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soft top repair


jaytee2020
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I have a 1924 Ford Model T Roadster in original excellent condition except for a tear in the top.

I want to seek  AACA "ORIGINAL"  status for this car.

I plan to 'mend" or "patch" this tear because I want to maintain its "originality.

Is there a judge out there who will tell me how they would treat this top?

Thanks,

JohnIMG_1158.thumb.JPG.3f508cee86839066c0f815f74020ec36.JPG

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I would take some similar new top material (so that it matches inside), and very carefully glue a patch on the inside of the top.  Use a good grade of contact cement, I prefer the gel kind as it's easier to get to the site and spread without dripping.

 

I'm not criticizing your car, but I'd doubt that's the original top.  It appears that there's a piece of wire-on at the upper rear as a trim piece, which was not original. The seams around the rear bow aren't close to lining up, and I'd bet from the factory they were a lot closer.   Remember that a top put on in, say, 1960, is now 60 years old, and might appear to us as "original"....I could be wrong, it's just an observation.

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Thank you Phillip & trimacar.

Please, trimacar, I welcome a critique from someone who has knowledge on the subject such as you do.

I based my opinion on the following:

1, The body of the car is in pristine condition, inside, outside and underneath.

2. The engine compartment indicates very little use.

3. The top is made of one piece of heavy grade canvas.

So why, if the car was this well kept, need a new top?

Now, after your comments, I examined the top and come away with this conclusion:

Its not the original top --It is far superior to the original.

I have seen pictures of Model Ts and many of their  tops are flimsy, floppy and saggy.

Not only  is this top made of one piece of heavy grade canvas, it has a double top with padding in between.

It has the canvas wrapped around the top of the bows  to keep the canvas from chaffing,  

Not only does it have trim on the front and back bow but, it has metal trim around the two rear windows.

I believe the original owner was"well-to-do" and had this top custom made.

Now, how does this impact the cars AACA status??

 

 

IMG_1157.JPG

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Has your car already been certified as an HPOF car? Sometimes it is difficult to determine if a car of that era is truly original versus or an older restoration. I would expect the HPOF team to be able to determine which it is and for the purposes of HPOF and AACA Original certification, an original ragged top is better than a replacement top. In any case, in the interest of the "preservation" piece of "HPOF", I would suggest you repair the tear in the top as Trimacar has suggested. 

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Thanks for your response Mathew.

To answer your question, to my knowledge the car has not been certified HPOF. It only has a "First Prize Winner" badge on it.

I am trying to figure out if the top will prevent it from achieving "original" status.

I plan to repair it the way Trimacar instructed or find an expert to do it.

 

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Okay,  I called Polara61,  who will be teaching the majority of the CJEs on HPOF this year. "Canvas" tops are considered replaceable items like tires or fan belts. So as long as the top is a harts cloth (canvas) material and designed like the original, you should be fine to neatly repair it.

BTW, if you haven't already,  you should evaluate the total car using the HPOF Original sheet found in 3-11 appendix in the Judging Guidelines. It can be downloaded under Publications on the AACA homepage at aaca.org.

Edited by Phillip Cole
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22 hours ago, jaytee2020 said:

Thanks for your response Mathew.

To answer your question, to my knowledge the car has not been certified HPOF. It only has a "First Prize Winner" badge on it.

I am trying to figure out if the top will prevent it from achieving "original" status.

I plan to repair it the way Trimacar instructed or find an expert to do it.

 

 

If the car has a "First Prize Winner", typically referred to as a First Junior, you need to contact AACA Headquarters and figure out when it received the First Junior. Depending on the age of the award, it may have a serial number on it, if it is old enough, it won't. What year, if any, is listed on the badge? If the car is a First Junior winner, it is not eligible for competition in HPOF (and probably was restored in the past if it has that badge). To switch from Class Judging to HPOF, you would have to return the First Junior award and request a class change. Headquarters staff can help you determine what is the best alternative for you. 

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Jaytee

You have received a lot of very good comments on your car.  To receive the HPOF Original designation it must first be evaluated by the HPOF Team to receive a HPOF designation, meaning that the car is an unrestored, original car.  The next time it is shown at an AACA National, it will be evaluated for the higher level HPOF Original designation.  At this time, it will receive the HPOF Original status or it may receive a Repeat HPOF certification.  Older restorations present a great deal of challenge for the HPOF team to determine if the car is truly an original car or is it a 50 year old restoration.  You have determined that the top is not the original factory installed top. Others have questioned the originality of the rear windows in the top.  I consider a open car top replacement as a maintenance item, which requires replacement from time to time, so that would not be a deduction under "roof" on the form as long as it is replaced with the original type and style material.  However, the possible non-original rear windows in the top would warrant the one point deduction under "roof".  To avoid this deduction, you would need factory documentation that the rear windows are factory correct.  Actually, the tear in the top would not be a HPOF evaluation deduction.

 

You should take a very critical look at your car to determine if it is really an unrestored original or a 50 year old restoration.  Look closely at the upholstery material, tacks and trim.  Was it available in 1924?  Look at the paint.  Is it lacquer or enamel?  What did Ford use in 1924?  The fact that the car has an AACA First Place award hints that it is a restored car.  As part of the AACA HPOF evaluation process, the owner must sign the judging form stating that they have noted all non-factory components on the car.  You need to be the highest level of judge for your car.  There is tremendous documentation on Model T Fords.  Through some research, you should be able to find the answer if your car is truly original or restored to original.

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First to MCHinson. Thank you for the info about needing to change class category.

I did get in contact with Rick Gawel who is in charge of awards. Because the badge has no date, serial number or name they have no way to track it down.

61Polara, your input is greatly appreciated and I have scrutinized this Model T very carefully and marvel at its condition.

Concerning the Junior badge, I believe it predates the ability to enter into the  HPOF  class that was started in 1988 because 1. the car has been in a museum since 1988 and 2 it must be an early badge dating in the 50's because it has no number or date. The award program started in 1952 and who knows when the AACA figured that they should put dates and numbers on them.

I am taking your advise and will pursue as many avenues as I can to determine this the status of this car.

 

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I am not sure when they started putting dates on the First Junior grille badges, but I am sure that Steve Moskowitz would know. If the museum that you bought the car from has information on who donated the car to them, likely the staff at AACA headquarters can do a search and might find the award information on that car. 

 

I know that you want the car to be "original" but the state of the hobby in the 1970's and 1980's would tell me that there is almost no chance that an unrestored Model T in pristine condition ended up in a museum in the 1980's with a First Junior badge on it. Based on a couple of decades in the hobby and a lot of reading on the hobby, I would say that there is probably better than a 99% chance that this Model T is an old restoration, not an original car. In the 1970's and 1980's "original" cars were not typically something that attracted much interest, people like to restore cars and it was much cheaper to restore cars then than it is now. Now, originality is of much more interest. To put it in context, when people bought Model T Fords when they were new, they did not keep them in pristine condition. They were used and abused. They were not collector items, they were practical transportation for the working class. When I first became an antique car hobbyist, my first car was a Model A Ford. I bought it thinking it was an original unrestored car. After I learned a bit more about it, I found it was clearly an older restoration. 

 

Where are you located? Perhaps we can find an experienced HPOF judge who can meet with you and go over the car and help you determine if the car has been restored or not. A set of experienced eyes can help you understand exactly what you have.  

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11 hours ago, 61polara said:

You should take a very critical look at your car to determine if it is really an unrestored original or a 50 year old restoration. 

 

This is so very true.  I've said it before, a 60 year old restoration (done in 1960) may very well be now weathered to look "original" to our eyes, because we forget the object we're looking at is 100 or more years old.

 

I've been fooled, too.  I was visiting the museum in Sacramento when I fell in love with two cars, one a beautiful early Pierce, the other, what appeared to me to be a wonderful original 1910 Peerless. I marveled how well it held up, and was convinced it was a well cared for original car.

 

I happened to call a friend of mine in Idaho who really knows early cars, and I don't mean a casual knowledge.  Just about any early 40HP or higher car out there, he probably knows the car and it's story. 

 

I told him I was standing next to a wonderful, original, 1910 Peerless.  He immediately said "the one in Sacramento?" and he chuckled.  Not original, he said, it was restored in the early 1950's and then driven for years on just about every tour there was for a number of years.  The "patina" I was admiring was only 60 years old at the time.....not 100 years....

 

 

Peerless Towe Museum side.jpg

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Hi Mathew,

Its not that I "want" to believe its an original, its that I can't believe that it "isn't" an original.

I appreciate the fact that you are a very credible knowledgeable person with a lot of experience  trying to help a novice.

During the past 5 years I have brought successfully out of mothballs, a 1966 Buick Riviera (25 years stored) and a 1924 Ford Model T Roadster (10+ years unused).

I belong to the "Antique Restoration Club" of Sun City West, Arizona (600+ members).

I contacted the owner of the museum's son (the owner had passed away) who knew nothing about the Model Ts that had been in the museum. Because of his total lack of interest , the museum closed and I ended up with this car.

Based on what you say, if it turns out to be an original then it will be the rarest of rare Model Ts of which 10 million were produced.

Now its time to get some local Model T club members involved in this quest.

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Thanks trimacar for sharing your experience. Who knows, I probably will wind up in the same boat.

I am looking at the engine compartment - the grey paint is barely peeling off, the head looks like it never has been off.

The dust pans around the engine block ( which usually get tossed) are still in tact and look like they never have been removed.

The paint on the underside is in such good condition it would have had to been a body-off restoration.

The hunt for the past life of this car goes on

PS

The 10 million I referred to in my previous post was 10 million up to 1924.

I don't know how many were produced in 1924 let alone how many Roadsters were produced.

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Here is what I found at the Ford Barn web site on engine paint

"Bruice McCauley did a lot of research for his book & the following is his take on engine painting. The bottom line looks like most engines were bare metal, some were lightly painted black & some of the "Improved cars" were moleskin.

Nuts, bolts, and small assemblies which could be seen easily, were also painted, even though such parts were installed after the painting process. Ford had people with paint and brush in hand to “touch up” such parts. While there may be exceptions, all exposed pieces were painted, and this includes the cotter keys in these pieces.
Engines, engine pans, and splash shields (at the side of the engine) may or may not have been painted. Again, the consensus is that many engines were not painted but that some were painted in a very thin black during the Model T era. Late 1926 and 1927 engines were painted Moleskin, at least at the main factory. Even here, though, there were exceptions. Engine pans follow the same pattern. The dust shields were probably painted body color in the early years, and black through 1927. Floor boards were generally not painted but may have been given a coat of linseed oil or similar.
Indeed, there are no hard and fast rules on what was and what was not painted on any Model T. There were too many variations.

ENGINE PAINTING1927In Walter T. Fishleigh's files in Accession 94 at the Ford Archives there is a memo dated July 26, 1926 entitled: “Finish For Model T Motors”. It lists the finish to be put on each of the exposed parts of the motor.

Black Pyroxlylin used on:

Transmission Cover
Starter Motor
Generator
Crankcase
Commutator

Black Graphite Paint used on:

Exhaust Manifold and Carburetor

Black Enamel used on:

Breather Cap
Commutator Retainer Spring
Manifold Clamps

Nickel Plate used on:

Cylinder Head Cap Screws
Spark Plug caps and Thumb Nuts
Spark Plug Wire Terminals
Coil Box Terminal Bolts and Nuts
Water Connection Cap Screws
Manifold Cap Screws

Bright Zinc Plate used on:

Cut Out Cover

Moleskin Pyroxylin used on:

Cylinder
Cylinder Head
Generator Bracket
Front Cover
Air Intake and Manifold
Me ....Moleskin Pyroxylin is an olive color that could have turned grey.
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Thanks Carl. Seeing how there has been such a good response and interest in trying to resolve my dilemma in  establishing the status of this Model T that I will try to download some pictures. Here  is one of the engine. I will have to reduce the size of my pics in order to get more on here.

2147113786_engine1.thumb.JPG.63c4ee07ed23a157a893ebb578bf36ea.JPG

 

 

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48 minutes ago, jaytee2020 said:

Thanks Carl. Seeing how there has been such a good response and interest in trying to resolve my dilemma in  establishing the status of this Model T that I will try to download some pictures. Here  is one of the engine. I will have to reduce the size of my pics in order to get more on here.

2147113786_engine1.thumb.JPG.63c4ee07ed23a157a893ebb578bf36ea.JPG

 

 

While I am not a Model T expert, I am fairly sure that is not an original authentic Model T fuel supply line/shut off valve. 

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no, the fuel line with the shut off is not original. It requires replacement with an authentic fuel line.

Its 1 of 3 things that I know have to be replaced. The others are the choke rod and the battery wire to the ignition switch which is down to 1 barely hanging on strand of wire.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/29/2020 at 8:22 AM, trimacar said:

 

This is so very true.  I've said it before, a 60 year old restoration (done in 1960) may very well be now weathered to look "original" to our eyes, because we forget the object we're looking at is 100 or more years old.

 

I've been fooled, too.  I was visiting the museum in Sacramento when I fell in love with two cars, one a beautiful early Pierce, the other, what appeared to me to be a wonderful original 1910 Peerless. I marveled how well it held up, and was convinced it was a well cared for original car.

 

I happened to call a friend of mine in Idaho who really knows early cars, and I don't mean a casual knowledge.  Just about any early 40HP or higher car out there, he probably knows the car and it's story. 

 

I told him I was standing next to a wonderful, original, 1910 Peerless.  He immediately said "the one in Sacramento?" and he chuckled.  Not original, he said, it was restored in the early 1950's and then driven for years on just about every tour there was for a number of years.  The "patina" I was admiring was only 60 years old at the time.....not 100 years....

 

 

Peerless Towe Museum side.jpg

David --- thanks for the photo of the 1910 in Sacramento. A friend form the Fountainhead Museum took this shot of its placard.

Some of the data is off a little...but they do have a nice Peerless:

 

thumbnail?appId=YMailNorrin 

Nancy DeWitt photograph, 2009

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)
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From the photos seen so far, and the info provided, I'd say it's an old restoration.  That green paint on the engine is totally wrong, along with the added water pump and quite a few other little details.  The initially supplied photos of the top show an old replacement with incorrect metal framed rear windows.  More photos would be helpful but from what I see so far, I don't believe it's a HPOF candidate.

Terry

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/26/2020 at 5:50 PM, trimacar said:

I would take some similar new top material (so that it matches inside), and very carefully glue a patch on the inside of the top. 

Last one I touched I used Loctite Gel aka "super glue" from the hardware store and it worked great as far as preservation goes (I used canvas sail cloth to back it up).  I recommend slightly taking tension off top while doing and having an extra set of hands available to help you as you only get a few seconds and then ....  

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Thanks John and all of you for your input and advice.

I have concluded that I have a very well done older restored 1924 Ford Model T that at sometime in its life it won a Junior Award.

With the exception of the top, it is in excellent condition, runs great and is a stunning show car.

If patching the top doesn't work out a new top will be in order.

Thank you all again,

John

 

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