Graffiti on model T cars

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Mark Osterman
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Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Mark Osterman » Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:43 am

Was looking at some vintage toy model Ts on eBay and there were a few with words and phrases painted on them. We’ve all seen them. I was wondering when this trend started. I think I’ve seem examples that date from the 1930s to the 1950s. Would love to see more vintage pictures and are there any that survive? Anyone out there made a revival example from their old jalopy?

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WayneJ
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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by WayneJ » Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:03 am

The Model T museum displayed one a year or so ago, there was a book written about the coeds that traveled about the country in it. The book is probably for sale in museum gift shop, also many discussions in the forum archives.

When I was in college ( the hippie era ) VW Beatles were frequently personalized by college students. My understanding is that in the 30s, college students could pick up a well used Model T for $15 or less, which they would then personalize. The sequel to the book: " Cheaper by the Dozen" ( not sure of the title, perhaps "More Cheaper by the Dozen") describes this practice.
Wayne Jorgensen, Batavia, IL
1915 Runabout

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DanTreace
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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by DanTreace » Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:39 am

Here are a couple of 'em.
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And this newspaper article, dated 1924, added copy as print was difficult to read.

Ford slogans copy.jpg
The best way is always the simplest. The attics of the world are cluttered up with complicated failures. Henry Ford
Don’t find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain. Henry Ford

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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Bob McDaniel » Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:41 am

The first one that comes to mind for me is the 1914 Touring owned by Seamus Hnat but I only have older pictures from before the artwork started so I stole this shot from one of Steve Jelf's posts and give Steve credit for it and the many others he shares with us. Every time I see Seamus he has something different on his car and has improved the car in some way so he can drive it even more.
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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Rich Bingham » Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:54 am

My first Model T was a derelict, fairly complete mechanically, but no rims on the wheels ; the hogshead was off, starter and bands had been misplaced. It had been a touring car, but the rear tub had been removed. The windshield brackets had been sawed off flush with the cowl. Someone had hand painted “Old Faithful” across the cowl. Recalling this, I still find the sentiment quite touching in a way the usual sarcastic jibes at an old worn out Ford can never be.
"Get a horse !"


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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by bud delong » Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:22 am

I have always thought constipated can" pass a thing would be fitting! :lol: Bud.

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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Mark Gregush » Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:26 am

https://gypsycoeds.com/
I got to work on this car before it went to its new home back east. :)
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :roll:

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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Rich Eagle » Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:33 am

I have posted this one before. It is a Utah car passing through Yellowstone park. The plate looks to be 1924. The YPC Bus in the background is one of a couple hundred White Model 15-45s. It could even be the one I have now. I can only imagine the adventure of camping in the park then and driving the T.
Opennn.jpg
When did I do that?

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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by DanTreace » Fri Dec 20, 2019 1:45 pm

Believe this was on the forum before, but cute anyway!


662620.jpg
The best way is always the simplest. The attics of the world are cluttered up with complicated failures. Henry Ford
Don’t find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain. Henry Ford


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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Michael Paul » Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:48 am

PhotoPictureResizer_191221_034001262-2448x1377.jpg
Here's an interesting car, it was stored in a barn near San Jose in California. I'm thinking it was a parade/ clown car based on the graffiti. I was told it last ran 50 years ago!


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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Tiger Tim » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:20 pm

So did car graffiti die out when the bumper sticker was invented?

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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by DLodge » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:45 pm

In 1929, my dad was a student at Washington University in St. Louis, and was also in the ROTC program. He and three of his buddies were assigned to attend summer camp at Camp Knox, Kentucky. They bought a 1920 Model T, made some modifications to carry themselves and their luggage and set off. (I have posted all the photos of the trip in the past, but it's been a while, so I may do it again.) In any case, this is the picture that's appropriate to this thread. I will have to see if I can find the photo album I made these scans from and try for better resolution. The Bears were the WashU football team, and I recognize the Greek letters Theta Xi, their fraternity. I can't read the rest, but they clearly had put more graffiti on the car.

Knox1.jpg


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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Marshall V. Daut » Sat Dec 21, 2019 7:05 pm

I have four toys from my father (1919-1969), among which are a large Buddy "L" metal Model T Coupe and this 8" by 4" tin centerdoor Model T Sedan with funny sayings hand-painted on it. I say "funny", although I suppose one must have lived through the era to appreciate the humor of most of them. What was considered funny in the "23 Skidoo" , "Oh, You Kid!" and "You're the Cat's Pajamas" generation kind of falls flat today.
Anyway, here is what appears all over the toy, written entirely in capital letters, minimal punctuation. For clarity's sake, I have written the "witty sayings" in a mixture of capital and lower case letters more attuned to modern eyes, my comments in italics:
TOP:
Honest Weight No Springs
This is the Iron Horse
Have Your Roller Skates (Huh???)
The Four Horsemen
Hood:
Still Going Strong
Cowl:
Lady Be Good
Rear Panel:
Don't Use My Rear for a Bumper
(On either side of the rear window) End
Driver's Side:
(On door) Owner's Entrance Only
Chickens Here's Your Coupe
Leap In Lena
Side Splash Apron:
All Improvements
Toolbox Lid
Tools
Passenger's Side:
Shakes Well When Using
Men Only
This is a Henry Not a Lizzie
(Beneath the open side door) Family Entrance
Side Splash Apron:
One at a Time
Fender Tops:
Baby Lincoln
Expression Shin Lizzie (i.e., Expression!)
She Speaks for Herself
Papa Loves Mama
Rear License Plate:
7734 (Toy model number???)
Radiator Sides:
Turn Over

Quite a few sayings on such a small toy, eh?

Marshall
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Last edited by Marshall V. Daut on Sat Dec 21, 2019 9:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Marshall V. Daut » Sat Dec 21, 2019 7:07 pm

Remaining pic's.
M.
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Trentb
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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Trentb » Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:19 pm

Historically speaking, these were referred to as “Lizzy Labels”.

Respectfully submitted,

Trent Boggess

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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Mark Gregush » Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:43 pm

“Lizzy Labels” that's the first I have heard of that one. Maybe an east coast thing? ;)
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :roll:

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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Burger in Spokane » Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:41 am

Ever since my earliest memories, I have been in love with old stuff .... cars,
buildings, tools, streetlights, fruit jars, everything ! I could not understand then,
and I still fail to grasp the way people abuse and trash old stuff, conversely thinking
anything new and shiny is "the cat's pajamas" and old junk should be defaced, made
fun of, and/or hauled to the nearest ravine or dump. Only after most or all of it is
gone do some people find it quaint or worthy of preservation. This car graffiti is the
same thing, except oddly, it is kind of historic in its own way, .... telling of a time
and place in America, in this case, when our foolish culture was pouring their derision
on Model T era cars.

I remember kids that I went to school with doing the same thing, as some sort of
distraction to a car they felt embarrassed to be stuck with. My friends urged me to
deface my big finned DeSoto with the word "BATMOBILE" down the side, maybe adding
the Batman "bat" on the hood and deck lid (?). I was more inclined to save a stupid
amount of money and buy expensive, but period appropriate whitewalls, and make it
as nice and original as I could on a teenager's budget.

Interesting to see these pictures of that same thing going on 40 years earlier.
More people are doing it today than ever before !


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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Marshall V. Daut » Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:27 am

Burger -
I agree with you, as I'm sure do all the readers here. Of course, you are preaching to the choir on this website. :)
It's a sad fact for us lovers of history and antique cars, but it is exactly that attrition through abuse, junking, neglect and/or abandonment that makes the surviving examples from the past desirable now. If all 15,000,000 Model T's and all 5,000,000 Model A's had survived until today, they wouldn't be worth having. It is their depletion of the ranks that has made them worth having. When one looks at what is considered "desirable" and valuable today among collectors of the past, it almost always boils down to scarcity. The fewer of a given artifact left, generally the more valuable it is. The fewer of them made originally, the more valuable they become today. Still, I cringe when I see films of early Model T's being shoved into an open hearth furnace during WWII scrap drives, or 1930's junkyards filled to overflowing with perfectly restorable pre-1930 cars that you just know never made it past 1943.
Knowing all of this makes me appreciate our surviving Model A's and T's all that much more. They are among the lucky ones to see the year 2020 instead of becoming Sherman tanks or artillery shells.
Marshall


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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Scott_Conger » Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:33 pm

Marshall, I, too, cringe when I see those old films and stills of those scrap drives. It's all in the perspective of things, I suppose, as I doubt that my grandmother cringed at seeing such a sight, wondering at the time if her husband was dead or alive in a Jap POW camp (he was...survived Bataan, the march, death ships, and captivity).

It's a wonderful legacy passed to us that we had the wealth, resources and will to survive to where we have the luxury to wax nostalgic today. We see the past, and history destroyed, while previous generations saw the same scene and saw the future and Victory. It is interesting how time can alter the impact of a picture.

As for the graffiti: I love it!
Scott Conger

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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Bob McDaniel » Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:04 pm

The graffiti we see on the old cars today is easy to remove as was on my 1968 Mustang both times I did it to my own car. The first time was when I graduated from high school and the second time was when I got married. I still have the car with no ill effects but the wife not so much. I will say I did much better the second time around and this one even likes the old cars. A little graffiti comes off as long as the car is not abused to death by the owner.
Give an old car guy a barn and he won't throw anything away.


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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Burger in Spokane » Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:43 pm

None of that was meant be "preachy". And it's not meant as an argument. It's just a different
way of looking at things, a stepping-way-back view, and a philosophical way of looking at our
culture.

This is kind of a foreign concept to many Americans, but I do not equate "value" with dollars.
Dollars are the medium of corruption that happens when people sell out for whatever they
can get for something. Most accurately, this would be called "market value". A more basic
sense of "value" is like the value we place on friendships, our dog, family legacy, personal integrity ....
Can we put dollar values on such things ? Yet they DO have a lot of value to most people.

In this same way of thinking, many things such as old cars and buildings get defaced or destroyed
simply because our culture teaches us to value the "newest-is-best" mantra and conversely, that
old is no longer good, useless, out of style, or just plain "in the way". Personally, I'd rejoice if 12
million of the Model T's built were still with us and on the road. I do not care if my TT is worth
$15 or $15,000. My "value" would be in the joy in seeing them everywhere I go, and would have
nothing to do with money. I value my truck not for what I can "get for it", but for the character
and integrity that is integral to what it is.
More people are doing it today than ever before !

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Re: Graffiti on model T cars

Post by Jem » Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:14 am

The famous quote is 'Some people know the price of everything but the value of nothing'

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