I am looking to buy a Model T, I originally wanted a Brass Era one but, I quickly found out that I cannot afford that.
So I am looking at a 1922ish touring car. What should I look for or ask when I am looking at them.
I am a car guy have been all my life but these seem a wee bit different than my usual.
I am going to look at one on Saturday, the man who owns it has owned it for 10 years and has only done upkeep. So if it was restored or any major work done on it, it was before then. He says it runs and drives fine.
It has some upgraded parts, I am going to post the pictures I have. Let me know what you think, it does come with some spare parts like fender, hood, wheel, 2 carbs and a couple coil boxes.
Certainly a nice looking car for the most part. The top is all wonky, the upright bows should be vertical and the rear curtain should not be angled forward. Almost looks like the top shrank or was too short to begin with.
The center shifter implies a Ruckstell two-speed rear axle, which is a plus. Looks like it has some kind of rear-anchored accessory band brakes on the rear drums, which is also a plus.
Do you know the engine serial number? With that, we can tell you when that particular engine was assembled, which might be a clue as to whether it is the original engine or a later replacement. Does it have a generator and starter?
It has a starter, and I don't know about the generator or alternator. As for the SN, where would that be stamped?
I have looked at a ton of these and I have seen some with the back slanted backwards and some straight up.
Oh, I see what you are saying the upright by the front seat is laying back which looks odd. I will have to look at that when I get there. The top does not look like its all the way up and forward it should be beyond the windshield.
Look on the LH side of the engine block, just above the water inlet, there should be a pad with the engine number stamped on it. Also attached is a picture showing the correct top dimensions.
A common malady with antique car restorations is lousy top and lousy upholstery installation. Both should be very easily preventable yet they persist.
Points off for that top which is embarrassingly bad. That is a really lousy job and the only way to correct it is to install new material that is cut, sewn and installed correctly.
Other than the lousy top, how much do you think it would be worth?
It's a nice looking car. Just drive with the top down.
It's nice to want a T. I hope it's everything you hope for when you get one. Someone has put '15 brass rims on the lights. It even looks like the steering wheel spider could be brass. Any problems can be fixed and this forum is a good place for information.
Dennis, that is what I was thinking. That is why I want a touring so I can put it down and drive. The guy who owns it is 74, it might not be installed correctly and worst case, I will have my wife sew me a top. She is pretty handy with that stuff.
Is it work $10k?
Body is 1921-22.
Motor is January 1924.
Not a fan of the upholstery.
Erik, how do you know what the motor is, I didn't post any pictures. The picture above is from Mark not me. What is wrong with the upholstery, is it not period correct.
Instead of bashing maybe you can you be more informational?
Sorry, I looked up the motor that Mark posted..
The upholstery appears to be heavy vinyl material that you would find in a 1960s car. It appears to be stuffed with foam rubber (that is why it looks squared-off). Bottom cushions are upholstered incorrectly and missing buttons.
I don't know if there is a premium on the west coast but I wouldn't pay what is being asked on Craigslist based on the few pictures posted.
Sorry if I'm bashing. That car wouldn't be for me. I'll just leave it at that.
Did you look at that car on Craigslist?
I only looked at the ad on Craigslist. That's how I was able to post the photo of the back seat.
The top looks too small. Possibly a kit that was the wrong year? The upholstery isn't a huge problem at all to me but both things can be used as bargaining chips. Is it at all possible to get someone knowledgeable to go along with you because car guy or not this is definitely the horse of a different color. Please don't jump at it without some knowledge and believe me there's too much to check/look over to print out here. It looks good from the pics but as much as they show that's how much they hide. I'll say it again louder: DO NOT JUMP!!!!! ( by the way, what's he asking?).
The upholstery looks very good. It depends on whether you are going to use the car for show or for driving. I will tell you this concerning show cars. They will cost you a lot for authentic restoration and detail. You will not be able to keep the car in show condition if you drive it.
Most of the club members are drivers and touring is what we do. I would invite you to join one or both of the San Diego county clubs. There is the Model T Ford Club of San Diego and there is the Hidden valley Model T Club. Both have many knowledgeable members and some live right in Oceanside and I'm sure would like to help you find a good car.
Some of the most important things to consider are the body wood. The sheetmetal is nailed to a wood frame and if the wood is bad the whole car will fall apart. So check out the wood. Next is the drive train. All the parts in the drive train can be repaired for a price. If you are mechanically inclined, you can do much of the work yourself.
That top looks too short. The top of the windshield should be straight up and the back of the top should be slanted slightly to the back. When installing a top kit which can be bought with all the cutting and stitching done, you need to measure the height of the rear top bow and the distance between the front and the rear and install the webbing first. When you get those distances set, then install the rear panel. Then the top starting at the front. After you get everything to fit with the right dimensions, you can trim the edges at the back and it will fit fine.
Charlie, I know the guy who is selling it so as for the price it is a wee bit negotiable he is asking $12k. I would not buy it at that price no matter the condition as its not "exactly" what I want.
As for the car, I want to go to shows, I want to cruise the car so to me it does not need to be 100% original. I know that the people who know will be able to point out the flaws but, the not "T" guys will only know its a Model T and not even what year.
I want it to be mechanically sound not so much pretty and period correct.
As for the top, I would more than likely drive it top down more than anything, why live by the beach and cruise those roads with the top up?
Norm, thanks for the tips. I will look at those to make sure they are good and as for the mechanics, I am good If it was made by man then this man can fix it. If not then I will find some help.
I want to enjoy the car, I am not buying it for others to enjoy. So I will drive up Saturday and look at it, if any of you guys are in the Burbank area it would be great if you could come help me look at it.
I plan on meeting him after 3 on Saturday.
Thanks for all the help guys. If any of you know of a early model that is in good condition and running please let me know or if you wanna go check this out with me.
If you like it, that's all that matters. It looks like it has good bones.
Except for the top, it seems like a nice car. Fitting a new top would not be a major expense or a big deal. You need to make sure the windshield is safety glass. Plate glass can be a disaster in an accident.
It would be good to know if the engine has been rebuilt with new Babbitt, aluminum pistons, etc and if the rear axle has been gone through and the Babbitt thrust washers replaced with bronze.
The appearance of the top should drive the price down. If it was done correctly it would be a very nice looking car. I think $10K is a little high. The most important thing about a car is that you like it. If you like it then all its sins are forgiven.
There are different kinds of car shows. Some just show the cars without an entry fee and no judging. The cars can be in any condition. Interestingly, the rusty dented ones with raggedy upholster get more lookers! I enter that kind of show often. But for the point judging show No Go.
Norm, I go to enjoy the people and have a good time not to win. I have a 71 bug now that I take everywhere it has won zero shows and have been to hundreds of them
As for the top how much are they?
Kits are listed here. https://www.modeltford.com/model-t-parts/top/top-covering-kits/
Jeffrey, In my opinion it looks like a real solid car with a few obvious problems that can easily be fixed. The two things that should determine the overall price is the condition of the engine/trans and if the rear diff has been overhauled. The Ruckstell is definitely a plus. Best of luck, and let us know how you make out on Saturday.
Glad to see you here Jeffrey, good advice here
Hehehe. New to a T? They are a blast and yet so strange to drive for the first times!
Tonight, I took an old friend for his first short cruise in my Crappy-LizzHe, He was stuck cranking it. :-)
Wishing the best.
Jeff, Hey glad to see you found us here!
You'll be going right by the Tin Shed in Santa Fe Springs 562-941-6131. Loco Larry has a really great 1913 there I think for sale or in our Mag news there is a posting from San Diego Co. Hank Harvey has a 1917 touring at $9200. His # eight one eight-314-94three five. Looks like it has lots of great accessories like a Scat crank, alum pistons, Ruxtel, rockies and driver cam.
Good advice here and like somebody said don't get in a hurry and Don't get upset when guys here pick apart a car because that is how we learn. Everyone can talk about all the things that are not exactly the way their car came from the factory and that's good to know. it doesn't make it a bad car but most likely a better driver.
I sent a PM to a veteran poster Martin Vowell, Sylmar, CA. to give him a heads up about your post just in case he lives close.
Many of us like to take our cars to shows especially if the entry isn't too much and it is for a good cause. Not for trophys but to show and teach other people and kids about the Model T's and how cars used to be in the early days.
You'll find that every time you stop for gas it's a car show...
Good Luck and yes there's two good clubs in the SD area.
It looks like the Tin Shed is closed on Saturday. I will call him this afternoon and see what he has available.
As for the nit picking of the car, I am absolutely ok with that but I ask that you tell me what not just point it out. I am absolutely ignorant when it comes to these cars. So the more that explained the more I will know.
As for some asking if things were overhauled, the man who owns the car doesn't know. I hope he has paperwork that came with the car so I can look and see when and who did it.
I am not saying I am going to buy the first car I find but, I do have to start somewhere looking and learning.
I would really like to know if someone could go with me who knows about these cars. I know its a lot to ask but, shoot Ill buy you a meal. I am not a big money guy so it wont be Ruths Chris but, a meal.
By the way, how do you read you PMs here? I sent one to someone but, I don't know how to check if there was a reply.
Jeffery, the PM goes to the e-mail address connected to the profile. When answering a PM you must look closely in the mail for the e-mail address to the other poster and reply to that - if just clicking reply it'll disappear unread into cyberspace.
(Message edited by Roger K on June 02, 2017)
Well, another victi, err I mean hobbiest, lol, welcome to the affliction.
The body is 22 or 23 not 21...the top saddle arms don't come from the body on 21's, they drop over the quarter panel just as previous years do.
What's with the door top wood...no black era car had that.
Jeffrey, I sent you a PM. Jerry
I wasn't sure if the saddle arm change occurred in the 1921 or 1922.
However, with what you posted, the body is 1922. If it were 1923, then there would not be top brackets on the front seat as the 1923 model year had the one man top.
Erik...22 is that weird transition year...it's not exactly like a 21 except it has the 21's straight windshield yet the hinges sit higher (above the windshield split) but it's also not a 23 in that it's not a slant windshield. Somebody built a 23 to look like a 22, but the steering column in 22 doesn't have the steering column support bracket riveted to the dash, that's a 23-25 feature OR this is a later 22. The front top irons look to be correct for 22 also (they're curve down and come back up instead of the "L" shape).
Early 22's are built like 21 and previous (with straight windshield, two man top with 3 window rear curtain), but with the 23 body that has the "S" iron in the rear where the rear fender support
arm comes out from the body as does the top saddle support arm. I always fancied thatt Ford didn't have the parts to make the 22 as a 23 until August of 22...that's when the slant windshield first came out.
Also somebody either likes to polish brass or wanted something 15'ish...the headlight bezels, sidelight, tail light bezels and tops are brass. And it looks to have original rocky mountain brakes on the rear too (they energize in both directions)...that's a nice accessory as "Original" Larry Smith can tell you.
Did anybody notice those front springs? That doesn't look good.
Erik and Martin, all of that sounds foreign to me. I need to learn a wee bit I think
Jeff - a great reference book is Bruce McCalley's "Model T Ford" available soft copy from the vendors as well as a 2 CD set that contains updated information that was discovered after the hard copy was printed. (Sorry -- when I transferred the files -- the address of where to order the CD set didn't transfer. I'll try to add that later. You can see a sample of the information at: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/intro.htm but the book and CDs have a lot more information and photos.)
The front spring appears to have an accessory set of "pancake style" Hassler shocks. Dan Treace at the posting at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/409586.html?1387847626 included the advertisement below (thank you Dan):
The wood trim strips on top of the 3 doors and the 1 false door are also an addition that owners sometimes make.
Martin - if you have a chance to check the Model T Encyclopedia, I think you will find that the 1915-mid 1917 had the windshield hinges (equal length) and the mid 1917 to 1922 had the windshield hinges that appeared to be higher (unequal length) than the windshield split). If I have that wrong (not the first time) please let me know so I can add that to my notes.
Note also that there would have been a lot of overlap when both the earlier style wide arm rest and 5 piece rear seat tub as well as the later more narrow arm rest and 3 piece rear seat tub were being produced. Why? Because Ford had contracts with different body makers. And the newer items were usually introduced at the main plant and then introduced later to the branch plants. Additionally the runabouts/roadsters in the USA sometimes tended to continue in the older style a little longer than the touring cars. So there seldom if at all was a nice clean break when on a certain date all the production changed to a new part etc. at all the branch plants at the same time.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Model T is the car that is supposed to have been mass produced to be all the same, but no two of them are built alike, that's lesson #1. Always keep that in mind whenever you look at one. Notice the differences, and the similarities from one to another.
The car in question looks to be an early 22, which were built from August of 21 through June of 22...later in July or August the 23 model came out (Ford's new model year always begins late in the previous year), but has features of the later version (that steering column support bracket). I am fairly familiar with the early 22 because my car is a early 1922 touring, so I know what to look for and have noticed the differences between 1921 and 1923 (they are pretty stricking, 21 has the drop over top saddles and arms, straight windshield but with the hinge at the split, no steering column to dash support bracket and the seat cushions are different too...on 22's the front seat corner in the front protrudes past the door jamb and the rear one doesn't. The corners themselves are like on 23, 1.75" radius in front and a 4" in the rear of the front cushion, The rear cushion is also 1.75" in front and a 5" radius (like on 21) in the rear...whereas the 21's the seat corners are flush with the door jambs and have a 4" radius all the way round in front and on the rear 4" front and 5" rear). Another difference between them is the tub...21's are 5 piece tubs...22 and later are all 3 piece tubs (a 5 piece tub has 2 quarter panels per side plus the rear panel and the 3 piece only 1 per side plus the back panel). Yet the engine number is a 1924 engine...which isn't really that odd actually, my engine is also a 1924. All that means is that somewhere along the line the original engine was replaced for some reason (probably cracked block or it got wrecked). There is another possibility also...the car is a put together car, not one complete original car, but one made for various parts from around the target year the person was shooting for. Or they started with whatever was with this 22 and had to add other parts to make it a complete car...one way or the other, doesn't really make a bit of difference...it's a Model T Ford. The title should clear all that up anyhow.
Like I said, early 1922's are kind of odd, being a hybrid of both that which came previously and that which came later. It's the last year for the iconic look of the Model T (straight windshield and 2 man top). It's almost like Ford was experimenting with the body structure in early 22 (which he probably was...model T was always an ongoing experimental exercise in building a better mouse trap) and yet wanted to keep it simple so he kept the 2 man top and straight windshield but raised the hinge past the windshield split, trying out one thing at a time...body structure. Improvements that worked out were passed along to the next generation of the car...those which didn't got canned, modified or something that was previously used got reuses...and sometimes those changes happened within minutes of each other too. This is why no two of these cars of any given year are exactly alike. I've gotten into this more than most because after the chassis, comes the body and the variations per year of those is going to be a really lengthy project...oh boy, more fun.
The car looks very presentable; yes there are cosmetic problems with the seat upholstery, but it is very functional. The top, on the other hand, is not completely functional. The bows appear to be correct, but the application of the top pads and material is very "wrong." Sadly, the only way to correct that is to replace the pads and the top, so a complete top kit is in order, and I would only recommend Classtiques, I would definitely NOT recommend Cartouche, which is what most of the vendors sell.
Of course, you could drive around with the top down, but you will find that far too sunny & windy!
The wood caps are a period aftermarket accessory, some "bling" for your T, just as the brass headlight rims are "Bling." Normally they would be black painted steel. Once again, something only a really correct-orient T person would notice.
Before you decide that a brass car is out of the question, be aware that the term applies up through 1915. I paid $8500 for this one. In the following six years I've sunk a couple more grand into it, but it was a running car when I got it.
OK Jeff, We're all waiting to hear about the car and what you thought about it.
Was Jerry able to go with you since he must live very close?
Yes, 12K is far too much for that touring with a top like that!
Gene, I spoke with Jeff yesterday but never heard from him today. The car is 3/4 of a mile from me and I went to look at it and considered buying it a couple of years ago. Well we'll see what happens.
Jerry and Gene, I went to talk to Les (a local guy here) and after talking to him and seeing some of the amazing cars he got me in to see. I think I am going to hold off on the 1922 in Burbank.
I think its a good car but, I think as all of you do its overpriced. I will eventually go see the car but, I want to talk to the man who ones it and talk him down farther. Like way down before I drive the 2 hrs up there.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any good leads on cars.
Ok, so I went and drove the car in Burbank. It seems to run well (I have nothing to compare it to) it goes and stops and seems to be a complete car. It has extra parts that comes with it to include a couple carbs and spark boxes a fender and hood, and I think a rim along with a old head.
It has a Ruxtell and rocky mountain brakes. It hasn't been loved in a few years but it looks just like the pictures. He is also going to buy a new front leaf for it. What do you think its worth?
Its a 1922 and after it sitting for 2 years it took about 45 min to get it running mostly because I have no idea what I am doing but, once I figured it out it ran pretty smooth.
A working Ruckstell and Rocky Mountains adds about $1500 in value to a car, so that's good. But I would still look at more cars before making a decision - did you check out the ones Gene mentioned above?
The one at the Tin Shed was way out of my price range and Hank already sold the other.
Did you happen to give Larry a call at the Tin Shed or another good guy in SD is Tony Browker for leads.
Was Jerry able to check out the car with you? I think he lives close by there?
This months Flivver has a couple. A 26 roadster ruxtell and rockies with brassworks radiator for 6500. I don't think it's a local car though.
If you can't work a deal just be patient and keep the word out. Something will pop up for ya.
Here's a reasonably priced '26 coupe in southern California: https://www.carsforsale.com/vehicle/details/259559
(Would still need to see it up close to be sure if it's worth the price..)
Well, the guy selling the car flaked on me. When I was in Burbank looking and driving his car we settled on a price which was higher than I wanted but, I thought it was still a good deal. It came with some parts and it needed something fixed.
Later on he contacted me saying he had found more parts and he didn't think he could let it go for the price we agreed on and repair what I want repaired.
Now, I don't know about you but, if you agree to something then stick to it. I had already worked out transport for the car and was going up this week to give him out agreed amount.
So I am on the look for a touring car don't really care the year but would like at least a 23 or earlier.
take it in stride and take your time and enjoy finding your T, good luck
Something wasn't right for you on that deal--there's a better deal out there, just have faith and patience.
Thanks you all, we will keep looking.
Keep me in mind if you see one out there.
Here's a couple for sale in Washington:
Don't forget Jeffrey is in Southern California; I don't know if he wants to drive some 20+ hours to look at a T. But the good news is, he's in a "hot-bed" of T activity, so something should eventually fall in place.