What is a reasonable highway speed for a T, my wife and I go to a few shows during the summer she follows me in her Mustang and says I average about 35 mph sometimes hitting 40, after I get it up to speed I can drop,the throttle back to about half it's humming pretty good but I don't think it Is over killing the engine any suggestions?
In my view, it depends on what you mean by a highway. I avoid what I consider a highway, i.e. an interstate. I have found that my T is happy at 35 mph for hours on end, but both the car and I start to get less comfortable if the speed moves past 40. I didn't buy it to go fast....
35 to 38, mine is very happy and I feel that I am in control(some what) Drive like you have no brakes. KGB
I agree with Dick Lodge. My T would go faster than 40 MPH....however, it just does not seem very safe to exceed anything above 38 MPH.
I also agree with all the above posts.
35 to 40 is just right.
Sounds like I'm doing it right
60-65 in my racer with stock power train.
'27 Fordor. Scat crank, Stipe 280 cam, Prus iron head, stock magneto and coils. 38 mph feels perfect, but pushed hard, it will do 52 mph, verified by Garmin.
(Message edited by ed_baudoux on October 07, 2014)
My coupe I drive 30-35 +/-. I care more about the dim bulb on the phone pulling out of a side street and I need to stop.
30-35 is comfortable for me. Around 40 I start getting scared.
It really depends on the car. My '14 is really happy at 32 mph. My '22 Centerdoor loved 38 mph and our '23 Roadster seems tp do fine until about 38 mph. My father's '22 Coupe and '24 Touring each had really strong motors with .280 cams and a few little internal tricks that made them run very nicely at 40 mph. I do believe that anything over 40 mph is pushing a T with standard gearing and without major engine mods.
Somehow it seems like the brakes - not the motor - determine my best speed.
Depending on road conditions, 25 to 30 seems to be my comfort zone.
Not so much how fast but how much rubber do you have on the pavement? Skidding is not stopping if you lock the brakes up esp with skinny 30 X 3.5 tires.
25 to 35 ish on dry pavement keeping a good space between me and the next car is good for me.
My old '16 center-door was happy as a clam at 45 mph. I was clocked in it twice at 55 mph, but admittedly, that was pushing it a bit.
Speedsters are a bit different. Even a mostly stock engine speedster if well built should be okay at over 50, but be very careful of stopping distances. That is where the danger is.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I had a friend's '24 touring car at 44 - verified by the car following, but that T is exceptionally tight. My rather loose '27 is good at about 35. Once I get the steering tightened up, 40 will be OK.
25 mph — in a residential neighborhood. -Stop on a dime and get nine cents change.
30 mph — when approaching a green traffic light that might turn yellow. -Good short-stop braking action.
35 mph — normal, boulevard cruise. -Fair braking action.
40 mph — sprint speed, on level roads with no sharp curves, intersections or driveways in sight. -Long stopping distance. -A little hard on the engine.
My 10 is a strong runner, but I like to keep it around 30. If I am on a long ride, sometimes I'll take it to 35, but I like the sound of the motor at 30.
Just got a Garmin and did my first speed check yesterday. I live in the sticks so traffic is not a big problem. I ran at 38-40 on the flat in my 26 roadster. Motor and car felt good, had some throttle left.
In 8 years of driving and touring, I've seen T wrecks, passed T wrecks, and once watched T wheels/axles part company and head for a field.
I drive as fast as I plan to meet with any of the above.
30 is about it for me.
The best part of that speed, on tours, is if you leave the hotel early, you will see every car on tour before lunch (as they pass you)
After 30mph I start to shake. The cars are fine but thinking about undetectable metal fatigue sure makes me nervous.
Obviously there are no Montana 500 guys responding here to this thread.
For me I like going a little slower on the residential streets than the suggestion above. But really depending on the condition of the road and the traffic has to govern how fast to drive. I normally drive in the 50 range with my Torpedo on a nice smooth highway when there is little traffic.
I have to say that I really feel comfortable driving on the local freeways! I like the right lane and can easily do the 50 to 60 when traffic is moving. Here in SoCal trucks are limited to 55 so that's staying in the zone of slower traffic. If the traffic is too light many cars are driving over the 80 mark but in the left lanes which makes me a little uncomfortable if they start to weave thru the traffic.
I've had some close calls on the city streets with the guy pulling in front to slam on his brakes to make that right turn into Mickeys or the guy who pulls out right in front of you when your doing that 30. The other p[lace I never like is at all the intersections with the stop lights. Seems just when we get going to the 35 in a 45 zone the light changes and you have to quickly decide about the binders or a little gas.
Ya those tours on the open highways with a nice road and a few fence posts to watch go by are really a treat!
The other real key about how fast is safe in your car is what condition is your car? How old are the tires and when was the last you actually did a through inspection of all the nuts and bolts that could cause you misfortune.
Drivem and have fun but be Safe!
Gene, there was a story within the past year about a guy driving an A on the interstate in a Southern state who got rear-ended badly enough that it totaled the A and killed his daughter. He had flashing lights on the rear of the A and an illuminated sign that said something like "slow moving vehicle.". He was doing 55 when he was hit. I would not even consider taking my T onto an interstate.
I have seen people rear ended in an 80+ mph car on the interstate, when they slowed for traffic. Any moron with their head up the butt is going to kill some one no matter what the victim is driving. A kid kill himself while he was answering a text and drove his car into a simi truck, those are hard to miss, so visibility does not always help, if you are going to be going slower than the normal traffic, you need to spend a lot more time looking behind and have a plan to get out of the way of the idiots with cell phones.
17-25 MPH one time I had it up to about 27 and a half but she was shaking so bad I had a hard time seeing the speedo, oh man I was flying that day!
Driving speed up here depends on the road surface. I can drive on anything from good pavement to sand track, gravel to broken pavement. It all depends on the quality of the type of road. On good pavement I drive my 26 Touring around 40mph, broken pavement I might never get it out of Ruckstell high. For gravel or sand 30 mph feels good and safe. Fortunately almost all my roads up are lightly travelled (especially this time of year). I just try to drive at a speed I am comfortable with and feel under control regardless of the surface.
I like to run around 35 to 40 on good road. Once I noticed that my engine was running warm and looked at the gps speedometer and I was doing 50 and didn't know it. Slowed her down and she cooled back back to where is should run.
35 mph. Any faster and people don't have time to admire your T.
Mike Conrad is a lyin' sack of s&%t!
I like 35 - 40...he likes 50 - 55.
The biggest concern with high speed driving is being able to stop the car. If you have a 26-27 wide brake drum, its not a big deal. If you have the earlier version, it can be an issue. With my 10, I've had to stomp on both the brake and low speed pedals to stop the car at lights.
Well said Bob Gruber!! Still laughing!!
Pass one guy on a hill..........
But really,I hear 35-40 is a nice speed but I can hardly remember how it feels on my way past 55. Lol!!!!
My roadster likes 40 (verified by gps) but I like to keep it about 35 most of the time due to pucker power when braking... remember braking in a "T" is a planned event, not an emergency!
I'm running aluminum pistons, Z head, ported , B intake and exhaust , A carb, 3,25 gears in a 26'coupe. My car has been 58 MPH and still gaining but it's still happy at 35 to 40 .
I was with Mike when he passed 27 and we were both scared.
If you drive a pretty much stock T meaning stock cam, maybe aluminum pistons, stock body, wood wheels no faster than 40 and average 30-35 mph is just about right. My opinion.
Even using Rockies or any other type of optional braking system I would still drive like you don't have any brakes.
Jerry - I was following you guys that day Mike hit 27mph in that parking lot, but I gave up trying to keep up with you guys as soon as we got out on the highway!
My gauge of reasonable speed depends on the road conditions. If it feels like I am going 100 MPH on open road, I am going too fast. Actually about 45. If I feel like I am going to tip over when I go around a corner, too fast. Depends on the corner. At a perpendicular intersection it would be over 10 MPH. If I feel like I could not stop when someone in front of me does something unpredicted, too fast. Usually about 20-25 in urban areas.
Since I don't have a speedometer, I have to depend on the above instincts.
Sounds like most of you guys are going as fast as the car was meant to go in the first place.
When my Mother was growing up close to Waco, she remembered it took a good half day or more going to Ft.Worth which is about 95 miles from Waco. Some good friends of her Father lived there so they went there fairly often. That was in the late 20's.
I don't think they went much over 35 in their 24 Touring they had. That's the speed T's were meant to go as Charlie B mentioned.
Harold don't give up so easy.
Safe operating speed for a T with stock brakes and steering is under 40 MPH. Stopping distance and steering are not adequate above 35. Even with modern disc brakes the stopping distance is twice that of any car built after 1930.
Slow down and live. Speed up and have a tragedy.
Why be in a hurry when driving a T? I like to go around 25 or so. If I go faster then I'm done and out of the car. I like to go slower and enjoy the ride. Some buddies have put all sort of speed stuff on their T but what for? If I'm in a hurry I take my F-150.
I couldn't agree with Royce and John more! Slow down, enjoy the ride, the view, and stay alive longer. Me and a friend just about got hit head on last week in my '15 by some jackass high school kid getting out of school, passing several cars on A CURVE, and had I been going any faster than my usual 26 or so, we'd have hit each other. I hit the brake, moved over, and he missed my left front fender by about one foot. Too scarey. Speed kills. He was really moving. I hope he shit his pants, cause I almost did!
Tim - He probably didn't even see you.
No offense guys but if I wanted to drive an 'old' car in town or for every day use I personally would get something newer than a T.
Maybe you can in some slower paced areas but most of my T driving is done on farm to market roads. I live in the country so I guess I'm lucky.
Been thinking about trading one of my T's for something a little newer. Something that's a little faster and with real brakes!
When this thread started several days ago, I expected to read of the exploits of intrepid stalwarts pushing the envelope, Chuck Yeager-style. -There’s no shortage of such narratives written in the archives of this forum and it was only a few months ago that I read in Car and Driver of a race between a new Tesla and a century-old, more-or-less stock, Ford Model T, wherein the latter sustained 60+ mph speeds for protracted periods—even at night. -Luck wasn’t just with those guys, it was bear-hugging them the whole way. -I was kind of glad to see that this thread headed in the opposite direction.
From my cowardly point of view, it’s mostly about being able to stop, and as the Model T has braking action on the rear wheels only and her tires are skinny enough to have the same footprint as a shot-glass, I realize there just isn’t going to be a whole lot of traction there for panic-stops.
Now, the physics types are going to argue that when it comes to braking action, the width of a wheel doesn't matter and traction remains the same, regardless. -With all due respect, that’s baloney. -It’s baloney because we're not taking about a theoretical, steel wheel on a steel track. -We're talking soft rubber tires against hard, textured pavement—and if you don't believe pavement is textured, I'll remind you of the school-yard bully who rubbed your face on it—we call that "road-rash" for a reason.
Secondary to stopping distance, but still perfectly capable of killing a brass-car driver dead as Elvis, is the matter of wood-spoke wheels. -Even in good condition, they can’t take a whole lot of the side-load as would be encountered in a curve taken at high speed, and such stress can put you squarely into the maybe/maybe-not zone. -Though hickory spokes don’t fatigue, when they finally do let go, you’re likely to see the shattering story on your local news station—and here. -Same deal with potholes. -Those asphalt ambuscades lurking in springtime shadows can rattle your vertebrae up to your teeth, bend the steel rims of a modern car—and smash wooden spokes to kindling. -At speed in your Chevy Cruze, you may be able to see a deep pothole in time to swerve and avoid, but the word, “swerve,” does not exist in Model T lexicon.
And then there are other things like a tippy, high center of gravity, the front wishbone design I don’t fully trust, and of course, side and frontal crash protection is practically* non-existent.
I drive my Flivver in traffic a lot and an all too familiar feeling of vulnerability keeps me on red-alert all the time, even at a manageable 30 mph. -When I read about guys pushing the Tin Lizzie to highway speeds, hair on the back of my neck takes notice.
* I use the word, “practically,” because once upon a time, when a musician, I owned a 1961 Volkswagen Bus, the frontal crash protection of which consisted of a headlight and a pair of sunglasses, and so, incredibly, was even worse than that of a Model T Ford. -Come to think of it, when carrying a Hammond B3, Leslie, various guitars, amps and a load of hippies, braking action was also worse than that of the aforementioned Flivver. -That this rolling blood-box could actually attain highway speeds (albeit only after the passage of an impressive interval), was perhaps indicative of a residual desire on the part of the Germans to knock off a few more Americans—and testament to the belief in invincibility only possessed by youth. -It’s entertaining to imagine that by, instead, tooling around town in a Model T Ford, I’ve actually increased my odds of survival.
My take; growing up this was farm country. 10yr old Kids
common driving N9 Fords down all roads me too. Then
the old farmer men died their kids dont want farming
sold land cheap built houses now I cant get out of
my drivway. So I drive a F350 with a 460 and I can
blow the doors off that woman with a phone stuffin
my bumper. At my age I can't do 60 no more. Ok what
or where I go I save money, drive my 23 to wherever, napa pizzia pakkie store
OK My old eyes says 28-30 mph in my F350 too much so
same thing in my 23 Ford thing is I run the 23
on 5 gal. a week F350 atleast 40 bucks. so in
ending ya wana go fast ya need eyes and be young.
Mine perrsa around 30.. and I aint got a mirror to
see rice burners stuffin my back end.
Wasn't the old Nevada Speed Limit?
"Reasonable and proper"
I get a chuckle out of the paranoia of the "skinny tire" thing!!!!
Anyway I drive my stock T's in the 35-40 mph range depending on traffic conditions etc.
Making a T go faster is not that difficult, making it stop is the hard part at higher speeds.
I live two miles outside of town, on a two lane highway. It is straight as an arrow, with only a slight grade. The traffic is usually not too heavy, but there are a lot of log truck and other semi trucks. I wish I lived on a quieter road, when it comes to driving our T's. Sometimes I can make it to town and back without getting passed. More often than not, I have to let a few cars pass me. Many of those times, when I get to town, I end up setting at the stop light alongside the cars that passed me.
I would think that a "reasonable speed for a T" would take into account what part of the Country you live in, and the condition of your T. I wish i had some of the rustic back roads some of our lucky forum members do. But for the rest of us living in a place where most people don't recognize an old car from a new one, its a challenge and i keep my speed faster than the idiot behind me that's not paying attention.
Our 13 T (280 Stipe cam, Z head, aluminum pistons, RM brakes) is happy at 35-40. I've gone 55 once on a three mile stretch of interstate.
1906 N, happy at 25 - 30, I've gone over 40 a few times (alum pistons, NH carb). I think the N stops better than our Ts, the same tire and brake lining surfaces as a T, less weight.
1907 K, happy at 35-45. Today I set a new "top speed" at 63 mph (original cast iron pistons and original carb). The K stops about like a T, except I when pull on the hand brake while stepping on the transmission brake (and frequently do), then it brakes better in my opinion.
Any faster than 25 in a stock T is foolish. The only way I'd go any faster is if it had a NASCAR roll cage and I was wearing a full racing suit with a helmet. A Model T EXPLODES into a hurricane of steel shards and wood splinters on impact. Henry advertised the Model T as being able to do 40 MPH. A new Camaro will do 140 mph.... But in either case, it doesn't mean you should do it. Keep it slow and drive the way a T was meant to be driven.
So I guess a heck of a lot of us are very foolish! LOL!
Back when I used to deer hunt there was a fellow walked up at a checkpoint he asked the wildlife agent a question.
" How high is maximum legal height in a tree for using my tree stand ? " The wildlife man stated there's no limit but if I were you I wouldn't put it any higher than your willing to fall.
Same as for the T while driving your T always remember it will run way faster than it will stop...! So rule of thumb don't drive any faster than your willing to hit something in it.
Everyone should drive at a speed they feel comfortable and safe at, so, I mean no criticism when I say that I would be scared to death to drive my T at speeds no faster than 25 mph. I wouldn't even drive it for the fear of getting rear ended. When cruising along, (versus driving on a tour), I do about 40 and feel that I'm not a road hazard at that speed.
"..the paranoia of the "skinny tire" thing!!!!"
Les, these people have never seen a T with good 4-wheel brakes make a full G stop. Too bad I never got a good video.
As I have ridden in your car and know why you have seat belts in it. YES, it is to keep you out of the windshield when he makes a hard stop!! Skinny tires and all.
A reasonable speed is after you have busted your first crankshaft! Bud.
James said it all.
Ralph has said many times, "A Fast car can Always go Slow"
Take care and drive carefully but don't call me foolish unless you have checked out my car.
BE Safe Go Slow
WHEN YOUR NUMBERS UP YOUR NUMBERS UP AND THERE ISN'T ANYTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. FULL SPEED AHEAD, HANG ON AND ENJOY IT
Tell this guy about skinny tires and bad brakes. Fortunately, it worked out for him.
You just never know with these old cars.
This poor chap has...had.... a very nice speedster and looks like steering went out on him during the Newport Hill Climb.
I feel you must think ahead when driving a T. For instance, driving in city traffic I tend to stay around 30 so braking should normally not be a problem. On a clear country road I usually keep it between 35-40. What gets me is the think ahead part that is not in some of my touring friends mind. I don't know how often I get behind someone approaching a hill that they tend to slow down at the bottom of the hill and then creep to the top. I tend to see the hill and give it the gas to get up to top speed at the bottom of the hill so I can finish at the top in high gear. Just saying.
I normally drive speeds ranging from 34.71 mph to 39.16 mph. Occasionally, I will get up to 43.92 mph or slightly higher, but this is very seldom. If I am not in the mood for speed, I sometimes find myself only going 31.83 mph.
Watch it Hal. The speed limit is only 35.09 mph!
Hal - Are you like that in person, or just on the forum?
Sorry guys. Some of the 32's and 38's and 27's just seemed like funny answers compared to "Oh, usually between 30 and 35". I doubt seriously any of us holds a car dead on a particular speed. Although.....there was once one of those radar equipped speed limit signs the police put up that clocked me at 24 mph nearly every time I passed it in my TT.