I was asked the other day:
" Can you upgrade a Model T touring to be able to do an easy 50 MPH on a flat road while keeping the car mostly original? "
My answer was:
" It depends what you mean by 'mostly original' "
Of course, we'll never all agree as to what qualifies as "mostly original", but the "50 MPH mostly original T touring" is still an interesting idea to explore.
Okay so keeping to the following rules:
1. THE T MUST HAVE A:
Model T engine block; Model T transmission; Model T rear end; Model T ignition system with a working magneto; updraft carb (but can use more than one carb, and does not need to be a factory fitted carb).
2. LIST OF ALLOWABLE CHANGES:
over sized valves; Hi-comp or OHV head; Ruxstell; multi carb set up (but must be updraft carbs without a fuel pump); Warford or other period correct aux. transmission; change of gearing (crown wheel and pinion); flat tube radiator.
3. LIST OF BANNED CHANGES (also see rule no. 1 above):
no fuel pump; no water pump; no oil pump.
Can a easy 50 MPH (80 KPH) be achieved in a Model T with a touring body keeping to the rules above? If so, what is your set up?
#1 and #2 deal mostly with propulsion. If you're going that fast you also need steering and suspension, and wheels, that are up to it.
I disagree that it needs an updraft carb. A side draft carb that mounts on the stock intake will do just fine. There are many carbs that will outperform any Ford supplied carb and mount on the stock intake.
I'm with Steve on this, but I'd add auxiliary brakes to his list.
My stock 14 made 52 several times but after i broke a crankshaft we top out at about 35 now.Bud.
Steve, you're correct but this is a hypothetical so forget steering and braking this time...it's whether an engine with the above modification restrictions can get a heavy car 50 mph without severe stress.
Stan, errr...sorry I meant to say side draft, not up draft.
Okay, so BOTH SIDE AND UP DRAFT CARBS ARE FINE FOR THIS HYPOTHETICAL but no down draft.
Guys, FORGET BRAKING/STEERING! This is a hypothetical question; it's about whether an engine with the above modification restrictions can get a heavy car 50 mph without severe stress.
The Montana 500 guys do better than 50 AVERAGE with stock model T's without any upgrades other than careful ballancing, advancing the timing gear, and improved cams. I am sure one of them will chime in here soon.
My uncle tells of a relative in the day that had a roadster that would do 55 all day as is from the dealer.
Seems like I saw a touring in one of the past Montana 500 pictures. How did it perform?
My touring tops out at 52 but does not have a balanced crank. I have cruised at 50 for a 30 mile trip as I was running a bit late on a time restraint. I cruise at 40 most of the time. I have a "stock" T aside from aluminum pistons, Stipe .280 camshaft, Z head, stock geared Ruckstell, Rocky Mtn brakes, and 2 external oilers. I haven't tried it with one of Stan's Stromberg OF's as it is on the coupe.I think with a balanced engine/tranny, an OF carb, and maybe duel exhaust system, I could cruise at 50 easily, but I don't know how the engine would like it or last. Again, with only rear wheel brakes and narrow wheels, it would take a long time to stop at that speed.
A touring won the last MT 500 and averaged 53.07 MPH over the 527 miles. In one 57 mile leg it averaged 58.5 MPH.
Eight other cars averaged over 50 MPH but I think most were roadsters.
Noel, good info thanks. Sounds like you're not far off an easy 50 mph...perhaps a change of gearing might be another option?
Jim, What are the modification rules for MT 500 cars? Is there a link?
Easy touring Model T, passed me with 4 aboard on the hilly tour in Rapid City SD. Ran 50mph with ease.
Main changes, Model B carb and intake, and exhaust with big pipe! Said the Model B is the best design for a 4 cyl Ford.
Stock rear gearing. Distributor battery ignition.
For stopping, had rear hydr. brakes installed.
Here are the MT 500 rules:
Pretty much stock, just balanced and tuned to a T.
All I have is a question. WHAT IS THE HURRY?
A Model T is living in the slow lane.
A fast T can always go slow.
Fifty miles an hour in an almost stock T is a fast way to a funeral! I don't understand why people are preoccupied with going fast in a car that was designed to go slow.
Loaded question Constantine. How can an up-graded car be original? I don't think a T with the mods you say are OK is original. Their all acceptable in today's T world but "original"? Nope. Can a STOCK, and I do mean stock, T do 50 easily? There are 2 places I wouldn't want to be in such a situation. The first is standing any where near the front of the car. The other is sitting in it.
50 mph is easy. Our 13's will both run above that on coils/mag, Mods are as follows: Stipe 250 cam other uses a 280. One with low head milled other Z head. Both aluminum pistons. Both engines and transmission are balanced and in alignment Standard gears in the rear end.
With overheads the gloves come off. Run a Roof BB in a 24 roadster on a bosh front plate dizy full pressure oil. 70 mph easy. Have a Mercury speedster with a Fronty R head, full pressure oil that is scary fast been to 80 mph in that felt safe but don't want to do that again. Remember you need to stop!
Our 27 roadster pick up and the 24 Fordor will both run over 50 mph
If your question is can a Model T tour all day long a 50 mph the answer is yes but it won't live long.
Remember a Model T is driven at half the speed but twice the fun. Enjoy the sights,smells and sounds on tour.
I like to drive the T about 30-35mph, but I've been in a few situations where 50 or better would have been a great option to have.
When you're 20 miles from home without side-curtains, and watching a storm roll in is one good example.
I am curious Mike! What kind of valves are used with the Z head or low head and how large? Ford, Chev? Also piston clearance 4--41/2 thou?
I would love to drive at 25-35mph but an impatient tourist with good disc brakes seem to like to cut you off and hit there brakes! From time to time a little extra speed is a safe thing.
The T was not intended to be driven 50 mph. It would be OK for short distances such as a mile on the interstate in the slow lane in light traffic where there is no paralleling frontage road, but the engine won't last long if you drive that fast all the time. Also the brakes and even the tire grip to the road was not intended for that speed. The car is top heavy and turns or even an unexpected swerve could cause you to tip over.
Add to the above, your car is almost or even more than 100 years old. The steel gets tired and you could lose a wheel or lock up the transmission or break a crankshaft and at that speed could cause a terrible accident.
My advice would be to get a more modern car for high speed driving and enjoy the Model T at 35 or 40 MPH.
Andrew and Val, this is a hypothetical discussion about whether a "mostly original" Model T can do 50 MPH easily. No one is suggesting a must to go that fast to have fun or that it's safe.
Charlie, I was very careful with my words; I said "mostly original" not "original"; plus I qualified the term "mostly original" by saying:
"Of course, we'll never all agree as to what qualifies as "mostly original"..."
Again this is a hypothetical discussion about whether a "mostly original" Model T can do 50 MPH easily not about what is a "original" T.
Norman, see my above comments to Andrew and Val. Who in this thread has stated that a Model T was made to be driven at 50 mph? No one has so why bring it up here and go completely OT?
Mike, if 50 mph is easy for a Z head and Stipe fitted Model T, as you say, why then will the engine not live long at that speed? If the engine will not last long surely it means the engine is working really really hard, rather than doing it easy?
Basically, what I'm asking in the post is can you have a "mostly original" Model T that can do 50 MPH as well as have an engine that will last at least 30,000 miles?
Would perhaps having a 3:1 gears or a Warford give you a 50MPH/30,000 mile engine?
I wonder how many miles the MT 500 guys get from their engines?
Again...this is hypothetical discussion. I'm not saying I want such a car or that anyone else should have one either, or that it's safe. So please relax and stay on topic!
Forty years ago, most Ts, even sedans could be driven at 50 mph. That was very stock. The change? Gasoline.
The desire to "clean up the environment" mixed with bad politics has given us gasoline that does burn a lot cleaner (definitely a good thing), however, it gives about 25 percent fewer miles per the gallon. THAT also translates into reduced top speeds. My old work truck dropped from 210 miles to a tank of gas down to 150 miles in the same tank between two days. That was one single "cleaner burning fuel" change. That alone was more than 25 percent, however, later changes gave some of it back.
The 1916 center-door sedan I had was clocked a few times at 55 mph. Stock cam, iron pistons, Holly NH, no special balancing (I did balance the rods).
Several friends at the time had very stock Ts that were routinely driven in excess of 50 mph. There were a lot fewer idiots on the road at that time to have to avoid hitting. A few of those Ts did break crankshafts.
It takes a little effort, because of the gasoline, but a basically stock, mostly era correct, T touring can still be setup to drive at about 50 mph.
I will leave the debate of whether or not it "should" be done to a different thread. But I miss my '16 sedan.
Always nice to see your threads and posts Constantine!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I agree with Ralph. "Any fast car can always go slow"
I also believe any T in top mechanical condition can do 50. I don't have much experience driving many T's other than my '12 Torpedo and on last years Montana 500 driving the Green Team's '26 Roadster.
I would advise having an O/D of some sort. I love my original alum Warford. The engine has a Bill Dubats counterbalanced crank with chevy valves, alum pistons, a Stipe 250 cam, Z head, floating hubs and an OF Stromberg carb. I'm running the coils with an Etimer. Original '12 block so no starter/gen or water pump or other junk. I charge a 12 V battery with a FP charger from the mag.
It recorded the 3rd highest HP on the dyno testing at last years Canyonlands tour of all the non OH cars.
I also have Bennett aux brakes on the rear and McNearny / Big Four copies of originals on the front.
The car is very happy to cruise all day on tours at 45 to 55 with the top and windshield up depending a lot on the wind. This car has a lot of windage with the large flat windshield and with the top and windshield down makes a big difference. A few times I have done well over 65 but often enjoy cruising on an smooth open country road at 35 and just relax.
I believe endurance is a factor of bearings, crankshaft and gear wear and durability. Maybe after 30,000 miles you should take out the shims or pour new Babbitt.
We do have a few guys here that have driven that many but not me yet.
Well, I will probably get a lot of "I don't believe that" but with my GPS on and going down a four lane highway my T went 53 mph and as sooooon as it reached 53 I started slowing down because I actually felt very uncomfortable and unsafe. I have never been above 45 since and enjoy 30 and 35. I have pulled some nice hills with me, my wife and two other adults and was surprised how my speed was gaining up the hills until I had to let off before running into the back of another T. I think if I ever went past 40 again my wife wouldn't ride in it anymore, at least that is what she has told me. I have the Z Head, aluminum pistons, intake, large valves, 12v Distributor with centrifugal advance set up (which may cause for even more discussions) Oil slingers on the flywheel, external oil system, really a strong running engine. I told the person who actually built the engine about the 53 GPS speed and he informed me to never do it again because I was maxing the RPM out and would probable have a complete failure in the engine, much less Kill myself.....But I did survive the one short second never to try it again....Since then I bought and installed Disc Brakes and at the present time, as most of you know that has been keeping up with my post and questions, I am in the process of putting a Ruckstell together to install as soon as I get every thing figured out and finished fabricating....Interesting post.....Chet
Well, I will probably get a lot of "I don't believe that" but with my GPS on and going down a level four lane highway my T went 53 mph and as sooooon as it reached 53 I started slowing down because I actually felt very uncomfortable and unsafe. I have never been above 45 since and enjoy 30 and 35. I have pulled some nice hills with me, my wife and two other adults and was surprised how my speed was gaining up the hills until I had to let off before running into the back of another T.
I believe if I ever went past 40 again my wife wouldn't ride in it anymore, at least that is what she has told me.
I have the Z Head, aluminum pistons, intake, large valves, 12v Distributor with centrifugal advance set up (which may cause for even more discussions) Oil slingers on the flywheel, external oil system, and a few more minor changes, its a really strong running engine.
I told the person who actually built the engine about the 53 GPS speed and he informed me to never try it again because I was maxing the RPM out with my stock gear ratio I probable would experience a complete failure in the engine, much less Kill myself.....
But I did survive the one short second never to try it again....Since then. I bought and installed Disc Brakes and at the present time, as most of you know that has been keeping up with my post and questions, I am in the process of putting a Ruckstell together to install as soon as I get every thing figured out and finished fabricating.........Chet
I was re-typing and trying to correct my mistakes. Wasn't aware I posted it twice...Sorry Chet
I have had my 1924 touring / pickup conversion up to 51 mph on a level section of state highway (according to the radar speed display set up by the local sheriff). The car and I are much more comfortable at 40 mph or less.
As far as I can tell from the receipts that the prior owner gave me when I bought the car, the engine and drivetrain are completely stock with the exception of aluminum pistons. It runs a stock high head and stock manifolds with a Kingston L4 carb.
If I wanted to 'go faster' and liked old cars I would get interested in an early 32-48 Ford. To me making a hot rod? in a pretty much stock T is like putting a 20 hp engine in a match box racer.
I guess you'd better add wire wheels to that list. I sure wouldn't want to trust wooden spokes at 50 mph.
But as an aside, cruising at 50 mph in a Model T Touring would be an operation fraught with peril. At that speed, you can't safely swerve to avoid the pothole you saw too late, and if you hit the hole, you could collapse a wheel. Braking action with or without Rocky Mountain binders would rival the Titanic for distance covered during the maneuver. Sustaining the high rpm and power necessary to overcome the kind of parasite drag (which increases as the square of the speed) you'd encounter at 50 mph would be extremely hard on the engine, to say the least.
As a "for instance," my '15 Touring has a nice, tight front end that tracks straight ahead and has absolutely no play in the steering (thanks to a forum pal who re-bushed the spindles for me). The engine has new valves, aluminum pistons, a high-compression head, an extra-large intake manifold and an NH carburetor, so there's sufficient power (in fact, more than I'd actually dare to put through a stock Model T crankshaft). She's also got fresh tires & balanced wheels. Now, on one not-entirely prudent occasion, I had that fairly powerful, fairly solid, fairly stable car up to 42 mph and at that speed, there was plenty of reserve throttle left, so she could have gone faster—but the car was talking to me and she sure as heck was NOT urging, "Go for it!"
With that in mind, in my humble, know-nothing newbie opinion, the highest reasonably safe cruising speed for a Model T Touring would be around 35 mph—maybe even 40, if the road ahead were straight and smooth and there were no pedestrians, traffic or intersections in sight—and you figure you’ve already lived long enough, anyway.
I wish that a mostly original Model T Touring could safely cruise on the highway and thus avoid the expense, space consumption and inconvenience of a trailer; but nah, it really can’t be done. On the other hand, as your question is merely academic, then sure; a strong, tight Model T with a light load could probably sprint up to 50 mph for a short distance.
Gene was following me for a stretch at 57 mpg in AZ last March.
My car (see Profile) meets above criteria. Z head, Stipe 250 cam with SCAT crank, sleeved STD bore and NH with an a/c. RP 7 yr old coils with FP coil box 'wood'. Stock geared Ruckstell.
Today in ABQ (5K above sea level), I was following Azevedo in his Faultless, cruising smoothly about 45 mph for 2 or 3 miles.
35>40 mph is a comfortable speed.
Sometimes it is fun to air it out. But I also spent the night in the Malibu Sheriff's station for doing twice the speed limit on The Ventura.
Just standard Ford valves supplied by the vendors.
I do run more skirt clearance than the piston Mfg recommend. I like 0045" to .005".
With all due respect I don't care to get into all the details as why a engine running at top end will not last as long as one that is ran in the power range it was designed for.
With care and good preventive maintenance a Model T engine should last 30,000 miles plus. I have several that exceed that bench mark. I think Dean Yoder has over 80,000 miles on an engine but has replace a bad rod or so. But I don't tour at 50 MPH all day long, I like 45 MPH, but if needed I will hook em up. I know Dean runs less than 50 MPH on his little short drives around the country LOL
Three to one gears will reduce the engine RPM but I find them to not be my gear ratio of choice. I find them to cause the engine to lug down when touring with other T's. I like 4 to 1 in heavy cars, 3.25 to 1 in lighter ones. Use 4 to 1 in my cars that have Warford transmission.
I've gotten my car up to 50 on good roads but feels uncomfortable to me at that speed. ZHead,280cam, electronic ign. nh carb 3/1Ruckstill . With top up.
Don't know how many RPM's it was doing but engine felt real smooth. Don't know how long it would run at that speed.
I've had my touring up to 50 mph once and it scared the heck out of me. I like 40mph. That's fast enough
Okay, thanks guys. There seems to be a consensus that a "mostly original" T touring can do 50 mph although doing so often would have consequences on engine longevity.
That confirms what I thought. My car would do 40 mph all day and didn't feel I was pushing the engine or travelling at an unsafe speed. Though add just 3 mph and that all began to change...it started to feel the engine was working hard and 43 mph felt FAST. Funny that just an extra 3 mph changes things so much.
Mike, Tell us about 4 to 1 with a Warford; on what cars or for what applications would that combination work?
I agree with you, Bob. I'd never trust wooden spokes over 40 mph, and even then, that scares me. Yes,I'm a conservative scaredy cat!
Our roads around here are rotten enough to run on with these skinny wheels, fragile steering gear, wood spokes, tires at 55 lbs. of pressure, to safely navigate at 30-35, let alone 50 MPH.
I say at that speed the only thing "easy" could be a trip to the grave! What in the hell is with the big hurry anyway? Enjoy the ride!!
I agree Tim. If you need to go that fast, the T is the wrong car for you.
For speed, go in a modern car.
4 to 1 gears with a new Warford will give a final drive ratio of 3.25 to 1, which a good running engine in will handle.
The advantage of this set up is you have an under drive when needed for hard pulls, direct at 4 to 1 for hill/mountain driving and overdrive that reduces RPM allowing for a bit higher MPH without reducing the life of the engine IMO.
27 roadster pick up, .040 over aluminum pistons Ford head milled 125", Stipe 280 cam, Ford intake and exhaust with an NH sway back carb. Standard Ford valves. I am running a distributor because it was what I had when I built the engine, when time allows I will put coils/mag in. This engine has a Scat standard size and stroke counter balance crank also.
My wife and I like to take a drive now and then and will pack up the bed with clothes for a week or so, ice chests, food, more tools than I need and spare parts, guessing in the wheel house of 500 lbs so we get heavy.
Have a good friend that has a 22 coupe with a Ruckstell set up with 4 to 1 gears packed heavy, we were gone for about a month. Nothing special about the engine, yes the old car was slow, we got stuck on an interstate for 10 miles, GPS lied to us, anyhow I pulled up on him and he was only running 54 MPH, LOL
I don't know that this answers your questions, try it, you will like it. A new Warford with 4 to 1 gears will work in about any Model T.
I see no reason to be scared of wood wheels at 50 if they are in good useable shape! Bud.
OK Mike! You and Fred have light years more hands on experience then I do. I don't intend to burry myself in cost of what will be my last T project.
This is a little OT but looking for information.
My 22 touring runs good at 45mph at 50mph its working and engine heat goes up using a vintage round tube radiator. The 16 black smith built roadster pickup to be my last T has the stock radiator. What is the most cost effective cure for an expected heat issue in your opinion?
I don't have all the experience those guys do, but I have dealt with overheating with a 1915 radiator. I went with a recore for two reasons. One is that the repop tanks are different from the originals. The other is that it saved me a couple of Benajmins.
Don't know that you would consider "cost effective" but replace the radiator or re core with a three row flat tube. Water pump not needed.
If it not boiling over a bunch at your higher speed , I wouldn't concern myself, drive and have fun.
Bud, I am in your camp with your very correct statement about wood wheels.
Higher speeds in a Model T is something that shouldn't be done with out knowing the conditions of the sum of all the parts.
Word to all the wise, if you don't know the condition of your T, or not sure of your abilities or comfort level, or road conditions are not suited. Don't push your limits , I will gladly tour with you at any speed.
Earlier post above I stated, Model T's are half the speed but twice the fun. Always remember one Model T is a drive, two T's would be a tour and you are a car show when stopped.
Ok off the soap box, for now!
My little pickup project when I was driving it regular got squirmy when going to fast because there is not enough weight on the back.
A touring or something with a body shouldn't have that problem but I am still leary of a T at 50+. I like ice cream and macaroni and cheese to much for that!
Look at the power curve of a STANDARD model t engine, the power peaks at about 1600 rpm, which is 37mph. Now 50 mph is a fraction over 2000rpm. All this talk of a STANDARD model t doing 50mph is close to BS.....
I like Andrews reply, " what's the Hurry".? I like to tour at. 15, 25 -30 mph My TT will go 50 mph , more I'm shure if I rebuild the engine and balance all parts . To do this some may say its stock , but I'm not to happy cruising tours at 40 mph, and I don't see too many stock T's at tours! . There's always a bit of modification. Z heads,carbs, Dist., cams, cranks, oversize pistons, warford trans, tires inflated-to 60+ psi ( lol) higher octane fuel , with secret Marval mystery oil added . All engines of performance is what you out into its intake, F.I., turbo, huge carbs, nitrous Ox . And your limited to your gears. So stock T at Bonneville salt flats with High gears
can go 200 mph
Look at the power curve of a STANDARD model t engine, the power peaks at about 1600 rpm, which is 37mph. Now 50 mph is a fraction over 2000rpm. All this talk of a STANDARD model t doing 50mph is close to BS.....
Mack, This pickup has CVG fir parts all beat to crap from heavy use. Its one of a kind and plenty heavy enough. It will have disc brakes.
Bride and I love to garage sale so many short runs going from sale to sale will be done.
At my age demountables are used. Its flat five miles north and ten miles south with lots of tourists, elk, and deer. Astoria hills are scary and a stock T would not climb many of them. Using a Ruxtell with a ten tooth pinion should climb as well as my Chicago Mark E over and under in my 22.
Thanks Mike and Steve Looks like its time to scout up a radiator shop that has not gone south.
Constantine, 50 is not that fast, my son has a TT "TRUCK" that will do that much and I think it follows all the requirements listed above. That is pulling that trailer unloaded.
I will try to post a photo.
I really don't think anyone would agree that OHV and a Warford are anywhere even CLOSE to "mostly original"! They are such extreme modifications from a stock T that you really don't have a T anymore but a "speedster".
Don't get me wrong, I have a RAJO kit and a SCAT Stroker Crank ready to put in my speedster. But don't even begin to call it original. I think a stock T and going 50 MPH are pushing the envelope a bit much.
You know I really admire and respect all the solid original T's most of you have and speak about. I doubt if I could keep one running very long at a time "who knows", but what I personal have fun with is on Friday nights when I have time to take my 26 to the local cruise-in where I have the only T there with 350 to 400 mostly hotrods show up and I get to talk about all the modifications I have made to mine. They get so interested just knowing that aluminum heads, pistons, scat cranks, hot cams, larger valves, balanced rods, disc brakes and the list goes on. They can't believe all the parts that are available for such and old car. Then that brings on a larger crowd and the questions start to fly. As you can see, the rodders, spectators and I have a lot to talk about that pleases everyone. The last show of the year 2013 I won a Large Trophy "an antique gas pump" that is given at every show for the best of show. So my T looks all original and attracts a lot of spectators. I let who ever that wants to, sit in it and most of them like to take pictures and have fun. I have a lot done to it internally but no one but a real model T person knows and I never have met any at the places I go unless it is a Model T trip.... I liked what Mike Bender mentioned (one Model T is a drive, two T's would be a tour and you are a car show when stopped) So very true...If I just drive to the store or post office I am an hour getting home. It's a crowed everywhere I stop....And that is what it is about to me is everyone build it to there own personal pleasure and preference...I love it....Chet
The day I pulled out the Anderson Timer and coils, it was no longer stock, it even lost it's neat voice out the Exhaust , it no longer talks like a T. I truly miss that sound
Here is a graph that I found elsewhere on this forum that says it was created by L.R. Henry of the Ford Motor company in 1922. Extrapolating the horsepower and torque curves a bit to reach 50 mph (a fraction over 2000 rpm), it says that the engine data used to create the curve (if indeed it was based on real engine data) would produce around 15 horsepower and 38 foot-pounds of torque.
Assume level ground, and total up the rolling resistance, drivetrain losses, wind resistance, and all the other forces that the engine has to overcome. If they total up to less than or equal to 15 horsepower and 38 foot-pounds of torque, then the car could indeed reach 50 mph.
I didn't do the sums for my car, but I didn't have to, the sheriff's radar sign provided the end result on the day I tried it, 51 mph.
Of course, all you have is my word, I don't have photos or witnesses, so it could all be BS....
America has been built on what was impossible in the past. I remember when an engineer said a dragster could not achieve over say 250mph in the quarter mile or one horsepower per cubic inch was hard to get. How wrong they were!
Cool stuff. I have a Garman. Four runner Gps attached to my TT. Speed and Distance. MPH My accurate speedo to a Satellite. I could Photograph one handed. The other on the wheel, But that's not safe. To make a Record Speed that I know it will do. 50 plus ... I'm not. Stock T engine with a Bottle of Nitrous. Stock Crank a think I have, @ 3000 rpm? wood spokes to saw dust Fun thought anyway
Willie, PLEASE share your son's secrets of speed with us! 50 MPH in the white T truck pictured above would be...heh, heh....an experience to remember! If a T truck can really do 50 MPH then heck...who needs an over-priced late 60s Shelby, Z28 or Hemi???
I'm interested in how to make a T go fast. It would be great to know, even if I'm not going to build a go-fast car. It's easy to drive a slow car slow. It would be nice to have a little extra power, even if I never use it. Improving steering and brakes should be a given on any old car, so the extra ponies under the hood shouldn't be an issue.
In the autumn of 1932 my grandfather put the side curtains on his '26 touring car and headed for Mission, Texas from Fridley, Minnesota with my father following in their '31 Model A Town Sedan. Dad said that it was all he could do to keep up with Grandpa. Claimed the speedometer stayed on the 60 mark for most of the trip. My Dad was not one to exaggerate and I'll allow for the possibility the speedo was being a bit optimistic, especially with that sedan body but I have to agree that that T was flying at a pretty good clip.
My 1914 T Runabout is 95 % Original and I keep it at 25 MPH or under. I don't trust 100 year old Wooden Wheels to handle much more than that.
Constantine, I believe that it's a TT pulling the trailer. What I'd like to know is if that was 50MPH with or without the A/C on
When I was a boy, I used to see Model T's going slowly down the road. I wanted a Model T, but thought that if I had one, I would go along faster like the other cars did. My dad thought I would be better suited to a Model A which was faster and had better brakes. I drove the Model A as fast as 70 MPH, but usually no faster than 50 or 55.
Later when I was in my 50's I got my first Model T. Then I understood why they were driven more slowly. First was that at 35 an Model T feels and sounds like 100 in a modern car. It has most power at about 35, and when going uphill it slows to about 25. Even if you get a good run at a hill it will rapidly slow down until it reaches a speed of between 20 and 25. Then it just keeps on going at that slow speed.
Also, I noted that at 30 or 35, if you look for signals or stop signs and keep a good distance between you and the car ahead, the brakes work fairly well. But the faster you go, the worse the brakes work.
Then I also noted the going very fast around corners made me feel as though I was going to tip over. Also I wondered how the spokes were going to hold up around turns.
Anyway, I think age brings wisdom. I no longer want my T to keep up with modern traffic, especially now that speed limits are 70 and higher on some roads. I get the same thrill when going 35 maybe 40 in a Model T that I get going 70 in a modern.
Yep... 50 is easily achievable ... but l aint doin' it for any long periods of time, oil splash and poured bearings don't seem to like that to much.
Gearing, valves, inlet manifold, piston or head mods.....and carbi too l guess.
Standard T parts.
35 is the optimal speed for these old cars, but they do need to stretch their legs every so often.
In the name of decarboning the head !!!!
A well tuned "Stock" (minimal milled head, aluminum pistons, stock cam and timing, NH sway back carb., cast iron intake and exhaust, std. valves, 3:63 diff ratio, 21" or 30" wheels, coils and timer, poured bearing, and std. Ford transmission) Model T is maxed out @ 45MPH and will do this all day long. A Z head alone will make any 45MPH Model T a 50MPH car And it will do this all day long. I believe when people think of driving their T's @ 50MPH they imagine their worn out, loose rattle trap doing that. It is important that everything be in tip top order to safely control and maneuver with ease. If the engine is fresh, and the chassis has been completely gone through by an experienced person, a white knuckle car @ 25mph isn't @ 50MPH.
Like dad used to say, "A horse that sh*ts fast don't sh*t long".
Dad was not a poet.