The New Purist

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Rich Bingham
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The New Purist

Post by Rich Bingham » Sun Mar 31, 2019 1:24 pm

We all know the "old" purist everyone either makes fun of or despises - restores to an impossibly fine polish, everything totally clean, likes to polish brass, gets pontifical over "factory correct" details like the direction cotter-pins should be bent, can tell you the exact year, day and hour that Ford changed the brake rod clevis pin from one with a 3/8" head to one that had a 13/64" head, and whether it was "raven finish" or zinc plated. Many of these guys are too caught up in a holy grail search for "perfect originality" to drive much. We suppose the quest for perfection is its own reward.

"Trending" in posts to the forum, it's plain to see the "new" purist has arrived. The New Purist is essentially confounded by the very nature and reality of the Model T Ford. The Model T has a low-compression, low RPM engine, your riding lawnmower probably has more horsepower. It is top-heavy, slow and ungainly with the handling characteristics and lack of "roadability" that demonstrates what it truly is, i.e., a horse-drawn wagon . . . without a horse. In its native state, its always needing "something" - an adjustment and/or cleaning of its sensitive timer, replacement (with much laborious difficulty) of its fragile transmission band linings, frequent adjustment of same, attention to its metaphysically functioning (or not) multiple coils and their points, coddling of its fuel system, which always weeps some gasoline and is prone to need "burping" if tiny bits of rust or "crud" upsets its delicate digestive system (aka carburetor). All fluids required to give it life are prone to leak and cause trouble.

Why the "New Purist" ever acquired a Model T is something of a mystery. It would seem what he really wants is a new Toyota, or perhaps a "Razer". The "New Purist" does not want to travel at 30-35 mph. The "NP" does not want to have to hand crank a car to start it. "NPs" are aghast and highly offended by oil in any amount leaking from a vehicle - to say nothing of gear oil, gasoline or coolant. The "New Purist" is full kin to the "Old Purist", a knight-errant in quest of a different holy grail - the arrival of correcting all of the Model T Ford's many imperfections and inadequacies. To this end, a fascinating endless array of new parts, modifications, tricks, schemes and the retro-fitting of 21st century machine methods, alloys, technologies, sealants and electronics are in the "NPs" armamentarium. In many ways, the New Purist is in rebellion against two ancient pearls of wisdom which remain eternally true: "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." and "Don't try to make your pony something he ain't." Like the Old Purist, I'm sure the "good fight" offers much satisfaction to the New Purist.

I wish both "camps" well, and the best of luck in their very different quests, and truly wish that somehow each side could find their common ground, and refrain from continually sneering at and disparaging of each other.

Somewhere down a golden middle-road are the majority of Model T owners who drive a lot, are able to profit from the knowledge and experience of both kinds of purist, and truly reaiize what kind of beast their Model T actually is. They delight in fiddling with the materials and methods that were the norm a century and more past. For them, a large part of the fun is the partial reality of being able to experience life in the slow lane, as it was back then. Pax vobis
"Get a horse !"

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Re: The New Purist

Post by Steve Jelf » Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:21 pm

ET CVM SPIRITV TVO

I'm so old that I took Latin in high school. I even remember a few words.
:D

PS Rich is showing us that Bob's not the only good writer on the forum.
The inevitable often happens.
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Re: The New Purist

Post by Burger in Spokane » Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:47 pm

I would hazard a guess that 99.9% of Model T guys arrived at their interest in Model T's
because of the Model T first. That is to say, they saw one, Uncle Buck had one, etc.....
they saw, they liked, they wanted to own one. It was just an old car they thought was
cool. Any deep understanding of the T's place in history, the T-era experience came later,
if at all.

How many T guys own one because they wanted a living, driving piece of American history,
with the emphasis on that historical experience of driving a vehicle as it was designed and
designed to be driven in a 1915 America ?

I can still see the look on Tom Carnegie's face when I told him I wanted to get a TT flatbed
"and drive the wheels off it". It was the 1000 yard stare of "Oh boy, here we go again", or
translated, "Oh boy, another idiot !"

When I stuck around and actually showed up to the Tuesday night meetings with an operational
TT flatbed, I think he took me a little more seriously, and discussions turned to ways to make a
T run and drive well. Sort of an extension of Montana 500 talk that permeates the halls of the
Antique Auto Ranch. To his credit, and the credit of others there, I was leaned into pretty good
about safety and the limitations of the T design FIRST, as a foundation for discussion about what
CAN be done to make them safest and run better, without killing the fundamantal historic design
and experience in the process. I heard it said many times, if you want it to be something it isn't,
go buy something else !
More people are doing it today than ever before !

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Re: The New Purist

Post by Henry K. Lee » Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:33 pm

Ne Incautus Futuri

All the Best and Well Said Rich,

Hank


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Re: The New Purist

Post by 46woodduck » Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:27 am

Then there is the tainted enthusiast. Doesn't care if the numbers match, just wants a T to drive and have fun. There are lots more than the purists imagine who are into having a chance to live in the past, go back to a slower style of life and thumb their noses at "progress".
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Re: The New Purist

Post by Loftfield » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:48 am

For the New Purist: words said many times before: If it doesn't leak something it is NOT a Model T!
For everybody when the fight between purists and non-purists gets hot and heavy, the phoney Latin: Non Carborundum Illegitimi!

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Re: The New Purist

Post by Rich Eagle » Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:51 pm

I have enjoyed and thought a lot about these comments. I truly admire the purist of the purists. Those who restore a car to perfect original condition give us something to shoot for. I have made my cars much better in many ways because of them. I also can rationalize the things I fall short in.
Some of my favorite characters have cars that might get laughed out of the car show or off of the tour but seem to be having as much fun as anyone. I have seen so many people enjoy these old cars in so many ways. I have changed my vision of the perfect Model T many times over the years.
For me it is that spending time on an old car adds great value both to the car and the owner. How we choose to do it is our choice. Seeing how others do it can be a good guide but many factors effect the outcome. All we can do is to try to enjoy the journey as best we can and if others enjoy the finished vehicle all the better.
Rich
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Re: The New Purist

Post by Rich Bingham » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:48 pm

Rich, thank you much for your thoughts. They have me pondering again, maybe that's not a good thing ?

For me, the "perfect Model T" is the one I have now. Maybe the reason I think about the "quests" the purists of both camps are on is because of all the twists and turns my own "Model T Journey" has taken through the years. In many ways, owning a Model T is as much a state of mind as it is a physical reality ! :lol:
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Re: The New Purist

Post by Burger in Spokane » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:04 am

I come at Model T's from a place that I have yet to meet another T owner share.

I wanted one, and continue on this path of ownership, not because I like Model T's,
but rather because I like the steam era Americana historical place that Model T's
were an iconic part of. My goal is not to restore one, but rather to create an American
road "scene" of the 1920's-1930's, where a truck like mine is just out there being used
like it was built to do. Just like the 1910 streetlights around my place, the tools, the
old building, everything. The truck just happens to be a useful tool to further "the
agenda" AND it genuinely represents the fabric of "the agenda" as it does it. The best
of all worlds.

But to be honest, I am not a serious T fan. I generally think Ford built cheap and not
very good looking vehicles. I know, heresy in a world where so many are brand loyal.
The T just happened to be an honestly cheap vehicle from its conception in Henry's head
to the drawing board, to about the time Henry was pressed upon to be less frugal and chase
"fashion" a little bit. But the T was a good looking car for it's time, in spite of being cheap.
My attraction is more about the T's historical place and its actual usefulness in my life and
business (I USE my truck), but my real "hobby" in life is all sorts of steam era junk, ... finding,
fixing, using around the place, the TT proves invaluable in drawing other likeminded crazies
out of the woodwork and networking with them. I maintain my truck not as a pristine, restored
example, but rather as a well-cared-for 10-year-old truck that is still good to go.

Purist ? What's that ? I know, .... that's the guy who can ID the most minute detail of a
given year or period. Good people to know when you have a question. Not how I want to
fuss my truck, but certainly a valuable resource when needed. New purist ? Yeah, I am
not sure why they want a vehicle with such inherent design limitations.
More people are doing it today than ever before !

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Re: The New Purist

Post by Rich Eagle » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:40 pm

Maybe finding the perfect way to enjoy a T like Burger has and make it PURE FUN is the kind of purists we should all become.
Rich
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Re: The New Purist

Post by Burger in Spokane » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:57 pm

I read others posting how much they enjoy driving their T's. I certainly do. I enjoy wrenching
on it too. By far and away, my favorite part of T ownership is the time warp sensation it causes
for people who chance upon seeing it out and about, especially in places and situations where it
appears to still be 1930.
More people are doing it today than ever before !

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Re: The New Purist

Post by Rich Eagle » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:11 pm

I think taking people back to things they remember or have heard about is a very special thing.
I sometimes feel a kinship with the folks that built or worked on these things. Building fenders, top irons and fitting body wood it dawns on me why they did it that way. In those cases strength with flexibility was important. Their methods aren't apparent until you get close enough to see the cleverness. Many time consuming tasks let my mind drift to who were these craftsmen and what was their day to day life like?
At any rate it makes the tedious tasks a little more fun.
Rich
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Re: The New Purist

Post by perry kete » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:37 pm

I appreciate those who are "purists" because they preserve the historical accuracy of the cars and if I were intelligent enough and financially fluid I would do my very best to do the same. I do my best to keep my cars "period correct" but they are not show cars but daily drivers. I do keep them 6 volt, no LED lights, electronic additions for modern equipment, turn signals etc. but I do not look down on those who do make changes. I hope that they keep a log book or something of the changes so when the car is passed on to another the new care taker knows that the car has been altered. It's your car do with it what you wish.
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Re: The New Purist

Post by Duey_C » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:07 am

I dunno Burger. I didn't finish reading your post as you raised a question for me...
When I was 13, my grandpa and I picked up my '29 International truck from the junkyard with his '58 Chevrolet pickup and a borrowed hay rack. This was 1977. I have the slip somewhere in the attic.
I had watched a late Center Door next to a shed, languishing in the mean time before. I have that Center Door. It sucks. Bad.
I've been stuck in the past since I was little I think. I do have a 1983 skid loader but my motor grader is from 1953. My dump truck is a 70's Frankenstein with a 1918 patent dump box and a 1945 Ford 2-ton truck underneath that used to be Alexandria's #2 school bus.
I pretended to use a John Deere tractor when even younger. The clutch lever. I did not know this then as we didn't have a JD on the farm, before dad sold out to get away from the daily drudgery with the cows. For him.
I bought and used a JD G or two here for pulling things around and snow moving in my late 20's.
The model T Ford was a natural progression for me since '96 or '97... I built that bad boy/sweetheart up form nothing. And it still sucks today!
Old gas engines have always been right here. I gravitated to the 7th oldest registered (now) South Bend turning lathe on record, 30+ years ago. Well, it WAS Owen's.

I feel like I'm trying to explain myself into what you think about but perhaps I'm close.

I just picked up a 1918 Z Fairbanks Morse 6 horse igniter engine to putz with if that helps.
I miss using the '68 and the '69 Chevrolet pickups that I dearly loved. Don't get me started about Twin City tractors made here in Minnesota... A pair of '28 17-28's, #2 21-32 from '29, a couple of MTA's, a JTU coming and wanting more.
NOT for status on a grandiose scale but I need all this SXXX to complete me..
I dunno. We'd have to work this out over some beers and convo/banter to see If I were relative to what you're looking for in an "old timer".
I'm 54. Feeling stuck back yonder. Loving it. Feels right.
Sorry Rich.
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Re: The New Purist

Post by Burger in Spokane » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:26 am

It takes a special kind of stupid to shun the glitter and sparkle of the latest and greatest
and embrace what the trendy set considers old and yucky. But old fence lines, corrals, barns
trucks, sputtering things with spoked wheels, weathered wood, rusting metal .... that is
where I'd rather dwell than any other "space" my body and mind can occupy. I suspect there
are more than a few around this forum whose family and coworkers suspect were dropped
on their head as a small child and grew to be proud of NOT being just another drone at a
shopping mall or paying off the credit card for the new vinyl siding and golf cart. :lol:

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's Tupperware life ! :lol:
More people are doing it today than ever before !


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Re: The New Purist

Post by 46woodduck » Wed May 08, 2019 11:25 pm

Before my interest developed for the TT truck that I have yet to find, my wife and I restored a Viet Nam era Dodge M37B1 Military 3/4 ton truck. We spent over 5 years bringing it back to life from the pile of parts I was given that had gone through a garage fire. Like any other group of vehicle nuts the MV group has it's share of "purists" who can tell you what years they used what bolts to hold on the bumpers, how to "properly mount the windshield adjusters and what colors were proper for various ages of the vehicles and any and all of the things that make a perfect restoration. There were a couple of the guys that were really into the details and I loved to watch them look over our truck and vapor lock as I managed to find a perfect set of Korean War vintage bumper bolts and went to the effort to make sure that the heads were all lined up as they never would be in production. The truck was painted WWII flat light olive with a flat black camouflage pattern and the engine was painted silver rather than olive drab and always got good comments from the "non-purist" crowd. When questioned about the engine by the "purists" I always said that was the way Chrysler painted them at the factory and it was a field replacement for a worn out engine. That usually got them started and they then complained of the trucks overall paint scheme and the fact that they were painted semi-gloss Olive Drab when delivered. My come back to that was kept in the bin under the drivers seat, an old copy of an order on "field camouflage painting" that said that it was to be done at the company commander's discretion and therefor it was correct.

One of the older guys that always had fun with his trucks told me when I asked him about details, "it's your truck, do whatever you want with it". His other great saying that has stuck with me for over 20 years was "you can make it as complicated as you want".

It seems to me that applies to Model Ts as well. The main purpose in my life as I continue down my path is to have fun. If I can manage to give a purist a chance to raise his blood pressure a few points, so be it.
.
.
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Re: The New Purist

Post by Tom Hicks » Thu May 09, 2019 7:13 am

I feel this discussion has been framed in the wrong way. It is not a matter of good-evil, either-or, etc.

We should all appreciate what the purest of the pure do, take a vehicle back to being historically correct in every respect.

And we should appreciate what drivers do, make modifications for safety on the road because they drive a lot.


Why can't we appreciate both, and everything in between?
Because some purests are jerks who look down on daily drivers? That does not make all purests jerks or what they do with their cars less admirable. Most purests are really good people and a wealth of knowledge to those of us who don't know.
Because daily drivers who put LED brake lights on their cars for safety are not doing it like Henry did? Some daily drivers are snobbish toward the purests becasue daily drivers get out and enjoy their cars. But most daily drivers have great appreciation for the purest's work.


The "I am better than you because..." stuff hurts the hobby.
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Re: The New Purist

Post by Rich Eagle » Thu May 09, 2019 11:22 am

Several pointed out the good standards a "purist" provides. We often mistake the severe enthusiasm for disapproval and arrogance. I have found many of these folks to be wonderful, generous and forgiving people if you get to know them. I have taken my incorrect 1909 Touring on several national tours of 3 different clubs to received compliments and awards for driving it and building it from scratch.
Human nature is to notice our differences but sometimes separates us rather than bring us together.
I see we have many extremists in every direction possible. That should open possibilities to us.
To point out and obvious detail should not be taken as criticism as it often is not meant that way.
Rich
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Re: The New Purist

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu May 09, 2019 11:24 am

When was it decided that Purists don't drive their cars a lot?
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Re: The New Purist

Post by Ruxstel24 » Thu May 09, 2019 11:51 am

Scott_conger wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 11:24 am
When was it decided that Purists don't drive their cars a lot?
When I was a boy, I recall SOME purists...
Would drive their cars off the trailer, get their trophy and drive it back on the trailer !! :P
Again, SOME, and if that's what makes them happy, great. The knowledge of purists is something we all should appreciate.


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Re: The New Purist

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu May 09, 2019 12:19 pm

Dave

None of what I am about to post is meant to be disrespectful in any way...just remenisces of my own: as a kid, I remember the exact same thing as you...however, I have a different perspective of those folks. AACA would not let a "black" car into a show as they were too common...only the early cars made the cut. I recall that usually, every casting or forging mark was ground off. Axles sported bondo and were painted and compounded and polished to a mirror finish. Many sported varnished wheels and lots of accessory period and not so period wood trim. Lots of oak gave its life to finish those cars. Paintwork was absolute perfection, and if your plackard read anything less than "20" on the number of coats of hand-rubbed lacquer, you were just a cheapskate or wanna-be. Frequently, the cars ran like crap or not at all. Often the coil boxes were empty, as you couldn't buy new Heinz, and few originals functioned well enough (heck, they were hidden anyway). If your car could MAKE it to a neighborhood car show on its own, it was "reliable". None of what I described reflects how the car came from the factory, and my opinion is that those folks were not "purists"...they just had a lot of money and were trying to prove it, in a Don Quixote sort of way. The real collectors brought Highwheelers, steamers, and the very heavy and expensive cars. Now, those boys were playing with real $$.
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Re: The New Purist

Post by Ruxstel24 » Thu May 09, 2019 4:26 pm

No offense here Scott. :D

Definitely different ends of the spectrum between a "driver T" and the high end stuff.
The Model T purists lie somewhere in the middle.

"The real collectors brought Highwheelers, steamers, and the very heavy and expensive cars. Now, those boys were playing with real $$."


Then you got your Packards, Caddys and Duesenbergs towards the top of the heap.
But snobbery comes from all ends, as well as friendliness and inclusion. 8-)


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Re: The New Purist

Post by Tom Hicks » Thu May 09, 2019 8:54 pm

I guess I am not very pure, but I am fairly new to T's. If it has a T block I consider it a T. I don't care if the head is original to the block, or a Rajo, or a Prus, or just a later year, if the block is a T it is a T. Same for the crankshaft and cam, they don't have to be original for me to consider it a T. Body, radiator, tires, etc, whatever, no matter as long as the block is Model T it is a Model T.

That does not mean I look down on those who are purer, I just have a different perspective.

I hold the guys who really know their stuff and can do everything from machine work to upholstery in awe, so much ability!
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Re: The New Purist

Post by JP_noonan » Thu May 09, 2019 10:44 pm

Purist or not, I think that its pretty amazing that after 110 years there is still a following and passion to keep the Model T brand alive. You can have a 100 point restoration, or a Bitsa project you pieced together, in my mind they are all equally important to keep this very important piece of American history alive. Everyday that i drive my T and share with others is a good day not just for me, but for the hobby as well. Keep those projects coming, who knows how long we can keep this going.
Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.


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Re: The New Purist

Post by Rich Bingham » Fri May 10, 2019 10:09 am

I never meant to foster controversy or "choose sides". My observations on the extent and types of modifications and "upgrades" commonly discussed here were meant to point out that today's enthusiasts increasingly yearn for something beyond what the Model T is in its essence. We're a sub-culture of "old, fat white men" because younger folks find it difficult to relate to the Model T. As time passes, interest will eventually taper off, I doubt if it will ever die off completely.
"Get a horse !"


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Re: The New Purist

Post by 46woodduck » Fri May 10, 2019 12:44 pm

JP_noonan wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 10:44 pm
Purist or not, I think that its pretty amazing that after 110 years there is still a following and passion to keep the Model T brand alive. You can have a 100 point restoration, or a Bitsa project you pieced together, in my mind they are all equally important to keep this very important piece of American history alive. Everyday that i drive my T and share with others is a good day not just for me, but for the hobby as well. Keep those projects coming, who knows how long we can keep this going.
I have to agree JP. Purists help keep the hobby alive and provide guidance for those of us who are involved on a less serious level. It's just that sometimes they tend to forget that some people are just involved because they enjoy playing with old cars, be it a "Perfect" show winning restoration or a pile of old parts that has been thrown together to run to breakfast on Saturday morning. The general public doesn't know the difference.

I have known both types of enthusiasts over my 73 years on this pile of dirt that we call home and most are wonderful folks who appreciate the efforts involved in our builds and restorations. Sometimes it's just fun to help remind them (purist or bitsa builder) that there is value of approaching the hobby from both directions. Life is too important to take seriously.

To quote my flight instructor when I got into general aviation in 1985, "If you're not having fun, what are you doing here."
Life is good on the lunatic fringe. Tom


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Re: The New Purist

Post by HaroldRJr » Fri May 10, 2019 10:27 pm

I can't help but wonder if there are real "purists" that would be driven crazy if they stopped to consider that there were actually hard working and competent Model T era Ford factory assembly line employees that really didn't give a rip which leg of a cotter pin they bent, whether they bent it just a bit or really gave it a good "kink"! And I'm guessing that once in awhile, there was some lazy guy on the assembly line that got a little behind and didn't even install the cotter pin at all an just stuck it in his pocket and didn't worry about it!

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First Name: John
Last Name: Noonan
Location: Norton,Ma.

Re: The New Purist

Post by JP_noonan » Sat May 11, 2019 12:56 am

Thomas, i completely agree. When you take the fun factor out of any hobby, then it becomes not just a hobby, but extra work, and who needs that. I consider my time tinkering with the T to be therapeutic time away from the real world i just experienced the last 6 days. :D We all have our own ideas of what our T's should be, and all of them are correct. My 25 never had the option of cowl lamps, but i came across some and liked the look, so there they are bolted on, and my purist heart doesn't regret a thing, and life goes on ;)
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Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.


46woodduck
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First Name: Thomas
Last Name: Petry
Location: Southern California

Re: The New Purist

Post by 46woodduck » Sat May 11, 2019 1:52 am

Precisely my point JP. As we used to say in the Military Vehicle group "it was a field modification". Our M37B1 has an 8 ball for the shift knob just like the one in our motor pool in Viet Nam and I replaced the olive green plastic knob on the glove box with a white ceramic one with blue flowers painted on it because it gave it a personal touch.
Life is good on the lunatic fringe. Tom

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Marv K
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First Name: Marv
Last Name: Konrad
Location: Green Bay area
Board Member Since: 2010

Re: The New Purist

Post by Marv K » Sun May 12, 2019 2:35 pm

Kudo's to all enjoying our Model T's! The vast spectrum of owners prompted me to take a 'tongue in cheek' glance at probably only a few of the owner - 'altitude of the attitudes'...
Here's hoping you enjoy these as they're meant to be, and hopefully with a chuckle when we look into a mirror. :D


-ORIGINALIST/PURIST: Still has 'original air' in the tires; oil hasn't been changed since leaving the factory. ("Nuthin else is changed, either!")
-PRESERVATIONIST: May include the previous category, but will then watch as it deteriorates into a pile of rust. A/K/A a 'protectionist', is the most opinionated and narrow-minded, and will also let you know it. Yearns for 'the good old days', may worship Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, tout 'Prohibition', but could also be one likely to have his own still. Other interests might include collecting fossils or petrified wood. Operational vehicle? = 'That' may be Questionable....
-PRESERVATIONIST/RESTORATIONIST: May sometimes be called a 'perfectionist'. Usually, more open-minded than the two previous levels, but parts must be of exactly the correct year and vintage. This group would enjoy driving the vehicle, but only under specific conditions, if ever at all.
-RESTORATIONIST: To have a vehicle as it originally appeared with correct, functional parts. This owner/individual feels pride in accomplishments, likes to display the efforts put forth, maybe to drive the vehicle as with the preceding category.
-ATTITUDINIST- (And, likely the most enjoyable!) "It's MY CAR/VEHICLE, and I'll have and do as I want with it!" Again - "It's MY CAR/VEHICLE, and I'll have and do as I want with it!"
-ENTHUSIAST: Probably some of the previous first four groups, but will often enjoy purposeful driving. Is prone to partially exhibit some evidence of including the next definition....
-HOBBYIST: Similar to the Enthusiast category. Appreciates his vehicle as it is, but will entertain 'better idea' improvements, and decide how and what they want their vehicle to be for their own use.
-ENTHUSIASTIC HOBBYIST: Might be called 'whack-o and despicable' by any of the first four above! 'Improvements' (changes) may be subtle or 'extreme', yet will reflect the imagination, personality, purpose and the desired use by the owner, even though that may not always be the most obvious or final objective.
-MUSEUM CURATOR: "Just pay at the door"....
"Let's Figgur it owt!" Just fix it (right), and make it work.....
Aah-OO-Gah! (and), "Happy T-ing!"

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