Hello and MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all.
Its Christmas eve here and my wife and I are making final preparations for the family visit over the Christmas New Year break. They usually come here because of the nearby beaches and the gorgeously warm weather.
Anyway, My daughter Fiona, will someday inherit our "Anastasia" and become its 4th lady owner. (never been owned by a man)
Fiona has absolutely NO idea of how to drive the old girl, so I have told her that this holiday break I'd teach her. Not being the best T driver myself I've been worrying about it a bit and I wonder if you could give me any tips on what to do.
I've found a large car park that will most probably be empty over the break and isn't too far from here, so I'll use that rather than on a road or street.
Any sensible suggestions will be much appreciated.
Once again, Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous new year to you and yours.
Merry Christmas & A Happy and Properous New Year to you and yours also Rob.
Good luck teaching your daughter Fiona to drive "Anastasia"
Rob, I haven't looked at them (busy, busy), but if you google "How to drive a Model T" you'll get some Youtube videos.
I've found that the younger ones learn faster!
The best way I have found is to describe the terms of the controls first.
Handbrake, Pedals, Throttle, and Spark.
Get the new driver to operate the levers, switch on the car, start it, etc (electric start is easier) all while stationary.....get the familiarization of the controls first.
That done, then its time to drive.
But, I always have them drive with the low speed pedal down....a lot....circle and circle the parking lot in low pedal....use the throttle for speed and slowing, and practice the brake pedal.
Important to my experience, I never label the Low Pedal as the 'Clutch' pedal....that just really confuses learners, esp. ones who have driving experience with shift cars.....!
So I call that pedal on the left the "GO" pedal, you push it down to 'GO' slow, and then release it to 'GO' fast.....
With the practice in low pedal, learning the throttle on how to speed up and slow down, how to pull the handbrake to 'neutral' and allow the foot off the "GO" pedal...after success in going in circles in low pedal...stopping and pulling the handbrake and finding neutral with the foot off the 'Go' pedal.... a little Reverse pedal practice too.... lots of repetition...then....and only then.....
Let 'em lift the foot off and go into high gear, just be sure you have some clear road ahead as ole Lizzie marches out to speed...
Nothing better in the world than teaching a newbie to handle Lizzie.
The first thing to do is go to Church and Pray for patience...
Dan has it right -
Do a lot of slow hand brake in neutral driving first.
Go pedal, reverse pedal, stop pedal, and gas lever.
Screams of delight etc.
Once that is conquered it is time for the brake handle all the way forward and some high gear stuff.
Explain that half way down on the go pedal is the easy way to do the same thing as putting the brake lever part way down.
It saves a lot of bending over.
When I taught both of my boys how to drive a T the first lessons were with the stick at 12 0'clock and telling them if they got confused in the big lot, just place both feet flat on the floor. With that they learned how to go forward with proper fuel adjust, how to coast, how to brake.
That lesson mastered, they then learned how to do it full stick forward as the next lesson with me riding driver side running board...and ready to yell "hands off" and bring to a stop from there...maybe not the safest thing in the world, but then fortunately my running board ride was simply 'moral support'and they did fine.
If the daughter has already learned to drive 'manual' modern tranny....it gets tougher, so find a biiiiig field or a biiiiig parking lot. Has not happened to me, but has happened to others that I've witnessed. Give someone with a little knowledge a T lesson, and when they get in trouble the FIRST thing they do is push the 'clutch pedal' to the floor! That's OK if in a big field....but if theres a tree, that T will try and chug thru a tree in low, and won't stop until the motor has gone thru the radiator This did happen to a friend of mine.
I bought my first Model T back in August and so far, taught two people how to drive it. Both were car enthusiasts who knew how to handle a conventional clutch.
For the first lesson, we used the parade setting of keeping the hand lever in the neutral position so the clutch pedal could only command low gear and neutral (It's easy to remember, "Left pedal to go, right pedal to stop"). In that configuration, we practiced starts, stops and slow figure-8's in a vacant high-school parking lot. The unusual controls took some getting used to, of course, but without the complication of having to shift gears, it wasn't overwhelming and after only a few circuits, my "student" was starting to relax and have fun.
We did about fifteen minutes of that, then took a coffee break during which we went through a detailed explanation of the left pedal and its relationship to the hand-lever. When we got back in the car, my companion practiced several gear-shifting dry runs with the engine shut down and once we were satisfied he had a good understanding of how things worked, we did it again with the engine running.
There was a lot of bucking and stalling the first few times, but that was mostly because the smallish confines of the parking lot required some quick braking and a sharp turn right after upshifting--finding the neutral zone while that's going on isn't easy.
A much bigger parking lot (without speed bumps) would have made the whole exercise a piece of cake.
Years back I put some tires on & did a complete tune up on a '27 Roadster for a man who bought the car but had no idea how to drive it or how to work on it.
Long story short, I got the car running, put new tires on it and I took it for a test drive.
Next day I called the owner and told him he could come pick up the car. He shows up and I give him the download on how to drive it, what the levers & pedals do etc, then I drove it around the area with him as passenger.
We get back to the shop and he says he's ready to fly solo. I advised against that due to the roads he'd have to travel were densely traveled, but he was insistent. Maybe a case of being excited over ruling logic, I don't know.
He made it about 3 miles down the road before he got so nervous he pulled off the road and called me to drive it the rest of the way home.
He told me, "I wasn't used to that clutch pedal and the brakes aren't that good" I then explained it's not a new car, you have to treat it as such.
For the record it was a sweet running & driving car, he got spooked but yet if he heeded my advice it probably wouldv'e kept the car.
I would not worry about the training, you should do just fine. You should proud that your daughter has an interest in your car. Getting kids involved with the hobby is essential. Just be patient and youand her will have a lot of fun and will build a lot of memories.
I've only owned my car for four years, so I'm by no means an expert; however, I've had several family members try driving the car and found that the best analogy is to an automatic and/or motorcycle. I tell them that the hand brake is similar to the shift lever on an automatic (park-neutral-drive) and that the clutch pedal is similar to a motorcyle (1st-N-2nd).
Most of the people that have driven my car grew up on a farm with Ford tractors, like the 8N, so the controls have some familiarity. They've only driven for a short time and live in a high traffic area, so we never went into high.
That's my two bits.
When we taught our two girls to drive, we kept the hand brake lever pulled back to neutral so the T wouldn't get away from them in high but we were out in our friend's rather large pasture. After a couple joint rides together with one of us, we let them go for it. They were learning in my wife's '25 coupe.
My grandfather taught me step by step:
First, starting the car - proper igintion and fuel
Then once it was running, he got me to sit at the controls and get a feel for where everything is.
Put the lever to the neutral postion, and start off with low speed driving around his long driveway. He wouldn't let me drive at anything other than low speed until I got a feel for how it turned, what the pedals felt like,etc.
After the low speed was mastered, then came high gear. I think it made him a very happy man to teach me how to drive his baby......
Thank you for the suggestions and tip.
My daughter is 29yo. She's been driving a manual transmission for 13 years now and consequently, its the "foot on the clutch when panicked" that bothers me the most.
But from your posts, I've gathered that its just a matter of common sense and patience that will see us through.
It'll probably take place on Boxing day and the day after that...its up to her.
I look forward to seeing the reactions of the rest of the family, including her 3 year old (Lightning McQueen/Doc Hudson fan) son, watching us.
I'll let you know how we get on.
Once again, Thank You.
Enjoy the festive season.
Just be gentle. The first time I ever drove our TT was in about '58 or '59. I was 11 or 12 at the time. It was apricot season and we were busy with the crop. My uncle and my grandfather put me in the drivers seat, showed me how to work the low pedal and told me they'd load the full fruit boxes onto the truck. My job was to drive the truck forward to the next stack of boxes, stop until they were loaded, then move forward to the next stack.
Well, the first time I tried to move it I killed the engine. Although it had a starter equiped engine, it didn't work, so it had to be cranked. It was a particularly hot day and the engine was pretty hot. At that time it didn't start very easily when hot (much better now). So, as my grandfather cranked I got "THE LOOK". He didn't say anything out loud, but I sure got hte message.
Times are different. Have FUN!!!
Having attended several "Learn to drive a Lizzie" days, I have observed that two things most learning drivers have the most difficulty with are 1. Pushing up the throttle to slow down. They just push the brake without backing off the gas. 2. Pushing the low pedal all the way down when they stop thereby either killing the engine, or running over the pedestrian (has not happened, but easily could). This problem with the pedestrian is especially dangerous when one does not push up the throttle and also pushes the low all the way to the floor. This could also cause one to go through the wrong end of a garage.
Dan has it right. If one practices with the hand lever in the neutral position and uses only the low and brake and learns to speed up and slow down with the throttle, it will be much easier to remember not to push the low pedal all the way down and to push up the gas when comming to a stop.