A recent post of accident photos on the forum got me to thinking about speed in our Model T's.
So here's a question:
"Under what you consider ideal conditions, what's the highest speed you feel comfortable driving your T?" (Assuming you have some way of measuring speed in your T).
I'll start ... I get real nervous going over about 37 mph.
I imagine the damage you see was a combination of the T's speed, the speed of the object they hit or if that object was stationary. A T hit by a streetcar looks like the T was doing 70.
A whole lot depends on where you drive and the speed your driving. Average speed in a T is around 30-45 give or take. Going that speed on a paved road these days is really to slow for modern cars. Especially when another vehicle comes up from behind doing around 50-65 mph. And when using a cell phone?
We top out at 63 in high and then go into overdrive with three to one gearing with our Warford. But an 1100 pound Speedster with Rocky Mountain brakes starts and stops quicker than a stock T.
My T's seem very happy at about 30 to 35 mph. Faster than that they seem to strain a little. It took me a long time to have patience to go that speed but it is comfortable now. I will go faster in traffic but in Idaho and Montana there are many ways to keep out of the traffic and we mostly drive on secondary roads.
I believe a T will last several times as long at 35 as it will at 45 or more. I've tried it both ways.
It depends on the condition of your car. I drive as fast as the car will go without the engine sounding like it's being pushed or is unhappy. Generally that's about 35 for me. I'll slow it down is I start to worry about something (Is that a new sound? When was the last time I checked the brake band?) but I don't like to go too slow since that reduces the reaction time for modern cars coming up fast from behind.
Anytime I'm driving a T it's pretty much stock. At about 40 mph I start getting scared. I find 30 to 35 comfortable on a paved road. On dirt roads I like 20 to 30, depending on the condition of the road. I prefer life in the slow lane for two reasons. Slower is safer, and there's less wear and tear on the vehicle. I have no beef with going fast in a speedster that's built for it, but in a stock T I'll go with the T era style of driving.
My normal cruising speed in my 26 Tudor on good flat roads is 40 mph. To do that requires a well balanced motor and trans along with good upkeep of your T. Every car and driver is different. Because of that, it is mostly up to you to find your own comfort zone.
I'll cruise from 50 to 55 on the highway with my speedster. I've been up over 60 when I was coming up an on ramp and showing off passing a bunch of other T's on tour - no ill effects to the car but when I realized how quick I was moving it surprised me. I'm not sure how fast the speedster will go if I ever really give her her head.
Using a modern car I've paced my TT (w/aux. trans.) at 33 MPH. However, it's screaming at that speed. About 25 MPH is pretty comfortable. It does have aux. brakes (Bennetts), which I consider a necessity, particularly due to the fact that it has the Muncie.
Hand in hand with speed is selecting your route. Yesterday I took it across town (about 7 miles each way) to pick up something my wife ordered. I stay off the main streets and thread my way to my destination using side streets and residential streets, that way I'm not in anyone's way and am therefore much less likely to compel someone to do something stupid to get past me.
PS - Yesterday I provided two Babies R Us employees an opportunity to be the only employees of that company ever to load a large crib (in a very large box) onto a 1918 truck!
Assuming everything else is in good condition, front brakes and a real steering gear let you go fast, relatively safely.
It's certainly no worse than a motorcycle.
But a T does not have front brakes and a real steering gear.
I had my 1923 touring/pickup up to 51 mph the other day on the highway (according to the radar speed sign), but that was a one-time deal with no other traffic around (I only have the stock brakes).
The car seems comfortable at 35-40, beyond that and you can tell the car is starting to strain.
I like to drive the speed limit, So That is What I try do.
I try to do 35 on the road. Occasionally, I will check and find that I am doing 40 or so, but I back off when I do.
The problem with questions about speed is that people turn off their logic and turn on their emotions, so it is hard to have an intelligent discussion about it.
First let's talk about wear. Is chugging along at 25 really better for a motor than cruising along at 50? What is the proof of this? Sure, the engine is going faster at 50, but are the stress and strain levels on the crank less? Also, at 25 the engine is running twice as long as it would be to travel the same distance at 50.
Now as far as safety, we've had these discussions before too. People generally fall into two camps: One, like Steve above live by the mantra "slower is safer". The other are more open about speed and think that driving for the conditions is safer. That is, go slowly when it is safer and faster when it is safer. I fall into the second camp. I think that often, probably more often than most T drivers think, faster is safer. An impatient driver in a modern car is the enemy to a T's safety, in my opinion.
To answer the question, I have driven or ridden in T's where 35 was scary, and I have driven my T all day long at 55 plus mph and felt perfectly safe. So there is no set speed, for me.
As far as abuse to the motor goes from driving fast, my first T that I built in 1975 had the same babbitt in it when I gave it to my sister 40 years later. It would regularly be driven at 50 plus mph, including a half dozen or so Montana 500's.
The answers thus far demonstrate the fact that there's a lot of variety under the heading of Model T Ford. What's bad for a stock T may be OK for one that's been modified in some way. Ralph can go zipping up the 605 at sixty in his car because it's been modified, and I wouldn't drive over 40mph or take my stock roadster on a freeway at all. Safe speed depends on what you're driving.
My 1926 T coupe is equipped with a 490A Stewart speedometer, so I can answer this accurately. At 30 to 32 mph she runs and drives as smooth as a sewing machine. I suppose if I wanted to I could get her up to 45 mph, but have never tried to go that fast, for, at 35 mph the vibration and noise get uncomfortably loud and I cannot see out the rearview mirror due to it vibrating so bad. Jim Patrick
PS. In response to Steve's post, my '26 coupe is stock as it came from the factory. No modifications or improvements (except for the speedometer) to make her drive or run any different than she did when new, in 1926. Jim Patrick
Sounds like you have an unbalanced engine or worn Ujoint, Jim. I would avoid driving at speeds that cause vibrations, too.
I agree with Tom Carnegie. I drive my '27 at about 45 mph because that is where the car is "happy"(no undue vibrations, not lugging, not stressed in any way). This engine has been together since 1978 with at least 40,000 miles on it. Totally stock (fibre cam gear too!!!). Three years ago I built front brakes simply because I LOVE the challenge (and I do feel safer)
My old speedster would cruise nicely at 75. The guy I sold it to got a ticket at 92 mph(he had backed off the gas). It really needed front brakes!!!!
My new project is Bonneyville where I hope to join the 130mph club in a flathead powered stock displacement non supercharged model T
Back to what Tom said. It is way safer to run with the traffic if you can.
Thanks Ralph. I do need to get to the root of it.
By the way. A couple of weeks ago, I was under the car and noticed on the left rear wheel, a 1/4 " space between the brake drum and backing plate whereby the lining was visible. After telling you guys about it and getting some ideas on what it could be, I jacked the rear to investigate further and I found that my left rear wheel was wobbling on the tapered shaft (it did not wobble when firmly on the ground which is why I didn't notice it). When I took off the hub cap, the nut was only a few threads from coming completely off the shaft. There was no cotter pin to hold the nut in place. I torqued the nut to 100 lbs as advised and installed a cotter key, but I have not driven the car above 30 since this episode. It might be that the loose rear wheel could have been what caused such a bad vibration. Hmmmm. Now I'm anxious to find out. Jim
I would guess that most relatively unmodified cars are in the same ballpark where cruising speed is concerned. Yeah, I know there are highly modified speedsters and single-seaters with racing bodies that turn in some impressive (and chilling) numbers, but for those of us with ďordinaryĒ cars that have nothing more exotic than Rocky Mountain Brakes and maybe a Ruckstell rearÖ well, I think itís safe to say none of us will be heading for the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The fastest Iíve ever had my í15 touring up to was 42 MPH (according to my GPS). That was on a long, straight, level road without intersections or traffic lights, so it was more or less safe. I have 5:1 steering which of course is better for higher speeds and that did feel pretty solid and safe. But the engine was revving up high enough for me to realize that a steady diet of such blistering velocity would not be good for the machinery. Also, the kinds of roads that would be safe enough for the braking distance Iíd need to bring the car to a stop are rare in my neck of the woods. At 42 MPH, the throttle was nowhere near fully open, so there was still a good deal of speed in reserve. If I had to bet, Iíd say that top speed would be around 50, assuming the engine didnít explode and I were looney-tunes-crazy enough to attempt it.
I would guess most of us with healthy engines limit our cruising speed to around 35 MPH. My Rocky Mountain Brakes still work well at that speed, but braking distance is greatly reduced if Iím doing only 5 MPH less, so I usually approach green traffic lights at 30.
In residential neighborhoods, I keep it quite slow, maybe 18-20 MPH, because some kid might dart out from between two parked cars and I definitely want to be able to stop on a dime and return nine cents change. When Iím driving my modern car, Iím low enough to look under the parked cars and spot little feet, but not from the lofty bridge of my Model T, so puckita-puckita speed works out just fine for me. And that way, more people get to see the car and I get more waves and smiles.
I do have what I think is an unusual problem at low speed: My ammeter shows a discharge of about 2-amps. I suspect something needs to be adjusted in my retro-fitted, 12-volt alternator, but Iíll wait till after the driving season to figure out whether I can fix it myself or have it done. Meanwhile, I seem to do enough ďhigh-speedĒ driving to keep the battery charged.
I have driven my '26 touring on the freeway at 57 MPH. Even with 4 people it got scarey from the flexing and light weight.
After I was driving about 25 and a young guy pulled out from a shopping center in front of me on my right and made a left turn I have decided 15 MPH is a safe speed in a T with good hydraulic rear brakes only.
A T with stock steering and brakes is generally safe at 25 in town and 35 on the open road with light traffic.
If it has disc rear brakes with a power booster you can add 1 MPH to those numbers.
There have been a lot of real nasty T accidents the last 5 years at 42 MPH and under.
Bud's question is hard to answer. He did say,"Ideal conditions". I think that is when you are the only car and driver for a mile in each direction.
My question would be, "How fast can you safely drive your modern car when model T fords are in the area"?
I Agree with Tom, Ralph, and Les.
I'll add some of my own thoughts about why I think I drive in a relative safe manner.
I have to say that I feel it's somewhat safer to drive on our freeways here in SoCal rather than on the side streets providing you're not driving at 35mph. When on a city street there is always traffic crossing and pulling out or braking to turn in front of your T. Just think how many times this has happened to each of us and luckily we avoided an accident. Side streets also have a chance for kids, dogs, toys, and what ever you can imagine to come into your path. On the other hand the hazard on our freeways is mostly from behind or sudden stops of traffic ahead. I mostly stay in the right lane and drive about 55 which is the legal truck speed.
Don't get me wrong, this is not a place to be driving at 35 even though sometimes the flow of traffic is much less.
The key is to have a vehicle that is comfortable to drive at those speeds. This means one that is mechanically in good condition and built to run as perfect as possible. Stock T's can run easily over 50mph for years on end if rebuilt to todays high standards and attention to details. Just check out the performance of the Montana 500 cars.
Many tours I've been on I've seen a real hazard when a line of modern cars gets backed up behind a line 20 mph T's. This presents a real hazard for everyone when one impatient driver tries to pass.
I've driven my '12 Torpedo at 68mph on the 101 with no traffic other than another Centerdoor. It was pretty much ideal conditions. Did I feel safe?.. Well I was certainly watching the road surface for any holes and feeling the wheel for any signs of a flat tire or loose wheel. But at my cars happy speed of 45 to 55 on an open road, Yes I feel comfortable knowing that I've double checked everything when it was put together and before each tour. I also built and installed some front brakes just to be on a safer side.
Do accidents happen that we can't control and no fault of the T driver, YES. I guess that's the risk of living and enjoying our hobby. We assume a risk with whatever activity we do and enjoy our lives.
I pray for Ted's quick and full recovery. I can't tell you how I feel when I hear about another serious T accident. I still haven't got over the fatality we had in Kanab....
I think a lot of folks tend to think everyone drives under the same conditions as they do. I know I'm guilty of that. Sometimes, people talk about how slow a TT is and that it is not safe on the road. I drive mine on the road all the time doing 20-25 in a 55. However, where I live is relatively flat and relatively sparsely populated. It is not uncommon to encounter farm machinery on the road moving much slower than me. I have a SMV triangle and don't recall a time when I ever had a close call (Well, once, but there were extenuating circumstances and I won't put myself in that position again). To do the same thing in Los Angeles would probably not be a good idea. On the other hand, someone just the other day was saying how it was unsafe to drive on a four lane because people swap lanes in front of you then slam on the brakes. Where I live, that has never been a problem. I feel safest on a four lane. People can easily pass. I don't feel the need to pull over to let them around. I guess it just kinda depends on where you live and what your conditions are like.
I felt safer on the highway doing 61 mph than in street traffic at 25 or 30 mph.
I don't know about Georgia law, but here in California the use of a SMV triangle is illegal except for agriculture equipment.
There is no magic "safe speed". It all depends on driving conditions as they change, sometimes by the second.
As far as "safe speeds" when considering other traffic, there really is none. No matter how fast you drive a T, you will NOT be going fast enough for the hot-head behind you. I can do 40 in a 35 and someone will just have to pass that damned old car in front of them. You can't win, you can only try to be safe.
If I wanted to drive 45mph, I would take a new car. If I was forced to go that fast because of traffic, I would take a different road.
It is my understanding they are required on all vehicles with a maximum speed less than 25 mph. I'll ask my son. He's a police officer.
You are wrong Henry,
Here in California like most states and Canada any vehicle that can not maintain more than 25 MPH must display red triangle.
You can and should display one on the rear of a TT.
In Ontario, Canada it must be displayed on vehicles traveling less than 40 KPH.
If you have one on a T or tractor or something you must take it off if you are hauling it on a trailer.
I have know guys that were stopped for going too fast with the triangle on their T.
I am now an Old Fogey but am among the few of us who has had a Model T up on two wheels and even air-borne. I admire those who can machine and modify a model T to go 60 all day. For years I lived with the fact you could be in danger driving a car too fast. Now I realize there is a significant danger in driving too slow. When you consider the fact that collectively, we have drive T's millions of miles with relatively few accidents it shouldn't be a real worry. I am willing to take that risk with my family for the pleasure we get from it. But in light of the recent accidents it is good that we stop and think about safety. We all have to consider what is best for our particular situation and I am glad to see this discussion.
I still like 30 to 35 mph
Several years ago I went on an Oklahoma Special T's tour from Enid, OK. to Minden, Neb. I drove 38 mph all the way to Great Bend, Ks., where we met up with some T's that had started in Woodward, OK. A coupe from Woodward could only do 35 mph, so we traveled that speed the rest of the way to Minden. We still made good time, because we didn't have to slow down for the towns we passed through. Ed
30-35 estimate I feel real nice and comfortable and the engine sounds great at those speeds.
I checked with my son. According to GA Code 40-8-4, any vehicle operating at less than 25 mph is required to display a SMV triangle. No mention of any violation for having one on a vehicle operating in excess of 25mph.
You are risking your life and the lives of your passengers above 35 MPH in a stock Model T. Slower is safer.
Some people not only turn off their logic, they completely turn off their brain.
for Hal Davis, As for Ga.v/s taxachusetts. Todays
outing is to buy a new scanner copier. Ok, about
8miles round trip. that took a good hour. So wouldnt
a model t be perfect? when I was growing up, this
use ta be a hick, farm town. Now I cant get out of
my driveway. Love them stop lights dont ya, these
dopes still talkin on phones two or three light
changes, me just watching my fuel gage droping & i'm stopped. While I'm ranting, where in hell are all
these people mainly women going 24 /7 dont anybody
work any more? I have a wonderful idea, why dont
they do wash dipers or dishes instead of burning
fuel parading around jackin up fuel prices. huh?
safe speed for a model t here, either a bike or
walking. Least I'll get 25 mpg with one instead
of 5mpg with a 460 F350
I drive a T almost every day and rarely go over 30. One of the reasons I drive a T is so that I can enjoy driving at a slower speed and "smell the roses". If I'm in a hurry to get somewhere I go modern. Each one of my cars has a speed where it settles in most comfortably but they are all somewhere between 25 and a bit over 30 and I expect that those are the speeds that these cars were actually designed to operate at. You can do a lot to make these cars go faster but you have to remember that the components are over 85 years old at best and have seen plenty of rough service. I can't understand why anyone would want to push their luck by trying to go even faster than these cars were designed to go when they were brand new.
What Val said. Bud, your title says safe and your text says comfort. Safe? Forget it. Not happenin'. Nobody has a roll bar and a few have safety belts and honestly you'd be so much better off with both it's almost beyond saying. The safest and most comfortable I've ever felt in a T was driving around in our development. First off it has the only posted speed limit I can actually break. 25MPH. The roads are flat and darn near empty. Even at that no one has ever asked for a second ride after they get one. My daughter-in-law, after looking for the seat belts and hanging on for dear life asked how fast are we going? She couldn't believe it was only 25/30. Too high and too exposed to the wind I guess. Street driving around here is out of the question. The slowest MPH posting is 45 and shoulders are far to non-existent. I don't do it any more. Too many close calls + stop & turn signals didn't make a bit of difference. You're in the way.
Remember. At the dawn of the automobile age, most folks had never traveled faster than a horse which at full speed might reach 30mph, but only for a short stretch. When the automobile came along, they did not feel the need to go any faster than a galloping horse since that is as fast as most people had ever gone. Only difference was, the automobile could go 30 all day long for as far as necessary without getting tired and most folks were satisfied with that. Jim Patrick
FWIW I bought a SMV triangle for my 15 touring a few months ago. Its mounted high on the folded top irons with a bungee cord and can be easily installed/removed.
It may be my imagination or wishful thinking but when drivers pass me now they don't seem quite as peeved at my slow speed. I think it's subconscious on their part "Oh well, if that's the best speed he can make .......".
As for the law, frankly I don't give a darn. We've got a good sheriff and good deputies, I'm sure the worst they'll do is make me take it off and I doubt they'll do that. (FHP is another story - I'll still take my chances).
The subject is safe speed. That depends on not only the vehicle, but as several have pointed out, it also depends on where you drive it. If I drive up to the county seat, I can take a US highway with a speed limit of 70mph, or I can take the old highway where the limit is 55mph and there's much less traffic, or I can go on unpaved township roads with even less traffic. I've used the township roads, and I've used the old highway, but I'd be crazy to get on that main highway in a car that cruises at 35mph. I'd be betting my life that everyone doing 70mph is competent. One of the advantages of living out here in the sticks is the abundance of little-used alternate routes.
For safe speed, I vote 30-35. Luckily we live in the country, with many back roads. I can bypass all the main roads to get anywhere. I use to think nothing of driving through the city of Syracuse. Now with cell phones and texting, I will rarely drive one of my V-8's through there. To much work in these cars to have some idiot on a cell phone plow into them. It is illegal in NY to text or use a cell phone while driving, but that doesn't make any difference. People still continue to break the law and text and talk while driving
I agree with Bud and see no harm in putting a SMV triangle on a SMTMOC (Slower moving than most other traffic) Model T. It's common sense and is one law I would have no trouble breaking and I believe I could make any officer who stopped me for it see reason and agree with me that it is safer to have it than not, especially on highway but, I also with Steve. No way I'd ever again, get on a US highway in a Model T. Only the endless connecting subdivisions and back country roads around Bartow, for me and Miss Daisy. Jim Patrick
I try to drive any Model T as if it had no brakes. My second rule is, I drive as fast as I want to be going when I crash. These are old cars and things break. I
If some people turn their brains off when talking about safe top speed for a stock T, then that is probably because it is a no brainer. Above 35 mph is pushing the envelope, most who drive 50 and above are not driving a stock T, and that is a whole nuther can of worms, what is the safe top speed of a hot rod? This is not a question that can be answered with out specifics, and "stock T" is pretty specific, that means minimum braking ability, and sensitive steering. Once you put modern steering and brakes on a car, then top speed would be to drive with traffic, and while you are at it, why not stick a small block V8 and automatic transmission so you can keep up with traffic too?
Relax, Gus; the Universal Car has been all things from a tractor to an Indy racer.
My Fronty head (1921) keeps up with modern traffic, as does Gene's 1912 Torpedo with 1912 block and HC head. These cars have original size clincher tires, which wouldn't support a heavy drivetrain such as you suggest.
A fast T can always go slow, as Gene does on many local and national tours. His car also wins most, if not all, shows he has entered.
A. Gustaf Bryngelson, it is a no brainer because people continue to get killed and hurt from driving their T's too slowly. It is a fact. Turn your brain on and wise up. Slower is not always safer. Now mind you, I'm not saying faster is always safer either. Can you get hurt and killed from driving your T too fast? I'm sure you can - ALTHOUGH, I personally know of no one who has gotten hurt or died in a Model T as a direct result of driving too fast. I've heard of people hitting deer - people getting T-boned in intersections - people getting cut off - people having their steering or suspension fail - people having their brakes fail (usually aftermarket brakes) - in none of these cases was excessive speed the direct cause, or even a significant factor.
I know of many accidents where driving too slowly on a highway was a significant factor in contributing to a collision. It has happened to two of my friends. One accident resulted in a broken back, the other a death.
I don't give rip if you drive your T as slowly as you feel comfortable doing, but to advocate "slower is safer" in all situations is irresponsible in my opinion. People are getting hurt!
p.s. I consider my T stock. It has no accessory brakes and the only significant speed modifications are a reground cam, aluminum pistons, moderate head milling and careful balancing.
What does a Fronty head do for you in an impact at 65 mph?
I'd rather have a 30x3 on the left front go flat at 30mph than at 50 mph.
Has it happened to you, Hal? I had the RF blow at 65 on the 605, and it steered to the side of the freeway just fine. The bare rim on pavement was noisy, however. I don't think it would have been any different with original T steering, but I'm glad to have 10:1 modren Ford steering gear.
I was riding with my Dad in his F1 pickup when the LF tire blew on a right hand curve. He was all over both lanes getting it stopped. Skinnier tire means less drag and less flopping around when it does go flat.
I do drive slow, but I do not drive where a slow vehicle is an added hazard, a stock T has no place on a freeway or busy highway. When determining what speed is safest, the condition of the car is more important than the traffic speed, if you drive a car beyond its capabilities, then you are more likely to be involved in an accident caused by you. I travel a lot of local highways at speed under 16 mph, it is a fact of life here, and when driving that slowly, it does require that you watch the idiots behind you. Traveling on the same roads at 30 mph in a T may be safer from a rear end collision than 16 mph, but there are vehicles that have been rear ended at 55 by some moron on a cell phone in a 55 zone. Traffic is a secondary factor when determining what is a safe speed for any given vehicle.
Actually Ralph.....Yes. It was a 30 x 3-1/2, not a 30 x 3, but yeah, it has happened to me. Front left on my TT. I was doing probably 20-25 and it REALLY wanted to go left.
I really don't much care how fast you drive yours, OK? But I'll keep mine below 40, well below 40. No doubt going faster might help prevent, or at least lessen the severity of, a rear end collision. But in every other circumstance I can think of, I'm thinking higher speeds would make things worse.
Would Ken Meeks still be with us if he was going faster? How about John Sizemore's son. Think if he was going faster his car wouldn't have flipped?
Being involved in a rear end collision is probably about the same at 30 and 55 mph in a 55 mph zone in a stock T. I doubt that a stock T can stop as quickly as the car that has cut in front of you and slammed on the brakes to make a turn off the highway,
Hal, did your tire have a flap?
The flap was doubled over in mine, and actually caused the blowout. The flap flipped onto the axle to remain as evidence. I never did find the tire.
The speed I drive my 25 roadster pick up depends on my ability to stop the car in a reasonable distance. I do not want to be the cause or the result of an accident. Also, when I drive my car I am interested in looking at the surroundings and enjoying the ride. It takes all kinds, but 40-50-60 mph is not for me.
No, just an old tire that was not as roadworthy as I gave it credit for. Sounded like a shotgun going off. Scared the L outa me. The tire stayed on the rim. I was about 1/2 mile from home and was able to drive it on home. Believe it or not, the tire stayed pretty much centered on the rim. The rim never touched the ground.
There is a flap in there now, but I probably wouldn't if I had it to do over again.
Our decrepit private street ends at a busy 35+ mph two lane, and that dumps onto 4 and 6 lane boulevards that are 45+. If I go anywhere I have to maintain 45+ to keep with the flow. It would be impractical and hazardous to have a 25-30 mph vehicle here.
A. Gustaf Bryngelson said: "I do drive slow, but I do not drive where a slow vehicle is an added hazard"
That is great.
Then: "A stock T has no place on a freeway or busy highway."
That is your opinion, and a different matter. The fact is people do drive their T's on the freeway and busy highways. Slower is not safer for them.
Then: "When determining what speed is safest, the condition of the car is more important than the traffic speed"
Your opinion. Why do you say this? Do you have some data to back up your assertion?
Then: "if you drive a car beyond its capabilities, then you are more likely to be involved in an accident caused by you."
What is a car's capabilities? Who determines this? I obviously think the Model T is far more capable than you do. I drive mine pretty much every day. In fact last year I did drive a T every single day. I have driven my T to all 48 states in the U.S., so I think I have a pretty good idea of the capabilities of a T. I am not sure that you do.
Then: "I travel a lot of local highways at speed under 16 mph, it is a fact of life here, and when driving that slowly, it does require that you watch the idiots behind you."
Then: "Traveling on the same roads at 30 mph in a T may be safer from a rear end collision than 16 mph, but there are vehicles that have been rear ended at 55 by some moron on a cell phone in a 55 zone. Traffic is a secondary factor when determining what is a safe speed for any given vehicle."
Hogwash. There are example after example of T's getting rear ended. I have yet to hear about an accident where excessive speed was the major factor.
Then: "Being involved in a rear end collision is probably about the same at 30 and 55 mph in a 55 mph zone in a stock T."
Do you really believe that?
Then: "I doubt that a stock T can stop as quickly as the car that has cut in front of you and slammed on the brakes to make a turn off the highway"
Of course not, but I have found that you are far less likely to be cut off if you are travelling closer to the posted speed limit. Also, in these situations, which I have gotten into, if you can't stop, you can often (always in my case, so far) steer around the problem.
Thanks, Bud .. for the 'tickle' for a long post! LOL
I have to drive over 15 miles to get to a divided 4 lane. I wouldn't take my T on it, if it was a mile away. I get plenty of driving on 2 lane paved roads .. hilly, a little curvy. I used to have a tendency to run 'full tilt' .. which is around 40, but I realized it sure sounded like the ol' girl was screaming at me, so I've now settled on 30-35. Now that I have a rear view mirror, it's easy to seem folks coming up behind me. If it looks like I'll be an obstacle, or soon-to-be hood ornament on some idiot's car, I slow down and pull off to the side. It's probably illegal, but many places, the 'apron' is big enough to drive on for short distances, until the backup behind me has cleared. In town, the problem isn't one of speed .. it's one of stopping (of course, too much speed make stopping difficult, too!)
More Ts are rear ended because more drive at a slower speed, there have been a number of Ts that have been involved in a rear end for going too fast, some have been posted on this forum, and there is one member who recently had a near miss from some one stopping at a stop light that he felt safe to drive through.
I do believe that it is just as likely to be involved in a rear end at 55 as it is at 30, because if you are traveling at 55, you are going to get in to a situation that you can not stop in time with a stock T. From your arguments, I would have to assume that you do not have aftermarket brakes on your T, and I would suspect that you are an expert driver, but most people who drive Ts do not drive them everyday.
Dennis said: "If it looks like I'll be an obstacle, or soon-to-be hood ornament on some idiot's car, I slow down and pull off to the side."
I do that too. I keep one and 1/2 eyes on the road and 1/2 on the rear view.
Now mind you, I am not advocating driving your T as fast as you can all of the time, I'm just saying that sometimes faster is safer. The facts bear this out. Look at them logically, not emotionally.
I was taught that there were two limits to the speed a car should be driven, never exceed your headlights or brakes.
I have to run with Tom on this one. He speaks from a position that few can match. 48 states in 42 days along with his Montana 500 resume say to me that he has seen and experienced just about any driving condition you can in a T. He also knows what a well maintained Model T is capable of without pushing its limits.
My personal experience is a whole lot of driving at 40 mph around Wisconsin with a trip to Detroit via Chicago and a couple of jaunts down the middle of Illinois to south of St. Louis. I also know quite well what my T can and cannot do. My 30,000 plus mile in a T has taught me that I do not like a vehicle bearing down on me at a speed differential of more that 10-15 mph. Therefore I choose to narrow that gap as much as possible.
Road choice is paramount in staying safe in a T. Going too slow on a faster road will set you up as a target for a rearend collision. A slow driver has very little control about what is happening behind them. All he/she can do is make themselves as visible as possible and try to stay out of the way.
Add a little bit of speed and you reduce the chance of someone running up on you as fast. Combine that with a good habit of watching your mirrors and you have a much better chance of seeing the danger and avoiding a rearend collision.
As for rearending someone else while going that fast. I have driven my car enough to know how much distance I need to get my car stopped and I maintain that distance. It is something every T driver should learn as soon as possible.
This whole thread reminds me of a statement Henry Ford was credited with saying. "If you think you can or you think you can't, you are probably right." For some of us, 40 mph is very much a reality while others think it is a crazy death wish.
Joe Jeffers was rearended in his 1909 Touring a few years ago. Does anybody know what's happened to him?
He seems alive and well on facebook. I see nearly daily posts from him.
I think all T's should be parked in a museum and taken off the road. Really you guys crack me up, every one an expert. I got T's to work on and drive, no more time for this bull. o.g.
"Oscar Was" and is no more. Crawl back under the rock from wince you came and good riddance.
" Going too slow on a faster road will set you up as a target for a rearend collision. "
This is a true statement, but driving a car beyond its abilities is not safer than taking a road with less traffic or slower traffic.
"I have to run with Tom on this one. He speaks from a position that few can match. 48 states in 42 days along with his Montana 500 resume say to me that he has seen and experienced just about any driving condition you can in a T. He also knows what a well maintained Model T is capable of without pushing its limits"
I would have to now assume that Tom does not drive a stock T, and experience with a T equipped with auxiliary brakes is very different than driving one with stock brakes, does he also drive at highway speeds with a T with out auxiliary brakes? and if not, why not?
Hmmmm. "Profile does not exist." Guess he really didn't have time for this "bs". Don't know what set him off, though. That was his only post in this thread. It's not like somebody flamed him. Oh well.....
I drive a model T because i enjoy it and not because i have to prove something! I enjoy the freedom it gives not to wear seat belts!In mhop i think there are roads model T's should not be on,but what i call a model T might not be what you call one? My only concern is that we as T drivers opperate in the public eye and at their pleashure! Bud.
The club I tour with has mostly later cars, 40's 50's 60's and 70's. My T is usually the only T with a few Model A's on tours. I try to estimate how early to leave to get to the destination about the same time as they do going 15 or so mph faster that I. They seem to have more complaints at 50 mph with traffic problems that I do at 35 mph. Maybe it is just luck or timing. I pull of on the shoulder when I need to so traffic can pass. That can be dangerous at 35 but would be more so at 50. Caravaning can also lead to problems for them if they don't leave lots of space between cars.
Oscar seemed to have some good comments on earlier threads. Just wasn't his cup of tea I guess.
All my T's are pretty much bone stock with no auxiliary brakes.
I will have to yield to you, but I am still going to drive within my limits
30-35 mph. Finding good routes is the key I think. It took me about a year but, I am now finding better and better routes that allow me to travel faster while avoiding traffic.
I live in a rural area in texas. I find that some of the Back Roads can be as dangerous as the more traveled. I use a flashing LED with a magnet to attach to the T. The Batteries last 70 hrs. At 30-35 they come up fast. The LED flasher at least makes me feel safer.
It may completely depend on what oil you are using................
I don't care if it rains or freezes
Long as I got my plastic Jesus
Sittin' on the dashboard of my car................ :-)
I can drive a hundred miles an hour,
as long as I've got that divine power,
ridin' on the dasboard of my car.......
Old Saint Joe
he's gotta go
Up to 75km/h on the freeway, 60-65km/h in suburbia.
Stock standard 1926 model has the luxury of excellent rear brakes with 11" drums and lined shoes. I use them in preference to the transmission brake at normal driving speed.
I just got back from a tour with 85 Model T's. When they are all in a group they tour at 29 - 35 MPH. When they are individual they tour at 29 - 35 unless modified. If they were to try driving unmodified Model T's faster than that they don't have brakes or suspension adequate to be safe.
It's ludicrous to say that driving at top speed would be safer. Some of these cars won't go faster than 40 without being in serious vibration from cast ion pistons. Others are capable of faster speeds, but the lack of brakes and the increasing lack of the ability to stop the car makes it stupid to drive faster.
Tom is going to attack me on a personal level for being a safe driver now. Go for it Tom!
I can't help but think this is a topic with so many variables that there is no one answer. Safe speed is therefore highly variable. As stated above, some cars in some settings are unsafe at 25 mph, some are safe at far greater speed in the right setting. The speed I feel safe driving my car varies about a thousand times per each outing. If I can watch the speedo, I start to get a little reserved at any speed above 40 mph. If driving under good conditions and can't see the speedo, just driving at the speed that feels right, I have noticed I was exceeding 50 mph. Mostly my car is happy to cruise about 40. I just don't see any one answer fitting the circumstances we each live with.
Erich, good point. This is like a water pump discussion. Now there's a can of worms.
Worms crawl slow with no brakes!
Royce didn't you mean to say that when they are individual they tour at 35-45?
I would suggest that you should add one of these to your dashboard if you plan on driving your T beyond it's abilities, you'll need all the help you can get.
Jay, here is another version that is in my Coupe. So far it has worked.
35 in my coupe--25 in the truck. An accident can happen at any speed. Consider the circumstances, drive accordingly and hope for the best!!
Royce, I couldn't agree with you more.
But, I'll say this, if a person has built a Model T that will run safely at 85 mph and he's not breaking the law, then for cripes sake pull out of the tour and go around to the front and drive it 85 mph. However, if when he gets to where the tour is going and has to wait for the rest to catch up, because they only wanted to drive 30 mph, it would probably be in his best interest as a member of the tour and the rest of his club if he kept his stupid mouth shut! It's a tour. It's not a race.
Now here's a consideration; the other drivers on the road have a legal obligation to drive the posted speed limit. That they can stop or slow down safely to avoid running over slower vehicles. I'm not so stupid as to believe any of the other drivers on the road will run within the parameters set by the law, that would be too much to ask. But the truth is the Model T's are driving within those parameters and the rest of the drivers aren't.
In the past I've always pulled over and let the other, faster traffic, go around me. After losing a good friend this summer because the driver of the vehicle, she was in, pulled over to the side to let others around, I'll be darned certain I slow down and evaluate the conditions of the side of the road before I pull off. But wait, that will be even more dangerous because I'm going slower. Well then to heck with it. I'll just stay out on the main road and not pull off. Whoa, that put's me right back into the position I was in, to begin with. Well I guess what we have here is a "catch 22". Either die in the middle of the road or on the shoulder of the road. Hopefully if I die in the middle, the guy who runs into me will die too, so I'll have company on my journey to Hell.
One last consideration, rather than putting a lot of money into a Model t to make it run at the same speed your car at home runs at; why not put that money into lights and brakes and other "add-ons" that make your Model T safe at it's originally intended speed? Wouldn't that make more sense? Then, if you want a Model T to drive over 30 mph, build yourself a "bucket T" and join one of their clubs.
I keep my 15 and 13 Tourings under 25mph. They are stock... right down to the wishbone. Fortunately, I live in the country with great back roads so this is not a problem. I've been on tours where guys want to run 45mph and I don't want any part of that. At that speed, you're going to be skewered to death by all the metal and wood shards that a T becomes on impact. Henry advertised the T was capable of running 40mph. Ok... The New Camaro's will run 140, but that doesn't mean you won't get your keester smeared if you wreck at that speed.