is as good of shape as I can, but restored it is
not. Perhaps "renovated" or simply kept in good, presentable working order is a better description ?
Get a new wire harness, fix the seats, give it a cheap paint job that would make Henry proud, if
that is what it needs. But an all-out restoration ? Why ? It won't be any prettier for all the effort
and money. You can then enjoy all the stress of a failing campaign to keep it perfect. And it's not
like the "perfect" car is better in some way. You'll get more attention and smiles with an imperfect
car than a perfect one.
Your call. I wouldn't waste my time polishing a turd. Fix what needs it and enjoy.
It is only original once. Most of our cars have had at least one repaint some have had an amateur restoration or maybe a full out better than rolled off the assembly line trailer Queen (that means it never gets driven, it is hauled everywhere it goes not very fun). If the corrosion is very bad and the car needs that fixed before it falls apart then by all means restore it so that it is what you want. If the frame is good and the wheels are good then make it safe to drive and have a ball using it. Some of the things a model T can do are downright amazing. Whatever you decide this forum is a great resource and unlike other places I have been you never get a response such as "any dummy knows that"
I am sending you a safety check list (PDF) via p.m.
My RPU that get used as it was intended.
Mechanically safe and dependable . Pretty? Not so much
I know a lot of very nicely restored cars that get driven a lot more than most Ts.
Don't let a few here tell you that you can't drive and enjoy a beautiful car.
Two years ago I bought my Model T (my profile pic is from the night I brought it home). It wasn't running at the time and I decided a bunch of stuff would need fixing so I ripped a lot of it apart. Work, life and procrastination got in the way and I basically became one of those hoarder jerks who has a neat old car in his garage and never really even looks at it.
I'm getting at it again but looking back all I really had to do two years ago was re-wire it one weekend and hit the road. I'd have ten thousand miles on the thing by now if I'd have done that.
Derek I couldn't agree with you more. Virtually ALL of my T's are show cars yet I drive 'em all the time. The '15 probably the least as I am partial to the wood firewall models.
I didn't see anyone tell him he couldn't enjoy a restored car. Just a lot of people telling him he ain't a gotta in order TO enjoy it. Derz a difference.
James If it quacks like duck, looks like a duck and, and waddles like a duck, it must a duck! So don't even wash it and make damn sure it is safe to drive and Drive the heck out of it. They are fun and you will get a lot of whistles and honks as you go bye. Change the fluids and get going and drive it safely. As someone here in the Forum says go out and enjoy the ride.
As you've discovered, some blanket restored car and some don't. The trend seems to be these days to leave the car and its original state; however, things to wear out and will need to be replaced if you want to keep driving it. When I bought my 1927 Tudor in 2006, it was 90% original and 90% worn out. It was clearly not safe to drive and all of the mechanical work had to be done, from rebuilding the engine all the way through the Ruckstell. My car had a lot of cancer and so I chose to replace the metal and to repaint it. It will not take first place at any car show, but that wasn't my intent when I began restoring it. I have two children that I wanted to cake places in it, along with their friends. Obviously, what you do with it is your choice, but if you plan on driving it it needs to be mechanically sound.
Im of the camp to mechanically make it safe and dependable. I would also leave it as be, because of the family history. (but that is me) Just remember that once you start to restore it, you can not go back and replace the "historical family patina". "Once its gone its gone" To some people they are meant to make as new and close to what "Henry built". To others the "family part" means nothing. To others the "family part" is "Everything". So that is the decision only you can make. The main thing is have fun and be safe. Donnie Brown ....
It's interesting; we (the forum folks) tend to disagree on everything and anything, but most of the responses I see here in this thread is, "Do what you like, but. . ." and it's decidedly more "I'd just enjoy it first!" although not adamantly so.
That probably doesn't help you as much as you were hoping, James! The big thing is SAFETY, make the car safe, you can tear a rear end apart, completely rebuild it and put it back together without "restoring" the outside, the only visible signs might be some new bolts/nuts. The other big question is "What shape is the body wood in?" as bad wood will let the body metal take all the stress, which it is not designed to do, so it starts crushing, cracking, and tearing; so for the sheet metal's sake, be certain your wood is in good condition. You'll also want the seats to be comfortable, and your guest riders will appreciate not having their clothes altered by bits of broken seat springs sticking out. You (or your significant other) will probably like that too!
I'm big on nostalgia, so I would really get a kick out of driving the car "just like Dad did."
But, it really is all up to you and what you enjoy doing. Just be aware, "There Be Chuckholes Here matey--BIG ones! Arrr. . . . "
Do what you want and NO BUTS!
It's your car and we all have personal preferences. I personally like the unmolested look (not restored) but agree with all who say make it safe and reliable.
Pretty cars are a dime a dozen but unrestored cars are few and far between.
What I HATE is rat-rods!
Everything else aside, I have found that an unrestored Model T and a restored Model t are exactly the same amount of fun, as long as each runs well and is safe.
I agree with keeping it original to it's own history which includes the green paint. Just make it safe!
When I get home (in Taiwan right now) I'll be selling my 1919 T speedster so that I can buy an unrestored 1923 T runabout barn find in very solid condition.
I've had a week of abstract visualizing what I'll encounter once I start inspecting the mechanics. But my plan to to keep it a survivor car with just enough mechanical intervention to make it safe and reliable. Think ... the VW found in a cave in the movie "Sleeper."
The engine is free, but evidently with two stuck valves. At the least I'll have to remove the head to see what the valve seats and cylinders look like. I'll also remove the inspection plate from pan and see how much slop there is in the rod bearings. Don't know how to check the mains from underneath. If it looks solid enough and tight enough to run without too much noise, I'll just tweak it and drive it as is. If not, I'll pull the engine and have a real machinist go over the short block.
The body will only be conserved ... not restored. I'll need a new top (no cloth on the frame) and I don't know about the seats yet. I want whatever I replace to look timeworn. But I'll eventually be driving this to work every day. I also want it to be stock .. as found. Funny, I worked very hard to make my other T look like it came from a barn ... now I'll finally have one. Very excited about this car.
Off thread topic, but I am there with John. I do not care for rat rods or modern hot rods. Both break away from the historicity of the vehicle and the latter seems to be about drawing attention to themselves, by how much money is spent to add all of the eye candy. I do appreciate historical hot rods - the ones from the 40's & 50's. They play a definite role in automotive development.
I have restored my 26touring completey. My '29 Nash I did the body and paint & interior & brakes, wiring, etc., same on my '48 Nash.
I do not get bent out of shape if somebody leans on any one of them.
I drive them when and where ever regardless of the risk of getting them dirty or somebody touching them.
If that T was mine I'd drive it a little while, Take the fenders off and paint the body black, put the fenders back on, rewire it and drive it until I had time to take care of the fenders and other little things.
I have bought so many cars that the previous owner enjoyed tearing completely apart, usually with the kids, and then could never get up enough energy to put back together.
A T is easy to do a little at a time on and keep using.
I do not care if an unrestored car gets more attention than a nicely restored one.
But that's just me. I also spend more time looking at really nice women than I do shabby ones.
Lots of good advice above.
I would like to converse with you about the 70-F100 , as I am hard into a 67-F 100 project!!!
I have to tell you guys I apreciate all the input. I did receive a safety check list and I can see from reading it I have quite a bit of work to do rite off the bat. Not to mention painting the jerry can a more period correct color Ha Ha. I have allot of fond memory of that jerry can but my wife thinks I should find one at least from the same era.
The story behind the green paint as I know it is that my dad and one of his buddies broke into a manufacturing facility one weekend and the green paint was qued up in the paint gun there so they painted the car, undercarriage, dash, engine, everything green. If you scrape on the wheels there is green under there too. There is even a green speedometer in a box in the barn that was on the car.
This picture is from this past Sunday with my dad driving teaching me some of the quirks of his t.
You answered your own question.
There is family history behind the green paint
and might I say - a darn good story at that.
If you are going to drive it on the road - make it safe.
I agree with Jim. That car's been that way as long as you can remember, so that's how it should stay. Maybe one day when you pass it down to your children they'll decide it doesn't need to be green anymore. But just keep in mind that your car will never be as unique as it is right now. If you take it to just about any show it will be recognizable and interesting as it is, but if you paint it the factory colors it'll blend into the crowd.
I painted my car black, but that's because it was vaguely black when I got it and I wanted to keep it black. My car was also a bitsa car, so I didn't feel bad blowing it all apart and redoing the entire car. My next car is most likely going to be another bitsa, since I bought enough parts to build at least one and a half chassis. I'm thinking about going weird next time. Something like blue and orange, just because I can.
I personally love the way your car looks. Keep it as is, fix what needs fixed, and just keep on motoring.
If I were going to do it all again, I would buy more comfortable shoes.
When I bought my Tin Lizzy, it had a stock Ford roller-timer, and while that thing is no less cantankerous than all the other parts of the car, it works with at least as much precision as one might reasonably expect from a gadget that was developed at the same time as the light bulb. -And like everything else on the car, it wants to be wiped and lubed more or less on schedule. -The requirement for ceaseless tinkering is part of the warp and woof of Brass-Era automobiles and one might expect that the least expensive of them all might also be the least sophisticated (although in many ways, it wasnít) and thereby have greater need of maintenance.
I guess thereís a sort of philosophy that goes along with wanting to own one of these cars. -Folks like you and I are just more likely to percolate coffee, write with fountain pens and think of todayís popular music as an abomination. -So, when we step into the Waybach Machine with Sherman and Mr. Peabody and intentionally sojourn to the world of gas lights and kerosene lanterns, it might not be reasonable for us to complain about a lack of cell-phone coverage.
Now, it's generally accepted, for instance, that a Bosch distributor ignition system will require only token maintenance and perform as at least as reliably and well as a stock, buzz-coil and timeróif that happens to be the experience youíre after.
But as it happens, I donít venture too far from home, so I can afford to go with less than gravity-dependable systems and in exchange for that, I get a somewhat more authentic experience. -As Grandpa once said, ďYou give a little bit of this to get a little bit of that.Ē -At car shows, I enjoy demonstrating the original ignition system and the response I get from a genuine enthusiast when I unsnap the box, haul out an ancient-looking buzz-coil and place it in his hands, makes it worth the extra maintenance (and when I announce that Iím going to hand-crank the engine, the reaction I get is as though Iíd just promised to conjure a genie from a lamp).
Itís true that weíre the temporary custodians of some significant historical artifacts and their ďmoral worthĒ is greater if we keep them fairly close to stock. -But there are so darn many Model T Fords that we can feel assured that there will be no shortage of originals to serve as historical references. -Were we, on the other hand, talking about rarities like brass-era Pierce Arrows, Packards and Locomobiles, perhaps itíd be a better practice of citizenship to take a more orthodox, philosophical point of view regarding originality. -But with a Tin Lizzy, Iíd guess we have at least as much wiggle room as we do wheel wobble.
You can buy a decent wiring harness from Langs for under $50. Be sure to clean all the contacts. I would also do the battery cables, and check the starter switch too. Be sure to get all three harnesses!
James there was something about your picture that just kept saying something was missing, then I realized that something wasn't missing it was added perfect picture with no modern distractions so I modified it.
And Safety Glass.
You state DMV and insurance company may insist upon it.
Looks like fun James, keep on driving it. Here is mine when we pulled it from the shed. Looks much cleaner now and I will continue to make safety upgrades but drive it as it is.
I think that it it is best to leave the exterior just the way it is.It is also a good idea to keep these beauties safe as they are very valuable.I keep my T Model in a garage where I fitted up a home alarm system http://www.sleepwellsecurity.ca/services/residential-alarms/ so that I could monitor the live stream videos through my smartphone.
If I only had one driveable Model T (which is the case), I would buy one already restored as I like a vehicle that looks like it rolled off the showroom floor. Just my preference. For other antiques, I prefer the rust and dust look. Having gone the restoration route (and still in the process of restoring another), while it is fun...its awful darn expensive. By the time the second Model T is completed it will cost twice as much as it could reasonably sell for. If it hadn't been previously messed with, I would have been tempted to just deal with mechanical issues and drive it as-is.
I am now long of tooth and short of hair (81) I have a shop put together just for working on my Tís, especially here in northern Utah during the winter months. Iím hoping to finish up a full restoration on my 26 Touring by spring. The one thing missing from the comments above is the therapeutic benefits I get from having an ongoing project to keep me busy instead of sitting in front of a television and waiting to die. Old Gert will be bright and shiny and I will be extremely proud of what I have accomplished since I do not have the skills that most of you seem to have. However, I dismantled the car, had other people paint, repair, sandblast, etc, etc, etc and now Iím bolting her back together. I guess my point here is that at the end of the day, Iíll have a nice care that Iíll be proud of and will drive, but more important is that Iím motivated to get off my ass and go work on her.
By the way, I also have Betsy, my 23 Roadster driver. She remains just as I bought her, but as mentioned above, is well maintained so Iíve got the best of both worlds.
After I finish up Gert, assuming Iím still up and running, Iíve got a 1915 Bitsa, as someone called it and Iím excited about building a car that will be what I want it to be. Because of the knowledge I acquired while redoing Gert, Iím pumped about getting started on Cranky.
I was told when I got into T's that it was only my 1st. Well the third one followed me home Saturday. I was also told that three is the majic number . One to drive- one to work on and one for parts. Some have many more. They have to make all the tough decisions as to which one to drive or which one to work on!!! It is very therapeutic . Sometime I just sit and stare at them. I smile every time I look at one. Unless I'm working on one the I'm scratching my head. I hope when I'm in my 80's that I'm lucky enough to still be able to work on them.
Drive safe and often
Hmmm. Just like horses - you need at least two, because one is always lame, three if you pack. I have one Model T now, and three horses. Uh-oh !
Just my opinion. I don't mind when people restore a car as long as they keep it as original. I also like the look of an original car. Like an HPOF AACA car. I have several Mopars and can't tell you how many times people have told me to put disk brakes on them or mod the suspension for a better ride. I always tell them if I want to ride in a newer car I'd drive my daily driver. The little quarks of the car are part of its charm.