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View Full Version : Any antique car fans in our midst?



Hip-Hop-a-potamus
12-09-2009, 01:43 AM
By antique, I'm not talking GTOs and Mustangs. I'm talking Tin Lizzies, Model T's...those kinda antiques.

I'm curious about the skin and the content of what they were made out of, for deterioration and rusting purposes.

If someone were to have dumped one of those things in a freshwater lake about 1916, would there have been anything left to find in 1986?

Whaddya think?

SirOtter
12-09-2009, 03:03 AM
There would be practically nothing left after 70 years, other than something vaguely resembling a chassis and engine, maybe the radiator cowl and possibly a fairly large piece of the windshield. The metal in Tin Lizzie bodies was not very thick, and would likely rust out in a decade or so. The wheels and several other parts were made of wood, which would have rotted. They did not have a transmission as we think of one today; the mechanism for changing gears was more like a bicycle derailleur, with bands of material similar to conveyor belt taking the place of the bike chain. Bits of that might survive, but would mean little to someone not familiar with Model Ts.

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
12-09-2009, 03:40 AM
There would be practically nothing left after 70 years, other than something vaguely resembling a chassis and engine, maybe the radiator cowl and possibly a fairly large piece of the windshield. The metal in Tin Lizzie bodies was not very thick, and would likely rust out in a decade or so. The wheels and several other parts were made of wood, which would have rotted. They did not have a transmission as we think of one today; the mechanism for changing gears was more like a bicycle derailleur, with bands of material similar to conveyor belt taking the place of the bike chain. Bits of that might survive, but would mean little to someone not familiar with Model Ts.

Damn, that's what I was afraid of. Wood, huh? Wow. We've come a long way, baby.

Thanks Otter!

BigWords
12-09-2009, 04:32 AM
Wood, huh? Wow. We've come a long way, baby.

Wood is still used in the construction of some cars. Not as common as it was, but still...

Snowstorm
12-09-2009, 04:44 AM
Actually, the entire car would be there, and salvagable. In the late 1980s I owned a 1928 Model A Ford and restored her from the ground up. I belonged to the national club, The Model A Ford Club of America. They have a fantastic quarterly magazine. Superior. There was a story of a Model A (1930 or '31 I think), brand new that had been driven out on the ice up north.

You guessed it, the ice cracked, down the car went. Somebody pulled up the car (I think this may have happened in the 80s), replaced the battery and the fluids and started it up.


You might be able to get a reprint at their web site. I'm guessing they have one.

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
12-09-2009, 06:46 AM
Actually, the entire car would be there, and salvagable. In the late 1980s I owned a 1928 Model A Ford and restored her from the ground up. I belonged to the national club, The Model A Ford Club of America. They have a fantastic quarterly magazine. Superior. There was a story of a Model A (1930 or '31 I think), brand new that had been driven out on the ice up north.

You guessed it, the ice cracked, down the car went. Somebody pulled up the car (I think this may have happened in the 80s), replaced the battery and the fluids and started it up.


You might be able to get a reprint at their web site. I'm guessing they have one.

COOL! I can't believe they got it to run right out of the chute.

I'm just wondering how much they had advanced the materials between the original Model Ts and the 1928 model.

The one I had planned on sinking would have been maybe a 1908 or a 1910 or thereabouts. It's used by the time my guy gets it, but

Snowstorm
12-09-2009, 08:04 AM
It was a fantastic story. The car's key in the ignition was in the "on" position, so it was running when it was driven out on the frozen lake. Great article, well worth reading.

I'll bet most of the vehicle would be intact. Of course, I'm not an expert on Model Ts. Model Ts ended in 1927 and the As started in 1928. I'm thinking of History and Discovery channels on TV and I seem to recall when stuff ends up in a fresh-water lake up north, the material lasts for a very long time. The cold water preserves most of it, if memory serves.

I'm only vaguely knowledgeable about Ts (got to drive one once and was immediately hooked), but the body should be steel or iron as are the wheels [ETA: depending on the year]. I can't say really anymore about the materials. I think it might depend on which model you're thinking of. Like my Sport Coupe had wood bars that held up the top (but the wood bars were fixed and while the couple looked like it was a convertible, the top didn't go down).

I should think most of it should be intact. The battery, hm, for some reason I have paper in my head, like paper was a part of it. I've looked at pieces of the battery and there was something different about it that I think that portions of it would not last. I could be WAY off-base. Been too long I think.

Actually, a great source of real info for you: likely there's a Model T forum on the internet, and you could post your question there. Plus, they can probably give you some great quirks of the vehicles that would be priceless for your WIP. Between the Model T experts and an expert in the cold fresh waters should be able to give you definitive information.

Sounds like a cool project. Good luck!

SirOtter
12-09-2009, 09:31 AM
That would make sense if it was a very cold Northern lake. I'm used to very warm and highly biologically active Southern lakes, hence my less optimistic appraisal. Ergo, your mileage may vary depending on lattitude.

My dad had a 1929 Model A when he was in college in the early 50s. Well, he had most of it; the body had pretty much rusted away without having to be immersed in anything more humid than typical Alabama weather.

underthecity
12-09-2009, 04:34 PM
Interesting stories. Don't forget that the Model T or A will have a six volt battery.

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
12-09-2009, 05:39 PM
Aha. So that explains the differences in perspective.

Yeah, this would be one of the Finger Lakes in Upstate NY, so needless to say, VERY COLD in the winter.

That's a good tip about Model T sites. Embarrassed I didn't think of that before!

I got on a roll yesterday, and after a long lull during my intracontinental move, revved it up to around 3000 words. Yay me! :hooray:

underthecity
12-09-2009, 05:59 PM
I'm a member of the aaca forums. (www.aaca.com (http://www.aaca.com)) There are lots of people there knowledgeable about really old cars. You might post there.

Based on what snowstorm said, I would hazard a guess that while one lake, in one region of the country, could very well preserve a car immersed in it for a century. But another lake somewhere else would totally eat it away. It could depend on temperature and minerals in the water.

I think, though, since it's happening in fiction, then anything goes. Remember Raise the Titanic? In the book, Clive Cussler actually raised the Titanic. But we've all seen the documenteries, the Titanic is pretty much unraisable in its condition, even when the book was written.

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
12-09-2009, 06:41 PM
I'm a member of the aaca forums. (www.aaca.com (http://www.aaca.com)) There are lots of people there knowledgeable about really old cars. You might post there.

Based on what snowstorm said, I would hazard a guess that while one lake, in one region of the country, could very well preserve a car immersed in it for a century. But another lake somewhere else would totally eat it away. It could depend on temperature and minerals in the water.

I think, though, since it's happening in fiction, then anything goes. Remember Raise the Titanic? In the book, Clive Cussler actually raised the Titanic. But we've all seen the documenteries, the Titanic is pretty much unraisable in its condition, even when the book was written.

Thanks, city. I found a Model T forum and asked there. I'll see if anyone there has any insight.

You're right about Cussler. I hadn't really considered that. I just didn't want every single person reading it to say, "There'd be nothing left after 70 years! Doesn't she know Model T's wre made out of ____? TOTAL suspension of disbelief. How STUPID! This chick doesn't know ANYTHING about cars!" Because I don't. He he.

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
12-09-2009, 07:20 PM
FYI, here are some more links they gave me:

http://www.motorward.com/2009/07/vintage-bugatti-recovered-from-the-lake-after-70-years/

http://bx.businessweek.com/enterprise-rent-a-car/view?url=http%3A%2F%2Fc.moreover.com%2Fclick%2Fher e.pl%3Fr2370674919%26f%3D9791

Think in this case I can go with the preponderance of evidence. :D

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
12-09-2009, 09:05 PM
If anyone else is interested in this topic, here are some of the various opinions I got over at the Model T forum. Very interesting stuff!

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/116716.html?1260378223

SirOtter
12-10-2009, 05:02 AM
The wife and I visited her dad in Ft. Myers, Florida a couple of months ago and went to the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford homes down there. Somewhere I've got a picture of me standing in front of the Model T Ford gave Edison, that he never drove. If I can locate it, I'll post it. There is a running Model T at the Ford home, but we just missed the daily running it out of and back into the garage ceremony.

underthecity
12-11-2009, 02:17 AM
Interesting thread on the Model T forum. Nice find there.

I know a Model T is fun to ride in. I know a man (who's rich rich rich) who has (or had) at least two, 1916 to 1918 or '20. My FIL has a 1928 Model A. Big difference between the two.

JimmyB27
12-11-2009, 09:25 PM
That would make sense if it was a very cold Northern lake. I'm used to very warm and highly biologically active Southern lakes, hence my less optimistic appraisal. Ergo, your mileage may vary depending on lattitude.

My dad had a 1929 Model A when he was in college in the early 50s. Well, he had most of it; the body had pretty much rusted away without having to be immersed in anything more humid than typical Alabama weather.
Being immersed would actually have been a lot better for it. Rusting is a chemical reaction which effectively uses water as a catalyst for the oxydisation of iron.
If the car were revealed by the low tides every day, then yeah, it's going to rust like hell, but otherwise, it should survive pretty well.