This may not interest most of you so I won't be offended if you don't read farther.
(Note: "RHD" = Right Hand Drive)
I just got back from the first short drive of my "new" 1913 RHD model T. I have been driving T's for over 15 years now and have almost 10 years on my RHD MG. When you drive a RHD car people come up and ask how long it takes to get used to "driving on the wrong side". My answer is always that you can comfortably drive right away, but it takes at least 5 minutes for it to be automatic.
That was until I drove the T today. As most know it takes a while driving a T to have the controls become automatic. Some folks adopt driving habits such as stopping with the hand brake to make actions automatic should they be called upon in urgent situations.
I have discovered that 15 years of T driving translates to immediate comfort with the pedals which are arranged the same (left = low/neutral/high, center = reverse, right = brake). Steering, likewise, is the same no matter which side of the car you inhabit. The challenge comes when you are called on to swish the swizzle sticks on the steering column. Henry placed the throttle closest to the center of the car and the spark advance outboard... simple! The problem comes in when you are used to gas on the right and spark on the left... that's bass ackwards, the RHD comes equipped with spark on the right and throttle on the left.
So running down the road and you want to slow down...NOTHING HAPPENS! Then you realize you have fully advanced the spark whilst attempting to close the throttle.
It feels a bit like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time you are dancing a tango with your feet!
"Foreign" Car Show Nevada City 6/8/2012: TH
I've got all LHD cars in my garage have yet to drive a RHD T !!! I get asked that same question about sitting on the left to drive on the left.... you can see the edge of the road better.
Were you the questionable hit of the car show?
I spent a month one week in 1986 in New Zealand with a rental car. After getting wipers a few times when trying to signal for a turn, I figured out to clamp my left hand to the gear shifter and drive with my right hand - the opposite of LHD. Surprisingly, the turn signals fell to hand naturally, and the rest of the driving did, too.
Do whatever you presently do with your right hand in a LHD T, and do it with your left hand. That probably means holding onto the steering wheel, too. In the RHD T, grab the wheel at 6 oclock with your left hand, and see if that doesn't reverse your thinking...
RD, there was no question about it! The put the car at the top of the hill in front of the fire station in order to draw visitors up the hill to see the other cars... it worked.
You have lost me when you say you want to slow down and ...NOTHING HAPPENS! then you realize you have fully advanced the spark to close the throttle.
RHD levers are the same as LHD, up shuts throttle and up retards.
Kerry, I was wondering that as well. The leavers are on the opposite sides but still work the same way as the LHD cars.
Nowadays in Australia, cars we receive from LHD countries that are built RHD for us will have the blinker/wiper controls on either side so we do get used to being ambidextrous when it comes to steering column controls.
Yep, still flustered and ackwards... I meant that when I want to slow I get a bit retarded... er the engine does, that is!
I think that learning to do it right won't take long... except that it is going to be really confabulating to switch back and forth... Rusty is my daily driver (LHD). I really suggest that y'all go all LHD or all RHD, not try to switch hit, that's not easy!
Hi guys, I can relate to some problems here as I have spent the last weeks driving my Thunder Bird and A Mustang around town and when I get into the Nissan4WD and go to turn corners the wipers come on
and the blinkers worked well in the rain, It just takes the brain to say hey we have changed car now go the other way and I have been driving RHD and LHD for thirty years and I still get it wrong so Terry dont feel like you are the only one.
Hey David, I will have the Thunder Bird out all next week and the parking cop is waiting to see how I will park it under the super market as I intend to take 4 spaces, I told him I need two just to open the doors and I will be 4 or 5 feet into the ones behind, not a happy man when I left... Ray
I had not driven a LHD Model T for years, so when I got my RHD back on the road, it was like starting over! Now, its the only type of T I'm used to - driving a LHD would now take some getting readjusted!
4th of July parade, Coronado Island, California
RAY - Good luck with the parking in Euro sized car parks.
I wonder how Angel Macías would do switching between driving LHD and RHD.
Dave is cheating, he has two RHD cars, he just posted a picture of his RHD Triumph on Facebook. I think he has a LHD truck, Ford I think, I wonder how he gets on with the wipers???
The levers on my 1930 Model A and my 1913 Model T ( both RHD ) are opposite to each other. Doesn't seem to cause to much confusion probably as I use the accelerator ( in between the brake and clutch on a RHD A ) a lot more than the hand throttle when driving the model A- Karl
Terry, great to see your T up and running. You will find it will be a lot easier to drive once you have a few miles up. If you have to do any quick stops not much will happen as you will still hit the pedals which are the same.
There is another solution though!!! Well maybe not .
In 1979 when my family and I were staying with Bruce McCalley ( RIP) when he lived in Burbank we went to a swap meet ( long Beach from memory). In those days getting information could be hard to find if it was something different. Having a RHD Model T Ford was one of those things, A local had found a RHD 1915 Touring??? Not being able to find anyone near him that had a RHD T he had to put it back together by himself.
He connected the spark and throttle as per LHD. It worked OK only trouble was he needed a mess of rods and levers. There were brackets bolted onto the manifold and the head bolts going in all directions. It was so crowded around the steering column removing the oil cap or checking the commutator was impossible.
I'm not sure if he ever changed it to original even though I gave him some sketches on the way it was done.
Does anyone know of the car ? The owner was about my age so now he would be in his late 60's - early 70's.
I had the same problem when I learned driving my 1928 Indian 101 Scout. Foot clutch on the left was much like a car, hand shifter for the gears and rear brake with the RH foot was also much like a car - no problem.
Throttle in the LH handlebar wasn't what I was used to in motorcycles, though - neither was spark control in the RH twist handle. Easiest way to drive it was to always twist both handlebars simultaneously - advancing the spark at the same time I was opening the throttle & retarding the spark when I closed the throttle. Thus no problems with late throttle response in stressed situations. When I let it idle for longer periods I advanced the spark.
Might work in a RHD T if you have long enough fingers & can reach both the throttle & spark controls while steering?
I had similar experiences when learning to drive our N and later K. I've driven many "Model T" miles, however when starting out with the Model N, I almost drove through the side of the garage the first time. Not only are the spark and fuel reversed, the Model N has three pedals like a T, but the purpose of each is much different.
As with a T, stomping on any of the three pedals when going forward will slow you in an NRS Ford. However, when backing, as I quickly found out, if you push on the left pedal, instead of being the low speed as with a T, it is the reverse pedal. Not the thing to do when rolling backward, and thinking you are pushing the brake but really depressing the reverse pedal and suddenly going backward quickly (almost into the side of the garage).
Enjoy. As you will notice, it becomes almost second nature. Now I jump into any of the cars and usually "revert" to the correct process immediately.
Rob, I hope you are right and I learn quickly.
Roger, you give me some concern as I am eyeing my next project... my 1965 Triumph T100SC "desert sled". That is a little competition motorcycle which has it's pedals (transmission shifter and brake) on opposite sides from my Honda CB350 (and most other bikes). Maybe I should sell the thing now and stick with the standard stuff! Long fingers would be very nice...It is very hard to get fingers between the ladder and the steering wheel to reach the throttle... even though I positioned the ladders about 2 " left of center on the car.
Peter, thanks for having sent me photos of your brake linkage on the Lamsteed, I should probably send you photos of my solution to the brake interlock problem, it is really slick!
I was taught on a RHD, so the other club members are safe from my 'borrowing' one of theirs. Have never had to drive a LHD T, but think I'd be just as mixed up as Terry.
Imagine you're Jay Leno ('cause he's a friend of this forum and knowing he's probably going to read this, it's kind of fun to bust his chops a little).
Now, imagine you're Jay Leno walking into your garage and picking out a car, at random, from the Brass-Era section, to drive to the local grocery for a quart of milk.
Now imagine you're Jay Leno and you've settled in behind the wheel of that RHD, German or French or Swiss automobile and you're scratching your head as you attempt to mentally differentiate between the array of oddball cockpit controls before you and the controls of the hundred-or-so other seriously ancient cars in that garage—all of which are non-standard in their own individual, cantankerous way.
And now imagine Dennis Gage strolls, unannounced, into the far end of the garage. You can't hear him over the echoing sound of a rivet gun, but catch sight of his wave in the corner of your eye just as Bernard attempts a flying tackle from the side—and misses. Suddenly your brain shifts into a panic-induced state of nitrous oxide-enhanced overdrive resulting in a frenzied blur of instinctive action: With both hands, feet and teeth, you're swinging levers, setting column-stalks, twisting rotary-switches, priming, etc., amidst the sound of pumps spooling, compressors hissing, solenoids clacking and an inertia-starter winding up its crescendo. The engine fires and one split-second before you could no longer plausibly pretend you didn't notice the effervescent guy behind the Pringles mustache, your 1911 Composées Des Foie-Gras peels the heck out of there like the George Barris Batmobile.
And THAT'S how Jay Leno remembers all those oddball controls.
These spark & throttle lever extensions might work?
My wife and I hired a car in Spain a few years ago to travel around in. Like you good folk in the USA they also drive on the wrong side of the road and go around the roundabouts the wrong way.
My attempts to show them, by example, the correct way were, alas, in vain and met with much abuse and derision.
My wife has made a management decision that all future travel in countries that are left hand drive will be done by bus or train.
Russell, keep up the good work!