Reading over a few post about possible poor service. A business that manufactures and supplies parts possible disappearing... again begs another question.
As the likely hood that new replacement parts may be harder to procure...specialty engine builders, the interest in original cars...fade...and understanding as as John Steinbeck wrote ... about the magneto ..."generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than than the female anatomy and about the planetary system of gears than the solar systems of stars." (Cannery Row)
How many of the Model Ts that appear and are discussed on this forum will remain as actual Model Ts and not a modern version of a Model T -- a rat rod or hot rod?
Sometimes I think that anyone who practices a lost art and does not train a replacement to take over just might have failed in the very mission that they started years ago.
You may have just coined a term which has been swimming around in my mind for a long time yet I have not spoken nor typed it: "modern version of a Model T".
And no, I am not referencing hot rods. They are not Model Ts, they are hot rods.
This is why my 12 year old daughter is with me for all the car shows and every time I work on the cars.
There seems to be a shrinking number of participants on this forum that care to keep their car original. And I'm not talking about original paint or upholstery. I'm talking about keeping the original systems operating like they originally did. Gravity flow fuel systems. Thermosyphon cooling systems. Splash oiling. Let somebody say something about it and they get the "Original air in the tires" BS. The word "Purist" has the same connotation that "Communist" had in the 50's or "Racist" has today. Hardly a day goes by that somebody isn't wanting advice on how to modify this or that so they can go faster. One thing leads to another. You wanna do (Insert your favorite ridiculous speed here) in your T and then you have to have disc brakes, and pressure oiling, and Model A crankshafts and overdrive transmissions, and overhead valves, and on and on and on. Sometimes I think this has become a damned hotrod forum.
If folks didn't try "different things" we'd still be riding 4 legged horses, no?
There's a difference of opinion everywhere I look...(most everywhere)...
Time for the MTFCA and MTFCI to merge,and for them together with the major Model T suppliers to put together a strategy to promote the Model T hobby.
Yes, clubs put out a glossy magazine and have a tent at Hershey but that's preaching to the converted.
We need new people entering the hobby.
Maybe this will help the seeming bleak outlook. I'm 27 I recently bought my first Model T and now building my second. I also have a couple of friends my age starting to get in to the old car hobby. Also we love going to car museums like Gilmore and The Petersen. I just want to put it out there that there are some of us that will carry this on.
Here's the thing . . . so far as interest in cars goes, there are a few generalities that seem to be the rule. First is that when a young man's fancy turns to things of gasoline, the coolest, most desirable wheels that are out of a teenager's reach are generally what he turns to when at some point of maturity he can afford a car to restore or play with. I'm sure most of you fellers who were the "oddballs" fascinated by Model Ts and brass cars when your pals were drooling over Mustangs and GTOs have noted how new "antique cars" at the various small car shows have become ?
Second is that whatever power nostalgia has to keep us interested in the artifacts of times past, those experiences and attachments are either impossible for a younger generation to experience, or they are not attracted to them because circumstances in their upbringing have rendered traditional touchstones totally irrelevant for them.
Look at the automobiles that are currently marketed. There is very little (IMHO) of the excitement over new models, styles, improvements etc., for these downsized "appliance cars" compared to what the public's perceptions were, say, when the Mustang was introduced. The driving experience for many has become an ordeal of multiple lanes, high speeds, and dodging monster freight haulers weighing 50 tons - something rather different from rolling along a 2-lane back road in farm country, as folks did in the 50's.
Dave, I still ride "4 legged horses" (damn hard to ride a three legged one, and frankly, the two-legged ones aren't horses, they're horses' asses !) and I'm here to tell you the interest in that field is also dominated by greying heads. Folks who think they want to experience "back-country trails" now do so on ATVs , Razers, or mountain bikes, and they all think they are in a race of some kind.
Bottom line, conflicts will be inevitable when it comes to the realization these 1909 automobiles have more in common with an ATV than any automobile built after 1928, and are not well suited for modern traffic for a number of reasons. The trend toward modifications is ever pointed toward making a Model T suitable for service in driving situations it would never have encountered when it was made. As such, they become something different. Are all the modified Ts "hot rods" ?? well, that's kind of a stretch, but many are so modernized it begs the question.
Where will it all end ? I dunno. Meanwhile, I'll keep my ponies and my Model T, enjoy them in the ever-shrinking environment they were intended for, hope that young folks I encounter see some wisdom and pleasure in preserving both, and figure that will have to do.
Hal has a point. The short time I have been on the Forum, I have noticed that those who are relative new to the Model T have these complaints, it is not fast on the straights, it is not geared for hills with fuel starvation, it runs rough, it has a 6 volt starter (post 1918), it has no starter (per 1918), and the discussion expands.
The Model T requires checking and maintenance every 500 miles, not the new standard of every 100,000 miles.
The Model T as built has interesting specifications. There are some of us who appreciated the car as built. We may make a minor modification referring to period accessories - the dreaded water pump for example. But those of a certain age and disposition enjoy the early engineering and drive the car as intended. It is comfortable at 25 to 30 miles per hour. The sparking plugs need cleaned and dried on occasion, the carburetor is not a computer adjusted fuel injection unit.
During the production of the Model T there were better engineered cars - and motorcycles. But for whatever reason there were 15 million of these peculiar machines built and sold. There are cars built the same time period as the Model T that will go faster, have more than two speeds forward, four wheel brakes, fuel pumps, and more. But they are not what a model T is and can offer in terms of its engineering...
If you bought a model T then enjoy it as it was intended and spec-ed between 1908-1927. If you want to "improve" the car research the period accessories.
As for the horse comment -- there are those that appreciate the construction and design of carriages - with horses...rarely if ever these folks want to add a motor to their carriages to go faster.
At some point these barn finds or operational Model Ts presented on the Forum will be modified into a modern version of the Model T.
Too help spread some uplifting news: I'm 25, and have been around T's my whole life thanks to my grandfather and his 23 roadster. Started building a chassis at 9, just bought a complete running 26 coupe last week. there are those who will take interest, and I fully intend to try and help spread teh interest!
Hi, I first wanted a Model T when I was a teenager in the early 1970s; alas was never able to find one I could afford and none of the adults in my life was interested so there. Life happens and I never completely lost interest but never took much action. Now at age 58 1/2 I have finally bought my first Model T and I like it. It's been restored to original specifications some years ago and operates as intended. it's honest and drives down the road pretty well for its age. Much as I've studied them over the years this is the first time I've driven one and only the second time I have ridden in one. I was able to start and unload it and go down the road without any instruction and no wrecks. Don't give up; there will always be people who are interested in history and historic artifacts, and historic autos. Of course no auto is more historic than Model T.
As far as stock Model T's go I know of nobody close to my age that is more interested in an original than something "hopped" up. This may be as little as wanting to use a low head instead of a high head, or a ruxtel. Now there is a growing group that IS very interested in period cars and speed, just look at "The Race of Gentleman." Aside from "show cars" there is little appeal in stock black T's. However, as the years go by just as 4 door sedans and trucks are becoming popular black T's will become more popular at shows and judging.
I suppose that the current generation is as interested in a Model T as my generation is in a horse and buggy. You see, I remember seeing Model T's going down the streets when I was a boy.
I think the plan to show the cars at schools is helpful. We have shown ours at high schools where they study the industrial revolution in history, write papers on the cars in English, draw pictures in Art, and study the mechanics in Auto shop classes. The whole school gets involved and we let the kids sit in the cars and if the school will allow, we even take them for a short ride around the campus.
Also children and grandchildren exposed to the old cars are also interested in them. So if we have children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, try to involve them in the hobby. Let those who are old enough to drive, drive them, and involve them in the mechanical work as well. Some will be interested. Remember that not everyone in our generation has been interested either.
I also like to drive them in parades and other places where people will see them
As for "hopped up cars". Some people my age did things like that, but in my opinion, why do it when you can get a later car which will have the faster engine etc? Even the later cars from the 40's, 50's and 60's that I see, I am more interested in the ones which are closer to original condition, as I remember them, than in the rods. But that's only me, others like to be "creative".
It would be an exercise in futility to think that interest in Model Ts and other ancient cars will continue forever.
Many types of popular hobbies have come and gone- it's a natural process.
This is not a car for the faint hearted!! It's a beast totally into itself. It doesn't even relate well to the Model A. Yet fairly regularly some one posts a barn find that looks like it's been I'm a fire. You know, no paint, no interior, no top, doesn't run, etc. I don't think the hobbie's fading out exactly but I do believe we're seeing more of this kind of car being restored. Might be because the initial outlay is smaller (false economy in my opinion. You're actually spreading more $ over time). Or their just appearing more frequently. ( deaths, barns/sheds falling down with age etc ). As to the supplier/manufacturer: You were never going to get rich selling/making parts for the T. Not enough of a market. Never was. Falling profits & age take their toll on these guys and if there's no payback, or if the profit isn't big enough, they go by too. A lifetime of collecting and manufacturing can bring a pittance. Can't blame 'em. They did their jobs for years with little to show for it beyond a love of the hobby. It's up to us to support them and help (not demand) them develop hard or impossible to get parts. Again: there's no big bucks in this endeavour so small timers are probably out from the start. It's up to the big boys and us.
Too broad a brush this is:
It would be an exercise in futility to think that interest in Model Ts and other ancient cars will continue forever
I predict some interest will survive the test of time...witness the interest in Roman Chariots....and the first wheel (whenever that was??).
For sure interest will wane - the abundance of parts that we now enjoy may not be available in the 22nd century, but then again, the way things are going now, there may be no one around to buy them - if the parts exist.
There will always be some interest..just watch
Im new to Ts. Never had an intrest in owning one. The 30s and 40s cars were my intrest. My uncles had As and Ts all their lives. They are both gone now. One day it hit me how special these cars are. My little RPU turned into 2 T roadsters and 3 TTs. I am perfectly happy with factory equipment and the speed. I do have clip on leds for night driving but thats it. Nothing against modern equipment , its just not for me. I dont tour or have anyone close that has a running T so I dont have to keep up with anyone even the Jones's. They are moody little tinker machines. I tell people its like flying a plane, pre flight checks. Oilers, fuel,water,oil ect... It takes both hands and feet to drive and plan ahead to stop. The joy of driving and working on them will keep the T alive. Not to worry, Im spreading the word and poisoning minds every chance I get. They bring smiles to everyone I pass. Im not young but 49 isnt old. Im learning all I can to do my part to carry on the knowledge. This forum is great at doing that. Im sure someone will want my little rusty roadster when Im gone. I just take care of it for the next guy.
Drive safe and often.
Definition of requiem
1: a mass for the dead
2a : a solemn chant (such as a dirge) for the repose of the dead
b : something that resembles such a solemn chant
3a : a musical setting of the mass for the dead
b : a musical composition in honor of the dead
They and we are not dead yet! So lets not say the mass and dig the hole quite yet.
Interests in ALL things that are OLD/odd is funnel shaped.
The shape of that funnel can be adjustable also.
Those of us involved in pioneer styled clubs/old time shows see this IF our eyes are open (many eyes are not).
In our little area, we do our absolute best to welcome the few young fellas that are willing to do it without payback other than their own satisfaction.
To see a young fella leaning back, following the motion on an eccentric arm of a stationary steam engine brings me such joy! I've done it too. And his late 60's/early 70's Oldsmobile parked outside? Better still. Hah! I'm sitting here rocking slowly in my chair. :-)
To be a true American, we have the ability to be different.
There are school kids here on this site that are into OLD/odd.
Like many of you, I also try and poison anyone that's interested. We all use the word "poison" lightly. :-)
Just poking fun George but how about Mr Jelf's '15 Runabout? He's modded it... ;-)
We must never give up hope for Glen and his business nor the youngin's daring to take on a model T or some-such. Let's work to sway them/poison them!
I have 6 grandchildren to try and mess up myself! I have one already! AND her step dad is into old tractors so I think I/we win there.
I need to stop typing. :-)
I come from a different planet. It's called the USA 1950. Cokes and candy bars are a nickel. Every man or boy carries a pocket knife, which is a tool, not a weapon. The radio brings us drama, variety, and comedy, not political blowhards preaching ignorant harangues to the converted. The fall introduction of the new cars is a big deal, greatly anticipated and of great interest. Kids who go to a neighborhood school get there by walking, or by riding a bike. They are not chauffeured by their parents. We all admire Hoppy, Gene, and Roy. The Saturday or Sunday matinee at the local theater costs a quarter. For my 25¢ I get two feature films, a newsreel, three or four cartoons, a serial, and at least one comedy short (Stooges, Charlie Chase, Our Gang, Bowry Boys,etc.) And what about me? I am an oddball. I'm fascinated by kerosene lamps and lanterns, horse drawn transport, ancient locomotives, stereoscopes (not View Masters), and other relics of earlier times. I like current popular music by Count Basie or Jo Stafford, but I also enjoy Coon Sanders and Nat Shilkret. And what about my contemporaries? They share none of my fascination with the obsolete. My peers care not a whit for old stuff. Even in this long-ago world, any interest in earlier times is the province of a tiny minority. As the saying goes, 'twas ever thus. And so it is today. We who devote any time to the obsolete were, are, and always will be a tiny minority. Conversely, as some have mentioned above, there always has been, is, and will be that small portion of humanity afflicted (or blessed) with this interest. The existence of folks who reenact the Revolutionary War or the Civil War, who stage fur trade rendezvous, who restore steam locomotives or WWII planes or P. E. red cars, who make ambrotypes and tintypes, suggests that the demise if the Model T is not imminent.
For all have sinned... Purity of originality is extremely rare. Except for the Rip Van Winkle car and a very few other exceptions, virtually all Model T's have been altered to some degree. Even the guy who insists on correct nuts and bolts and seeks out NOS ball bearings for his front wheels has usually done something modern to his T.
Hmm, Steve, I'm almost a half-decade behind you (not much time at our ages now!), but I too remember that I was more interested in Steam engines (steam anything, for that matter), brass-era cars, old wagon trails (our driveway was the California-Oregon stage road), big band music (OK, I also listened to Simon & Garfunkel and The Mothers of Invention, etc.) and later on, Ragtime! I would draw steam locomotives or old cars in class, although I watched Star Trek (when it was a prime-time show--on a Black and White TV, so I didn't know about the red shirt jinx) and every moon launch I would draw a tribute drawing of the mission (I wonder if I saved any of these?). A friend of mine recently gave me a high-res copy of a drawing I gave her back then of an SF streetcar passing a Victorian mansion. She still has the original!
I started restoring my model A in 8th grade, and was able to drive it to my High School Graduation (just barely, got it running the week before!).
I'm definitely part of a very minor sub-group!
As Floyd Clymer put it, 5000 accessories were on the market at any one time during the heyday of the T. A ''pure'' T as delivered at the rail cars does not exist. The term purist is a title coined by the Group ''us'' to exclude ''them'', only used to exclude people, ideas or practices. The FACT is a ''T'' is a remarkable survivor in ANY shape or condition. Don't like the speed? hop it up. Don't like it hopped up? Switch it back. Above all, make it YOURS. I do my vehicles to suit ME and don't give a tinker's d**n about anyone else's opinion. This hobby will only survive if the emphasis is on what we have in common, NOT what we can pick apart on each other's cars.....MY 2 cents worth.
My wife and I make our living teaching photographic processes that were used from 1790-1910. There has been a strong revival in many of these processes since the mid 1990s. Prior to that it was difficult to even find someone who could explain the basics of how they work. This year vinyl records outsold other hard format recordings.
The point is that interest in old technology is unpredictable, it can lay dormant for years and flare up from a glowing ember. Interest in old cars tends to be strongest in cars that are from our memories. We are now in the era where there will be no one who remembers when the model T was a new car. All of us are keeping that ember glowing for a future revival.
For the record....I'm 48. Here are a few musings regarding the state of the hobby:
- Swap meets, in general, that I attend are still absolutely loaded with people of all ages.
- As a generalization, old car hobbyists tend to like one type of car as they enter the hobby then mature into things like Model T's as they get older.
- The two major Model T clubs should merge and combine their resources (or put forth a fundraiser) to find a way to permanently preserve manufacturing concerns like Mr. Chaffin's.
- There is a current "hipster" fad that is fascinated with things old, eccentric and different and a lot of them are attracted to Model T's and other pre-war cars.
Finally...the way hobbyists, who entered the hobby as fans of hopped up Hondas, are exposed to Model T's is typically by seeing them at swap meets or Saturday night old car gatherings. So...it's critical that we continue to take our cars to these things. When I had my Model A (stock 29 roadster), at practically every meet I attended, I'd end up talking about the thing at length to a young guy who was into some other type of car. You could just see the lights going off in their head as they learned about a whole new side of the old car hobby.
I attended the Saturday night "nifty 50's" gathering north of Houston a few weeks ago. There were rows of Mustangs and Camaros and trip-five Chevies that NO ONE was looking at. However there were three stock Model A's that were surrounded with people asking questions. The owners were letting kids sit in them and honk the horns, etc. One of the cars was pretty crusty and the owner was letting people take a stab at hand-cranking it. At the same gathering, every time I've seen a non-hotrodded pre-1934 car in attendance, it's been swamped with people. Non-hotrodded cars of this era will always have a following because they're so dramatically different than anything else out there.
We are doing well with two national model T clubs and do NOT need to combine them into one!!!!!!!!! What is the future of the Model T when a few DOLTS re work the forum and then decide it's not worth the trouble??????????????? Bud.
This is funny to read!
I think EVERYONE is correct, except it is a bit early to dig the hole.
The best things going for the Model T is that the BIG money guys have stayed away, we can get almost any part at a reasonable price, it is easy to work on, it is a horseless carriage - not an antique car, and it doesn't have snob appeal.
It takes a special breed of person with an unconvential i.e. slightly strange viewpoint about life to want a Model T.
And I agree that it is our responsibility to show our vehicles and open the door to other strange people.
Almost forgot - I am very proud of the "People's Choice" trophy that the 1919 received at a car show so there is hope that strange people are still out there!
I'm 29 years old and never was exposed to T's until I went to college. Grandpa never did like the T. "Couldn't figure out the pedals" he said. But he got me interested in old tractors and cars at a young age.
I like to say I own one and two half cars. I have my 1923 roadster pickup, I own half of a speedster with my brother, and I have roughly 1+ chassis' worth of parts laying around. The pickup is mostly stock. I put a motometer on it, little things like that, but she still runs and drives like a T. The speedster was built that way in the 1960's, and it is mechanically mostly stock. We've had a magneto issue arise, as some of you have read in another thread. We're thinking we want to put the original style magneto back in, just because that's how it was when it was "built" in the 60's.
There are still plenty of young people interested in the hobby. The problem I see on my end is either there's no time to work on and enjoy the cars, or no money to buy a car in the first place. Hobbies like this one are rather expensive, so it doesn't surprise me when I'm the youngest member of the local club. I'm sure there will be another kid along one of these days. He just doesn't have enough nickels and dimes scraped up.
As I have mentioned before these cars are not going away. The interest will cycle. Values will drop until they are affordable to those who want to do something with them can afford them. This Forum should be a guide to one or more ways to enjoy them. Getting them out where youngsters can see them may be the best thing we can do.
It is nice to ponder what the future might bring to the hobby but I think my time is better spent sanding rust or bending metal.
This Friday, there is a car show at a home for disabled people. We usually have 60 or more old cars from 1909 through the 1960's. Some are stock and others are modified. The people who bring the cars usually look at each others cars and talk about them. The people who live there come out and look. Some are able to talk about the cars and ask questions and others are wheeled by and we have no idea what their thoughts might be. We have a show like this at this location two times a year and the attendants say all the people are very excited about it.
Next week we will drive our cars to an elementary school where one of our members is a teacher. Those kids might have never before seen a car which is not rounded like a potato!
June 3 we will participate in Alpine History day which is held at the historical society's museum here in town. Many locals will see the cars. There are also many school age children with their families in attendance.
Later in June our club will participate with other antique car clubs at the San Diego County fair at Del Mar. We have what is called the "Horseless Rodeo" Which is held in the horse arena. Many games are played such as crank start and see who can get to the other end of the arena first. Or picking up potatoes with a pole with a nail attached. The passenger picks up the potato. The idea is to see who can pick up the most potatoes. We also have a blindfolded driver where the passenger tells him where to turn and where to stop. It's funny, but hard to tell if the car is moving or stopped! If the passenger says "straighten it out" we have no idea which way we are going or when it is straight! There are many other games played. Those who drive and those who ride in with them get free admission to the fair for the day. After the rodeo, the cars are parked in a secure area and the participants are free to enjoy the fair.
On July 4 we will participate in parades.
Anyway, all these activities expose the cars to many people and we always find someone interested and sometimes recruit new members.
Ponder while you work,
ponder while you work,
the hobby's fate,
and ponder while you work.
I'll have to think about that one Steve.
Hmm, thinking and working, two things that aren't popular!!