How to Drive a Ford Model T (Part 4)
Taking what you have learned so far in both hands and both feet, hold the high/low gear pedal half way down in neutral position with your left foot and let the handbrake off, holding the car in position with the right foot on the brake pedal. Increase the engine revs and gently press the gear pedal down, letting off the brake pedal. The car will move forward. Hold the gear pedal down firmly and increase engine revs up to near full speed, this should only take a couple of seconds. Let the gear pedal off to engage top gear, slowing the engine with the throttle lever to get a smooth gear change. (This will take a little practice to perfect, but there is no cause for fear of crashing gears. The transmission bands may be slipped by relaxing foot pedal pressure to control smoothness of engagement.)
Having learned how to get the car in motion, now might be an opportune moment to learn how to stop it! One of the odd things about bowling along in a T is how you have nothing to do with your feet, unlike an ordinary car where you are always on the accelerator pedal. I like to have my right foot beside the brake pedal so it is ready to transfer onto the brake as you would with standard controls. So far the right foot is doing the same as it would in normal driving, it is the left foot which (provided it is not an old dog) must be taught a new trick. In its simplest form this consists of just holding the gear pedal half way down to get neutral as you come to a halt. One of the nice things about driving Fords of this age is that they can start and stop with reasonable speed so as to keep up with modern traffic, extra braking being easily obtainable by pushing the gear pedal further down to engage low gear. It follows that having engaged the gear it has to be disengaged to actually come to a stop. After some practice it becomes second nature to ease the gear pedal down and up again as you roll to a halt.
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