I thought it would be fun to start a thread sharing stories you have about people who come up to you talking about the T. Good/best comments you've gotten, fun questions, reactions and look you've gotten while driving, etc from generally non T informed people who see you with your car. I'll start with one: last summer my grandfather and I were driving maybe 8 miles from his house to a car show down my cohoes, N.Y. We were still sorting out some timing, carb, and transmission adjustments since the rebuilt engine has had very few miles on it since the rebuild. The car ended up stalling out on us on a very slight uphill going to cohoes (I don't think the grade was more than 5% tops). As I'm struggling to turn it over by crank (found out after getting it home bands were catching on the drums making cranking very stiff) in this little suburb spot every one in their yards stops what their doing to watch. Lots of phones pop up taking photos. Nice guy on a motorcycle pulls up behind us, jumps off and asks if we'd like a hand push starting it. Big grin on his face as we accept. Push, car fires up and we're off. Lots of cheers and waves as we go by.
This didn't happen to me, in fact, I think it was one of the guys in our club, but I'm not sure. Doesn't matter though because to me, it's one of the best Model T stories I've ever heard about:
Seems this was at a car show of some kind, and our guy had his Model T Touring on display, and it had one of those accordion type expandable luggage racks on the driver's side running board. A young couple with their small child was walking around, looking at all the cars. The young mom walked up to our guy and asked,.... "excuse me sir, but why do you have a baby gate on the side of your car?" The T owner replied,.... "oh that,..... well, when we had our second kid, we decided not to bother buying one of those expensive baby car seats, and we just wrap the kid up and throw him in there and it works great! The kid loves it and it saves us a lotta'money too!"
As the story goes, I guess this young mom's eyes got big as saucers and he chin all but hit the ground!
HER chin,....darn it! Got distracted & posted before proofreading!
A few seasons ago, I took the Model T to a local car show and a school teacher walked up with a couple of her pupils in tow. _The kids were absolutely fascinated by the advanced age of my street-legal horseless carriage. _The teacher asked me how long ago this Model T had been manufactured. _I told her that it had been built in 1915 and explained to her kids about how the car was an antique even before I was born (and yes, one of the kids asked my age).
That began a history lesson: She explained to her children about how this car was ancient long before Neil Armstrong ever walked on the moon, before JFK was assassinated and even before there was such a thing as Rock & Roll. _She went on about how this car had been on the road before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, before the world had heard of FDR, Winston Churchill, or Adolph Hitler; in fact, how this Model T had been built two years before the United States entered World War One, seven years before anyone had ever heard of King Tut because his tomb wasn't discovered by Howard Carter until 1922, and how, because this car was built fifty years after the end of the Civil War, its original owner could just possibly have been a Union or Confederate veteran who had served under Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis. _Her kids were impressed. _Heck, so was I.
Then, the teacher shot some photos of her kids sitting in the Model T with her cell phone and then asked me to show them what it was like to hand-crank the engine. _As it was idling, she pointed out to her kids how this very engine was powering this very car around in the days when a hand-crank was also standard equipment on a trendy gadget known as the telephone, which, in most cases back then, appeared as a wall-mounted wooden box decorated by a pair of brass bells—and how most American households didn't have one yet.
Typical of countless graying American males, I had made a frivolous purchase of an automotive toy to assuage the depressing effects of a mid-life crisis. _It was very late in life for a school teacher to finally make an impression on me. _Now, I look at the Model T a little differently.
I had a know it all at a car show tell me that Henry Ford had planted thousands of acres of Dogwood trees to make spokes, he also insisted that all shipping crates could be used as floor boards, I pointed out that everything was made in house and there were none or very little shipping crates but he knew better, so I shut up.
At the same show a little boy about eight told his little sister about five looking at my 24 Fordor that this what cars looked like back in the eighties which would have been a long time ago to him this was in 2013
I have been driving Model T's for many years but I only yesterday received a piece of advice no one has ever mentioned."Dont pick your nose as everyone will see you". I pondered this last night as I drove my T to the railway station to pick up my son. As I stopped at a red light, yes, the T and me were being looked at from every direction! Hands on the wheel and those levers for me!
Been lots over the years, these I remember well.
On a tour in the Town Car which had a fat man steering wheel, It was the type which hinges at 12 o clock and folds up 180 degrees towards the windscreen.
When I pulled into an angle park and tipped it forward the wheels were turned to the left (T is RHD) so the wheel was facing left towards the passenger side.
A couple come along and the husband informs his wife " thats so the passenger can steer if they want to"
Another one which I have had mentioned twice is
The speedo gear on the front wheel is because the car has four/front wheel drive!
I'm a newbie...and I'm looking forward to get my 24 out. So I guess I can learn some quick quips for what might be expected. But I am really loving the baby guard explanation. Although I don't have that now, I think I want one just for the experience of telling someone that is where the baby goes. That is great. Anyone selling one of those? Gotta hold the baby...
Great post....Happy Holidays....made my day.
My story is like his. At our Cool April Nights three years ago I had my 1917 Model T Depot Hack parked in the display area. A woman came along and asked me what is this thing, so I told her you would find them at the train station and if you wanted to go over to the hotel you could hire them to take you there and when your stay was over call the station and they would come over and pick you up. I jokingly told her were leaving in a few minutes, and she asked will it make it there and I told her I hope snd she left!
Paul - Glad you liked the "baby gate" thing, but writing about that reminded me of another one that I personally like to use, and maybe you might consider one other accessory for your Model T that I have and that gives me some fun from time to time:
I have a set of three Boyco accessory cans on the running board of two of my Model T's. Of course the red, white and blue cans were originally used to carry extra gasoline, oil and water, and, when you think about it, they really made sense as gas stations were not all that plentiful in even the largest cities back in the Model T era, and even much less plentiful out in the more rural areas.
However, it always seems surprising to me, how many people actually ask me what the three red, white and blue cans on the running board are for, so I always tell them, "scotch, bourbon and gin"! Then I watch to see how long they take to "think that over" before they start to laugh. Some people actually believe me, at least for a few seconds! Yeah, there's lots of ways to have fun with Model T Fords (and people)!!! FWIW,.....harold
Bill - Do you ever tell folks that our "depot hacks" were actually the origin of the term,....."station wagon"?
I have learned that it is amazing how many people, even older people, have been using the term "station wagon" all their lives, and didn't really know why, and that the "station" in station wagon is a railroad station, or,......wait for it,.......train "DEPOT"!
Oh, and the actual trunk that sits on the trunk rack on the back of my Model A,........"oh yeah,....."TRUNK"! I get it!!!
As the kids say,........."duhhh"!
My Haigh's chocolate van has a Stewart speedo drive on one front wheel. Smart young fellow was telling his girlfriend all about it, front wheel drive for better traction in sand!!!!!
Allan from down under.
At a show, a woman was looking at my T power unit, shaking her head and clucking her tongue. She turned to her husband and said: "He'll never get that thing registered. I don't see how he can steer it. What a danger that would be on the roads!"
I about fell out of my chair laughing.
I had an AC repair man the other day (Texas-yes it was near 90!)- he saw Bessy in the garage and thought it must be worth $100K.. I told him I would sell it at the bargain price of $90K - What a deal!
My '25 Shaw conversion has an original "Repeal the 18th Amendment" license plate on the back. A young woman came up to me at a show and was visibly angry. She then proceeded to tell me how offensive she found the license plate, asked who the hell did I think I was, told me how ashamed I should be for putting that plate on....blah, blah, blah. After about 3 minutes of her non-stop haranguing I interrupted her and asked her why she had such a problem with the plate? She then yelled "because I'm a woman and equal and no one is going to take my right to vote away!" I burst out laughing which just infuriated her even more. I finally said "ma'am, the 18th Amendment was Prohibition. The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. If you don't know the difference, maybe your right to vote should be repealed."
(Message edited by Conversiont on December 22, 2016)
Loved when people asked if mine was a "kit car." I always responded with "kit cars don't come with rust."
When I have my Model T out I can rely on someone asking about the sprocket on the front wheel too, but I don't recall anyone saying it was for a front wheel drive!
One of the best ones I recall was once I had my 1911 roadster out and was putting gas in it at the local gas station. A man came along and was looking it over and complemented about it, and I thanked him.
He also asked how old was it, was it a '32?
I told him it was an '11 and I'm not sure he believed me.
How many people look at the speedo drive and ask if it's front wheel drive?? Much worse is so many ask if i'm the org owner!! Merry Christmas from Bud.
Nobody has seen me hand crank my '21 yet, but I know that people that see us use the standard , 2 pulls to draw fuel to the cylinders and then another pull to start, think if
the car was a good one it would start on the first pull.
I was stopped at a red light in my unrestored 25 coupe and a guy yelled out his window at me "Get A Horse!".
At a car show this one guy acting the part of a know-it-all kept referring to my 27 RPU as a convertible, in a way that some people thought it was his car. Forgive me but I could only hold it in so long, he was talking to 4 or 5 people so I got up from my chair and went to the display I had in the front pointed to a B&W photo and asked if he could Identify the three gentlemen. He said Ford was one but didn't know who the other two were (Edison & Firestone). I then asked him why he kept referring to my vehicle as a convertible. He said because the top folds down. I informed him that my RPU was in fact an open car due to the fact there are no windows in the door, a Convertible "converts" from an open car with the windows and top down to a closed car with the windows and top up. He said HUH? Then he asked me why the door lock knobs were missing from both of my doors........dang I just couldn't quit laughing enough to give him a smart answer!
Iv had many funny comments, But I think the best one was when I had a guy ask me if my car was a kit car. No matter what I said I could not convince him that my car was not a kit car. He just kept saying that there was no way that car could had lasted 97 years and still be on the road. In the end I just agreed with and sent him on his way.
The most memorable reaction to my "Ahooga" horn was two young kids one of who yelled back to me,...."DIVE, DIVE!"
You have to be old enough, or, remember the T.V. show, McHale's Navy to understand that one!
My best one was on the last MTFCI National Tour in New York last summer. I was driving a borrowed Touring car that had a damaged top so we had to leave the top down all the time we drove it. One very hot day when there wasn't any other Model T's around we came upon a T intersection where we had to stop and the cross traffic didn't. I noticed a older pickup truck approaching from the right side so I stopped to let him pass us before I entered the cross street. He turned in front of me and as he came upon the side of my car, he stopped. He rolled down the window and said, "do you have any AC in that car". I said, "NO". He then said, "Well I do, do you want some". He proceeded to fan some imaginary AC in my direction. We all laughed and the proceeded on our way.
Ron in Mass,
I believe that power unit WOULD be a danger on the roads !
After Erik's TT going to the dump story, this takes the cake !
I like having folks ask questions and making comments, with one exception -- the old "Any color you want as long as it's black" canard.
Canard - n - an untrue story generally accepted as true.
If there's time for a conversation, I tell them this: Model T's were painted with Gilsonite, which was made from coal tar. It was 'flowed' onto the body with a garden hose arrangement, and the excess dripped into a pan and was recycled. The body was then run through an oven, which dried the Gilsonite, to a tough, shiny finish. I mean, look - this car is 93 years old, and look how shiny it still is! I never wax it or anything (which is true).
I then go on and tell them that in fact Ford painted many of the enclosed models different colors - Blue, Maroon, Green, etc., although the Touring Car (the cheapest model) was always black.
Here's where I really go into B. S. embellishment.
I tell them that in time, the coal tar in the Gilsonite would 'eat' the coloring agent they put in it, so eventually all Model T's, regardless what color they were when they left the factory, would become black. And that's where the "Any color..." story came from.
It seems to me that this total fabrication is interesting enough that I can use it to tell a blowhard that he's full of manure, without getting him upset. He goes away thinking he learned something new, and it really doesn't matter whether it's a little true, a lot true, or not true at all.
I took my '25 Runabout to a local Oktoberfest and ran into an old neighborhood friend I had not seen in 20 yrs. I told him I had gotten my Dad's T going again and he wanted to see it. We were looking at it and he asked if I could hand crank it. Well, I took that as a challenge. I got every set to start it and gave it a good tug and it busted right off and purred along nicely. I look up and there are 6-10 Japanese exchange students filming it of course, and they were just amazed...they said had never seen anything that in person. Who knows, I may be a hit on YouTube in Japan.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Heart of Dixie, and Roll Tide....Y'all!!!
And a Merry War Eagle to you.
So I've told this story before, but it's a good one. I had a real big load of garbage and other debris in my rusty TT dump truck piled well over the cab and strapped down. I had done this hundreds of times before but this time I stopped at the gas station on the way. While I am filling up, this redneck looking dude walks up and looks the rig over. I am used to this. Finally he asks me, "What're you doing?" I told him I was going to the dump. He says "How are you getting home?"
Back in the early 70,s I drove my T around. At that time it was with great pleasure that the older men ( mostly the greatest gen. and older) would come up, know what it was, and have many good stories about their dealings with model t. Life came along, marriage, family etc., and the T got put away tell recently. Now when it is out, it is called that old car. Many do like to look it over and ask questions, and yes one thought it was a kit car, one was amazed the spokes were wooden. What a difference 40 to 45 years make.
Joe, the fact is that 'History' is being rarely and sparingly taught in today's school systems..... "40 to 45 years"? has given everyone a 'Smart Phone' so nobody has to actually talk to someone else. Any common sense approach to figure it out has been replaced by computers and plain laziness, physically and mentally. JMHO.
Those running board cans should be red, white & green, Harold - Italian flag colors !
My mistake - wrong country - boy, am I gonna catch hell for that one !!!
Green, white & red !
There was a guy in a Walmart parking lot looking over my race car when I came out from shopping. He was very interested in the car and just couldn't believe that he was looking at a real race car built back in the 20's. He asked if I knew any of the history of the car. I replied that I had built the car. He wasn't convinced. He said that I may have got it running but obviously didn't build it because it was untouched other than the wheels and tires.
I had someone ask me if the wheels on my T were made of wood or just metal painted to look like wood.
I like it when I have the hood open on my RPU and every thing is rust or grease and oil. The plugs,wires,belt and hoses are new and clean. After looking it over they ask.... can you still buy parts for it?
I'm always surprised by the number of people who hink the Model A is older thant the Model T because A comes before T in the alphabet.
Several years ago our club had a show at an assisted living home and one of the elderly ladies made a comment about her and the back seat of one of these things.
I came out of the grocery store to find a pickup parked next to my T Coupe. An older fellow was sitting in the passenger seat looking at it. I decided to crank it for him instead of using the starter.
"Wow! That was worth coming to town for" he said.
I was on the Santa Clara T Club endurance run in the early 1980's with my B Rajo T speedster with Model A crankshaft and straight exhaust pipe. I needed gasoline to finish so pulled into a gas station. The attendant, a older man, herd me drive up and shut the car off. He came over to collect the money for the gasoline. Several other people had gathered around and I herd the attendant say very loudly to me and the others, "that aint no Model T". Well I guess he right in a way.
I pulled in to a gas station, went inside, and the clerk asked me if I had done any work on the car myself. I listed off the things I had gone through up until that point, and he replied, "Wow so it was even shittier when you bought it!" I suppose that was true...
Drove the old truck to the store. When I stopped in front, a lady with her hands on her hips and a scowl on her face asked "IS THAT EVEN LEGAL?"
The two features of my car that get the most comments and questions from spectators or visitors are:
1) The wood spoke wheels - they can't believe that cars ever came with such things!
2) The oil can - many folks ask if it is actually useful, or just for display. Then I have to show them the oilers and tell them that every Model T came with an oil can (but not the holder).
Jeff--love your truck!!!
Robert, the Model A is older than the Model T.(The first Model A that is.)
My 2 favorite comments about my 26 Turdster (it's pretty rough) are one time I was at the recycling center and was behind a bin when a car pulled in, I came out and this little old lady ask me if that was my old car? I said yes and she sighed and said good, I thought someone had left it for recycle. I told her that I understood why she would have thought that. The second comment came on a covered bridge tour last fall that was with a Model A club. While waiting to get started one of the Model A gals came over and looked over my car and then stated that one of their members cars had caught on fire and we could have a contest as to which car looked worse. I said his car was ON FIRE and mine might look worse, I don't care how you meant that but I am taking that comment as a complaint.
I can't say that I have had any questions that would qualify for this thread, but whenever I'm out with one of my Ts, I always get many admiring looks and thumbs-up.
I will offer this story about why I enjoy my Model Ts (other than driving them) so much.
A few years ago I was at the Bedford, New Hampshire Historical Society Auto Show (the only car show I have gone to with my Ts) & fundraiser and as usual many forks came by asking lots of question, which I always do my best to answer correctly. But the part about owning and driving a model T that I enjoy most is, you can tell the kids " go ahead and sit in it, you can't hurt anything". I love seeing their faces when I have them work the bulb horn!
Bedford Historical Society Auto Show photos
When doing some of the early work on Dad's old TT, I needed to drive about a mile to the gas station for gas. Doors and fenders were removed at the time. Having gotten it re-titled and registered, I had been pleased to mount the non-expiring 'Wisconsin-Antique' plates front & back. (The rear mount is located high and up under the stake flat-bed.)
Got a few blocks out and heard the "Whoop-Whoop" of a squad, plus then noticed I was also being 'lit-up'. Sure as heck not being too likely able to out-run him, I pulled off to the side of the road.
Young cop, (maybe 25) loudly demands "License and Registration!" I was wearing my old Army fatigues, (definitely suspicious), I compliantly did my driver's license, and showed the required registration slip from the State.
He was almost unbelieving 'something like that' could even be legally on the road, I pointed out the plate up front and bent down to show him the back plate underneath. Everything matched!
With his frustration evident by his whining, complaining, and stomping feet, he went back to his squad and sped away. My apology for not providing him a certain 'outlaw collar'....
On a cruise-night rest-stop a few years later, maybe it was the same cop who watched super-suspiciously when I pulled a (non-alcoholic) Dr. Pepper out of my cooler? Remember the phrase "You can't trust anyone over 30!" Old guys with old vehicles just have to be a 'bad' bunch!
Dean's comments make me think of a non-T experience ....
When my DeSoto was just an old ratbag, a lot of old shysters would
hit me up to buy it, thinking I was just some stupid kid driving a beater.
It was unknown to me then, but only six of these are known to survive.
I knew is was rare as hell and it was my dream car, and no amount of
money was going to pry it away. It was a source of amusement and
pride that the car was rough and "ugly" in most people's eyes. The
weasels that wanted to buy it were often really insulting. I guess they
thought I'd respond positively to being told what a piece if #@! it was
and sell it to them. Drove them nuts because I would not take the bait
and the more they heaped it on, the more I'd laugh at them.
To this day I have a certain level of disdain for over-restored cars and
outright contempt for douchebag purists who play the holier-than-thou
put-down card in my hobby.
Anyone who knows you, knows you are bad news. Everyone else
is suspicious, and rightly so. Only bad seeds have TT trucks.
"don't let em pic guitars and drive them ole trucks"
Another one to add to my post above.... Per my Dad's wishes that 'the old truck' remains in the family, I had the TT re-titled and licensed in my daughter's name. She says it will be my grandson's when he turns 18. (Yes, he wants and does help & learn by working on it out in my shop).
About 8 years after re-registration/re-license, I received a 'Two-Year delinquent parking citation' (for my old registration) from the City of Milwaukee. It took letter(s), pictures, and copies of the paperwork to the court to let them know that it wasn't MY (let alone now my daughter's) 'Ford Truck' illegally parked in downtown Milwaukee at 11 PM in the middle of February! Old guys with old vehicles just have to be a 'bad' bunch!
"Thanks for the compliment!" (I think....)
Since this thread is drifting a bit (don't they all?), I'll add a routine I use when little kids (with parents) are near my car. I ask: "Do you want to hear my duck? When people get in my way, he quacks at them." Then I blow the bulb horn, and let them all try to blow it. If the kids are a bit older, I say: "You've heard of 'blowing the horn', haven't you? Well, that's a horn, with a reed, just like the horn in your school band. And now I'll REALLY blow it." Then I pull off the bulb, inhale deeply, wrap my lips around the tube, and produce a lo-o-o-ong blow. Faces light up all around.
Your parking ticket story is like one I had. Got the notice of some big fine/late fee
parking ticket and got to scratching my head .... that license plate don't belong to
any of my cars ! Turned out to be a parts car that I trailered home, chopped up and
left the hulk in the back corner of my yard ... front plate still on it.
Took a photo and presented it (with the car's paperwork) to the judge. He jokingly
told me not to be parking that car around town and tore up the ticket.
Marv and Burger, the parking ticket issue reminds me of a situation we had. We have a 1915 Model T but we also own a 1902 Curved Dash Oldsmobile. In the mail one day came a ticket for not paying the toll at an Illinois toll booth and a photo of the license plate. Well, the numbers were correct and it was a Wisconsin plate but it as a commercial plate not an antique car plate. The fine was very high. It took a long time to convince the Illinois DOT that our little Oldsmobile could not have been on the expressway. Photos did not help, we had to have a local police officer come and look at the car for proof. He didn't know that Oldsmobile existed in 1902 but he was sure convinced it would not travel at highway speeds! Oh, he loved the Model T and I hope he will come back for a ride next summer.
So excited to get my 26 touring home. It's not running yet. I called my brother and was so happy to report that it didn't leak much oil. His response.... "Wait till you drive it."
My folks lived in Denver, CO, until they passed away a number of years ago. Dad had a '26 Touring Car he loved to drive and I maintained for him. One year the local country club, Cherry Hills, was celebrating an anniversary and wanted an antique car display of member cars arrayed along the 18th fairway. Any cars from the founding year, 1926, would be parked on the 18th green by the clubhouse. Turned out Dad's was the only car from the founding year, so there at the head of all the Packards, Cadillacs, and Buicks was his humble Model T. A set of pictures were taken with some rather alluring young ladies and Dad in the drivers seat looking like the Cheshire Cat.
Dad and my step-mother Ramona loved to take friends for rides in "Bessie". Dad would don his chauffeurs cap and off they would go returning to the house for champagne after the drive.
Dad's gone now for some time and the T is in Malvern with us still driving and generating lots of smiles.
Spectator comments I recall are almost antiques themselves. When we got our Model Ts running in the early 60's, a lot of folks would yell "Get a horse !" - I haven't seen that one posted on these threads yet. We also had a lot of well-wishers holler things like "Throw a rod !" and "It's boiling over !" Mostly I recall a lot of short visits with folks who would tell us about the Ts they had. One guy said he had a Model T " . . . with a backwards transmission. She'd do 90 miles an hour !"
It wasn't awfully long before the comments began, "My father had a Model T like that . . ." Sic transit Model T mania.
All great stories guys I'll put one from my Grandfather in. In 1964 my grandfather was waved over to the side of the road while driving his 1926 Coupe. He pulls over. Car that waved him pulls over. An old man, about 70 my grandfather said, runs up to him and says "I just clocked you at 62mph! You're driving that car too fast!" My grandfather said "I have a ruckstell rear end, a high compression head, and overbored the cylinders." Old man's face lights up and says "oh! You're alright then! Have fun!" gets back in and drives off. Not another word said. Made me laugh when he told it.
One year in our hometown parade, it was hot and we were near the end and the moto meter was near the top. I saw a friend watching the parade and asked him if it was spitting out water? He said no but it was spitting out candy.
"A friend of mine has a Model T just like yours.
But his is a Chevy".
I've had people tell mge they know my '29 Nash is a model T car but is the '48 Nash also considered a model T car?
When we were kids in the early to late forties I think everybody hollered, "get a horse" to anyone driving a car older than 1930.
My story is topical, given the season.We were in the marshaling area for a country town Christmas parade when a marshal hurriedly asked if I had room for a passenger in the back seat of my tourer, just as we were to begin the parade.
"Sure!" I said, without looking around. In he hopped and off we went.
Thirty yards into the drive, there was this god-awful screaming/screeching noise in my left ear and I thought the rear end had disintegrated. Then the piper found his wind and burst into tune. I have never heard bagpipes at such close quarters, but he really knew his stuff, and I certainly had no need to use the T horn to add to the entertainment.
Allan from down under.
At a car show I had one of those propellers that is sold by vendors on the radiator cap. Black guy with a large wife and two kids came buy and he told them that was on there so when the steam came up from the radiator it pulls the car along. Make sense to me.
Burger re-reading your post I modified what I used to tell my students in my motorcycle safety class just for you. "If you own a TT no explanation is necessary,If you don't own a TT no explanation will do!" Hope you like it.
My wife and I took the 21 roadster to a local fly in drive in. I know quite a few people there so she said she would sit in the car out of the sun while I talked to all my friends. When I came back to the car there were several men by the car talking to her, guys always stop to talk to a blond. She said most of the time was spent explaining it wasn't front wheel drive even though it had a gear on the front wheel.