Driving a Model T forces you to rewire your whole car brain


Looking for some serious mental stimulation? Consider going for a spin in Ford’s iconic Model T. This past weekend marked my first attempt to drive one, and let’s just say there was a lot to absorb. Its combination of three foot pedals, two column-mounted adjusters, and one handbrake lever had my mind working overtime to keep my limbs synched up and untangled.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/11/01/driving-a-model-t-forces-you-to-rewire-your-car-brain


Anyone in Oregon who is visiting Hood River can go to the Western Auto and Air Museum for their Model T driving class, and a treat seeing the museum as well. See here:



I taught myself to drive, on a Model T at age 16 by reading the book Tin Lizzie.
Learning to drive a sliding gear (manual) transmission after that was a brain twister.


I remember some years back, I was working security at Antique shows, I got a chance to drive a Model T. It was a trip trying to remember what was what. But it was fun and something I’ll never forget. You see in the old movies Ladies cranking it over like nothing. We were pretty big guys and had a heck of a time trying it. Those were the days !


back in the early 80’s I bought an original 1920 T Convertible with 3 doors.
License plate was 19-Twen-T. Recently divorced, and living in Vegas, I used
it as a way to connect with my kids. We had lots of memories; crusing down the Las Vegas
Strip with all eyes on us… And there were runs to the Gold Coast Hotel, and eating Ice cream
parked out in Valet parking. But the real memory is my 13 yr old son and 11 yr old daughter,
learned to drive it with the pedals before they drove a traditional car. It came very natural
to them. These are treasured Memories


Just remember a clutch is a clutch is a clutch. The Model T, like every other car of its era has a manual transmission. Just the Model T only has 2 speeds and Low is engaged by the clutch. Like most cars with a manual transmission that left pedal is the CLUTCH. Ford even labels it so. Just like any clutch push it in to release, let it out to engage (engage high that is). Just when pushing it in don’t go more than half way down unless you want to shift into low.
One suggestion. If your T does not have and extension on the throttle level, install one. It puts the throttle naturally under the fingers as you hold the steering wheel.
Like most I was very anxious the first time I drove a T. Within a mile I found driving it as natural and comfortable as driving any of my modern manual transmission vehicles. Just, more so than vehicles with the shifter separate from the clutch, the T absolutely hates to stop on a hill.
Get out, join a Model T club, and enjoy.


A Model T is the most amount of fun you can have a 25 mph!
They are crude, slow and unsafe on modern roads, but it can put a smile on your face like no other car.


I have a Model-A, but have a great deal of respect for these cars. They truly changed our world. Cars back then were a play toy for people fairly well off. The running gear has stood the test of time. Remember, the speed limit back then was 11MPH, and then went to a whopping 35 MPH. Think about it, if that were the case today, no one would think the T was outdated.

However, I must say I can’t justify myself buying one today. They are just too impractical. Even my Model-A needs improvements to make it seriously traffic worthy (which I have done); cast iron drums, a heavy duty radiator, and overdrive to save the babbit and keep up with traffic, plus a few minor internal modifications like 3.4 cam, lightened flywheel, larger valves.

I drive my Model-A!!!

God Bless all you people that get your Ts out and drive em’!