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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2018: Patina
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Coiro on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 10:48 am:

Patina has to be congruous. -Folks, there are unwritten rules! -Well, actually, the rules are written down, it's just that car guys don't know where to go to read them. -See, they're in an odd place. -Odd, because the rule book was written by people who create an imitation of what's real; an illusion. I'm talking about scale model builders. -These craftsmen know all there is to know on the subject of "weathering." -Look in any model-making magazine and you'll see several articles on the subject. -Some modeling subjects get a lot of weathering, some get a little or none. -Generally speaking, here's how model-makers see it:

Ideally, in the case of anything manufactured after 1952 (and by that I mean cars with wrap-around windshields, tail-fins or chrome bumper-brassieres), the exterior needs to look like a freshly minted dime. -Oh, a subtle amount of wear is grudgingly allowed on the interior, but absolutely no rips in the fabric. -Period.

Pre-war and a few model-years worth of post-war cars are allowed a little more flexibility in the aging department. -Why? -Because that's how we remember them. -The median age of today's old-car enthusiasts is well beyond that of the Clearasil crowd and most of us Baby-Boomers can recall having ridden in the mohair seats of a few pre-war cars when we were toddlers and children, but at that point in time, such vehicles were pretty much on their last legs and only one major repair bill away from the junk yard. -So, in our memories, they're allowed to be a little beat-up. It's a nostalgia thing.

But there's a tangible divide between the age of nostalgia and the age of pure, unadulterated history. -See, people are fascinated by automobiles of the Brass-Era, but few get pangs of nostalgia about it because... well, almost none survive who would have memories of riding in such cars. -Oh, there are joyous exceptions, but they're few and far between (One such memorable rare occurrence did take place at a car-show where a nonagenarian couple approached and the gentleman commented on my 1915 Ford, "That's the kind of car I was driving when I was courting Martha, here." -Of course, the only right thing to do was offer them a ride. -They climbed into the rear seat and by the time we got out of the parking lot, those two were smooching it up like a pair of high-school kids. -An unforgettable moment. -Rare as hens' teeth).

Once you go far enough backward along the time-line and cross that tangible divide which separates wooden spokes, brass headlamps and hand-cranked engines from everything that came afterward, our view takes on a sort of historical objectivity. -Rather than exclaiming, "Yeah, I remember that!", we think to ourselves, "So that's how people lived, back then. -Hmm." -That point of view invites weathering and patina in any amount because in the historical context, it feels right. -When we clasp our hands behind our backs and stick our heads inside, we're looking for history, and the wear and tear of what we see there gives us a feel for the vast expanse of time between the familiar present and an utterly recondite past. -Existing there is a detached reverence you don't get from fuzzy dice and chrome-skull gearshift knobs. -But that having been said, it is equally true that when it comes to the Brass-Era, the patina rule book becomes optional and anything from a pristinely restored trailer-queen Stutz Bearcat with a brand spanking-new paint job and upholstery to a thoroughly beaten, Beverly Hillbillies Oldsmobile truck is allowed (and yes, it was an Olds).

I know of a 1914 Ford Model T Touring which was rescued from a fifty-year sequestration in a chicken coop (of all things!) and every inch of that car was covered in surface rust; not bit of paint was left on it, and the upholstery had been clawed, pecked, shredded and pooped on as only can be effectuated by countless generations of resolutely vandalous poultry. -Now, finally having been withdrawn from a half-century interregnum of clucking custodianship, the drive train and brakes were brought up to operating condition, a safe set of used tires were mounted, and by some incredible means, the owner--who, by the way, taught me how to drive a Model T in this car--completely eradicated any and all trace of fowl odor (sorry, couldn't resist). -And that's all he did to it. -When I first saw the thoroughly rust-encrusted car sitting in his front yard, I thought it was nothing more than a whimsical lawn ornament, but astonishingly, it ran just fine. -That kind of thing is the holy grail of antique cars; a genuine century-old barn-find in original condition. -To restore it would be an unforgivable sin. -Like I said, there are rules.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Andy Clary on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 11:03 am:

Isn't that the catch-22 of our hobby. Complete cars aren't supposed to be restored, but the restored cars are "pieced together".


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis R on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 12:04 pm:

What I hate with a passion is "Fake Patina" or worse yet "patina" that has been covered with clear coat. If you like driving a rusty hulk, no problem- it's your car. I had a 23 with lots of patina, so much you could see daylight through some of it. Never did a restoration though, as I would have had to replace most of the car. But it did draw a crowd where ever it went and I had a lot of fun driving it. It got a couple of "new" dents while I had it, just adds to the patina I guess. Had a restored Model A, was paranoid to drive it as I didn't want to scratch or dent it. I would never ever leave it unattended in a parting lot. The T- I left it parked everywhere- Home depot, 7-11, auto parts store, once at the local wrecking yard (they jokingly claimed it was one of theirs). I love old cars, I like ones with original patina or restored- they are all fun.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George Andreasen on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 01:47 pm:

Definition of "patina": An antique shops idea of explaining old, brown rust. Makes it look "artsy".

I hate rust. It's a thief, stealing metal from already thin panels and fenders. I'd rather have the worst paint job in the least it will prevent air from allowing body metal being burned away over time. I'll use any technique to get back down to bare metal, then modern fresh paint.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Craig Raynor in Southampton on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 02:42 pm:

I agree with Bob itís only original once.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 03:26 pm:

I'm with you George. Never cared for the look but to be fair none of my T's were ever in that condition. Probably would have walked. Can understand the clear coat though. Will preserve the metal.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Howard ( Australia) on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 03:47 pm:

How it was and how it is.... new tyres/top/interior and motor/transmission/diff rebuilt and Safety Glass in the windscreen but just rag rubbed some Penetrol over over the body..... gets plenty of attention and they all say " oh look it's original"...cost a bit , but I can jump in and go for a spin anytime ..not the prettiest T out there, but I like it :-)

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Eagle Idaho Falls on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 09:06 pm:

We do ourselves a disservice when we start making rules for everything we do. When I started building cars with patina I knew there would be folks that would point out "That's not a real barn find. It's just something he made up." Just as my restored cars always seemed to have details that weren't just right. I'm not sure we can justify taking an old car and making it look old any more than we can justify making it look new. We need to find things in life we enjoy doing. If we get satisfaction out of doing it one way or another then that is what we should do. If others like it that makes it even better.
If pointing out how someone else should have chosen to do it then that has it's own rewards.
I'm not sure anything I have done in the past 50 years makes any more sense than picking my nose but I know what I like.
We have some great discussions here on the forum and it is good we can each see things our own way.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Martin Vowell, Sylmar, CA on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 10:40 pm:

Sorry gents, "patina" to me is fancy word for common old rust...and I can't abide rust and my car doesn't deserve that particular epitaph. Every car I get my grubby paws on is going to look like she just rolled off the showroom floor...why? Because they deserve that second chance at being what they were intended to be, the pride and joy of whoever owned them. They've endured the years with grace and have reemerged into the 21'st bloody century where many of these later cars will be extremely lucky to survive beyond their "planned obsolescence", much less 80 to 100 years from it. The T has no obsolescence factor and I don't see why making her looking as if she did is so great a draw as to make everybody head over heels in love with the idea of "patina"...better known as RUST.

Now, that's not to say she'll be scratch free or wont be even have a dent or two (small ones hopefully), because I don't believe in "trailer queens" either. The Model T was meant as affordable and rather durable transportation and that's exactly what I use her for. In her day she was as common as a white washed fence, today however she's a rare sight in that many of the folks today haven't seen one up close much less driving nonchalantly down their city streets and road ways, like she belonged there (which is why everyone around you whips out a cellphone to grab a picture of the moment when they saw something quite out of the ordinary).

No matter what you do, no matter how you dress your car (showroom fresh or rust bucket Hillbilly style), people are always going to ask the same lame questions over and over again...1) "Is it a real car?" 2) "Does it run?" 3) "Are those spokes really wood?" And if you get past those three, there's the one I get hit with the most..."is that the original engine?" And the one I really hate is some joker thinking he can buy it from you for $50 bucks or so (I used to get that one a lot with my Model A, before I restored her...afterwards, nobody bothered to ask anymore...which is my point with rusty looking cars, people think they're junkers and readily for sale).

Now of course my car doesn't look exactly like Henry built it, for instance there is a tad more brass on my car than is supposed to be on a 1922 touring, nothing silly like brass side light bezels and tops or headlight bezels, nothing like that, I'm not trying to be a 1915 "the pretty Ford", just a few brass bolts, acorn nuts and screws here and there to break up all that unrelieved very shiny looking black. And of course under my hood nothing is like anything you (or Henry Ford for that matter) would think things should be, but then that's me. And my car is nothing if not unique to me. But patina? (rust), No way Jose, Not here, not ever! :-)

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