Ford Model T Blog

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How to Drive a Ford Model T (Part 8)

Maneuvering a Model T

Maneuvering the Model T can really separate the men from the boys. It is suggested that the novice driver avoid tight situations until some practice has been obtained.

To reverse hold the left gear pedal half way down in neutral with the left foot, gently press the reverse pedal to go backwards with the right foot. Relax the pressure on the reverse pedal and press the brake with the right foot when you want to stop. Alternatively, apply pressure to the left pedal to brake bringing the car to a stop. This can also be accomplished by use of the hand lever to place the left pedal in neutral, so that when the reverse pedal is released, the brake pedal can be applied. We only have two feet to operate 3 pedals.

The reason why instant action may be needed is this, it takes some time for a driver used to ordinary controls to come to terms with pressing pedals to go rather than stop. In a second you can find that the car is going too fast and the harder you press the pedal the faster it goes. If you keep the right foot ready on the right brake pedal, disaster can be averted. This is the only pedal that will hold the car stationary.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

How to Drive a Ford Model T (Part 7)

In normal driving the two speed pedal operated gear change works very well. It gives a very simple easy gear change enabling you to nip up and down the gears with a minimum of effort. However it does have its drawbacks. The obvious one is the large gap between the gears, there are some circumstances when bottom gear is too low and top is too high. A Ruckstell two speed rear axle alleviates this to some extent.

Places where you may find difficulty are:

1. Changing up a gear on hills.
2. Going into junctions or roundabouts (traffic circles) where top gear is too fast.
3. Going over rough ground or grass.

All that can be done is to grind along in low gear until top gear can be used again. The only other answer is to install an auxiliary gear such as the Ruckstell two speed rear axle.

In practice a bit of coasting around obstructions and then with a quick burst of low gear before going back into high again will negotiate most of these situations with ease.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

How to Drive a Ford Model T (Part 6)

The steering on the Ford Model T is very direct and lively by today’s standards. It is a direct ratio of the sun/planet gears in the steering column below the steering wheel.

Direct steering is common with most cars of this age. The Ford, with a transverse front spring, is subject to “twitching” over lumps and bumps in the road. As the front wheel hits an obstruction it causes the front axle to move sideways on its shackles, “twitching” the steering. You can fight the steering every time it jumps, holding the wheel with a vice like grip in which case you will have arm ache after a twenty minute drive, or you can relax your grip and let the steering wheel twitch rather than the road wheels.

It goes without saying that there should be no slack or play in the steering linkage. The camber, caster and toe-in of the front axle should be checked carefully for correct steering geometry.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

How to Drive a Ford Model T (Part 5)

A Model T Ford will climb an 8% (1 in 12) gradient in top gear with full throttle, and will come down it in top gear with no throttle and no brake application. They can safely negotiate 20% or more grades in low range, so hills should hold no fears for Model T Ford owners, but a few words of advice at this point.

Going up is relatively easy, just give the Lizzie full throttle and retard the ignition a little as the speed falls, and she should slog up the hill in fine style provided there is a reasonable amount of fuel in the tank. The T needs about a quarter tank full to climb a 20% grade, as the gravity feed system becomes less effective the steeper the grade. It was common practice, if the grade was too steep and the engine starved for fuel, to back a T over the grade.

As a general rule going down hills should be done at about the same speed as going up. However, the real secret is to successfully use engine compression to slow the car speed on a hill. Move the throttle lever up to minimum or to a setting which will maintain a safe down-grade speed. As there is no return spring on the throttle lever it can be set as slow as necessary, and will hold position. If braking is still necessary, let the pressure off the pedal every so often to prevent burning the linings. Reverse pedal can also be used to brake for added effectiveness if needed. (see “Saving Your Bands” below).

If you need to stop on a steep grade, use low gear as you brake, but be careful to not over speed the engine in low gear. Be aware that there is no engine braking, if the left foot pedal is held in neutral between high and low gear positions. Jamming all three pedals down will stall the engine and skid the rear tires, not an acceptable solution to emergency braking, except on dry pavement, and even then not recommended. NEGOTIATE HILLS AT SAFE SPEEDS, do not allow the car to “Roll Out.”

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

My 1925 Ford Model T – A Closer Look: Coil Boxes (Trembler Coils)

In this video, we take a detailed look at the Ford Model T ignition system, more specifically, the coil boxes, also known as trembler coils. We take a look at how they work, and also how to test them and set them to achieve the correct current output.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

Wingham Rotary Town and Country Expo + Show n Shine

This annual events returns this year over three big days!  Wingham Rotary Town and Country Expo covers everything that’s good about the town and country lifestyle from craft, recreation, health, livestock, finance, solar, books, food and wine, DIY, lifestyle, leisure, fashion, home and garden, outdoors and much more.

There will be a full music program including five local bands plus a great range of exhibits and other attractions for young and old

Family friendly event includes live music, fashion, leisure, food and classic car show. 

Concludes on the Sunday with a Ute Muster.

This is a major fundraiser for The Rotary Club of Wingham. ‘A day where the town meets the country.’ 

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

Gloucester Chill Out Day – Show n Shine

Another car show … 

Farley Gates Sports Oval

Boundary St, Gloucester, NSW

Saturday, 27th July, 2013 – 9:00am – 3:00pm

Chill Out as a festival in Gloucester evolved because the local business houses saw it as a way of developing a fun event that could celebrate a sense of community and potentially attract visitors to shop in Gloucester. The event generally brings in a number of market stalls that set up in the main street and create, with the childrensactivities a real family festival atmosphere.  This year the Chill Out event will be held on the 27th of July.

In many respects this event is still about celebration of community and recognising the value of the commercial and retail centre as well as providing a carnival type atmosphere as the street closures allow for the entertainment and small stalls that bring a variety of new products into the town centre.  This year we will once again have the wine and cheese as well as a couple of brewerys.  To make your experience that much more enjoyable we will have a jazz trio to entertain you while you taste test the fine wines our region has to offer as well as cheese platters. There will also be a band and a number of other performers. 

Last year the Show and Shine was a major attraction drawing historic and modern cars from the Hunter and  North Coast with the largest participation yet, and was held within the main street. This year it will be held within the Farley Gates area in Denison Street.

The event is about fun and in keeping with that the event organisers have looked at increasing the number of activities for the younger generation.  There will be the ever popular Dog Show, Donut Eating Competition and carnival rides – Donut Ride, Giant Tiger Slide, Jumping Castles, Fairy Floss and Dip n Dots Ice creams to name a few.  And don’t forget to catch a great lunch at one of the many cafes in town.

This time we will have a Chain Saw Racing Competition with a number of competitors.  This will be a great new addition to the entertainment on the day.

And don’t forget the playground of artificial snow for the kids within the Billabong Park.

However what we should not forget is that the event is primarily a showcase of the local shopping precinct and the wide array of unique goods and services that are available and the opportunity to engage in that experience amongst the bargains that local businneses will provide as part of the event.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

Taree PCYC Craftathon Show n Shine

I will be showing my car at the PCYC event – Craftathon 2013

Taree PCYC, with Taree Historic Motor Club

95 Commerce St, Taree

Sunday 4th August, 2013 – 10:00am – 3:00pm

On Saturday and Sunday, August 3 and 4, Taree PCYC will come alive with more than 40 craft exhibitors all under one roof ready to wow you with their exquisite craft and huge range of craft supplies.

And the best part is, these experts in their fields are willing to share their skills with you, their patrons.

This is the 15th annual Craftathon for Taree and the huge PCYC auditorium has proved to be the ideal venue, being able to accommodate the whole show indoors, including workshop areas and a kiosk providing good food and refreshments.

There will be craft give-aways throughout the show and one lucky visitor will win a sewing package of sewing machine, sewing table and Tutto trolley bag valued at $1000. This amazing prize has been sponsored by Janome and Just Patchwork of Tuncurry, and will be drawn at the show on Sunday at 3pm.

On Sunday, members of Taree Historic Motor Club will display a selection of their amazing veteran and vintage cars for all to enjoy. The club has about 140 members who own more than 500 historic cars, and these include a 1925 T Model Ford, a 1938 MG TA Sedan, a Fiat Spyder, a Studebaker Hawk and a Chev Corvette.

With many on-site demonstrations and a program of workshops on both days, there is the opportunity to explore and learn new crafts.

There is also a knitting competition on both days with a prize for the fastest knitter, and an encouragement prize.


Opening times are 10am to 4pm on Saturday and 10am to 3pm on Sunday. Entry fees are adults $5, under 16 years $2, under 12 years free (with adult).

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

How to Drive a Ford Model T (Part 4)

Making the Car Move…

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.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia