I live in a rather rural area of N.E. Pa., and I am looking into using a Model T for daily driving (excluding highways, etc.). Any suggestions on what I should watch out for or be mindful of?
Johann I see that this is your first post to the forum - Welcome..
I drove past Milford on my way to Harrisburg a few weeks ago but must have blinked as I don't remember what the area looked like.
There is not a simple answer to your question..
Using a T as a daily driver can be fun but you need to remember that it is a horseless carriage not an antique automobile. 25 -30 MPH is usually top speed and it doesn't stop very well.
It would be helpful if you gave a bit more information about the vehicle, the commuting distance and what the roads are like.
Also it would be good if you could tell us a bit about your Model T experience because a T is not something you can just jump into and drive like a modern vehicle. .
Mindful of? Other drivers! Other folks don't know that you can't go any faster or that you can't stop on a dime. They can tailgate and cut in front of you accordingly. Also be mindful of maintenance issues you are not used to having to do if you have only driven modern vehicles in the past. Many places to keep oiled and greased. Much more frequent oil changes.
Daily driving, a 90+ year old car is like a 30 year old horse, either could die without any warning!
Welcome to the forum! If there are lots of slow moving tractors in your area and there aren't many cars etc. it could be a great choice. My Grandparents farm was out in the middle of no-where. There would be hours when no cars would drive by the house. You either lived on that road (and there were not that many folks on the road) or you were lost. A Model T could be used in that area safely and easily. And town -- well other than the one gas station there really wasn't any reason to go to the nearest town. And the roads were straight and flat -- so folks could see you far in the distance.
If you have a lot of cars/trucks that are in a hurry -- then a Model T speedster that can go and stop better than a stock T might still be a choice. And a regular T can also be slightly modified to go faster and stop better -- but because the speedster is generally lighter, the same brakes and performance changes work better on the lighter car.
You can do a quick test in your area. Drive your modern car or pickup 25-30 mph on the roads you are thinking about. Be ready to floor the accelerator to avoid being "rear ended." See how that goes.
For a description of a Model T's speed (slowness) see the article at:
And most importantly -- recommend you contact one of the clubs closest to you. Go for a ride etc. They are listed at: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm and http://www.modelt.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=15
Hap l9l5 cut off
Hi Johann. Two things I've learned about driving a T in southern California traffic that might be useful to you:
1. If you try to start quickly at a green light so as not to hold up traffic, other drivers will expect you to start and stop as quickly as they do. They will be on your arse and cut in front of you and hit the brakes &tc. However, if you accelerate at a reasonable pace, and if need be, drive just a bit slower than the flow of traffic (3 or 4 mph even if you could keep up) then other drivers see you as an old car and give room. Be courteous .
2. Other drivers will pace you, at your rear quarter, to watch your car. They will be oblivious to your desire to change lanes or to turn. When you signal, they wave back. (Boy, those old car guys sure are friendly!) You will make alot of u-turns and right turns into places to let traffic pass. So, watch your rear quarter, left & right, for tantalized drivers.
Best of luck. Greg
Good advise Greg. That's how I drive mine. Defensive driving is the key. Stop and turn signals are worth the effort if you drive it everyday.
If you want to try it as a daily driver, do it. Your area is pretty hilly, so consider getting one that has a Ruckstell rear. That gives you two more gears to use. It's an "under drive" and will help in pulling those long grades. The choice of car is pretty wide. The touring is nice because it can carry all sorts of stuff in the back seat or passengers. But, chilly in the winter. It's also light weight, which matters in the hills. A closed car is good in cold or wet weather...but, hot in the summer.
With the road brine/salt that gets put on your roads in the winter time, it's really best to just leave the T in the shed and save it from that brutal corrosion. A roadster pickup truck can make a great "yard-saler" on Saturday mornings and a regular roadster looks great, but the trunk is quite small.
Get something. Learn it. Drive and maintain it. We are all just caretakers of these magnificent little vehicles for the time that we own them and they are sure to last far longer than we will. The traffic issue is a certainty, but I drive mine almost everyday in southern NJ. Getting one that is ready to go would be my recommendation as your first one. Get a project car later on. Welcome!
Johann, I drive my 26 coupe daily, subject to weather. If I drive in the rain, it on the way home. When I bought my car last year I knew I was going to be driving it often. First Thing I did was make it dependable to run and start when I stalled it at a stop light. Second, I installed tail lights both sides. Turn signals, running lights and brake lights. Lastly I installed disc brakes on rear. The brakes I found was the best investment even over buying the car. I'm now installing wire wheels because I feel they're safer than spokes. Some of my purist friends have a field day pointing out what is not original on my "T" but feeling safer when I travel is well worth the criticism. I bought the car to drive not show. I'm originally from Pittsburgh and I use to ride my Harley in the winter time, so maybe I am a little crazy. Bob
Frankly, it depends on the roads upon which you drive. I have a recently-retired friend who regularly drove his '24 touring to work. His commute wasn't long, and he drove on back roads. The T can be a bit of a rolling roadblock; during commuting hours if you are driving 25 or 30 on a road posted for 45 you aren't going to make a lot of friends, and I honestly wouldn't blame them for being a little upset with you. If you are driving your T in a lightly traveled area, go for it.
If I am driving my T to a specific destination, I try to try to find a time and the roads where I will cause the least disruption to modern traffic. And watch the rear-view mirrors. When you are at the head of a train, it's time to pull over and the it pass you by.
Take a look at your insurance carrier and make certain you can use your T commute back and forth to work. Mine carrier specifically limits me to not using it to go to and from work. But I guess with no tripometer, who would know, until you have an accident and you have to 'splain your way out of it. Maybe that is not your intention.
Thank you for all the suggestions, they make good food for thought.