WOOOO BUDDY!!! I just burned a Model A!!!! My grandfather's claims came true!
There's an older guy who lives near me with a green 1930 Model A coupe. It's very nice and clean and very stock and correct. He's always had an air of superiority when we discuss my T and his A. Well tonight, I drove Eliza to my Calc 3 class and afterwards was going to Sonic for a chocolate milk shake. My brain spinning from vectors and cross products and box products and planes and lines in 3-space.
Low and behold I see him in the Model A, that vapid old man with more ego than manners. Fate has smiled upon me. I busted out laughing, hunkered down in my seat and sped up next to him. The light changes in front of us and we both slow down to stop. He looks over and sees me and waves friendly at first and then recognizes me and scowls. I look at him with my serious racing face and then gun the engine a couple times. He laughs but guns back. I open up my let-pipe as he rolls his window and he says "Race you to the next light, if that old thing can handle it." I nod with grim determination, denying him the satisfaction of acknowledging his little barb. We both get situated and double check around for cops (Ha!) or anything that might interfere with our impending dance with speed.
I see the light in the intersection for the other road change to yellow. Time slows down. My palms are sweaty. It's hard to swallow. Am I in Warford direct? Yes. Did my engine just make a weird noise!? No. I lick my lips and glance over at him one last time, both of us deadly serious and the A's body torquing a bit as he revs the engine. Red in all four directions. I'm thinking about making sure I hit my shifts like Fast Frank described and wishing I'd practiced launching more. No time to think about it now . . .
GREEN!!! The A actually gets a tiny chirp out of the tires but my low band locks up and we're both moving. I might be a touch in front but he starts moving past me as I shift from Warford direct to underdrive and dump the low pedal hoping I guessed my revs right to high. No gears grinding as I surge forward struggling to hold her head straight since I'm throttling and steering with only my left hand and I catch him as my right hand shifts into Warford direct and he's only in second gear. It feels like we're doing 1,000 mph as the street lights and backlit signs of buildings blur. But I'll never forget the sweet, delicious look of panic that spreads across Mr. A's face as he looks over when I pull up even and then pass him!!!!
From light to light it's a bit over a 1/4 mile but I almost lose my bowels as I see it's red up ahead and I'm doing 50 (kinda like a midget wrestling match since speed limit is 55) but then it's pretty dark and I can see the light is already changing and I'm just going to blaze right through. Instant "Thank you" prayer. Stopping was going to be doable but unpleasant. I shift into overdrive and am close to 60 and look over my shoulder and by golly Mr. A is a good 4-5 car lengths behind me and HOT DIGGITY DOG I SMOKED YOUR SUSPENDERS YOU OLD FART!!!!!!! I fist pump in triumph and let out a rebel yell as we both whoosh through the light and blow right by Sonic too excited to care.
I slow back down and we draw even again and he tips his hat to me and I salute him with a couple toots from my ahooga horn. He smiles and honks back and keeps on as I slow down to make the u-turn back towards town, grinning like a possum on a sweet potato.
I'm alone now breathing hard and heart pounding with Eliza puttering sweetly and sitting in the turn lane of the u-turn for the 4 lane highway. I tell her what an excellent girl she is as I watch Mr. A's tail lights fade into the night and around the bend. I promise I'll polish every stitch of your brass this week Eliza. The last time I was this excited and had this much fun I was at Pipeline in Hawaii getting barreled and standing straight up with only my finger tips touching the roof of the wave over my head. That. was. AWESOME! Let's go again!! But, Mr. A is gone and an 18 wheeler going way too fast and way too close snaps me back to reality and shatters my euphoric moment. Heh heh, I glare at the big rig zipping away from me and Eliza mutters something to me about chasing him down as I turn her around for the most delicious victory shake I can remember.
As I've oft repeated to others my granddad's chuckling boast to me "This ole' T will outrun anybody's Model A." HAHA!!!!
If you don't have a Scat crank, you might be a future member of the 2 piece crank club.
A well installed Model A crank will accomplish the same thing as a Scat at a fraction of the cost!!!
At the car games on the grass at The Old Car Festival i have raced a few model A's and have beat them a few times.Low gear in the model A is much too slow so a smart A driver will use second and skip low!About the only time i use low in the Wife's Model A Town Sedan is pulling in the garrage!Remeber when car's had names painted on them? Bud.
Great story Seth, I feel like I was at sitting beside you at the red light
Terry - ain't we all getting closer to our membership in that dreaded club - might as well have some fun until then
I don't know what kind of grade you're pulling in Calc 3, but if you are also taking English Composition, that story should be worth an A.
Coiro, you have competition !
Seth, I enjoyed your story so much I read it again to my wife. You have a gift of words. Like Roger stated, I felt like I was in the car with you as I was reading every word... great job, and how much more fun could a man have..... Chet
Seth congratulations, any day you beat an A is a great day!!!!
Any T beats an A sitting still at curbside. T's were an "honest" cheap car. A's are pigs wearing lipstick ... still a cheap car TRYING to look like something more "uptown".
very cool Seth and fun reading too
Fun, ain't it!?
Be sure to drive carefully, but have fun! W2
(I have known a few speedster owners that managed to get expensive tickets for exhibitionism. Don't do that.)
AWESOME Seth!! Even though it was all slow speed so to speak, please be careful--any street race is punishable---take it from a former street racer. But enough lecturing, good for you for showing that used car owner where to put it.
If I ever get mine together, I want to take it down our local track just to see what it'll do. I usually take anything we own down the track once just to see what it'll do.
Way to go Seth. Great job (and story telling).
Bud, they have "races" at OCF?
You sir are a wordsmith of the highest caliber.
Sounds like fun but, is it fair when you have a modified car (Warford)? I have to wonder how a stock T would do. I've done a lot of drag racing in the past. The A would lose a lot of valuable time on the shifts vs the near instant shift on the T. I once raced a 1909 Runabout with my 1919 Runabout and beat it. I won't tell you where that happened except that I will be there in less than two weeks.
Sure do Rob!Bud.
Yes, indeed! Coiro has competition. When I started reading this post, I thought Bob Coiro HAD written it, and I interrupted my reading to glance at the author's name. We've got some good writers on here! The only thing that concerns me is that those who perceive their own writing skills as inferior will stop posting. Let's not let that happen - every Model T buff has something to contribute, even if he was the despair of his English teacher.
Well thanks to everyone for the positive comments. I am not a writer by anyone's stretch of the imagination. I just wanted to tell the story shortly after it happened because I was still fired up about it.
As for my recounting of the events being any good or not - I bet half of my sentences are run-on. I tend to write and punctuate in a way that mimics the way I speak. Which, as my english professor repeatedly tried to beat into my head, has a time and place and is a legitimate artistic style but should not be the way one writes most of the time. It does work well for stories though.
I figure I'm bound to break my crankshaft one way or another so why not go out in a blaze of glory? Ha! I want a SCAT anyway just haven't wanted to afford it.
Also, any speed can be dangerous. While tensions and adrenaline were high and the intensity was through the roof the overall "race" was pretty tame. At least as far as street races go. I mean, we only barely got fast enough to kill bugs against the windshield. Haha, I suspect any casual observers didn't notice any kind of race at all. They just saw two old cars come to a stop at a light, seem to have a little engine trouble, and then drive on like normal.
Dave: fair? FAIR? Shoot. Fair is my machine whooped up on his machine. He's got more modern and bigger/better everything and still had to go home with his doors in his rumble seat! Hey-o! I will point out that he chased me up over 60 mph so that mostly rules out stock T's as contenders unless the race is much shorter. The Warford did make a big difference as it really helped me keep the revs up in my power band. I honestly don't know if I left it in direct I could hang with him. It'd either be really close or he would win going away.
It was so much fun it was ridiculous. I wish there were more old cars around my area. I'd love to organize a pre-Depression drag race event that would meet every quarter or so. I need to get a sticker with "Model A" and an X over it so I can let Eliza keep track of her kills. =)
Stop me if I've told this one before, but you reach a certain age when everything reminds you of something else. In this case I'm reminded of Dad's drag race with a Model A. I think I was about ten. It was summer and we were headed for camping in the mountains. Mom and Dad were in the front seat of the '41 Plymouth, and Mike and I were in the back. We were a going up Sepulveda Boulevard in west L.A. and stopped for a red light at Wilshire when a green Model A coupe pulled up and stopped in the right lane beside us. This was no collector car. In those days a Model A was just a twenty-year-old car. I told Dad he should step on it and not let that old car get ahead of us. To appreciate the humor of that you'd have to know my dad. He would be the last person in the world to do any drag racing. He had no interest in that kind of thing. But in this case he did race, sort of. When the light changed to green he didn't pop the clutch or do any fancy shifting, but he did tromp the foot feed to the floor. But loaded down with two adults, a couple of kids, and a trunk and luggage carrier full of camping gear and supplies, the poor old Plymouth didn't have a chance. We last saw the south end of the northbound A disappearing around a curve far head of us, heading up the grade toward Sepulveda Pass.
Funny, the stuff you remember.
The Plymouth had at least 87 hp, but of course it was heavier than the A coupe - maybe the A was hopped up too, california has always had lots of modified cars.
Must have been that legendary "Hot Rod Lincoln"...
I think i was very lucky to have grown up in the country back when many old heap's were lightened up with 4 boy's a rope,tree,and a axe!! As most of my teachers are gone i will ask-Where were you in 62?? Bud.
great story. I fondly remember my days in Calc 3, next comes the fun of Differential equations.
Joe everyone kept saying "Oh man once you get by Calc 2 the rest is a breeze." That was either some kind of sick joke or they are just on crack. Calc 3 is RIDICULOUS. It's everything from 1 and 2 but just in 3 dimensions instead. Granted, this is only the second week but everything so far has been complicated and convoluted that I feel like the whole semester could be based on the stuff I've learned in these first 3 classes.
Also, in the spring I had 2 people who were taking Diff Eq but also taking Calc 2 to brush up. To hear them talk about the class it sounds crazy pants. I'm no Einstien and Calc 3 might not be deepest part of the pool, but I'm definitely out of the 3 FT kid section and into the deep end. It amazes me the stuff you can do with Calc 3 but we still don't have hovering skateboards.
Good story. Thanks, for sharing it.
Kenneth I was born in '63. You don't want to know where I was in '62.
Actually, there was one other Model T race. My '19 Runabout vs my buddy's '26 Runabout (or is that Raceabout) in downtown Waterdown? I lost that one. The locals still talk about the Model T race in town. No unsafe speed but sadly, Chad is right. All it takes is the wrong type of cop nowadays and you're busted big time.
Dave,I hope we can talk Rob into taking his model K to Walnut Grove to play car games?? Seth has a nice looking speedster! Bud.
I agree Kenneth. We can start by notifying the confident owners of other makes that they will be competing against a Ford that's older than a Model A.
Seth - That was great!
BTW, I'm a member of the two piece crank club and I don't recommend it to anyone. Both of them were diamond shaped cranks and one of them tore our the entire third main bearing when it happened.
Listen to your engine closely and stop right away when you hear that hard pounding....
Like you say, calc 3 is basically a rehash of calc 1 only in 3 dimensions. Triple integrals will make since in time, by the end of the class they almost become second nature.
Differential equations really started to make since to me when I got into Quantum Mechanics, I had a new fond appreciation of an eigenvalue function.
You'll make it and I am sure there are plenty of people willing to help, both with the T and with math or other classes.
At San Diego State, I took on honors integrated calc and a hot new girlfriend, while working 2/3 time to support myself. I got a C- in the class.
I thought I wanted to be EE, but as I was working as an electronics tech, I saw the good ones soon became managers, and no longer engineering. That confused me, so I dropped out and worked a year, then spent the next six months studying at the National University of Mexico, School of Foreigners.
From there I followed a girl to...
Wow, great story, Seth! -I could hear the wind whistle and smell the burnt oil!
Seth, come see me and bring that old pooter T and we will see if it can best my A. Stock tranny, stock 3.70 rear and just a few little tricks in the engine. Bet you a hundred you can't beat me!
Race, did I hear race?
James you're on!! Except you're clear on the other end of the state . . . haha! That's ok, we will get it figured out before it gets cold. Eliza needs another sticker. If she wins again I'm gonna start calling her A-Killer.
Rob,I think your car is ready but a bowler,straw skimmer,or even a top hat will do fine.Good on ya and hope to see everyone next week.Bud.PS,Come for a look Seth!! Bud.
As the Brits would say "that was a ripping good yarn".
Hey, if anyone wants to see what's under the hood, here's a quick video I shot for a friend.
Better get some bigger guns. ;)
Mine is a Mustang killer.
Eliza sounds great! Thanks for sharing.
Well done! Splitting the Warford direct/low with the Ford low/high is the mark of the cognoscenti. AKA, you know what's up. I have known the trick for years, my dad showed it to me. Years ago I was asked by a friend to take a test drive in a speedster he wanted to buy. Nicely built car, A crank, high comp flathead, Warford, hydraulic brakes. This was at the Bakersfield meet. I climbed into the car with the owner who had built it some twenty years before. As it turned out, we wound up next to a Stanley Steamer at a stoplight on Golden State Boulevard. If you know about steamers, this is not a great scenario. Steamers have explosive acceleration from a standing start. While we are waiting out the light, I stab the brake pedal to stall the T trans output and slip the Warford into direct. The owner looks at me as if this means I know nothing about Warfords. I see the cross street lights turn yellow and throttle up. Green light and we are off. We do well for the first twenty yards. At this point the speedster owner expects me to drop the T trans into high and bog down while the Stanley leaves us in a fog of steam. I pull off the Warford/Ford split shift and keep up with the Stanley. The owner stares at me as if I have just shown him how handle a woman he has known for twenty years. At some point, I have to up shift the Warford, and it's too long a spread. The Stanley walks away. May I mention this is a 1906-08 Stanley? Later in the day Jay Leno bought the car. The most fun I have ever had losing a race.
Just watched the video, she sounds great.
Thanks for posting,
No one answered Rob's question. Yes, there are races at the OCF. Not very long, but races none the less. Maybe the distance of a wedge shot, 100 yards.
If there is going to be 900 cars there, it will be stand still traffic in Greenfield Village. I would go to visit, but never take my car again. Too slow for a Speedster. Truck speed.
Have to go pick up a new chassis and possibly working motor this weekend. How am I ever going to tell the wife???
Nice video, Seth
J M Rogers, please show some pictures of your Mustang killer
LOL Alright James. Mustang killer? There must be a wee bit more than "just a few little tricks in the engine." I don't believe Eliza wants any part of that. Do you count a blown V8 as a few little tricks? Haha, I kid. But seriously post some pics of that monster.
Erik I probably made the same face as the owner staring at you when you said that Stanley's have "explosive acceleration from a standing start." Huh? Do what? LOL!!! I don't know anything about Steamers but that's some nifty info to keep in the back of my mind. Why is that? I'm guessing it's cause they sit there and build up a whole bunch of steam? Then just dump it all it once?
LOL I've always wondered how those work though since the owner/drivers never look dirty. I figure the gotta get a little dirty since every so often they're using a little hand held shovel to put more coal in a burner just a like miniature train right? HAHAHA just kidding. But seriously though I know nothing about Steamers.
As Jay Leno says in this video, a steam car set the world speed record on 1906 going over 120 mph. The few I've been around at New London to New Brighton are amazingly fast.
Seth and Erik, I'm trying to figure out that speed shifting sequence you use with the Warfords.
I've been shifting my old one for a few years but don't quite understand what you mean by the split shifting.
Can you tell us using the 1st thru 6th gear sequence works the best for you guys?
I've tried starting out in 2nd (Warford under ford high pedal).
You keep up those racing speeds better start thinking of front wheel brakes too. I did...
Loved the story!
Hey Gene - for 95% of my driving I leave the Warford in Direct and just go Ford Low pedal, then Ford High. If I get up to 45 or higher I go Ford High Warford Overdrive. The split shift he's talking about gives you a gear between Ford Low Warford Direct and Ford High Warford Direct. I only do that when I'm trying to get up to speed in a hurry. Mainly because I don't have a foot feed and I have to work hard to keep her straight and work the throttle all with my left hand.
You start out in Warford Direct - press the low pedal and accelerate, you then let off the throttle and go to Ford High while simultaneously shifting from Warford Direct to Warford Underdrive (this is the split shift), then from there you go to Ford High and Warford Direct, and finally Warford Overdrive.
The jump from Ford Low to Ford High is a huge gap, like 1st gear to 3rd gear (or maybe even worse). By adding in the split it's basically giving you a 2nd gear. I'm not really counting Warford Under and Ford Low as a gear because it's SO low that you're barely moving (great for trailers or parades though). So the split is from Ford Low Warford Direct to Ford High Warford Underdrive. It really helps keep you accelerating without bogging down.
If you really need a chart:
We just mostly drive 1st to 3rd, and 4th when well up to speed. If I had a foot feed I'd probably use the 2nd gear split a little more often.
Hmmnn, I'll have to try that sometime. Are you using a Layne? I have to be very careful to sync the revs when down shifting my old W into WU. Maybe if I stared clutching it a bit that might help but normally I never use the neutral pedal when shifting. I don't believe those that say never to shift on the fly have ever driven a T with a Warford.
I use 1st or FLWU, for you, everyday going in and out of the garage and driveway or on the trailer. Ya it'll climb trees as well.
Always shift to 2nd or FHWU driving in the neighborhood and parking lots. Works good for parades too. Shift into FHWO around 40 if there isn't a stop light going to change coming up.
It's really amazing how much the braking changes when in different ratios.
Thanks for explaining your speed shifts again.
I hope you get a chance to ride in a steamer some time. As I understand it, steam engines develop maximum torque at zero RPM.
Later that day I was able to get a ride in the Stanley. The owner was taking it out to open it up and clear out whatever builds up in the works when you just putt around the swap meet. We wound up at a light next to some kids in a Chevy Monte Carlo low rider. Driver says to me, "Get a hold of something". Light turns green and he turns loose the pent up fury in the belly of this thing. If we had enough traction, it would have done a wheelie. Laid rubber and lost those dudes in the Monte like a bad habit. All this in a car that looked like two guys in wicker chairs on a cheesy amusement park ride.
Gene, Seth's info on split shifting the Ford and Warford is right on. It will take some practice but is good to know. I rarely do it because I also have a Ruckstell which gives me more options.
Hey Gene - I have an old school original aluminum Warford. Also, I never use the clutch either. The only reason the clutch is involved is when you go from low pedal to high pedal.
Definitely try it. I can do it relaxed where I'm not trying to race - start out in FLWD, at about 14 or 15 mph cut your throttle by about 3/4, then let pedal all the way out and shift into Warford Under, throttle up to around 23 or 24 mph and cut throttle a lot, even more than 3/4 of where you were, shift to Warford Direct, then throttle up to speed.
LOL Erik. That is just crazy. If you hadn't told me all that I would have never guessed. I don't know why though, I knew that a steam locomotive made max torque at 0 rpm. Enough that from a stand still it can slip the wheels on the track with a full load behind it. Still - for whatever reason those Steamers look to me like a 1 or 2 cylinder car that would struggle get themselves on a trailer, much less be able to burn rubber at will when stopped. That's wild. I can only imagine if I didn't know before hand "Hey, hold onto something" I'd probably laugh and say "What? Why?" and then be trying to pick my head up from having it pushed back. LOL
Since you mentioned the Steamers I went and watched a couple videos of what all is involved with getting one steamed up from when it's cold. Haha, I used to think that sometimes the mental check list with getting a T started was a bit involved compared to a modern car. Neither of those are a darn thing compared to all of the things that have to be right and then the sequence of events that have to take place to a Steamer ready to drive!! Holy complications Batman. There's pipes and valves and gauges and all kinds of mess galore. No wonder everyone preferred to drive a T, you needed to go to Train Conducting school just have a clue about operating a Stanley Steamer.
Ditto on the steamers. The one I rode in looked like a big baby carriage with wicker chairs. Getting one ready to go is a real chore. You should really have a steam engineer's license to operate one. The invention of the self starter for gas engines spelled the doom of steam and electric cars, at least in the 20th century. Starters on model T's was really added a nail in the coffin. Amazing that Stanley made it into the twenties. By then, their technology had improved with condensers and flash boilers, but improvements in gas engines had made that irrelevant. The White company saw the writing on the wall and bailed out of the steamer business in time to save them. When White sold out to Volvo, it had been available as a brand name longer than any other car or truck maker in the U.S.
I wonder, did you get my PMs on this, please?
Seth, the only thing that sets my engine apart from a bone stock A motor in appearance is the Weber carb but it does move and has shown 80MPH more than once.
That "split shift" is easy with a Ruckstell except we don't have an overdrive! I use it a lot when accelerating up a hill from a stop in traffic. BTW, Loved the story, Seth.
Hey Chris, I usually get PMs through the board fine. I double checked my email and my junk mail and I don't have anything from you. Will PM you and just reply to that email address.