The featured car in the latest Model T Times is a very early '13 Touring. I was fortunate to meet the owner, and see the car at the Old Car Festival. There are a number of interesting things on this car that I wanted to ask the owner, but he didn't return on Sunday. One of the most confusing things to me is the location of the serial number plate on the firewall. The firewall is definitely an original, but the plate is mounted on the passenger side, and not over the steering column as they always are, and I could see no evidence that it ever was either. It has the knurled spark and throttle levers too. Too bad the article isn't more detailed.
I am happy to answer your questions. There is definitely some evidence, albeit slight, that the serial number plate was once located above the steering column. If I can figure out how to make photos work on this website I'll load something. I believe that the data plate was moved to cover the holes left behind when the speedometer went missing. There are holes on the engine side of the firewall that are covered rather neatly by the serial number plate.
The car did generate a great deal of interest at OCF. Had it not been my daughter's birthday I would have stayed for Sunday also. It was good meeting everyone and the car will be back (gods of the OCF willing) next year.
We'll see if this photo works.
Note the small indentation above the steering column. I believe this is where the serial number plate originally was located. I will take a few more photos over the weekend so everyone can see what I am describing.
Since it is an early '13, would the data plate most likely have been the larger 1912 style? My 1913 touring has a December 1912 engine casting date and it has the larger style plate. Not sure when Ford switched to the smaller version.
My '13 touring is an early February car, and it has the large patent plate. I've seen them as late as March. Eric, doesn't your car have something else over the steering column? I looked your car over pretty carefully at the OCF, and I couldn't see any indication the patent plate was ever where it's supposed to be.
My March 4, 1913 has the smaller plate.
Starting in 1912 the dashes were drilled on both sides for the carburetor control rod so that the dash could be mounted for RH drive or LH drive. The data plate then covered that hole on the people side of the dash and the hood former covered it on the engine side. The hole is slanted from the people side to the engine side at angle of 20 degrees and was at the same height and distance from center line for both holes on either side. The data plate would appear to have been moved by a previous owner to a different location from the normal location above the steering column.
My 1913 Touring Engine # B-339, Body # 154674 (large plate) had several 1912 features, did not have reinforcements for the rear 1/2 of the body. Perhaps manufactured in late 1912. Eric' s car is very interesting.
My firewall on my former '13 was as John Regan described.
From the time my dad and I had it the serial number on the title was is the mid 190xxx but I can't remember for sure and wouldn't publish the actual number here anyway without Eric's permission. I hated to see it leave our procession but we have so many and Eric is a wonderful guardian of a pretty fabulous mostly original car. I don't know what month that makes it. There is nobody that loves this car more than him.
I agree with John that the data plate has been moved by someone many, many years ago. Mark is right. I love the car and thoroughly enjoy driving it. I took it on a 65-70 mile drive last spring and it was a wonderful drive, even though I believe I killed off the coil along the way. I often wonder about the stories it could tell, particularly about the reasons some parts were replaced. I do plan some significant improvements to the car over the winter, including replacement of the incorrect engine.
Eric... I read the article, and I noticed that the last sentence left the possibility open that you might restore the car? How can we convince you to NEVER do that?!?
We have a 14 Canadian in about a condition one level better and the problem is as we have driven it it has gotten a bit worse for the wear. We did a set of wheels but kept the originals intact but the interior is losing it woven fabric just from using it. I agree just restore as needed but the finish is often difficult to maintain and when you start to cross original with restored the condition overall becomes very blurred. Safety is a must though.
I understand. I've had an un-restored 15 Touring and that car is our family tour car for the last 10 years. Fortunately, I've been able to restrict the "restoration" to only a new top and new wheels - other than mechanical maintenance.
See my response in the other thread. As Mark said I have to make the car safe and I want it to be reliable but where do you ever stop? I can assure you that I am first planning to do the chassis in a way that makes the car safe and reliable, then we'll see where the needs of the car take me. I have a similar quandary in another car. I'm sort of leaning toward seeing what the AACA HPOF judging team in Auburn think of the car next year and letting the leaves fall where they may.
I'm in a similar quandary: Barney is a survivor, but the body wood hasn't survived, nor anything fabric (other than the wiring insulation. So do I leave it "barn fresh" while replacing the wood, and not finding any "loose" original upholstery, well, gee, I don't like sitting on springs! OH yeah, the gas tank didn't survive intact, so new gas tank.
Decisions, decisions! At least Barney isn't "original" as found in the barn; the deck lid is an old icebox door, etc.
I have been shouting from the rooftops for preservation of decent original cars about as long as anybody. I have had a couple cars that I preserved while I had them, but after I had to sell them? It is beyond my control.
Cars I have restored, either were beyond preservation due to bad weathering, missing too many parts, or had previous restoration.
The fact is, it IS an impossible line to draw! How much weathering is too much? How many parts missing or later replaced is too many? If David D decides to keep Barney as a preservation vehicle? I will applaud him for it, however much he decides to do or not do. If he decides to do a full restoration on Barney? I will like that also. I think Terry H's Rusty is a perfect example. Terry has managed to preserved a few features that are special to his car. He has repaired and maintained whatever needed it, and replaced many missing parts with correct parts. Rusty looks fantastic!!!! Complete with new top and seats, now slightly aged.
I have read this thread, and the other one Erik M mentions. Based on what I have seen in photos, and read in descriptions? He is at that difficult point. Enough has been changed many years ago, that restoration may not be the wrong thing to do. When IS a car no longer truly original? When is it no longer an intact original? The engine is gone, the rear end is gone, but a lot of it is still original and okay.
I would probably replace those and other parts with correct parts, and try to match the "patina". If it needed replacement, I would try to preserve any original things like top and upholstery in well marked boxes for future study or patterns. But I would probably replace them and nicely. Rusty looked good that way, so why not.
If he gets deep into the car, and decides it just needs too much to keep that way? If he then decides to move on to a full restoration? I will say "oh well", and not put him down for it.
Those are MY opinions, and MY feelings, on that one.
Drive carefully, and do enjoy the holiday! W2
I have both original and restored T's. I much prefer the originals. From my point of view, in most cases, cars that enter the restoration pit are stripped to the body shell then repro fender's board's apron's,ect installed. Not much of a real T left. I would install the correct parts and enjoy owning a piece of T history. I also have a very early 13, that I use sparingly, there is no way I would restore it. Remember any one can have a restored T, but only a few can be lucky enough to own an original.
Wayne, you and I should have Hondas, as we are "Of one Accord"--see, cars a biblical!
Dan's observations are pretty much the way it is nowadays. My '16 Touring arrived in pieces, already taken apart back in the 1960s. It's getting a full restoration--but with correct original parts. I though I'd have to buy new front fenders and then I found a beautiful set of early take-offs at a relative's garage (he's also into brass cars); so, now it gets original fenders--my relative also had a NOS headlight switch (paint still bridges the mounting screw holes) and a wonderful Brassco horn. OK, maybe the horn is a few months older than my car would have, but gee, a '16 gets so little brass, couldn't you overlook that?
As for Barney, I really want to keep him as a survivor, but the body re-wooding project will probably determine that--fingers crossed that I can keep the patina.
Happy T-Day everyone!
I was privileged to be able to drive the Rip Van Winkle while Kim owned it. It's hard to describe what driving a new Model T is like, but I can only tell you there is nothing like it. I had another distinct pleasure of driving a similar '13 touring that Jeff Beaumont owned a few years back. It was the same way, tight and beautiful!