Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The $30k Collection. The Antiquarian.

The Antiquarian
Egads! All these young-whipper snappers hap-dashing about in their pimpernel polished runabouts! Enough you say. You are from a time, or respect a time, when things were slower. Different. More esoteric. A monocle was something that a man might feel appropriate for wear to the bank or opera. You like your books bound in leather, not displayed on some device with a name that rhymes with, oh, I can’t think of anything my mind must be going. Having your fingers pirouette across the tops of a card catalog is your idea of a search for information. You have a cabinet filled with curiosities. You pronounce and live by maxims, rather than subscribe to Maxim. You always eat supper, not dinner. And by god, you feel that Woodrow Wilson is the devil himself for having gotten us involved in anything beyond the borders of America! I say greetings, Antiquarian. The automotive world is ripe for the picking. As ripe as that peach one T.S. Eliot scandalously pondered whether or not to take a bite of.

1987-1927 Model T Open Tourer. $10, 000(from a time a dollar was worth something.) This is the car that so famously was available only in black. Now, Ford was a great man, but a great nut as well. What with his henchmen checking in on his workers whom he had to bribe with high-pay because they hated working on an assembly line. Yes it is true, the man who built your Model T scowled, not skipped, all the way to the bank and out of poverty. But back to the car. Get it stock. Bone stock. Have fun adjusting the advance for the steering wheel. Temp fate each time you crank it over. Buy an attachment that turns it into a generator or a saw. And do drive it off-road. You’ll be amazed at how capable it is. But please refrain from entering into a parade. Putting ribbons on a Model T is like putting a tutu on bulldog, inappropriate.

1908-1927 Model T Racer. $15,000. Now, there was never an official racer built by Ford but that didn’t stop thousands of young men from stripping down their Model Ts to see how fast they could make them go. Get a high-compression head. Custom-build some headers. Paint it a bright blue and throw a monocle windscreen on the steering column. Find a friend who enjoys playing your ‘riding mechanic’. Pretend you are entering the Vanderbilt trophy. This car will provide all the ramshackle thrills of the more expensive brass-car set at pennies to the dollar.

1917 or so Smiths Cycle Wheel. $5,000. Not many have survived but the cost of a car made building motorcycles a thriving business. In fact, this is a motor cycle. Two words. You have a bike. You buy a Smiths cycle wheel for the sum of $60 and put it on your bicycle and you’re off. Makes the $600 Model T seem over priced. Clasp your tweed pant leg so it does not get caught in the chain and put-put into town at up to 40MPH. It looks like a something your mad uncle built in his garage and that, is the whole point of living the Antiquarian way.

Photos: walnecks, picasa

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