Model T Hobby Question

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thebbqguy
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Model T Hobby Question

Post by thebbqguy » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:42 pm

Hi, I've been a car show wannabe for years. I would love to have show winning Shelby Mustang to be sure, but my bank account doesn't allow for that.

I don't have a lot of mechanical experience or skill.

Is the Model T segment of the car hobby fit for someone like me?

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Oldav8tor
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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by Oldav8tor » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:59 pm

The model T is one of the more affordable classic cars. Despite it's age parts are readily available - it's biggest attraction is the camaraderie you'll share with like-minded people and the opportunity to drive and socialize. Model T owners enjoy driving their cars more than parking them at car shows and there are more tours available each year than you could ever hope to attend.

Some people hire all the work done on their cars but it is hard to totally avoid it. There are little things that an owner needs to do (checking levels, greasing, adjusting bands, etc.) Model T's are simple cars and probably one of the best cars for a would-be mechanic to learn on. Read the forum, join a club and get to know other T owners near you. We all help and learn from each other. On the recent Michigan Jamboree Tour, I found the easiest way to attract a crowd and meet new people was to open up my hood :-) In my experience, Model T people are some of the finest folks you could ever hope to meet!

Where in Michigan are you located? I'm in the Thumb but there are a number of clubs in the state - I should note that although this is a MTFCA forum the clubs in Michigan are all affiliated with the Model T Ford Club International (Piquette belongs to both.) Don't let that bother you.... we all get along and many of us belong to both organizations.
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A Whiteman
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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by A Whiteman » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:00 pm

Hi there, welcome to the T forum!

To answer your question ….. well, it depends!

My suggestion is to meet up with some Model T folk near you (this forum will smoke them out!) and just see if the T 'gels' with you. The T is either loved or not it seems.

Next, yes, some mechanical ability is pretty much necessary, but how much depends on the car, your friends and other T club members near you. It is fair to say that there are T owners here with the skill range from 'master wizard mechanic' to 'not being sure which end of a wrench fits on the bolt'.

If a Shelby Mustang is the goal, then you may find the T is a little more modest in the HP ratings…. ;-)

All the best


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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by Scott_Conger » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:06 pm

I just put a Torpedo back on the road after 40 years as a static display in a now-closed museum. That car was for a fellow who had never driven a T, much less know how to crank start it. It can be done, but he was an old car guy who simply became a fanatic to own one.

That is a very tough way to enter the hobby, but by all reports he is doing fine.

My father entered the hobby by purchasing a T out of a store front display. It sounds like you and he are of the same aptitude. He survived it and went on to enjoy Model Ts for the last 49 years and counting. He had to rely on mechanics of varying knowledge and ability for years, and is now in a small enclave of T-ers in his old age, who look out for him and keep him motoring along

All this typing to tell you it can be done, though it is much easier to gain valuable experience for FREE, if you find and pal around with 1 or more T owners and get a feel for them. They are slow (the cars, not the owners!), don't stop well and are unlike anything you have ever experienced in your life. I think it's a HOOT, but it is not for everyone.

I migrated from English sports cars to T's, but only after I had decided that my life needed to slow down. If muscle cars and big horsepower are still a real thrill, this might NOT be for you...so that's the other side of the story.
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


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thebbqguy
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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by thebbqguy » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:19 pm

Thanks. I live near Ann Arbor.

I have an acquaintance who owns a Model T and Model A and a Lincoln Zephyr.

I only mentioned the Shelby as a point of emphasis because I have a friend who also owns one of the top 3 Shelby's in the Southeast, if not the nation. That's a big bucks part of the hobby with a lot of trailering to go anywhere. I'm not a fan of trailering. I'm a fan of driving.

I can do basic things, but the Model T is a whole other level. If I lived closer to family it would be a no brainer. They are all very mechanical and hands on.

I grew up on a farm, but got away from it after college. I didn't have the bug for it.

I should check out more Model T events for sure.

I like Greenfield Village and the Piquette Plant Museum.
Last edited by thebbqguy on Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Scott_Conger
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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by Scott_Conger » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:25 pm

So far, your odds are going up with each post. A friend with a T, proximity to T activity, you want to drive and not trailer. This is beginning to sound do-able.

$9000 and an empty garage, along with a understanding wife, and it's done.
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


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thebbqguy
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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by thebbqguy » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:53 pm

:D

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Oldav8tor
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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by Oldav8tor » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:12 pm

"Understanding wife." Funny thing... my wife has tolerated all my other adventures but she actually likes the T and the activities that swirl around it. We've been married 47 years and in all that time she's never taken any interest in things mechanical. Lo and behold, the other day she came home with a can of paste wax and commenced waxing the T. She has never done anything like that....never. She also wants to learn to drive it... go figure.

The Casual T's are a very active club in SE Michigan but there are others within a reasonable distance of Ann Arbor. You mention that you don't like to trailer but the slow speed of a Model T makes a trailer a necessity if you want to participate in tours that are some distance away.

FWIW - I too am new to the hobby, purchasing my T in August of 2018 and getting it running for the first time on August 3rd of this year after a lengthy restoration. I went into T ownership knowing very little but now have acquired a substantial sum of knowledge and feel confident performing a variety of maintenance and repair tasks. If you're willing to learn you should be OK.
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Jeff5015
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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by Jeff5015 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:29 pm

Brian,

I think a couple months behind the wheel of a Model T and you won't want the Shelby thing anymore.
This is the car the reinvented the transportation industry!

Jeff in Florida
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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by Steve Jelf » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:48 am

...the slow speed of a Model T makes a trailer a necessity...

Unless you're a retired geezer. Then you have the luxury of time to take off for a week or two and spend a few days getting to the event and back home.
The inevitable often happens.
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Erik Barrett
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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by Erik Barrett » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:59 am

After getting behind the wheel of a model T and getting comfortable with it, you will be ready to give up on the Shelby thing, maybe even throw rocks at it. The T is the most fun for the buck you can have with an old car. People drive them now for the same reason they did when they were new. They are reliable, easy to keep running, a ball to drive, and cheaper than anything else available.


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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by Mark Osterman » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:06 am

I agree about driving a T compared to a more modern fast car. You sit on more than in a model T and even speeds as slow as 35 feel much faster. There is a difference sense of speed. I drive my T to work as often as possible and generally put about 100 miles a week on it when the weather is permitting. It is one of the things in my life that keeps me centered. If there is a problem it’s usually pretty easy to fix once you gain a feeling for how things work and that doesn’t take long if you get your hands dirty.

In regards to car shows, I’m not so interested in showing my car in those venues. It gets seen every day and I talk to many people about it every time I park it and that is fun. I often stop when I drive through the park and let wedding parties use it for photographs. I park it at the museum where I work and let people get their picture taken in it. The idea of sitting in a folding chair all day behind my car at a show (on blacktop or grass with no shade) does not appeal to me at all. I do it on occasion for a good cause. Would rather go to a big car show with a flea market to hunt for parts and see interesting unrestored cars like Hershey.

So, yes .. get a model T and find some T owners in your area to help you out through the rough spots. The parts are easy to find and aside from serious machine work (which is easy enough to get done) you can learn how to tinker with it in a short time with common tools. The more you adjust your own T the more you will have a reliable car to hop in for a drive around town or short trips.


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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by Dan Hatch » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:30 am

When ever I have a car at a show or cruise in I get the same story. “I would like to have a car like that, but I do not think I could work on it”. My reply is always the same.
Just think about that. In say 1920 a guy goes to work at a Ford dealership as a mechanic. What was he doing the week before? Most likely shoeing horses.
Anyone that knows which end of a screwdriver to hammer on can keep one running.
Yes there some things that you need special tools for, but is same for all machines.
Go for it. If your wife will not let you spend your money where you want. You don’t need a T , you need a new wife. Dan


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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by ericmac » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:52 am

If you ever want a chance to drive one.. or several, let me know. I'm just over in Battle Creek so only an hour from you. I always find it interesting to see how differently they drive.
I consider myself a guy with pretty modest mechanical abilities but with th he help of friends have never been stranded by something that couldn't be easily fixed.
As for not trailering, if you are happy staying local you really don't need a trailer. If you want to get more that 60 miles from home a trailer really does help.
Hope that helps you!
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DHort
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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by DHort » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:44 am

Eric

You have three different styles of T. A 13, a Fordor, and a 26. If he tries to drive all three he will find out how different each car is. If you only have one style the next time you are at a show ask an owner if you can drive his/her car. Not all T's are alike. They can be quite different. Especially if one is a Speedster.


Norman Kling
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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by Norman Kling » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:22 am

You need to make some decisions. Do you want your car to look stock? Do you want to modify the drive train? Do you want a show car, or a driver? You might even want several T's so you can do some or all of the above.
Norm

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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by Oldav8tor » Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:15 pm

Model T's are a traveling car show. I have never yet stopped for gas without attracting people. I usually add at least ten minutes for answering questions. I've also noticed as I drive down the road or thru a town that the sight of my T brings smiles to the people I encounter. Get used to waving.

Model T people are the most generous and helpful you could hope to encounter. Where you lack knowledge, skills or the right tools, there will be someone who steps up and offers to help. I was told by a former muscle car owner that such people tend to be very competitive and are less than helpful because they don't want to give someone else an advantage at a car show or the like.... I don't know if that's true but I can tell you that is not the case with the Model T community.

Owning a Model T is a commitment. You have to understand your T, learn it's operation, maintenance and idiosyncrasies. If you find old technology to be fascinating, a Model T can be a lot of fun. If you enjoy seeing the world pass by at modest speeds in the company of like-minded people, a Model T is your car.
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thebbqguy
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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by thebbqguy » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:01 pm

My wife likes them too. I know little about them but we've been going to the old car show events at Greenfield Village for many years.

There are several who live nearby because I see them often and follow them on Michigan Avenue often.

I would want one as stock as possible except for some of the safety items.


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Re: Model T Hobby Question

Post by Scott_Conger » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:13 pm

The most important safety item resides in direct proximity to the steering wheel. Otherwise, there exist several period accessories which can enhance things, but in the modern sense of things, well, they are 100 year old technology that served a much more rough-and-tumble world than we inhabit at this time.
Scott Conger

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