As we sadly continue to lose folks whose experience with Model T's dates to when these were new models, Below I summarize a modest proposal to support expansion of the hobby:
User Rating Survey
When someone visits this site for the 1st time, they must complete a short survey to enter. They are not told why and the results are not shared with the user. The survey automatically categorizes the person to one of three groups. The category limits what posts the user can see:
(1) "Not Yet [Suckered?] In". These folks have a light interest in the Model T, for historical reasons. Perhaps they have also been in one. Like a frightened rabbit, they can easily be scared into looking a muscle car -or other vehicle with 0-60 times that would do not permit a nap.
What posts they can see: Generally, this group is only able to see posts that support the "shucks, all you need are pliers, a screwdriver, a spool of wire, and a shade tree to keep the car going forever. They can watch how to replace a Model T tire video; how to start the engine; and go forward (but not how to stop the car -or anything about the brakes for that matter). Also OK are posts that support the "never needs tinkering reliability" myths. Most importantly, these users are strictly forbidden from accessing any Mike Bender "model T Tips" engine rebuild videos or similar content, lest they find out what's really involved in fixing a Model T engine (including full machine shop, many expensive specialized tools, and nerves of steel, to name a few).
(2) Bitten the Bait. Compared to the previous group, the survey shows that these users are a bit more invested. They have spent time on research. Perhaps they've started to think about the logistics of where the car will be kept and maintained. They have started to look at classified ads -and may have even looked at a car or 2. They will have started to talk to friends and family about how fun it would be to have Model T. They laugh off friends' questioning about the sanity of getting a hobby car that lacks all conveniences and comfort of modern cars -including reasonably short stopping distances. These folks are moving forward, but they can still turn back with little more than embarrassing back-tracking conversations with friends and family.
What posts can they see: These folks are permitted to read about testing a coil if it's rebuildable. They can also watch videos on adjusting the bands; and replacing the head with a high compression model. In terms of Lang's catalog (which I propose we also include in this scheme), they are permitted to see the cost of fan belts, spark plugs, and similar small parts. They are strictly forbidden from seeing any prices related Ruckstell axles or rocky-mountain brakes. They are banned from prices for crankshafts, or any other engine part that will remind them that an all-new parts Chevy 350 can be had for $1500.
(3) Afflicted/Committed (or qualifies to be committed). The survey reveals that these users are "all-in". They have already purchased a "T". They have had to survive negotiations with spouses involving promises for more family visits and shopping excursions. They have completed a minimum of ten hours of conversations with friends convincing them that it makes perfect sense. They cannot retreat from the hobby without significant embarrassment and "told you so" snickers. These members have full access to the model T forum and to vendors' catalogs. Access includes to the most vitriolic "original-versus-modified" threads. They can see the true cost of a quality engine/ transmission rebuild. Group 3 users will stick to it nonetheless -and are still likely happy about it...
Bill P. (Group 3 member)