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Sep 13 10 1:04 AM

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As some of you may have read tonight, I was on the US forum and it went over the top with some name calling and insults, it is now official that I am a S.O.B. which my dear departed mother would clip me across the ears and I was made a Bastard,
in the end Bruce has pulled the thread and I believe that I am in trouble.
I saved this story and was going to post it but I think you should read it a see how you feel, it made me ashamed of what I read and what I have not done. It was written a few years back but its is still there now.
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The death of the T ford Club
This is a hypothetical but quite likely feature of what the Model T Ford club of Australia or America could face.
Now at the moment there are plenty of member to keep the club ticking along, lots of active ones who love taking their cars out and driving them with every one else.

So let’s jump forward to 2016.
A lot of the Geriatrics will likely no longer be capable or licensed to drive
All the regular runners will be almost in the Geriatric category, well enough to drive, retired with plenty of time… but sometimes its just too difficult to get the car out, drive there, do the run and drive home again.
Now the question here is where are all the younger drivers?
Where are all the children and grandkids of the last and present lot of Geriatrics?
Why aren’t they out there driving their cars?

You can blame computers, you can blame fast new cars, but really you can only blame yourselves.
How many of the current bunch of kids drive the cars now? Most of them have their licenses in some form or another but lots of them are in their 20's and are rarely seen at any runs unless the parent drags them along.
So why is this you may ask? It’s pretty simple, how many of you let the kids drive the T? How many of you give them a chance to speak about what they know or would like to learn.
Now I know it’s your pride and joy, but what do you expect them to do with it once you’re gone? They won’t want to learn so yet another T will turn up in the auctions and the Classic Cars.
You may have let the kids drive on the odd long distance run... a short hop on an open unused piece of freeway, or a lap or 2 around the Trailer park but how does that compare to the hours and days that they spent sitting in that seat behind or next to you?

Sure there are a few kids that have grown up (in this club) and bought T’s of their own, but think how many member have kids that have their own car but show no interest in owning their own T. Now think about do your kids drive your T? They probably have asked to borrow your car for the day, but how many ask if they can take the T on a run?
How many times have they driven the T in total? Now answer this honestly? 4, 5,6 maybe if they were lucky 10 or 15 times in the probable 17 or 18 years they spent going on runs. Now that’s a pretty bad average.

I write this not to accuse anyone of anything, not to offend and not to upset. I write it to provide a warning, teach your kids now, and teach your grandkids. If the cars difficult to drive get it fixed, but make it so they can learn and they can drive. Make it a regular thing, once their capable it’s their responsibility to drive, have your own personal chauffer.
If you do not take note of what they ask or say then you are the looser in the long term as they will never come back.
If they don’t learn soon then they never will and at that point you might as well sell the car once you can no longer drive it, save them the hassle as they will sell it once you are gone and buy what they want..
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Its worth thinking about is not and now is the time as it could be later than you think, we are lucky in this club that we have young T'ers as members but we will need more to replace us as we are wearing out like our cars. After I read this I felt a great loss and ashamed as it made me think what could I have done???, you see, it was written by my son, Steven who is not interested in the car any more and I doubt if he ever will be.. My loss. Ray
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#1 [url]

Sep 13 10 11:06 PM

Re: A letter sent to me.

This has been a issue for a long time and has me deeply concerned. I joined the Ford 'T' Regsiter in 1980, I was Club Captain at 14 and secretary for 6 years when I was 16. I have lost count the amount of runs and rallies I have been on where I have been the youngest driver. Dad & I drove our 1917 from Adelaide to Parkes & return in 1983, I was on 'P' plates. I remember the trip well and driving on the Parkes rally, their was another 'P' plater there to from NSW. My family helped me restore "Rosie" in time for the 1988 Bay to Birdwood Rally. I courted my wife in 'Rosie" and my beloved 1925 Van and was at Wangaratta, where I broke a crankshaft on the Beechworth day...

I am now 43 and still the youngest driver on most VCCSA club runs. At a recent 2 day veteran rally the McNeill family had their 1903 Wolseley out and on the rally. It was heartening to see the 16 year old son driving on one of the legs. He did a great job, did not stall it once and handled the car with care. I told him that he did a great job, the smile was worth a thousand words.

Last Saturday I had my car out with my 10 year old son. I offered him a drive in a back street. I expalined to him that by his age I was already driving a 1912 Ford 'T' Van sitting on John Lasscock's lap. He didn't take up the offer on this occasion, but for the rest of the outing he was asking what the levers and pedals do...I can't push, but hopefully I can awaken an interest.

Every oppurtunity I get I have the kids in the front, take photos, let them play "driver". At the end of the day they will be the next generation. Lets nurture and support them. I have attached one of those great moments for my kids.

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Click here to view the attachment

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#2 [url]

Sep 13 10 11:17 PM

Re: A letter sent to me.

Hi Ray. For many years we've heard the cry for younger members, yet our clubs continue to grow without them. This is an old person's hobby, as you need to get the kids and the mortgage off your hands to have both the time and the money to indulge in it. Kids today are too busy making a life, building a family, a career, a house, and a future, to devote the time required to restore an old car. However, sooner or later the pace will slow for them, and some of them will investigate "what the old man saw" in those old cars.

When I am too old to be the caretaker of my pride and joys, and they are sold at auction, they will be bought by younger buyers who have both the energy and interest to ensure our hobby will continue. A lot of years ago, I bought an Austin 7 for my Son, trying to get him into the movement. He broke down (minor problem) on his first run, and I couldn't get him back into it, so sold it on. A few years later, he bought a Mustang which he now will not part with. I'm hopeful that when my grand kids are off his hands, he may add a Model T to his small collection. If the bidding's not too fierce at the auction......

Cheers

Mervk.

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#3 [url]

Sep 14 10 1:25 AM

Re: A letter sent to me.

Hi Mervk, I am sad to say that it is a old person hobby and we are getting old, its coming down to the fact that in this state older drivers are being forced off the road by laws designed to remove them, as a matter of interest which club are you in??, when I was starting off in the Antique and Classic motor club here in Sydney there was over 450 members and I was number 457 and now they number less than 60 and many of the cars are gone and never seen again, in the T club here in Sydney, we reached 460 plus and we are a happy 200 plus now but many of those cars are gone and no young people I know have ever taken them back to the hobby, I joined the Veteran car club and there was many rare makes to be seen but now the owners have passed away and those cars are gone or sitting in a shed to never be seen again. In 1970 we sat in the one spot on the highway to Melbourne and watched the cars go by all day (like 8 hours) where are they now. Many of the cars sold at auction end up leaving Australia for the US or Europe, and we now get US cars being sold out here in the hundreds but what years are they and what makes??? No young person I have ever asked to take up the hobby has wanted too. Their reasons where,
who wants a old slow car, we want big Brakes, air cond, cd player, wind up windows, heater, must be a Aussie Icon, cubic inches mate that's what I want. pre 1970 man that's a dinosaur, and the reason go on so I gave up. Steven told me that he would sell the coach and Model T's as they are only money towards that muscle car, a car that's been in my family for 97 years is a bit sad to sell but young people have no idea about history, I worked with hundreds of young mechanics in TAFE and I found no one who was in it for restoration, lets build a T Bucket , must have a chev engine, jag rear end or a locker and fibre glass body. we are dinosaurs in a modern world, can you see the boat people buying one??? I sit and look at the members of the club on a Friday night and there is very few new blood coming in and even the young members are getting a bit older. I see no answer to this problem unless we start off by letting the kids try there hand at the wheel and take it for a drive now while they are young, what answer do you see.... Ray

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#4 [url]

Sep 14 10 8:13 AM

Re: A letter sent to me.

Hi all, All valid points, would have to agree with them all, I think the interest is still there from youger people, but money is a big factor, you have to remember we crew up driving vintage cars and bikes as paddock bombs that we swaped for a packet of smokes, even in the 80's still could buy cheap, but like my son 35 and family costs and interests come first, the days of the chook shed find are well behind us, but I will have a different look on things now to incourage younger family members to participate after reading....Frank.

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#5 [url]

Sep 14 10 12:07 PM

Re: A letter sent to me.

A topic that's always been of great interest. It's not just lack of the younger generation being interested, but a lot of the existing club members.
What I still can't work out even after eight years in the Sydney club is there's something like 55 cars on club rego & few on full rego. Yet, I have never seen most of them. Sure, there'll be heaps of hitherto unseen cars at the Windsor rally but you can bet after the Friday night dinner they'll be mothballed again until the next rally. And it will be the usual 6-10 that continue to do the monthly club runs afterwards.
One of the reasons I've contributed a series of articles to the Bent Wire this year was to demonstrate from eight years of practical experience that there's no reason to be scared of driving a Model T. So why do most T owners never drive their cars? If my modern car ever gets written off, I won't be replacing it with another.

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#6 [url]

Sep 14 10 6:32 PM

Re: A letter sent to me.

Hi guys,

New visitor/poster here from across the ditch-I hope you don't mind me intruding . You see I'm 30 so now and again I try and kid myself I'm still young. We have a good bunch of T people over here but the sad thing is less and less cars are coming out. On a club run I really do feel young-in general most people are twice my age or close to it! Whether it be the terrible C word, a hip or knee replacement, arthritis or a back that is getting to old to crank the old T over any more the numbers and interest is dwindling. The monthly dinners/social catch ups seem to draw more poeple than a rally does.

Now you guys are right that T's are not cheap any more. But it depends if you want one bad enough-if you do most young people can scrape into something-perhaps put the new flat screen on hold or the big OE-(Help I've neve been outside of NZ (Stop laughing-If i don't know whats out there I cant help but thinking I live in the best country on earth!!!) It might not be concours car they start with-but its a runner and a hell of a lot of fun.

I'm not saying this because I have any grudge-but I'm concerned for the future of our hobby. Who is passing on the history, who is passing on the mechanicl knowledge? When my generation is older yes they will have the $$ but who will have the mechanical skills/who will be there to teach them how to drive and maintain their vehicle-the hobby will gradually become an even richer mans game and most cars will sit in private collections and museums offshore? If I were to read the future I see alot of cars parked up for lack of understanding and skill.

The T bunch are a good bunch-but boy oh boy its hard to break into the group and believe it or not alot of young people are shy and a bit unsure how to break into such a age old fraternity. 7 years ago i didn't know the first thing about a T (Probably still don't) and its pretty hard to rock up to the club and say .. hey I like Model T's but I know NOTHING about them-even the most simple of concepts can be beyond the newbies understanding... Whats a roller timer? For that matter whats timing?

I can guarantee you 100% the young kids are interested. But we have to break down the barriers of mistique and make it a tangible hobby. Some of the best times I have had with my car is going to a school, letting kids play with the horn, showing them how I crank start the car, letting them sit in the car and open and close the doors. it makes it all that bit more real and acieveable. It will keep a classrom of 30 children enthralled for over half an hour and thats a feat!

Our neighbour is in her later 60's and her grandson comes to stay regularly - guaranteed he will come over and want to see the T or see how the tractor restoration is going-he soaks up every word and every detial and goes back to his nana and tells her all about it. At our local A & P show he got to go around the grand parade with the mayor in my car-he will never forgot his experiences with our T and I hope when I get my next T on the road and he is a bit older the interest will still be there and he can learn to drive.

Its my car-but we need to share it with the coming generations. I used to go to every vintage car show there was with my dad and dream of one day owing a car like the ones I saw ....I wish someone had taken the time to share their car with me as a kid rather than keeping their distance encase that kid got finger marks on their new paintwork-just so going round the park ina car would have been heaven for me as a boy...and I'm certianly going to share mine with the next generation-finger marks rub off. Fond memories only grow better with time

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#7 [url]

Sep 14 10 10:43 PM

Re: A letter sent to me.

Hi Alex, I see you have jumped in and thats the way to start, all the members on here had to start some where, I have been playing with old cars since 1963 and I knew very little about it and I joined the Barons Rod and Custom hot rod club and was going to build a chopped down lifted up super powered flame bluching machine. I found the car (1926 model and was under way but the more I sat and looked at it the more I could see the fun in leaving it as it was built and I did not see any real future in hot rods as the cops where after them, you got a wild boy reputation and my mum was not impressed so I left that club and started to restore it and thats when I joined the Antique and Classic Motor Club. From there I help start the model T club as if you owned a T you where a out cast in the Veteran Car Club (even through most had one) and a poor cousin in the Antique Club.
Cars where cheap, time was a plenty and we had money to spend and fuel cost 40cents a gallon. I started from there by watching, reading, talking to the older members and getting their ideas on the car, and driving all over the state each week end looking for cars and parts and we found tons of T items. They are all gone now and should some turn up its a archeological dig to get the bits out and home. There was only one dealer in T parts in the east coast of Australia and that was east coast auto parts at Deewhy. They where good times and loads of fun,the great people are still around but a lot older.
Alex you are here and its up to you to support this forum with the rest of us and you will get a lot of good info but you have to ask (no lunch box legends here) and we will always try to help.... Ray

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#8 [url]

Sep 19 10 9:38 PM

Re: A letter sent to me.

An interesting topic Ray! Thanks for sharing the letter with us. Similarly to David Chantrell I have been around Veteran Cars and mostly Model T's all my life. At 41, I think I still hold the title of the youngest member of the Victorian T Club, with my own car that regularly attends club events. I would love more of my mates to participate in this great hobby but many my age have the monster mortgage and have no spare cash for any toys!
The current generations method of finding out info. is of course on websites and forums such as these. I think it is great that most Aussie T Clubs have websites to access Model T info, and this forum is a great way to educate people who are curious.
My oldest 11 year old son has no interest in the T at all but my youngest at 8 has some potential. I started to piece my first T together at age 11 after a visit to Doug Partingtons place where his son had just built his first T. I will never forget that first drive of a T where Dougs son, Bruce, let me drive his T around the front yard of thier home. From then on I was hooked.
I will take the opportunity to teach any young kid who shows an interest in learning how to drive and maintain a T whenever it presents itself.
I firmly agrree with John H that driving these old things is a great way to stimulate the hobby. No point leaving them in the shed. Our Vic club has been fortunate enough to enjoy a few good years of growth recently because of some great exposure of our T's by some well attended rallies. Each time we get out in the cars we demonstatre they are not useless dinosaurs and we generally pick up new members.
David and I still have a good 35-40 years of T driving ahead of us. If the hoby doesnt kick on, perhaps we will be the only ones at Merv's and other auctions to pick up a few bargains and we would have a fleet of T's to choose from. Maybe then we could loan them to friends to try them out??
Cant wait for a great week of T driving next week at Windsor. National rally number 11 for me!
Warwick.

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#9 [url]

Sep 20 10 6:56 AM

Re: A letter sent to me.

At the last VCCSA rally I gave a drive to a single cylinder owner from Mexico (Victoria). He did not what all the fuss was about and couldn't understand why there are so many Ford 'T's. They are just a Ford. So I took him out for a spin...I had this guy hooked, he could not believe how easy it was to drive, how quick and how easy to start. All of his next questions were how much for one like this, availability of spare parts, where do they come up for sale etc.

I suppose what I am trying to say is don't just look at our kids from our clubs. I am not trying to be a pirate from another club. But this guy had children and saw a possibility of a cheaper type, reliable veteran for his kids. Just another avenue of saving our hobby. I take very oppurtunity to take anybody interested for a spin, particularly when they say "...it is just a Ford 'T'..."

Every now and again I pick up my kids from school. The first time they were embarrassed, but after being a celebrity with that old car now I have to fight off the number of "new friends" that want a ride. Hey, one just might be another future 'T' or veteran car owner one day...I truly hope so.

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#10 [url]

Sep 20 10 8:56 PM

Re: A letter sent to me.

I agree with just about everything that has been written here about this problem, I think it is up to us all to encourage our own kids as much as possible to get behind the wheel as early as we can. I was the other "P" plate driver on Rally T 83, I drove Dads 1911 Tourer on that run, because my own 1912 was not completed, I bought that car with probably my first pay as an apprentice (and a lot of help from Dad) at age 16, that restoration took five years and was completed when I was 21. I am now on to my fourth Model T restoration. So in my case at least early encouragement worked to bring the next generation into the fold.

Peter.

"If You think you can or if you think you can't you'r right!" Henry Ford Electrician

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#12 [url]

Oct 10 10 8:00 PM

Re: A letter sent to me.

One of the great things about a rally like Windsor this is it stirs up some interest. My 13 year old daughter asked if she could try driving our 'T'. I jumped with happyness and said a big "YES!"

Attached is 13 year old Josie on her first drive. I locked the handbrake in the central postion so it could not get away from her. She did quite well on her first lesson driving forwards and reversing around the caravan park at Windsor prior to loading up for the trip back to Adelaide.

After everything we have been saying and writing about on this thread I am one proud Dad!!!

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#13 [url]

Oct 10 10 10:03 PM

Re: A letter sent to me.

Good one David, keep her at the wheel and she will love it and you will have some one to drive you around when you get old and decrepped.. Ray

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#14 [url]

Oct 10 10 10:48 PM

Re: A letter sent to me.

Hi concerned Ters,
Lets not get too concerned as people come and go into things.
I was around a 23 Model T ute from a young age and saw my dad use traders plates to enter street parades in the 50's -well before the old car scheme came into being. I could drive a T well before a "modern" but my younger brother was always nervous because the old T had no brakes and acceleration and would have nothing to do with old cars.
I became active in the sydney club in the 80's and have had at leat one T registered with the club since 1987.
Both my sons can drive and operate a T and have attended national rallies- they are busy earning a living and bringing up families at present and will probably get back to t's later in life.-who knows? at least I am assured that they will not sell the 23 ute that their grandfather serviced as an apprentice and later owned until his death. They will not sell the 24 tourer as they attended school formals and later used the car for their weddings.
As for the current generation my 8 and 10 year old country grandchildren have "driven" the T- i.e. steered while I sat in the middle and worked the pedals.
The Sydney 6 year old was able to explain to an assembly of his year (1st class) that there were no seat belts, the wheels were made of wood and he made them guess where to put the petrol. and how you had to wind it up to start the old T. (I had the car at school for a discussion on historic transport)
Both Sydney granchildren happily came on each Windsor rally day and the 9 year old was actually able to hand crank the car on a couple of occasions(when the engine was hot). He knows how to set the levers and use the choke wire at the front.
He helped me put on the spare at the fire museum and aslo change the oil (using the special spanner supplied in the rally pack). Of course he has "driven" the T around the paddock and can operate the throttle but I do the pedals!
Now I have no idea if any of these will become active club members but you can only sow the seeds.
PS At the Model T games on Wednesday dressup day we had another of their friends and he totally enjoyed the day- another 9 year old who should be sympathetic to "old cars" - they were more cranky with grandpa for dropping the lolly!!!!
I think there will be T Fords and their fans for a long time to come but it is not for everyone

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#15 [url]

Oct 10 10 11:04 PM

Re: A letter sent to me.

Rex, what Steven pointed out and you just said is where is the group between you and the grand kids and working or moved away is not a answer as they could have gotten a car to use for them selves but there is so very few of the club kids that have carried on if you really think about it. New T owners come and go or just get old like the rest of us but like Steven they do not really want to be in a T as we dragged them out of a Sunday when they could have played sport or been out with their own friend... Ray

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#16 [url]

Nov 4 10 6:43 AM

Re: A letter sent to me.

Hi All

Encouragement seems to be the key.

I was lucky when Dad taught me to drive on the way to Wangaratta in '89, there were a number of key members who offered encouragament and even cars - but there were quite a few, even to this day, (and I'm now president of the club), who voice there negativity at both women being members of the club, child or family membership (good grief for how many years did we fight for this to happen) and shock horror a woman driver, or now my kids learning to drive!!

I'm lucky, I'm 2nd generation and my kids are all chomping at the bit to be more involved. If the club would allow it I know there would be 2 of them on the next committee as junior members, I know the constitution does not allow for this but they would be there with bells on. All 3 help whereever and withwhat ever they can involving the club, help with the cars and Ben doesn't even like Ford's. Ellen is already talking about being president down the track.

I know I'm lucky, mine want to be at every run, in everybody's car and Ellen wants to be a mechanic to learn how to look after Pa's car with him. I"m proud to say I'm a 2nd generation member and even prouder to say mine are 3rd generation family members!

let's bring back the fun of the club, the family days - encourage your other halves to drive, you'd be amazed at how wonderful the scenery is from the passenger's window! encourage the kids to have a go, it's a skill that helps in modern life, reaction times, anticipation of what lies ahead on the road etc. Share your toy with them. The best part of the recent rally was that I was with my Dad, with my Sister and with my kids for a week of meandering through Windsor and with my friends!!


Kylie

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#17 [url]

Nov 9 10 7:55 AM

Re: A letter sent to me.

I agree with Kylie about keeping the kids interested by having fun. I am taking a leaf from the MTFCV's ideas and suggesting the VCCSA have a "learn to drive day". Sunday we had another great club run, but I drove 'Mabel' and did not get a chance to mingle too much with the other drivers. Michele hand cranked it on Sunday, a good start to the old rule I was taught by "...when you can start it, you can drive it". Michele used to drive 'Rosie' my 1925 "Rosella"van.

I must admit I have an ulterior motive; I am hoping my wife Michele & a girlfriend will take 'Mabel' on 2013 allowing me to drive another car. This way hopefully we can 2 Fords on 2013 instead of one...

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#18 [url]

Nov 9 10 11:30 PM

Re: A letter sent to me.

Hi Mark, I have read what you have said and I can not comment on what happened or the phone conversation as I was not party to either it but let me say this as a way to solve the problem and come to a good ending. (I think anyway)
I do know of the problem that this revolves around and we all have had oil leaks and I had plenty of them and I was forever under the car with new gaskets and sealing compound and tightening the nuts and bolts and it did not cost a fortune but only time. It took me a year to stop the leaks and I still loose about a egg cup these days after I turn the car off so you are not alone here.
Instead of making your self an outsider with this, you need to take it up with the committee as its your right of reply to the problem as a member under the club constitution and bylaws.
You must ring the Secretary and arrange a time at the committee meeting to put forward your case and sit down with them as your car is not on club plates.
If what you have posted is what was said then this is a bit heavy and needs to be sorted out now as this can not be said by the club with out the backing of the meeting and you need to talk to the committee and not here, "quote" (I received a telephone call from the club telling me that I was a "disgrace to the club" and "an embarrassment to it and that I am not welcome to attend the runs until my car meets the standard")
This was never in my vision to say this to a member when forming the club and I can only stress as I said above. ... Ray

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