The Hunt for Vintage Tin

The Hunt for Vintage Tin

Nothing beats taking the back roads. There are few better feelings than skipping the highway and getting creative with your route. It’s something I’ve done since my childhood years, and I’ve been thinking about it more frequently as of late. Maybe it’s because we’ve entered June—jumping headfirst into the swing of summertime—and the possibilities of places to go seem endless.

Recently, I’ve been checking the “avoid highways” box on Google Maps and planning future trips. I’ll study routes, calculate travel time and hope that I’ll have enough daylight to make it all happen. Maybe it’ll be in my ’banger roadster, or maybe it’ll be in my V8 car next year. Nonetheless, these old roads mean new opportunities.

Out on the winding California backroads and dirt paths, I dream of finding the pieces of a future project. Earlier this week, my old welding professor shared an ad that captures the excitement of early Vintage Tin Hunting. The subject? A 1922 Model T—sort of.

It reads:

Rusted out parts. I don’t think anything is salvageable, maybe for yard art only. The Model T parts are from years aprox. 1922, and the Model A bed is a 1929. When I was a kid in aprox. 1955, I hiked all the hills around here and saw that the ranchers had abandoned their Model Ts in the woods and along the creek. When I moved back here in 1989, I found all the Ts I saw as a kid, but all the frames and running gear were gone, taken by the scrap man.  

Had to dig some body parts out of the creek. I drug all the rusted body parts home and constructed what you see. I had to construct the frame from 2x4s to attach the rusted body parts to. It looked better 25 years ago when I first constructed it. The front part of the body is a T roadster and the rear part is a T touring. There are left over T parts and a rusted hood for a Rugby…

Ron, the original poster, was right. The car had seen better days. But Vintage Tin is Vintage Tin, and I love the idea that these were components that he saw as a kid while hiking around Sonoma Mountain.

Will a shell out $100 to buy these parts and use them on their next build? Or will they be sent to scrap? Your guess is as good as mine. Either way, it’s encouraging to know that yes, early American iron is still out there—you just have to take the back roads to find it.

Joey Ukrop

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