I’m not sure of the exact year of this Model T posted by William Rubano, but its close to a hundred years old, give or take a few. And it’s always a kick seeing one out in traffic. There was a young guy in Iowa City that picked up a well-preserved T touring car from a farmer for peanuts in 1971, and on warm summer nights he’d cruise by the Pentacrest and give us rides, if there weren’t already a few pretty girls in it first. It’s a memorable experience, tooling down an Iowa gravel country road in an open T, as close as it get to turning back the clock. Except then it was only some 50 years, not a hundred.
Mid twenties. Afraid you can’t get any narrower than that. Late twenties would have had a chrome (nickle?) plated radiator shell. Lines are too modern for WWI vintage or earlier.
The strangest thing about this picture is the people who aren’t even noticing the T. The guy appears to have a fairly serious video camera, and he’s missing the only camera-worthy object in the area.
No accounting for taste, I guess!
I am thinking a 1919 to a 1925 Model T. The Model T had a painted black Radiator housing from 1916-1925 and like Syke said, it looks too new for a WWI era T
The side/dash mounted kerosene lamps were a option on this car until production ended. This is because light bulbs could be fried if there was a power spike. Those kerosene lamps allowed you to drive home with lights.
But to be honest those pre 1930’s electric lights were not that bright and were there to simply let others know that you were passing by and not to actually light the way.
I was always curious how the crank starter worked on these. What kept the crank from spinning wildly once the engine started?
A dog clutch with angled teeth and a spring, designed to disengage once the crankshaft is spinning faster than the crank handle. Here’s a closeup of a crank handle to give you a better idea.
What BOC said. Procedure was to slowly turn the crank until you feel the beginning of a compression stroke, then if necessary, turn the handle backwards until it is at about the 7 oclock position. Then give it a mighty yank upwards. And when it fails to start, do it all again.
The danger with these was a backfire/kickback of the crank. If you were cranking with downforce instead of upforce, it was a good way to break your arm if this happened. For the same reason, keep that thumb out of the way, so you yank upwards with a cupped hand.
My Model A used to suffer from battery drain, so I crank started mine on quite a few occasions, which was faster than waiting on my 6 volt trickle charger. The choke was operable by your other hand so long as the hood was up.
My 1950 Ford 8N tractor has the dog on the front crank pulley for hand cranking. Never tried it, though (don’t have a crank for it).
I crank start my Hillman for entertainment sometimes it starts first lift of the handle when warm.
Here is a Youtube video on starting a Model T
Loved this! A lot of this carried through to the Model A, but there are significant differences.
Upright proportions, generous ground clearance. Looks more modern today than it did in 1971, I’d wager.
As I mentioned in the ’87 Crown Vic discussion, it’s interesting to imagine if “The Ford” had held the Model T overall length and width sacred, with any larger models considered line extensions…
There are a couple of these in my area that are occasionally out. I have never followed one home. I did, however, get some shots of one parked outside of a Sam’s Club, of all places.
You can ride in these at Greenfield Village in Dearborn. They have a small fleet of these that are used for rides around the village. I rode in one in the early 70s, but I understand that they are still there. Extremely primitive, and a hoot.
If one really wants to know all the details of changes to T’s:
A buddy of mine in Ct. bought as ‘T’ Model Roadster Pickup and loves to drive it , he goes out in January , I think he’s crazy but they’re fun if quirky little cars .
The brakes are a band inside the transmission .
Members of a Model T club here in Virginia occasionally perform an event at local car shows where they bring a disassembled Model T to the show, re-assemble it in 15 minutes, and then drive it off.
Photos from such an event are here:
…but the photos don’t really do it justice. It’s quite interesting to watch in person.
Seeing this done gave me a new appreciation for Model T’s.
Thats a ‘new beauty’ model so only a youngster a mere 90 odd years old, still in its prime.
I prefer the one that Dodge sold as their own (Model T bodies were built by the Dodge Brothers for Ford) it had more leg room than the Fords. My transportation professor told of scrapyards full of Model T’s along the PA turnpike as they weren’t built for the long flat out stretches.
The Model T in perfect tune was only good for about 45 mph flat out, and probably 35 was its comfortable cruising speed. The poor Model T was just not set up for America’s first Superhighway. Even 45 mph was probably dangerous as hell, both for the T driver and for everyone else around him.
The Model T in perfect tune was only good for about 45 mph flat out, and probably 35 was its comfortable cruising speed.
Given that the brakes only work on the rear wheels, and the degree of function of the brake pedal depends on the degree of adjustment of the band in the transmission, I wouldn’t want to drive one much over 25. I have seen a cartoon that advertised “instantaneous stops upon simultaneous application of hand brake, brake pedal and reverse.”. This type of stop is demonstrated in “It Happened One Night” when Alan Hale stops to pick up Colbert and Gable. You can clearly see Hale’s feet stomping on both the brake and reverse pedals.
Given that the T ended production in 1927 and the Turnpike was opened in 1940, a lot of Ts probably would’ve reached the end of their working lives in that period no matter what (quite a few probably got a reprieve due to the war).
I. Need. One.
That T looks like a 17-23 generation. In the next iteration, the hood was tapered to meet the firewall and eliminate the step that this one has.
Jim Cavanaugh, not only are the Ts still running at the Village, but it is a much larger operation than in the 70s. The Village got a huge renovation maybe 15 years ago and there is now a “Model T loading dock”, which, I believe, is where Ed’s picture was taken. The rides are $5. The fleet includes touring cars and at least one depot hack, ranging from very early flat dash models to the latest high hood nickle radiator generation. These are not Disneyland replicas. They are real century old Ts that are maintained by the Village staff.
In the 60s, I could saunter down the street in the Village pretty much without a care. Now, I have to stick to the sidewalks and look twice before crossing the street, lest I be flattened by a fliver.
I was thinking of taking a T ride when I was in the Village Monday, but there was still a crowd waiting in the loading dock, so I’ll put that on the list for next year.
Here is someone else’s video of a T ride in the Village.
For those who wish to learn the mysteries of the planetary transmission and hand operated spark and throttle, the Gilmore Museum in Hickory Corners, MI offers Model T driving classes Register early as the classes sell out quickly.
wouldn’t surprise me if you read of an Uber driver using one of these in Brooklyn nowadays wearing a fedora and a waxed mustach to boot.
…wearing a fedora and a waxed mustach to boot.
Nah. Gotta wear a skimmer when driving a T
there is a 1920’s model t touring in the small town I grew up in that was bought by the same family that currently owns it during the depression.
it blows my mind every time I see it at car shows. a 90+ year old vehicle that has spent 80+ years in the same small town with the same family.
travelling the same roads, year after year, decade after decade seeing its 4 wheeled compatriots go from spindly fellow autos, thru the 40’s, the finny and fabulous 50’s, the pony car wars of the 60’s, the 70’s battlecruisers, the 80’s foreign car invasion to the sleek little spaceships it see sharing the roads with it today.
if it could only talk!
The Model T may be discribed as quirky or primitive today but was the affordable car that put America on wheels and the impetus for paved rural roads or highways. In its 19 yr. run selling more than 15 million. The record not broken until 1972 by the VW Beetle after more than a 30 yr. run. Bolth were simple, affordable,rugged and reliable for the masses. Now imagine it’s 1910 and a farmer and Mrs. Farmer are on their weekly 2 hr. trip to town plodding along 8 miles of dirt roads with their two mule hitch and wagon. He hears clattering sound and a wonk from a brass bulb horn behind him. As he reins the mules right another farmer putters by at a good clip in his new model t leaving them in choking cloud of dust. As he gazes ahead once more at ole Jupiter’s and Jack’s ears he say’s ” honey whadda ya say we stop by that Ford agency. I hear that Model T is one damn fine automobile.” ……….as it was in its time.
Another forgotten fact is how good of a car the Model T was in the world of 1908. The Model T outperformed a lot of cars that cost quite a bit more, and was far more durable than almost anything made then. It is a testament to the design that it could remain relatively static during 19 years of tremendous progress in the industry, and still be an even moderately saleable car in 1927.
Just for fun ;
Get and read , the Owner’s Booklet for a ‘T’ Model Ford ~ pay especial attention to the part about how to adjust a noisy rod bearing ~ if you’re any sort of Mechanic , this will raise your hair .
The T was arguably easier to drive than most of its contemporaries. No non-synchro gears to mess with. (left pedal is low gear down, high gear up, neutral half way down).
A fixture at the Old Car Festival at Greenfield Village, at least since I starting going in the late 60s, is the Model T Assembly Team, which assembles a driveable T chassis in under 10 minutes. The team is still making appearances at the Festival, under the leadership of the son of the guy who ran it 40 years ago. Years ago, the Festival was centered at a field on the back side of the Village, so, when the car was complete, the crew would climb on and take a victory lap around the field.
Here is someone else’s recent video of the assembly.
The crew taking it’s victory lap around 1970
..this ’27 turtle grew some balls lol