Judging Guidelines

Proposed MTFCI Judging Criteria for Speedster Class
(Draft provided by Brent Terry, modified by Chief Judge)

What is a Speedster:

A Speedster is a custom vehicle built from a Model T running gear or chassis that would have been constructed after the original year of manufacture. For the purpose of judging this class, the term era-correct shall be defined as an item manufactured prior to 1930. This shall be done to allow a Speedster constructed from a 1927 model to have two-years of latitude. Also, for judging purposes, the stated Y.O.M. (year of manufacture) shall not apply in dating the vehicle and it’s parts. This means that allowances shall be given for a brass radiator equipped Speedster to utilize a later (i.e.: 1927, etc.) engine with no point deduction, or an earlier Y.O.M. sub-component may be used in conjunction with a component of a different Y.O.M. providing all items are era-correct.

To maintain the integrity of the Model T Ford, and to qualify for class judging, the vehicle must utilize;

  1. an original 1908-27 Ford Model T engine block,
  2. an original 1908-27 engine crankcase,
  3. at least 1/2 of an original Model T frame
  4. and a minimum of 1/2 of the original Model T rear axle assembly.

Brass Era Speedsters will be judged in class T-8.

Non-Brass Era Speedsters will be judged in class T-9 (no brass radiator, lights or mounting brackets)


Speedsters were originally built with various motivations in mind by their creator. Some were built as an inexpensive form of transportation, while some were built to mimic more expensive cars of the era. When judging the “theme” of a Speedster, the judging team should determine what “theme”, and “time of build” the creator had in mind. During the teens, many brass radiator equipped Model T’s were remodeled to resemble styling of the early Stutz Bearcat or Mercer Raceabout. These will be included in class T-8. By the late teens and early-1920’s, a more modern styling was found with the bobtail body being the norm, and by the mid to late twenties, the European look of boat-tails and Indianapolis speed cars were the sought after de-sign. These will be included in class T-9. Naturally, deviations from this time-line could have occurred and thus shall not be construed as all-inclusive when determining the time of build, but used only as a general guide in assisting the Judges in this area.

In addition to the above designs, builders usually had an image they were trying to portray. Some liked the look of a racecar that could be driven on the dirt roads & streets, and some wanted a vehicle that portrayed a Roaring Twenties image. When looking at a theme, the Judges should credit for accessories that personify the overall image. A few examples might be an 8-day clock mounted in the dash might look right at home on the dash of a foreign sporty marquee, yet look out of place on a vehicle patterned after an Indy 500 race car. A crystal radiator cap ornament would look equally as appealing on replication of an expensive Movie star type of vehicle, but seem out of place on a dirt-track racer. One must not be overly critical when viewing items due to some possible overlap of these accessories. Items that could overlap and fall into either category might be Ruxstell rear axles, auxiliary transmissions, or special custom bodies.

One point to note is that almost all cars that were constructed then were conceived by the builder viewing books, magazines, and photos of period designs or styling of sought-after automobiles. This means that the styling of a 1913 Stutz Bearcat would not have necessarily been the style most builders would have chosen for a speedster built in 1926. Instead, the builder might have been watching newspapers covering the French Grand Prix and patterned his vehicle after such type modern racing vehicles. Other sources of ideas were sporty vehicles seen in Hollywood being driven by movie stars.


Since there was no right way, or wrong way to build a Model T Speedster (providing it is safe to operate), many cars were constructed by back-yard mechanics who only had basic tools. In some instances, the builder might have had the funds to purchase aftermarket speed equipment and/or accessories for his vehicle. These could have included anything from a clock to a complete body, from special wheels all the way to bolt-on speed parts. For the financially challenged builder in the day, he relied on his resourcefulness of scrounging parts from junk piles and wrecking yards. So often these parts did not originate from a Ford automobile. Therefore special bonus points and consideration should be awarded to vehicles that display authentic accessories and speed equipment that would have been used during the era of the construction. Likewise, point deductions should not be made for using parts and/or accessories from other vehicle manufacturers providing they are era-correct.


Degree of Difficulty, Execution, Fit & Finish, and Detail are areas that should be considered when judging:

The Degree of Difficulty is an opinion the Judge must weigh when determining how the vehicle was constructed. An example might be a body that would have been built using methods taken from the aero industry of the day called Dope & Fabric. This technique is very difficult to execute without being wavy so the judge should take this into consideration when adding or subtracting points. Hand forming and finishing aluminum or steel sheet metal panels using bucked rivets and welded seams would have a form of difficulty. The judges should decide how much, or little weight any of these types of construction should carry in determining scoring for the vehicle.

Fit & Finish has many connotations. Judges should look at how the body parts are mounted. Are the gaps uniform? Do the body panels match and are they symmetrical from side-to-side? Does the paint match the theme of the vehicle? Is the surface or texture of the paint smooth and shiny? Does the vehicle look over-restored or too modern looking? These are just a few criteria the Judges should consider when establishing the score.


Look at the overall package the builder/restorer has tried to make. Does the vehicle look appealing? Does the vehicle look tasteful? Does the vehicle look gaudy or over-bearing? Be careful not to be critical of the builder’s choice of color or styling, yet consider the goal of each modification that was made to the vehicle. Is it safe? Does the modification look like an after-thought or does it take on the appearance of factory-like? Give extra credit for ideas that are well implemented, and for ideas or designs that enhance the overall safety or comfort for the driver and passenger. Extra consideration should be given to hand-made craftsmanship, or to an original aftermarket piece that has been authentically restored.


This is the overall quality in which the vehicle portrays. The use of correct-headed fasteners, proper plating, paint, lettering, upholstery, floor coverings, etc. should be credited. Chrome plating was not generally accepted until the early 1930’s. Candy-type paints were not introduced until the late 1940’s and vinyl lettering or vinyl pin striping is not considered era-correct. Look for use of modern fasteners such as Phillips screws or bolts with grade markings embossed on the head. While deductions should be made if non era-correct hard-ware or fasteners are found, give credit for indexed heads (or nuts) on fasteners, for bolts that are correct lengths and uniform in size & design, use of cloth-braid wiring, era-correct fuel lines & fittings, etc.


This includes the fabrication and finish on the body, hood, fenders (if equipped), running boards (if equipped), all exterior lights, windshield, and all exterior britework & accessories.


This includes the seat(s) upholstery, flooring, the carpet or mat, the dash panel, any portion of the firewall not in the engine compartment, steering wheel & column, and other like areas. The Judges should look at uniformity of pleats or tucks in the upholstery fabric, lack of wrinkles, and quality of stitching. If the vehicle is equipped with a top or side-curtains, this is to be judged in this category. There is no deduction for not having a top or side curtains. The floor carpet and/or floor mat if so equipped should fit properly and be wrinkle-free. The dash should look era-correct with restored gauges, switches, lights and accessories. Points should be deducted for modern gauges, switches, and/or accessories. This is not to be confused with accurate reproduction of era-correct items. Point deductions should not be taken for modern seat-belts and/or mirrors in consideration and regard to safety.


This includes the installation of the engine and main transmission (but not auxiliary transmissions if so equipped). This area shall also consist of the radiator, firewall, the complete exhaust system, and the interior portion of the hood. All accessories mounted in the engine compartment whether related to the engine or not are to be included in this area.

Judges should only score points on what is visible, and points should not be credited or deducted for internal items such as a special camshaft, special valves, a modified crankshaft, etc. Consideration should be given to components that have been polished (brass or aluminum) or nickel-plated providing these items are complimentary to the vehicle. Careful attention should be placed on verifying the plating and/or polished items would have been era-correct during the time the vehicle would have been originally constructed. A good example is verifying the plating is Nickel and not Chrome or Stainless.

Special credit should be awarded to properly restored, era-built speed equipment or accessories. Accurate reproductions of vintage accessories or speed items that very closely resemble parts manufactured during the era should have strong consideration however not receive the same credit as original items that have been properly restored. Modern parts or sub-components that have been retrofitted and are visible should receive point deductions. Examples of this might be (but not limited to) alternators, electric fans, down-draft carburetors, molded or flex hoses, worm-type clamps, stainless braided fuel line, or electric fuel pumps. Point deductions should not necessarily be given for distributors in lieu of the magneto however the Judging Team Captain should be consulted on the authenticity of the conversion, and how many points should be deducted if item(s) is not era correct. If in doubt about authenticity, the Judge should give full credit.


This includes the frame and running gear (not the engine, main transmission, or radiator) and includes the front & rear axles assemblies, steering components, shock absorbers (if so equipped), external brakes, all wheels & tires, chassis wiring & plumbing, and bottom of the body. Special consideration should be given for era-correct accessories such as wheels, axles, frame modifications and etc. providing they appear to be safe in design and installation. Modern items that are of safety related in nature (i.e.: steering box, tube shocks, etc) should receive minimal point deductions. The Judging Team Captain should advise his team on how many (if any) points should be deducted for the modern items. The installation of modern safety hubs shall not receive any point deduction.

Tools will be judged in this area with 2 points credit given for each functional era-correct tool listed below:

  • Jack
  • Screwdriver
  • Lug Wrench
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Pliers

Additional credit should not be given (or deducted) for extra tools, tool pouches, substitute tools, or the tool’s restoration. Tools need not be Ford script, or originally manufactured for a Ford automobile, however they should be from the era in which the Speedster would have originally been built. If in doubt about the tool’s date of manufacture, then give full credit however Judges should examine tool for markings (i.e: Craftsman, Proto, etc.) that could possibly place the date if manufactured after 1930. If in doubt about age, the Judge should give full credit.

Point Value System:

Body: 25%
Interior: 20%
Engine: 15%
Undercarriage: 10%
The Degree of Difficulty: 5%
Execution: 5%
Fit & Finish: 10%
Detail: 10%

Total: 100%