In my time researching this stuff while I save my piggy bank for a first car, I find I like several cars....1915 runabout....oh...and the 1914 runabout is just as cool.....but I also like the '23-24 runabouts.....now I also find myself looking at the '20's coupes.....perhaps over a lifetime one can build a collection (I see some folks here have a half dozen Ts in their garages!!!), but I thought I would just pose this question:
Did you go out looking for a specific year/model T or did you just jump on an opportunity when it came about, even if it wasn't the year/body style you particularly wanted?
I picked my T but my Packard found me.
My wife and I had wanted an early, original car for a couple of years. We have had old model , modified cars and trucks for 35+ years. I decided we would be wise to get either a Model T or Model A, because of parts availability. When we went to the Shades of the Past rod-run this past September, in Pigeon Forge TN, we found our '21 Touring. I thought it was a good deal, so we bought it.
I would have to say my cars found me. The ones I liked and saved for never happened. The ones I have and enjoy just fell into my lap and were adopted reluctantly.
Yes and yes. The first one found us. It was part of the inheritance from Grandpa, a car I had known about for years but had never seen. I assumed we'd just sell it, but once it was out in the daylight, it was love. She followed us home, of course. Once you're bitten by the bug...
The second one we picked after learning of its existence. Turns out it used to be Grandpa's as well and once shared the same garage as our first. The owner had done a nice restoration and we bought it on the spot. The opportunity to have both of these "family cars" together again in the same garage as they had been years ago would never have come again.
I don't know, maybe that means they BOTH found us.
My '13 roadster found me. It had been offered to me a couple of years earlier, and I declined due to the fact I don't need any more hand crank cars. I really liked the car, and the new owner knew it, so when he needed some quick cash, he contacted me, and I bought it. It's currently being restored.
I found some and some found me but I searched for the first one for years until I found what I wanted and could afford. After that for some strange reason they just started finding me.
When at last finding myself in the market for Model T Ford, I knew I wanted a brass car, but was working with a modest budget. _That meant candidates were limited to the 1914 or '15 model-year. _I tapped out an ad in the MTFCA online classifieds for either a '14 or '15 Touring and, almost immediately, started getting phone calls.
One guy touted himself as a Model T expert, but he didn't seem to know what Rocky Mountain brakes were, had no idea what a Ruckstell was and when I pressed him a little about the way his car was geared, he stated that, "Well, the car's a stick shift, of course—they didn't have automatics, back then." _Obviously, I wasn't about to do business with him.
Oh, but the crowning glory was the second guy who phoned—also announcing that he was a Model T guru. _He told me he had a 1914 for sale.
__I said, "So the car has gas lamps."
__He replied, "Yeah; matter of fact, I just hooked them up to the fuel pump yesterday—they work real good, now."
__I knew I had a live one on the line and just for fun, pressed him with some easy Model T questions anyone on this forum could have answered. _When asked about whether the car had a two-man top, he replied that his car was a Touring, so it had a back seat and therefore, a four-man top. _Two-man tops, of course, were for roadsters. _Asking him about his hogs-head had the man completely perplexed.
The third phone call came, that very same day, from the gentleman who sold me a very sweet '15 Touring. _He was only a few hundred miles away in Knox, New York, so I drove up that weekend with cash in hand and bought the car. _No, my Flivver didn't exactly find me, but I think the search was abbreviated enough to qualify for this thread.
By the way, while I was up there, the seller taught me now to drive a Model T. _He also trailered the car I purchased to my house and wouldn't accept anything more than the cost of gasoline and tolls for that favor. _There are a lot of really nice guys in the Model T hobby (as well as a few con-artists who don't know a hogs-head from pork jowls).
I whistled, and mine found me. Came running 2400 miles cross country, too.
Seriously, I always hankered for a brass T, figured it should be a '13 or '14 - ('15-'16s look too modern with that streamlined cowl) old enough, but not so old/rare as to be "precious".
When I found MTFCA and this forum, it was easy to get an education, and see a lot of cars being offered for sale. Perplexed at the number of early cars carrying a lot of "improvements" I felt were not in the spirit of early brass, I whined about it in a post on this forum, and a kind friend who wanted to sell his '13 runabout responded, and literally made me an offer too good to refuse.
If you're looking for a T, the best way to find one is within this community. You'll get all the help you'll ever need.
Rick, I totally jumped into this blind. I did not know a thing about T's and it did hurt me a little on the initial purchase. I was very heavy into muscle cars and drag cars, I sold my last ride, paid some bills and decided to do a 180 and go for something really old.....comparatively anyhow.
It also had alot to do with pricing. I had enough to buy many T's of a lower cost, but most were not running and true basket cases--I had about $4500 give or take at the time. My little cut off touring pickup popped up for less money and it seemed like a fair price. The guy was flipping it and I knew that, but it did run and drive. The catch was I had to make a 7 hour (one way) trek into Canada to get it. It was a blast and just adds to the story.
I was very blind and naive about T's though. The truck has been getting various components and sub assemblies restored over the years, pretty much everything was just worn out, some of it safety. If your mechanically inclined like me, a fix'er up'per isn't a bad way to go. It potentially allows you to pick a section and redo it and you can still somewhat use the car in between, rather than blow every nut and bolt off it and have it sit in the garage for 20 years in pieces because it became to daunting a task to redo.
My advice, is save up, when the right car comes along, you'll know it. In the meantime, watch what goes on here for tech advice and if you have a local chapter you can buddy up with, even better--learn as much as you can so you know what your looking at when you go buy one. I wouldn't just jump into the first thing I could afford, if I had the choice, or the self restraint. As you probably know, brass era cars command more of a premium over black era cars.
My Uncle… who everyone knew a “Capp” Sommers, was a big Model T enthusiast almost 80 years ago. When I was a kid, he taught me how to drive a Model T. I thought it was because I was responsible, but upon later reflection, I am sure that I served as his Un-Designated Driver, even though I was only about 12 at the time. His propensity for adult beverage fostered my love for the Model T. But in all fairness, driving on gravel roads in Iowa presented more dangers to grazing cows than it did to any other drivers.
I will always remember that Capp was adamant that 1913 was the last year that ‘people’ made the Model T. After that, he maintained, it was a moving swarm of bees that produced cars and made them so that the quality was gone.
Fast forward about 75 years. I had always told my wife that if I could find a 1913, I would love to buy it. About a year ago, I saw one on E-Bay, and with her support, I impulsively chased it. I was incredibly stupid at that time (my wife would argue that the stupidity has not subsided). I did not understand if the parts were all from 1913. I never even asked about the engine block number. It seems that this car was calling out to me… “trust me… buy me… “
I won the deal on E-Bay and got to know the seller. In reflection of the process, it seems to me that getting this 1913 was a marriage made in heaven. I am the fourth owner, after the original buyer, passed to his son, and sold to the gentlemen who blessed me with passing the car to me for the custodianship of this wonderful asset. I am convinced that this car found me, and was meant to pass into my hands, and now it is my responsibility to maintain this treasure, and pass it to my son so he can maintain the legacy.
Both of mine were posted on Craigslist. The first one was 6 hours a way, the second 15 minutes. The more I make a point of asking, more cars I find locally that I never knew existed.
Found my first T in a field near my home in Pennsylvania back in the 1970s. It was just the 1919 chassis with the engine, firewall, steering, gas tank and a tractor seat. Essentially a farm vehicle. I built it up from parts. Wrecked it ... and rebuilt it again.
My second model T I came upon by answering a message on this list. I was offered parts of a hood I was seeking. Went to pick them up several miles away and the saw unrestored '23 roadster in the garage with two restored model A s and a model T being restored. I fell in love with the car and simply couldn't get it out of my mind. Sold my old T and bought the '23 in November. Came to my house as a complete car ... is completely taken apart now. Hope to have it on the road by May. :-)
Twenty-five years ago I mentioned to my uncle that I was interested in obtaining a 15 touring. He had been into T's for many years, had grown up with them, and had restored several. He called to tell me that he had learned of one in Boise. On the way to see it, he told me the guy wanted $2500 for it (a basket case that had the engine/trany already rebuilt) and by the time I had it finished would have $10,000 into it, or we could keep looking and could probably find one already restored for $10,000. I brought the basket case home and now know my T i side and out.
While restoring it I needed a tapered rear axle and went to a farm auction where i had to buy a lot of 3 pickup loads of T parts to get it. From that load I put together a 27 speedster and still have plenty of parts to help on my other projects since then.
The wife suggested an enclosed car would be nice after we got caught in a May snow storm. Trying to find an enclosed body to put on the speedster running gear, I found that people thought the enclosed bodies were worth a lot, and they usually did not have seats or any of the hard to find trim pieces. Finally I found a complete 26 Fordor basket case on tbay and put in the low starting bid of $2500 just to see hoe high it would go for. And wouldn't you know, I won it. I checked the listing and found out it was in Canada! A few minutes with an atlas and I found Sicamous, BC was only about an hour north of Spokane, lucky break. I was complete, only one rusted through spot in the left rear bottom, but all the wood was rotted, not even good much for patterns.
Once done with the Fordor ( and the I cannot hardly get the wife to ride in anything else) a lady called one day. She had been told I knew about Model T's. Her father had recently died and left a pile of Model T parts and asked if I could look at them and advise her if they were any good or if they should just haul the pile to the salvage yard? So I went over and in short order I realized that what I was asked to appraise was a complete 15 roadster all in pieces, less a frame. The motor was stuck so I thought l told her what she had, then offered her what I honestly thought it was worth. She and her husband thought it over, then accepted my offer. It was hauled home and is presently 3/4 done and even though the motor was worse than I surmised, it was nothing that $4500 couldn't fix. And then the wife suggested that the turtle deck didn't seem big enough, would I consider making it into a pickup? Well, in that auction I went to in 1992 was a box of rusty bent pieces of metal, that I later figured out was a kit for making a T pickup box! My next step in the restoration is to use the instructions found on the internet to cut the lumber and make the box. I like the wife's thinking!
So, you see, once you start, they do have their way of finding you (or just plain multiplying!)
Recently in another thread I posted some of this information, but it seems to fit here, so again:
In 1946 my grandfather purchased a ranch in Santa Clara, CA. With the ranch came a TT. It was the orchard truck and was the only implement on the place capable of hauling in the fruit.
I was born in late 1947. I probably had my first ride in the ol' truck in my mother or grandmother's arms in spring of 1948. A few years later, when I was about 4, I became aware that it was an old piece of junk. The family would pile on to go to the back of the orchard and get peaches for dessert. I'd run behind it yelling, "I'm not gonna ride in that old junk!"
Later, I was 5 or 6 and through the rest of my childhood, when my grandfather would turn on the key and a coil buzzed I could get from wherever I was to the front seat before he got it started (always using the hand crank).
Later still after my grandfather retired in 1963 it went to my uncles places first in Manteca, CA, then Stockton, CA where it stayed in a barn for nearly 40 years. One fine day about 15 years ago my uncle called and said, "I'm selling this place. If you want the old truck, come and get it." So, in about 2002 I became its custodian. It was about 2/3 of the way back to dust and it took me 5 years of working on it when I could find the time to get it running again. Now I take my grandsons for peaches in it.
It would be a gross understatement to say it found me. It's more like it chased me down like a dog.
This one found me I would guess. At least I stumbled on it by accident when bored one winter Sunday. He's a '12 Comm. Roadster Pickup
Then there's Clarabelle, she's a '13 Touring, I definitely sought her out, one day while recuperating from the flu looking through old magazines and found she was still for sale. Absolutely love her. Sorry the pics don't re-size sharper...they're great on the computer. Clara's on my desktop wallpaper she looks so good!
Mine found me. I tripped over my 1915 Speedster while browsing Hemmings to see what my other speedster could be priced for in the event I ever sell it. The speedster I found was built by my grandfather and sold before I was born. One of a kind car that I knew right away when I saw it. The seller even used a black and white photo that was from the time my grandfather sold it. I have an article about the cars coming out VERY soon in the Vintage Ford Magazine about this story and hoping that YOU, the MTFCA community can help me locate one more T. I hope that one 'finds me' too...
My daughter and I in the lengthened speedster
Our 14 found us.Friends were eating lunch with friends of theirs and they showed me pictures of their 14.A couple of years later i was invited to see it and my wife said we needed it! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
My first T pretty much found me. I didn't know anything about T's and really wanted a mild '30's vintage street rod. My boss gave me the number of a fellow she had overheard that had inherited some old cars. I went to see what he had and found my '25ish touring car. Neither of us knew how to start it so I went to the Indy Swap meet and found a T guy who went with me to tell me if it was a fair deal and a potential runner (it looked pretty decent). He suggested I buy it and he bought the other cars that were for sale. I had it towed home and found a drivers booklet in the tool box and taught myself to drive. I never heard another word from the fellow in Indy after that day looking at the cars for sale. A few years later we moved back to the Seattle area and I found the local T club and really started to learn from experienced folks. I've always figured that car found me. I reluctantly sold it to a good home about 2 years ago.
Then I decided that I needed to build a speedster and the search was on for a running drivetrain. I found it from an ad at a swap meet. Built up the speedster and still have it.
My latest T found me. A nice guy with good money but no clue about old cars bought '26 coupe over the internet and then came looking for help making it run and learning to drive it. He came to this forum with questions and I responded as he lived quite nearby. We got the car running nicely and did some driving lessons and he was happy with is new toy but not ready to do the club thing. Several months later I called him back and asked to get some books back that I'd loaned him and he asked if I would like to own the car. Made me a deal I could absolutely not refuse. He decided he was afraid to drive it on the hills near his home - he never got comfortable with the brakes and steering and then his wife refused to ride in the car because she was sure it wanted to kill her. I gladly brought the car home to my garage and have no plans to let it go as long as I can still drive a T.
So, 2 out of 3 followed me home when I wasn't even looking for them.
After a 2 year search we found "Ann" in Lenox Mass where she had been waiting for the last 23 years Many thanks go out to Tim and the crew at Lenox FD antiques committee for first finding and then helping load her into our trailer.We are the fourth owners and hope to have her back looking and driving as she was meant to be as per Mr Ford!
My T and A belonged to my dad so they are family members.
They both found him.
A bit like stray cats.
I moved into a house where next door my neighbor had the '12 Torpedo and one day he came over and asked me "Hey Kid, Are you interested in this car?" I asked the wife and it went into my garage and that was over 40 years ago!
Now I wished I lived next to an old guy with a Touring so I could take the Grandkids for rides.
I suppose it depends on your definition of "found me" versus "found her".
I wasn't really interested in Model T's until college. I saw the rapid assembly team and decided it was interesting, if nothing else from the engineering perspective. After I joined the team I started studying Model T's and decided I would like to own one. I did a little bit of research and checked eBay and craigslist every once in awhile. I think it was at least a year after deciding to buy one before I found my girl listed on eBay. One bid and she was mine.
I didn't really have a specific body style or year in mind when I decided to buy one, but I found a '23 roadster pickup and decided that would be a great car to start with. So I guess she found me.
Second car, or at least second pile of parts with the potential to be a car, I was bored at work while in a holding pattern and decided to check out craigslist while waiting for further instructions from my boss. I found a pile of rusty junk that I thought was somewhere in that mystical area between dirt cheap and very reasonable, so I sent the owner a text message. Before I knew it, we'd agreed on a price and I bought the thing. Some parts I've cleaned up and painted, but most of it has just been sorted and is awaiting restoration. Between my roadster pickup, that pile of possible speedster, and Grandpa's 1924 Cultor tractor, I have enough Model T projects to keep me busy for at least a year. And that's probably conservative.
But I guess they all just kind of found me, because I wasn't looking for anything specific when I wandered through cyberspace.
My Grandfather brought my 1912 home in 1971 as the third owner. I grew up with it. Now I'm the fourth.
Used to find old T-era cars, trucks, and hulks lying around farms where
I grew up. I always loved old junk since I was really small and this stuff
drew me like a magnet. One TT truck, much like the one I have now, resided
in an implement shed on a farm over the hill from ours. That one was more
or less "ready to go" and is responsible for setting the hook for me and TT's.
But I never knew any T people and lacked the support to run with it. Many
years passed. Got into newer old cars, but the TT was always there in my
It was a chopper crash in AFG that jarred my complacency about my own
limited years and doing "bucket list" stuff that drove me to get serious and
seek one out when my deployment ended. I found a project truck, and in
seeking out parts and knowledge, met a great local support group (you've
heard of AA ? ... yeah, this is TT). On the process, I decided I would rather
not subject the wifeperson to ANOTHER project, and bought the decently
preserved truck I have today. It is the perfect embodiment of what I thought
was so cool as a kid. Just an old beater farm truck.
Hmm, I never thought a lot about this before, but I guess all my Ts found me. It started (well, the T part, I've worked on Model As since I was in 8th grade). Some friends (Tom Sharpsteen & Jim Tangeman)decided to make a model T railcar for the Portola Railroad museum; since I was working there at the time, I became the "middle man" and even did the upholstery for them. Well, one day Tom calls me and says to come on over and help him test drive the car before they put on the railroad wheels. OK, he has me drive it around his orchard, showing me how to drive it (I must have done OK as the next year he had me drive his '14 in the Orland 4th of July parade). Well, that hooked me. I was pretty broke at the time (seems to be a recurring theme in my life), but I mentioned to a Model A friend that if I could find a brass T really reasonable, I'd be interested. Well, says he, I have an old widowed friend in Sacramento with one that no one has seen for decades. Because he introduced me, I was allowed to look in the garage--the doors hadn't been opened in decades! The '16 was in pieces, but it looked like enough parts were there to make one car and a deal was struck. Since then the missing parts seem to just find there way to my car. It's a long ways from together, but I've gotten most every piece needed.
The second T is the 26 tudor that came out of a another barn, but mostly together. The family patriarch wanted to find a new home so it wouldn't get worse (it was hit by some farm machine and he was worried it might happen again). The only member of the family that was interested wanted to build a rod & he wouldn't hear of it. He called me to see if I were interested, as he knew I wouldn't do that to it! I bought it so I could have a T to drive while restoring the '16, but it turned out to need a lot more work first. Meantime, another friend moved away and gave me his yard art TT C cab body, so there's another project! (most of the running gear has found it's way to my place). Well, still no driveable T yet, and I had a settlement that gave me a little money, so I let the word out that I was looking. Well, looked at one in Sacramento but it was a mess. Was talking to an A friend about the look and he told me my neighbor had a friend with one for sale. I called my neighbor and next thing I know, we're looking at Barney. So that's how he came into our lives.
The 26 (lost the pics of the 16 in a computer crash)
Barney as found, yes that's the wrong windshield frame, but I have the right one;
The two together--If I'd thought to open the doors, you'd see the 16's chassis--oh well. . .
These are some great stories. Seems there has been a lot of luck involved and/or just a lot of nice folks helping each other out.
Technically 1 out of 3 found me. In all cases I picked the car and have walked away from a few for the same reason.
My 14 Touring found me, at the age of 8. Dad just brought 'er home from the settlement of his uncle's estate. (Sturgeon Bay, WI) 2 years later, at the ripe old age of 10, I learned how to drive 'er around our mini farm. (Racine, WI). Fast forward to today, and she proudly resides in my shop/shed building, (Rhinelander, WI) in driveable, almost all original (new top) condition. I'm 78 now.
I can honestly say I picked mine even though its not complete yet. I wanted a brass car (more than a '14) RHD, non starter speedster. Something that I can drive on the highway and has an optional back seat. It has taken a while to locate many of the parts to assemble the chasis and engine but progress is being made. It is very likely in the future one or several model T's will find me though.
Hershey 1979, 2nd day. By mid afternoon, we are pretty footsore and it's starting to rain. A vendor, hearing our accents, says ' I was in the USAF in England during the war, come sit in the RV'. So we sit chatting with him and his son, and the sipping whisky comes out and we forget our sore feet.
Then an old boy comes in, says to the son 'Hey the rain's stopped , get the cover off that car' The son goes out onto the flatbed truck next the RV and pulls the cover off the earliest 'barn-fresh' T I've ever seen. Ol' Dave can see by the glint in my eye he has a live one on the hook and we are soon out on the truck looking it over.
Dave gets behind the wheel and gets young Larry hauling on the crank. It clearly hasn't been run in years, the clutch is thick with old oil, but Dave keeps yelling 'one more and she'll go!' while he jiggles the levers. Finally it gives in and fires, Larry slumps back exhausted against the truck cab.
That was 37 years ago, the car found me and won't let go.
I'm really loving these stories
Both I guess. I first saw my current T over 40 years ago and thought it was very interesting. I wanted it and wanted to learn about these old cars but the guy said no it would go to his grandson one day. We became friends and I learned a lot from him over the years. He passed in 08 and I forgot about the truck but had stayed in touch with the family. That truck got me started in all things old and iron hobbies. I had several T and TT's always trying to find one like the first but no luck.
In February of this year I got a call from my old friends son who said, "you want to come get dad's old truck"? Guess the grandson did not want it so I said yes. I am lucky to have the thing that I most wanted that also got me into working on things like this. Been an adventure for sure.
Ditto what Rick says above!
These stories stir my emotions and my memories.
I think my Crappy '24 runabout in my profile pic found me but the Center Door project has been outright hollering at me (kinda like Mark's pickup) for 40 years.
My Crappy T, bit by bit for some of his parts since I was a teenager. An earlier frame down in the gravel pit (dad placed the permission call), a couple of wrong wheels from dad's friend and coworker and the body and other parts that were screaming at me when the junk-man's truck passed by me. I bought my first T front axle when I was 11 or 12. Wow, am I slow at this or what? I didn't drive my Crappy until my 30's. :-)
This psychedelic Calico cat Tin Cup and 2-1/2 others reached out to me thru a chance look in these classifieds last July but I WAS looking for another open car after MUCH discussion with the wife.
This is a 1921 roadster that my neighbor found in Buffalo NY, in 1969. It took 4 years to restore. It has been driven about 30,000 since then. The little girl next to it is my grand daughter getting even with her brother. When she was about 5 years old she thought it was a big golf cart. My grand daughter loves this car so it will be hers. I told her she will have to find a husband that can fix it. I can't get the picture to post.
Bill - Teach her to fix it! It will make her a more desirable wife to aa Model T guy.
All of ours found us. The Model A had been my brother-in-law's father's. He used to drive it back in the 60's, but it was in bad shape and then it sat for 20 years under an open shed. He sold it to my brother-in-law who kept it garaged but never did anything with it. They downsized and sold it to me. I restored it.
Next was the TT. I was showing the A at an AACA meet and met a guy who said he had a TT he might be willing to sell. 6 months later, he called saying he'd decided to sell it.
Next was the Touring. I had helped a newbie get this thing to run, but the bug didn't bite. He called me several months later saying he decided to sell it and did I think $xxxx was a good price. I told him we might be interested and he knocked off 1000 bucks, so we bought it.
Her Mustang is the only antique car we actually were in the market for and shopped around to find.
I got my first TT on a random stop when driving home one afternoon. I had never been to the property, but knew the former owner had liked T's and A's and thought there might still be some parts for my wife's A, if anyone still lived there or could be found. The daughter of the owner was there on the property camping and she said everything was gone except an old doodlebug; but it had been sold the week before but needed to be picked up. I instantly loved the rusty heap and told her to find me at her uncles house if the person who bought it gave her any trouble with the purchase. A month later I had given up when she pulled into my driveway.
So pretty much I keep a sharp eye on the side of the road and vehicles find me. In November I brought home my first non-doodlebugged vehicle, a '25TT. It will be exciting to have a T on road this summer (even if it is really slow).