I've often considered attaching luggage or a Christmas Tree to the roof of my Tudor purely for looks, but never have fearing I may damage the roof or roofing material.
Due to age, my Tudor's roof fabric needs to be replaced. This could be an opportunity to reinforce or custom install a roof rack. I have a few questions.
1) Has anyone else tackled a similar project?
2) I'm struggling to find any photos or aftermarket accessories. Any tips?
3) I do not have a show car, but still like to keep my T stock with very few modifications (e.g. I converted to a 12v system, added a brake light switch, etc...) Are roof racks typically a post 1930s design? If so, I may not want to pursue this to maintain the integrity of the car's era.
This is strictly MY opinion. It's absolutely free and worth every penny you paid.......
I don't recall seeing roof racks of any sort on cars until the mid to late thirties....like on a DeSoto or big Chysler. Not to say they didn't exist earlier, but I'd be willing to bet a soggy doughnut they'd be custom jobs back then.
The 1906 CGV at the Larz Anderson Museum is the oldest car I've seen with a roof rack but I haven't been around very long so that's not saying much.
If you Google "Model T Taxi" you'll get a sample of some early roof racks... much like at stage coach.
Roof racks actually were fairly common on limousines, town-cars, landoulets, and taxi cabs, clear back to before 1900 on automobiles. They go much further back in horse-drawn livery services, including stage coaches (betcha didn't think of that one although you have probably seen hundred of pictures, movies and TV shows with them).
Horse-drawn coaches tended to be light and small because of weight limitations for the horses to pull. It was a natural progression into the early automobiles which also were under-powered to not have a lot of luggage space in the smaller early bodies. Roof racks became less common in the '20s (except for taxi cabs) as engines became more powerful and there was more room inside. Even then, many luxury cars continued to have them rather than crowd milady in the back seat.
I don't have any era advertisements for roof racks available. But I have seen them over the years. There probably has not been any time in hundreds of years when one could not order a roof rack for any fixed-roof carriage.
The most difficult part of putting one on an enclosed model T would be affixing a suitable anchor structure into the roof. The standard structure of the roof would not be adequate to actually carry anything. It would be unwise to put a rack onto the roof without adequate support as the risk of wind and vibration could rip whatever was being carried off along with the rack.
And, for whatever it is worth? I have seen a few roof racks on model Ts and other common automobiles.