I build replica Faultless boat tail speedster bodies in Illinois. Everyone in the Model T hobby I talked to thought it would be a great idea. It takes me five weeks and over 100 hours to build one. Iím not exactly getting swamped with orders. Iím a skilled fabricator so quality is not an issue. My prices are lower than any other person who makes speedster bodies ( very few). Iíve posted in the MTFCA classifieds, I post on the Facebook speedster group, but orders are not coming in at a rate that I can continue if things donít change. Any suggestions on better ways to get the word out?
James, you are playing in a very limited market. Couple that with the fact that many speedsters are made up from surplus used parts T owners have accumulated over the years, and that T owners are a frugal bunch, and you have a reluctant group of spenders. A wider inventory would help. Perhaps add fenders to your list. They were a hold-up when I built my speedster. I ended up having to fabricate my own, with a deal of help from my mates at a sheet metal shop.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
I wish I had your skills. Have you considered adding to your repertoire more body styles?
I know I have a body style I want, but have never seen one. Not even sure, anyone has made what I want.
I would love a speedster cowl producer... (Besides rootlieb, Im talking ones that are production, not custom). Sheet metal is incredibly expensive for people who only need one sheet to make a cowl.
I also agree with Allan, custom speedster fenders would be awesome.
And with Jason as well. Different body styles would rock! I dont really care for the boat tail look myself, but I love the turtle deck style ones.
Bring a sample here:
Your speedster bodies are nice and the price is fair. One problem out here on the west coast has nothing to do with your work, but that the shipping cost from Illinois to California for one body would be $2,000. or more. If several people wanted a body each and got together the unit shipping cost would be better, but offhand I don't know anybody looking for a boat tail speedster body. Try attending T events with in a few days drive from you, and take a sample body if you can. Having other body styles could also help fill out your work load. Best wishes on success.
Thank you. I agree hauling a body to shows would help. I did have one on display at Chickasha. Adding more body styles at this time would be counter productive. If I canít sell enough of the ones Iím building already thereís no point. It takes a lot of downtime to perfect the patterns and jigs to be able to duplicate the bodies. If all I can do to generate sales is make cycle fenders for speedsters, then Iím giving up on the idea. Iím retired, Iíll just work on my own projects.
To the top !
Where do you get your shipping costs from? Couldn't this be placed on a couple pallets and shipped LTL by a trucking company?
I can ship 1500 lbs from Michigan to Singapore for about $2000...
I have no doubt you can pay $2K to ship a car from IL to California but I work with the buyer and we find private carriers and options. Remember, this is only a tub not a car on wheels. I recently shipped a body to the OK/Texas border region for $400.00 by grabbing spare space on an open trailer that was Chickasha bound. If a person gets creative and takes the time, you can undercut conventional shippers by a large ratio.
I have my own in a further state of completion that is probably better for hauling off to shows.
Jerry and James, The high cost is the shipping into California, unless you have a business connection with a company already shipping into California. Last year I had a crated, non boat tail, speedster body shipped to California from Illinois and it cost $1400.00. Driving my pickup to Reno or Vegas to get the body could have saved some money but the gas cost was a push. Also I could have shipped two bodies for about the same, if crated together. I agree that a much lower shipping cost could be had with the right timing and using open trucking in good weather. That may require the seller to store the crated body until the right shipper comes along.
Would it be worthwhile to build a stock of bodies then go on a grand tour dropping them all off in one shot? Basically deliver them on a canoe-style trailer.
Looking good Jimmy! I wish I had some suggestions to help with sales.
Doesnít Tom Butterworth make this same body? I guess if it was me I would have built one that isnít already readily available.
You have supply. What you need is demand. Show people how easily they can acquire a running chassis from ebay or build one up from 'junk' and you might just inspire people. Once they have the chassis they'll need a body.
Ned, Itís not Ďreadilyí available! Try getting one at my prices, with my level of build quality and det it in five weeks (or less).
Well, how much would one be in the same condition as the one delivered to Chickasha? I bought one of Tomís in that condition for $2500 FOB Iowa City that I have since sold. If you can do it cheaper than that and it is better quality I would consider buying one. I also bought (and regrettably sold) an extremely well made boattail body at Chickasha two years ago for I believe $2200.
Iím not looking for an argument, just wondering if this is something I would be interested in.
That blue car almost has the correct Faultless Raceabout radiator shell. We pulled one out the the Arizona dessert a few years ago and used my surface development talents from the Art Center School of Design to draw up the details. A buck was made and we had three of them produced. We still have the buck and here are some pictures of the set-up. Note that the red lines on the shell are where it was later trimmed to the correct shape. The bottom picture is a factory photograph in black and white. The radiator shell fits over a T radiator and has no creases as the blue car has. Many of the cars were made up with a Whippet radiator shell which looks good too. I will post a picture of ours below here.
Here is our Faultless as brought home and you can see the Whippet radiator shell. Aaron Griffey had the proper radiator tanks and all and we picked it up at his shop a few years ago. Note that this one has a different shape behind the drivers seat and a more rounded cowl. Later bodies were different and had a cowl vent for the 26 27 gas tank as shown in the factory brochure picture with the "Fiat" shell which is the same as a Whippet..
This is my 1921 Faultless that my Dad, George, restored in the mid 70's.
The original Faultless radiator shells were actually made in five pieces and then soldered together. Very similar in appearance to the ones Frank has posted.
When I got my original Faultless racer it had another shell somewhat similar to the blue one above. Luckily the previous owners had saved the original but it was in poor "as raced" condition. I have since restored it and mounted it on my car. It is interesting in that the top of the shell sits well above the top tank on a 26/27 radiator. It makes the car look bolder and higher in the front, similar to the appearance of the one shown in the black and white photo.
Another try to get the picture in!
I donít sell radiator shells. I leave the radiator & hood up to the customer. The blue shell was simply and experiment for my own car, not an attempt to duplicate an actual Faultless style bullnose shell. This was created by grafting the metal form on to a stock Model T shell. Too much labor to be cost effective.
The Faultless radiator shell sold by the factory fit over the original T radiator core and tanks after the shell of the T was removed.
Iím well aware of that. As I said, this radiator shroud was a design exercise I did for the heck of it. It turned out better than I expected so I ended up using it on my own car. Frankly, it would be much easier to build the original style in your photo. Iíve no intention of making accessories for the bodies at this time if I canít get enough orders for the bodies. The only Ďextrasí I will supply in future builds will be upholstered side panels, cockpit padding, and pleated seat cushions, very similar to the originals in appearance.
WWI aircraft style cockpit padding uses straight-through lacing in place of snaps.