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A Polemic

By Tom Carnegie

Interviewer: This newsletter we are excited to announce a conversation between two ardent supporters of the Montana 500.
The first one is called "Aged Car", the second, "Super Cam". That is not their real names, but is what they'll go by in this article. I'll start the conversation by asking a question of Aged Car. Mr. Car, where do you "come down" on modifications to cars participating in the Montana 500?

Aged Car: There are two classes in the Montana 500, the touring class and the trophy class. Any cars may participate in the touring class, but only stock Model T Fords are allowed in the trophy class.

I: Mr. Cam, do you think the cars in the trophy class should be stock?
Super Cam: Of course.

I: With all due respect Mr. Cam, I've seen your car, and it isn't what I'd call stock.
SC: Sure it is. I don't think that your definition of stock is the same as mine. I'm sure that "stock" means different things to different people. For instance, if you were to ask Jeff Gordon what a stock car was, you'd get a far different answer than one from our friend Aged Car.

I: Mr. Car, what is your definition of "stock".
AC: Stock means just as Henry made them.

SC: You mean if a T is painted red it wouldn't be stock?
AC: No, it wouldn't.

SC: I think that what you are is a "stock fundamentalist". You're trying for an unreachable idealistic goal. The Montana 500 was never conceived as this sort of thing.
AC: I believe it was. Even the earliest fliers for the event said that the T's must be strictly stock.

SC: I've seen those fliers. They say the cars must be strictly stock then they go on to say that outside oil lines, water pumps and so on are allowed. Original T's didn't have these you know.
AC: You call me a "stock fundamentalist". I say that you are a "stock infidel". Would you say a T is stock with a water pump on it?

SC: Yes I would.
AC: How about a distributor?

SC: Yes I would.
AC: How can you say a T with a distributor is stock? T's didn't come with distributors.

SC: My Granddad bought a T new from the dealer in Salt Lake City in 1925, and it had a distributor on it.
AC: Ford didn't make the distributor.

SC: True, and Firestone made the tires. I mentioned earlier that Jeff Gordon's definition of "stock" might be different from yours, let's see what Webster's definition of "stock" is.
AC: I'll look it up. Webster's says a stock car is: "a racing car having the basic chassis of a commercially produced assembly line model."

SC: That definition would fit a T with a distributor or even a Rajo wouldn't it?
AC: Well, yeah that definition would, but that isn't my definition. Stock to me is the way they came off the assembly line.

SC: I think that you are mixing up the term "stock" with" original".
AC: Maybe so, but I don't want Rajo heads in the Montana 500.

SC: Me neither. I am content to call a Model T built according to the rules of the Montana 500 "stock".
AC: Since it isn't practical to race original cars, I'll concede to this too. I guess "stock" is a broader term than I thought it was.

I: Thank you gentlemen!
AC: You're welcome.

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