A 40 year friend of mine has twin 15 year old sons.
Naturally, they are into all the modern technology.
Lately,my friend has been contemplating a father-sons project,and I suggested building a Model T chassis to run around on Grandpa's farm with.Friend has been around my T's and A Roadster some.And in his youth was a good farm boy mechanic.
This also fits in with getting these guys greasy and dirty which,appallingly, they never really have been.
And you guys know where l am heading.
If anyone within say a 150 mile radius of Fort Wayne,Indiana has some rough,pitted T parts in their pile that can still make a fun car chassis, let me know.Stuck engine,rough radiator,etc.
This is not going to be for road use.
Having cobbled a good many of these together myself through the years,l am technical consultant. And contributor of the few things I have left.Email me at JEVISTON87(at)GMAIL(dot)COM .All lower case,if you have something real cheap or free.
I remember since before the day the training wheels were removed from my Schwinn, the goal of my life was a driver's license and a set of wheels. -Back in the Ike Era, all American, male babies were born with the lines of the right palm configured in an H-shift pattern. We grew up on the Kat from AMT and received, at precisely nine o’clock, on the morning of our sixteenth birthday, a learner’s permit. -Suddenly, our parents became our closest companions and wherever they needed to go, their pubescent chauffer did the driving—which frightened my mother and caused my father to use words such as could only have been learned after years of toting a Garand through the malarial jungles of the South Pacific.
Cars were important. -They were as much a part of the American culture as listening to Elvis sing and watching George Reeves fly. -On Sunday afternoons, we’d “go for a drive,” something that families simply no longer do. -Oh, how well I remember that. -You came home from church and changed into human clothes, then Mom and Dad piled you and your sibling(s) into the car and burned through five gallons just getting to the local drive-in burger joint. -Then you hit the highway, the gas pedal got planted and the family enjoyed a speed limit ten miles in excess of today's national standard. -The likewise-standard fudge factor of 5-10 put you at a cruising speed of 70-75 mph—and in little danger of attracting the attention of the local constabulary—which meant you could go pretty darn far in one day. -Somewhere along the line was an obligatory stop for soft ice-cream and then, after the phrase, "Are we there yet?" had been endlessly chanted, we arrived at the world's largest ball of twine or the world's largest frying pan, or the Baseball Hall of Fame—or, if you were a car-kid and had brought home a red A+ in arithmetic, one of the many automobile museums that dotted the landscape of America.
Nobody does that anymore. -Yeah, I know; gasoline is too darn expensive, but I think it's mostly due to the fact that our kids, whose minds are now absolutely transfixed by digital distractions of questionable value, are absolutely loathe to get in the car and actually go somewhere with Mom and Dad. -The age of the roadside attraction is over. -So, also, is the age of the road. -Boys are no longer born knowing how to drive. -I suppose that’s not surprising, for cars are no longer the stylized, 2-tone freedom machines of the American middle-class. -Nowadays, cars are just a bunch of uniform, cough drop/Chicklet-shaped tools of transportation, available in a choice of boring-bland colors, and which, when used up, are unceremoniously discarded and recycled like so many plastic, 2-liter Coke bottles.
I remember the greatest car museum on the east coast, The Long Island Automotive Museum. -In its day, its corrugated Quonset-hut buildings held the greatest collection of Brass Era cars this side of the Mississippi. -It was a holy place, but due to lack of public interest, closed its doors for the last time in 1980. I also remember the Gast Classic Motorcars Museum, in Strassburg, Pennsylvania. -That one closed too. -Same reason. -And that same sad story has been repeated and repeated from one end of Route 66 to the other.
For now, the antique car hobby is mostly held together by gray, arthritic guys like me who do such quaint things as pledge allegiance to the flag at club meetings and wear baseball hats the right way. -We’re not going to be around forever or even (in the grand scheme of things) too much longer. -What we need are more minorities, more ladies (we have some, but nowhere near enough) and most of all, we need the young blood which now is almost totally absorbed by twiddling their collective thumbs on smart-phones, black-berries, blue-teeth, green-thumbs, hazel-eyes, etc. -I wish I could see a bright future for the antique car hobby, but…
Bob, as usual a beautifully-written piece. My only comment would be that you say that gasoline is too darn expensive. 27.9 cents per gallon in 1957 comes out to about $2.44 today. That's almost exactly what gasoline is selling for here in SW Florida right now. In 1957 the Newton, Mass. police station had a vending machine that sold Pepsi by the bottle for a nickel; today you would be hard-pressed to find a bottle for a buck. Gasoline is one of the better buys today.
I read an article the other day that noted that fewer and fewer kids of driving age are not even interested in getting their drivers licenses. They just Uber their way around town. With the high cost of insurance, gas and maintenance, it just isn't feasible for a lot of kids anymore. Plus, parents are more than happy to pay the Uber bills instead of purchasing a car for them to drive. Times are a changing. Next thing you know, the will be letting girls join the Boy Scouts...oh wait.... nevermind..
My 21 year old Godson has a driver's license but avoids driving unless necessary. He's afraid to drive... Too much to keep track of... Too many possibilities for disaster... Oh my gosh.
He did however accompany me on the 2017 Ohio Jamboree and had a great time. There's still hope! Maybe he'll get brave. I have hopes of him owning my grandfather's, (his great-grandfather's), car one day.
As John pointed out, when adjusting for inflation, gas is a bargain. AND you didn't mention, cars today get substantially better fuel mileage, so fuel cost today is relatively cheap. The difference is today's youth have lots of alternatives for their time, and money. The freedom we sought back then was facilitated by some kind of motorized transport. Nowadays kids seem to be satisfied with "virtual" freedom as supplied by electronics.
These folks dropped by and we went to Ice Cream a couple weeks ago. Dad and Gram-pa want to build an old pickup. The youngsters enjoy the Waltons. I am always optimistic.
Yes Ed, its hard to make men out of girls but I guess now days it is done. Glad you brought it up so I didnt have to. Never thought I would see the day the girl scouts were bringing lawsuit against boyscouts. Hope we can get younger ones involved. I am 35 miles north of Ft Wayne, if I can help I will.
My granddaughter is soon to be an "up & coming" Model T owner/mechanic - have to get them started early !
Good luck getting new folks into the hobby. Until prices come down, which that isn't going to happen any time soon, I predict that this hobby will continue to dwindle. As a teacher, I wasn't able to break into it until I was 37 and I LOVE old cars. I enjoy my Model T, but the car that I have wanted since I was ten years old was a Model A roadster. That car is still out of my price range. When one has to provide for three generations living in one house, hobby cars come last in the order of needs.
My father's generation, he would be 73 this year, was able to acquire old cars at a reasonable price - that was back in the 1960s and early 1970s. He owned a 1905 REO and a 1913 Michigan - both were sold off for much less than what they are worth today. The prices are one turn-off. The other is parts availability. Finding parts for a Model T is easy in comparison to my dad's 1917 Overland. It becomes real expensive to have parts machined, especially if a guy doesn't own a lathe or any other tools to make them.
The final issue that I see is current highway conditions. I love driving the Model T because it is like reliving a piece of history; however, I cannot take it on the freeway. That is a big turn-off to many people of my generation and younger. They want to be able to cruise at 65-70 mph and to be able to find parts for their cars.
i hate to sound pessimistic, but I believe that is the reality of the pre-1930 car hobby.
I can agree that the prices of some cars are way high, but if you compare a Model T to a 1969 muscle car the is a great price variation.
I think that a Model T is a great entry level value, unless you are looking at a brass era Model T with two levers and two pedals
You gotta remember that when gas was 29 cents a gallon there were jobs. Nowadays to move out of their parent's homes 4 kids all have to have a job, 3 of the 4 at the current minimum wage (which HAS NOT kept up with inflation)to even get an apartment. Young people without slack in the most minimum budget don't think in terms of hobbies such as old cars when they can't afford any car. We are looking at the hobby from OUR viewpoint, most retired with a lifetime of working and gaining the ability to play with these fairly expensive toys. I hope some jobs and opportunities return for our younger citizens or our hobby WILL die.
By the way, my above post is personal observation, NOT any sort of political statement.
Times are changing and the younger generation has not been left out. In fact it is thriving, the difference is that it is not thriving when it comes to stock cars. It isn't about cost or gadgets although those take a toll. Its about speed and thrill. Driving on a tour or going to a show is nice to see other people and the scenery can be wonderful. Years ago there used to be more "exciting" events. Rather than go forwards there is a large number of people that have taken a step backward in attempts to put together that "hot" ride. Just look at the price of vintage speed equipment. And one only think about the success of TROG, these are not grandparents.
And from times past
I think it's as much of desire as it is financial capability. We have some millenial relatives who together are approaching the $100K/year level as both are data analyst computer geeks. His wife slid through 5 years of full paid college to be in a different field and couldn't get in that field quick enough, so went that route with her husband instead. Yes, many younger folks aren't near as lucky, yet they all seem to be able to support thousand dollar a year cell phone contracts and new I-phones annually with ease. And btw, this couple shows absolutely no interest in much of anything actually, short of gardening and some sports.
In the past few months I have spent some time with my 12 year old grandson working on and teaching him about my '23 Touring. He loves it! This past week end his 9 year old sister was working on her Girl Scout Independence Badge which involved taking care of an automobile. She asked if she too could learn about my Model T. I framed the lesson on all the steps of checking fluid levels, tire pressure, general "pre-flight" inspection etc. Then we went thru the starting procedure. I let her actually start the old girl. Naturally I demonstrated starting with the crank. To conclude the lesson we drove to a nearby large empty parking lot where she practiced figure 8s in low gear, used the brake and reverse pedals. She was absolutely thrilled with the entire experience and asked tons of questions. Hopefully, I have created another T'er.
I display my replica cars and the squeeze bulb horns are the first line of interest- I invite every kid to blow the horn. Pretty soon they are up on the seat behind the wheel. After that you have them. They don't forget and will have a favorable response to every old car they see after. Sweaty little hands on the brass and foot scuffs are a mark of success on my cars at the shows. lol Gary
Look at the car clubs. Our local clubs are the wheel chair generation, too old to do anything their cars just sit in the garage they stopped doing the yearly car shows that generate funds for their club as well as getting local people out to enjoy the show
I think aging out is only one factor when clubs go inactive. Sometimes it's the determining factor. Our local AACA region folded when all the old members had been been officers multiple times and retired. There just weren't enough younger ones to keep it going. But age isn't the only factor. Another is level of interest. There are probably a dozen Model T's in my county, but mine is the only one I ever see being driven. The owners are mostly young guys in their fifties and sixties, but it seems they just don't have the interest to get active. Of the three Kansas Model T clubs, two have regular activities and one doesn't do much. I think the demographics of all three groups are similar. Two have enough live wires to keep things going and one doesn't.
I wouldn't Judge the level of interest in T's on the participation in clubs. I am 36 my grandpa taught me to love model T's and other old iron and now my two sons are very interested in the hobby as well. There is a very good local T club around here that does a ton of shop days and tours, I really wish I could spend more time doing these activities but time is at a premium when you are raising a young family. I do think that this model for car clubs is the only way to get younger people interested. No one wants to sit in a meeting one night a month. Also I have no interest in going fast, one of my favorite stress relievers is taking a slow country drive on the dirt roads in one of our T's.
This is the reason I am willing to help out my friends 15 year old sons get a start at a T.They live in a rural area on seven acres,right across the road from their grandfather's farm.There are still a few miles of gravel roads nearby.
Once they get the mechanical basics and operation of an early 20th century automobile down,then they can gradually build on that base if they desire.
Thanks to those that have sent emails offering bones for this skeleton.
I always say that my T is a working car. She's not the prettiest, the best of shape, and she has a tired drivetrain, but she gets out and goes. The Misses and I take her all kinds of places, and whenever we see someone interested in the car, we always invite them to take a closer look.
We let kids climb inside, sit behind the wheel, honk the horn, and play with the controls (with the key removed, of course ). The kids love it, and so do the parents. We'll even give rides.
We have a sign on the car that asks for donations to help restore the car. Some people love the historical demonstrations and give generously, but we won't hesitate to give rides for free, either.
I think many car people who come up to us are surprised by our hands-on approach, when most come from a look-but-don't-touch point of view.
You don't truly experience a car like a T from behind the ropes at a museum. You have to get to know the car, climb inside, go for a ride, and hear real T stories. It brings the car and the past alive. Many people seem to know about having to back up a hill, but they have no context behind it or understand why until you show them where the fuel take and the carburetor are, and explain that there's no fuel pump.
That's one of the things I love about this hobby. Sharing my T with others and seeing all the smiles on their faces!
To Gary Hammond - Your statement that the federal minimum wage has not kept up with inflation is true, but as the late Paul Harvey would say, here is the rest of the story: In 26 states the minimum wage is less then the $8.11 per hour that a 90 cent 1960 minimum wage would be in 2017, however 24 states have a minimum wage higher then $8.11. The bottom line is that it depends where you live whether you have lost ground or not. I should also point out that not every kid has to start at minimum wage. After the age of 17 I have never had to work for minimum wage, and I can't think of anyone that I know personally that had to do so either. The real problem is that many if not most of the manufacturing jobs have either been mechanized or moved offshore. The days of graduating from high school and getting a well-paying job on the assembly line or in the steel mill are over.
Cameron,this has been how I have operated.
As long as I was not pressed for time,every place I drove my Model T's or A's have been a mobile interacting history lesson.
I need for someone to carry on that tradition for me.
Cameron touched on a memory of an old saying of mine I had imprinted on a car show tee-shirt one year. It was a direct opposite of the usual "Look Don't Touch" type of signs.
Hadn't thought about it in awhile. I still find myself holding my hands behind my back when looking at an old car that I like.
"Touch, don't look". That was for my Crappy LizzHe with a picture of it on the shirt. :-)
I'd tell riders, "Don't rip your pants getting in and out." ;-)
Point is: I wanted to be different from (I thought/think) the regular crowd of antique car folks who can be/might appear to be on a higher plain than the rest of us regular schmucks.
(Message edited by Duey_C on October 20, 2017)
When I was on junior high in 69 i dropped social studies for a year and took shop. None of the teachers understood that move. I wish I had continued metal shop in high school. Now the high schools are droppong all the shop classes. Its unfortunate but thats what it is. How will young kids learn to use a lath or a mill???
Dave I understand. I got into building trades as a jr in high school. 1/2 a day we built a house. Morning and afternoon classes with 10 kids. Normally only seniors got into the class as it was always full. I had building trades 2 yrs in high school. All the schools around had it.
Fast forward. My son took building trades. They had to put two schools together and only got seven kids in each class. The school said there wasnt any interest in it any more. I also had ag. Shop and wood shop. Had to give up wood shop my senior year. I worked 18 years for a contractor and took over the business in 2009. I cant even find young people that want to work summers. I am the youngest guy on the job at 49. Even my own son said he didnt need to know how to work on cars or houses because he would just pay someone to do those things. That seems to be the mind set of the younger generation. I think there will always be guys like T people that just enjoy them for what they are. I try every chance I can to get young ones interested. They can touch and sit in the T or ride if they want. The more the better! Get them hooked at a young age and they will have a place in their heart for these old rides.
I,too,was an Ag class,Ag shop and FFA kid.In FFA,we had a pest hunt,school sponsored, more or less. Had an old van,the SWAT van,equipped with tennis racquets to kill pigeons in barns,and .22 rifles to pick groundhogs off with.In fact,it was common for us farm kids to have rifles and shotguns in our vehicles.Pistols would have been frowned upon.
Took welding at the then Regional Vocational Center my Senior year..Now called the Career Center.
The hell of it was,when I graduated in 1979,you couldn't get a job of any kind around Fort Wayne area unless you had somebody to pull strings.So,welding and other trades were in the doldrums then.
My father was in a position where he could and did pull strings,but never for his own kids.
I'm 26 and bought my first Model T this past March. It's a 1913 Touring and it runs and drives.
I've heard and read many reasons for my generation's lack of interest in old cars in general whether it be a classic or an antique. Y'all listed most of them.
One of the most common reasons which really is the most important in my opinion is financial ability. For those of us that went to college there is a substantial amount of college debt unless paid for by parents, scholarships or other means. I'm one of the few whose parents paid for my college education. They essentially had to force me to go but in hindsight I'm more than glad that I did. I have a business degree in management from MSU and have my parents to thank for that.
Friends of mine on the other hand are paying off student loans and will be for quite some time. A prime example is my friend Ryan who is now a cpa here in Texas but even with his well paying career, is and will be paying student loans. He really wants a 67 Firebird but it isn't feasible right now. He's gone to many car shows with me and certainly has the interest.
I've actually noticed more people my age range at shows and cruises, age 30 and younger. My 1955 Chevrolet pickup and especially the Model T catch the attention of almost everyone. Not just the older generation. The little ones, 10 and younger can't get enough of the Model T. It's by far their favorite. I took it to as many shows as I could this year and around here in Wichita Falls it's incredibly unique and different. People are always taking pictures and video when I hand start it at shows or drive it around town.
I'm repaying my parents not with money but with their dream cars. Dad wanted a 1963 Impala SS since he was in high school in the late 60's and in January of last year I found one close to Houston. We made the drive and came home with the car he's wanted for over 50 years. It needs a complete restoration which we have started. I hired 2 of my friends part time to help. We're doing the labor while Dad and I split the parts.
Mom wanted a 1953 Buick Special which I found in the Communist Republic of Oklahoma. We had to go deep into enemy territory for it but it was worth it. It too needs a complete restoration and is waiting in storage.
My friends are more than happy to work on these projects and want classic cars of their own. I'm seeing more and more of my generation having the interest but financial ability is key.
That is a good Texas name.
Yeah that Communist Country of Oklahoma can be tricky to navigate .....
Great post by the way - you should post more often.
Jim Eviston, what's the current status of your project? What parts do you still need?
Will it fade? Of course it will. Top everything else off, (too slow, more dangerous than the cheapest go kart you can buy, You can't drive unless we OK it insurance) with self driving cars and in 15 to 20 years it'll be history. Real history as in museums. People with the $ don't want classic "moderns" ,(50's, 60's etc.) without all the bells and whistles so you end up with Cuban type cars: classic bodies with modern under pinnings. The T is a wagon with a motor in it. Nothing more. Worse, if you try to modernize it, many more lose interest instead of increasing
valve unlike moderns. Sure they'll be some interested but if you can't drive it at least as you can today, and I don't think you'll have much freedom in that in the future, it'll fade for sure.
I turned 37 today, not exactly young anymore, but I will still bring down the average for T owners for a while to come.
There have been some shop class/ career and technical training comments above. I am a shop teacher or at least as close as they come to that these days. There are two sides to the shop class, A friend who is the department head of the Technology department in his school did away with many of the modern titles and brought back "shop class" so to speak, his attendance doubled the next school year. -This was on Long Island, NY not exactly the place I think of for small engines and wood shop, but hey I guess there is interest. The only issue with the courses is what I feel is a low level of rigor, which leads me to the second part of my thoughts.
Many who have to hire employees of my age and younger seem to notice that there is a serious shortage of individuals willing to work hard and show some pride in what they are doing, they want top pay, top position and don't want to work to get there.
I teach a course in a Career and Technical Center 2:15 per day successful students will earn (without cost to them) 25 credits at the community college towards an Electrical Technology degree (they will need two semesters and maybe a summer to finish the degree) with pathways into careers in Industrial automation and robotics, and jobs in the growing micro/nanotechology industries in the area. Every year I have trouble recruiting students. Sure they love the idea of credits, but a cost free education (busing and books are covered)is not enough many "students" want a work free diploma too! This year I have been blessed with some great students that really are hard workers who genuinely work to understand the material -all five of them..... and as you can guess that is just not a sustainable number.
I have had a number of students offered summer work or paid internships just based on the two week internships we do for class -employers just want a little initiative they will train you for the rest. Many of the graduates of Electrical Technology are starting at $45k+ a year, with the national average yearly income of somewhere around $25k per person I would think we would have to turn people away. One of the biggest regional employers says they at any given time could use an additional 700 techs. -they have to import people from other regions.
So, back to T's is it any wonder that there is a shortage of people who don't want to spend time on a greasy, slow, vehicle that needs adjustment and at least a steady trickle of cash?
In my opinion the key is getting them started at a young age -that is to say an age where they mostly slow you down, that is where the deeply rooted enthusiasm starts. they may not know fractions but they can fetch the 9 16 wrench, and use it too.
I also think that they need to see that your time spent in the garage is not just adult time making something for adult play, make sure to make something for them:
Ok That's far too much rant for one person and the reason I am no good a posting in forums. I'll slink back to my normal lurker status -after all I have far more to learn here than to offer.
How about Carston and I working on Nuthin' Special?
My 5 year old grandson likes to slink under the 18 when I ain't lookin', hook the ground cable to the battery, honk the horn (Waah waah!) and turn the lights on to test things for me. ;-)
He's good to leave the starter switch be 'tho he knows where it is and what it's for.
Hey Ari, would you unhook the battery when you're done? OK Grampa. He's pretty good about it. :-)
My 9 year old granddaughter is a very good driver on the the 24! I do the throttle bit but she sure knows the peddles. :-)
There is hope in all corners of our lives when we're lucky. :-)
Good for you who give the youngsters your time and time with the cars. We can show them the fun and hope they will follow.
Yeah, Chris I have been reading your thread, would have loved to have Carston's ride and so much assistance from my father. While he never held me back dad only worked on engines because he had to he sees cars as one more thing to maintain -of course he is right, but that is besides the point.
Love the dual signals Richard.
My 16 year old granddaughter giving me a ride in my REO truck.
Last night at the monthly drive in a friend drove his T so Alex got to play in it. He needed no instruction and had never been in one before . He grabs the throttle lever and says "all the way down" as he swings both all the way down. I think I see a speedster in his future. He turns 3 at the end of the month.
It doesn’t have to be Model T’s at first .....
Dad Mark with 8 year old son Ben works for GM in Michigan
just like his Dad before him did - his Dad went with Mark when
he bought his first car at 14 ......
8 year old Ben helped his Dad with a pan off restoration of this 1970 VW Beetle - when they showed up to meet me last Saturday In Richmond, IN Ben put on his gloves & went to work loosening the straps ....
Ben guided Mark off the trailer - this young man knew what he was doing ....
So I turned over the remote for the winch - Ben loaded Grandpa’s VW all by himself .....
He did a good job - yesterday I dropped off the Beetle to Grandpa Hazen in Florida ......
My grandson provided valuable assistance when we tore down the transmission. He’s so much smarter about this stuff than I am!