State Inspections

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Professor Fate
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State Inspections

Post by Professor Fate » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:56 am

I live in Taxachusetts. What year did a tail light become a factory item? My '23 touring car has two red tail lights (both inoperable) that I'm of the understanding did not come from Henry in '23. The car supposedly came without that year. Is that true??
I don't want to pull the lights off just to get a sticker because the inspection station is mistaken and confused. I might rewire them this winter when I have some time between snowstorms.

Ideas and thoughts appreciated.

The lights are mounted to the spare tire bracket. One is a round, the other is an oval that says "STOP!" on the lens.


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Re: State Inspections

Post by Moxie26 » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:13 am

Professor, it is my understanding that a single red marker light was supplied with the beginning of electrical equipment in 1919. For modern safety there's no reason not to keep your double lights for night time driving t add a era style stop light right in the middle of the spare tire carrier and use a modern switch from one of the vendors. Does Massachusetts have an extra tax for having safety equipment?


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Professor Fate
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Re: State Inspections

Post by Professor Fate » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:21 am

here is a picture of the lights.
I was hoping to be early enough they were not a factory installed item in '23. That way I would not need them to pass.

To answer your tax question. No tax on safety equipment. Just $35 for an inspection sticker.
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20190825_111115.jpg


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Re: State Inspections

Post by John Codman » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:25 am

I lived in Massachusetts for decades and was a state vehicle inspector. You must have one red brakelight regardless of whether the car came with it or not. If you have a gas-era antique, you have to rig up some kind of a battery to power the light. I'll be honest with you, I never bothered with an inspection on my T. The police typically don't bother really old cars, and as a practical matter, you probably can't get a 100% legal inspection anyway; The inspector is supposed to drive the car into the inspection bay to test the brakes and steering. The likelihood of finding an inspector who can actually drive your T is remote. If you are uncomfortable with not having a sticker, I would go find a friendly inspection station and tell him that a perfect T has virtually no brakes, a hand-operated wiper, lousy headlights, and is a deathtrap on wheels. Then offer him whatever the Massachusetts ripoff inspection fee is (It used to be $29, I heard it was going up to $35). He'll probably give you a sticker.

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Re: State Inspections

Post by Ruxstel24 » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:27 am

The taillight is factory, but you have what I believe is a 26-27 style light that was modified.
IMG_3846.JPG
23 should have a more rounded back and mounts with a stud in the middle of the back.
Yes, the stoplight is an add-on accessory, but I see nothing wrong with adding any safety items.
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IMG_3843.JPG


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Re: State Inspections

Post by Professor Fate » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:33 am

Very valid points John.
I've been driving without a sticker in the window without any issue with the local PD.
I think it to be nearly impossible to find a T knowledgeable inspector anyway.

In Mass they have this new inspection that is monitored remotely by video cameras in an effort to cut down on cheating.

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Re: State Inspections

Post by Steve Jelf » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:36 am

The left one looks like a stock Ford tail light. The STOP light is a swell accessory I would definitely keep. The T did not come with a brake light, but you can add one with a switch connected to the brake pedal.

IMG_2824 copy.JPG
1923 backside with stock tail light.
The inevitable often happens.
1915 Runabout
1923 Touring


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Re: State Inspections

Post by Professor Fate » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:45 am

So did the T come with a factory tail light in 1919 or specifically what year if any? Prior poster says 1919, and then another says did not come with one. I'm confused.... :shock:


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Re: State Inspections

Post by Jim Sims » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:52 am

Kerosine tail light until 19 then electric if the T had a starter, if not it still had the kerosine light.


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Re: State Inspections

Post by Professor Fate » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:56 am

Thank you!👍

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Re: State Inspections

Post by Ruxstel24 » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:58 am

I don't see where anyone says "no light".
All Ts had a taillight, either kerosene or electric.
None where equipped with a STOP light from the factory, to my knowledge.


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Re: State Inspections

Post by Professor Fate » Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:07 pm

Ok... I understand now

I have been using a battery operated bicycle light you can just barely see in my picture I posted. That should be enough to get a sticker if it's just a marker light and I don't need a brake light.


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Re: State Inspections

Post by John Codman » Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:04 pm

FWIW: My T has a Massachusetts inspection sticker that expired in October of 1993 and is very clearly marked as such. Before moving to Florida, I drove it for four years in Massachusetts with the old sticker clearly visible. I have even given a police officer a ride in it. They can't be bothered with stupid stuff like that. I suppose that there might be a couple of jerk cops, but I was willing to take my chances. Florida has no inspection, but since moving here, I have completely rebuilt the steering and it's a much safer car then it ever was in Massachusetts. Personally, If my T didn't have a stoplight, I would install one. I,m not in a hurry to get rear-ended.


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Re: State Inspections

Post by Professor Fate » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:33 pm

I only drive my car up a quiet backroad to Old Deerfield Village and back. 5.5 miles each way on mostly flat paved road. The car loves the flat stuff. Old Deerfield was recently paved. Ultra smooth!
I rarely have a car come up from the rear. If they do, they always pass and wave. People here love seeing the car.


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Re: State Inspections

Post by John kuehn » Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:55 pm

If it were my car I would get the 2 tail lights to work along with the stop light and get the accessory tail light stop light switch and install it for the light that has stop on it, get it to working and get it inspected. I would forget about trying to be correct for the year of the car and be as safe as I could be at night for evening driving. My very humble opinion of course.


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Re: State Inspections

Post by Professor Fate » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:19 pm

I'm not a night driver at all. But sound advice. I'll see what I can do.

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Re: State Inspections

Post by DanTreace » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:40 am

A quick review of the Mass laws on antique vehicles noted lighting allowed as originally equipped.

Your ‘23 with electric starter had one red lens rear tail lamp with clear lower lens for the tag illumination. So that is all you will need to pass inspection. Other requirements weren’t as clear, seems you could have original plate glass windshield, but that’s poor safety. Also seems antiques aren’t excepted for a rear view mirror either. Lots will depend on the inspector ;) ;)


(10) Lighting Devices.
(a) Tail Lights. Every motor vehicle, except a two wheeled motorcycle, an antique motor car, and a farm tractor, shall be equipped with two red lights (tail lamps) mounted one at each side of the rear of the vehicle so as to show two red lights from behind and equipped with two stop lights (stop lamps) mounted and displayed in a like manner. A single lamp may combine both of the above functions. Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with a white light so arranged as to illuminate the rear number plate so that it is plainly visible at 60 feet.
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Re: State Inspections

Post by Altair » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:18 am

Almost no laws, bylaws or motor vehicle regulations are retroactive except where special leave is applied
by the government and that is rarely done. Even though the current regulations require one or two running lights or stop lights on every vehicle antique or otherwise all these words only apply to a vehicle as it came from the factory. A model T could have left the factory with no head lights as they were an accessory, electric tail light were also an accessory and would therefore would have been equipped with a kerosene only tail light. However most Ts had electric lights but they weren't mandatory. I would challenge any inspector as to what is correct but that is only a matter of principal. I would wire the biggest brightest lights I could. I don't claim to be an expert in the field but I was an inspector of bylaws
in a large city for 40 years and I had a reasonable handle on the application of the regulations. There was countless discussions within the office as to what applied and what didn't. In Canada and probably in the US there is a Provincial and Federal Interpretation Act that clearly explains the application of regulations. There is also a Regulations Act that explains how to write and apply certain regulations. No matter what is written on the surface usually by a person that is not familiar with said Acts and Regulations these laws of the lands apply firstly. Therefore your T is only required to have and display what was the minimum when it left the factory. I once owned a van that came minimum from the factory with only one seat and one seat belt, a second seat with seat belt was added after market, only the single factory seat and seat belt applied, the second seat and belt was optional. It could be
detrimental not to use the seat belt as intended however it was not mandatory. Some law enforcement officials determine if you have it you must wear it but that is not true. In the city there was a multi million dollar fire and the building was equipped with a sprinkler system that was non operative. When the building was built there was no requirement for said sprinkler as it was an agreement between the insurance company and the owner not a city regulation. The city fathers, fire chief and council were going to take the owner to the wall for not maintaining the sprinkler system that was not required in the first place. It took a high level meeting to convince the powers to be that the owner was not in contravention of any laws. Sorry the is off the T issue a bit but retroactivity must be respected and understood, most don't.

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Re: State Inspections

Post by gcomo » Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:04 am

I run two T's and an AA in Ma. None have stickers, and I have never been bothered.


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Re: State Inspections

Post by Mark Osterman » Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:36 am

I get my car inspected this Friday here in Rochester, NY. It’s never difficult. Everything on my car works and the tires are good. That’s all they ask about.

Evidently my low radiator ‘23 runabout was originally sold from the dealer without the starter package. It had kerosene side light and a kerosene Ford-O tail light. The Ford-O is an unusual variant that has a large clear lens facing the license plate and the small red lens facing the back. It takes a special stamped bracket that holds the lamp at an angle. I inserted an electric bulb in the tail light so that it turns on with the headlights.

I also made a bracket to mount a vintage accessory SLOW/STOP light on the right side of the back. It comes up from underneath so no holes in the sheet metal. It has a large green SLOW lens to turn on with the headlights and the red STOP lens to turn on with the brake pedal. In both of those I have halogen bulbs that makes them very easy to see ... particularly the brake light during the day.


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Re: State Inspections

Post by Loftfield » Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:18 am

All of you idiots living in the ice and snow need to move South. North Carolina does not inspect any vehicle over 35 years old. No worries!

Tom Loftfield
Brevard, North Carolina


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Re: State Inspections

Post by Mark Osterman » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:55 pm

But then we would live in the heat and humidity. :-) Not sure why people are worked up about state inspection. Takes five minutes and costs about $10. Always passes if your car has decent tires.

Anyway this is how this stupid yankee has his stop light arranged.
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Re: State Inspections

Post by DHort » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:08 pm

Thomas, you can have your heat, humidity, and BUGS. We don't have that problem here in Wisconsin. No stickers or inspection either.

Plates are good for as long as you own the car and you can drive 11 months of the year. Besides, I love the snow and blowing it around with a snowblower. A Model T makes great donuts, too.

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Re: State Inspections

Post by Duey_C » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:15 pm

Nice rear lamps!
I've never tried a donut with a T in the snow. Probably should out on the lake! :) This bloody Hill tho. Poor thing might be stuck down there all winter.
I don't know what MN requires and don't really care. I'm IN with vintage Pioneer Plates. :lol:
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Re: State Inspections

Post by JP_noonan » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:08 am

Mass. always has been, and probably always will be, a bureaucratic nightmare. :x That being said, i haven't had that much trouble with my T lately. The first time i brought it for an inspection i explained to the fine man behind the counter that this was a Model T and nobody here would have any idea about how to drive it into the shop. He told me not to worry about it, took my little key, and passed it on to this 20+ yr. old tech. I went outside to watch the comedy unfold and after a few minutes of watching him turning the key left and right, he gave up. The manager returned the key to me and asked me to drive it in. That inspection went fine. As per usual, laws change here on a whim here, and usually with some more money sucked out of our pockets and into theirs, so I'm not sure how my next inspection will go, which is due at the end of this Month. With that rant out of the way Danny, our T's are Grandfathered in as far as the original equipment it came with is concerned. If you have one red tail light that also lights the license plate, a working horn, headlights, good tires and a solid wobble free front end, you should pass inspection with no problem. I went beyond the basics on mine so not to be run-over, and added an additional light opposite the stock light that i changed to a dual filament that now works as both running lights, and brake lights. One other thing which i highly recommend is to add some blinkers. I used some motorcycle blinkers that i hid the best i could. Good luck, and let us know how you make out. I added a short shaky vid of what mine looks like after my mods below. ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnRSdq7wUNI
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Professor Fate
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Re: State Inspections

Post by Professor Fate » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:01 am

wow! What an experience at the inspection station. Not surprising in the least, though. This RMV/DMV and a lot of things related leave a lot to be desired here. Other people somewhere else are very fortunate.
I'm feeling like we are the last of the pre 1930 operators. When I was a kid there were all kinds of wood spoke wheel cars being driven and seen. That is not the case today here in the northeast.

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