I recently sold my hotrod '65 Beetle which I've had for over 10 years. After reflecting on it a bit, I remembered just how many problems that car gave me. Something was always broken or not working. Many times (or rather, most of the time) it was not running for one reason or another. I even had the windshield wiper fall off when it was raining!
Now I've had my T for just over for years, and it's a tired car, but really it hasn't given me that much trouble. It's never stranded me and is rarely down. I started it the day before yesterday after sitting for a month. After giving it three primes I got a free start!
The T has also been a lot cheaper to keep running, and parts are much better quality in general. Really, it's just been a better fun car overall.
How reliable have your Ts been?
T's are very reliable. I really don't understand the mentality of those who think they're not. I can't tell you how many I've seen with an alternator because the owner 'drives his car, not just shows it'. Same story with distributors. All I can think is that they are ill informed, listen to wives tales, or had a car with a generator or coils that crapped out on them after 90 years, so they deem generators and/or coils 'unreliable'. Fact is, you put a T back into the condition it was new and do a little PM they are as reliable as a new car. More reliable than some.
I whole heartedly agree. The longer I have my 1923 FORDOR (6 years) the more confident I become with it. My VWs were just the opposite. My son (dyed in the wool VW man) is also starting to agree with me. John in Nova Scotia
My T has never let me down and I drive it a lot. Of course you can never have a failure of a fuel pump, water pump, oil pump, fuel filter, oil filter, distributor or single ignition coil. Notice how the world has gone back to one coil per cylinder (the Model T way) and reliability has largely returned?
I totally agree with you. A lot of people are misinformed or have Ts that have not been properly maintained. Mine is almost completely stock, no water pump, fuel pump, etc.. I am running a set of my electronic coils as I don't have a magneto, but I plan to put the mag back in in the future.
However, I will say that some modern accessories are a must. Neoprene rear axle seals and lined brake shoes are a genuine improvement over stock parts!
There are a lot of false profit's out there! There is enough info floating where a quick skim and anyone can write a book or preach on line!! Very often people just use the model T for a platform to preach their ideas from?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Have been a dyed in the wool VW guy since 1968 and worked at a VW only repair shop. They are as reliable as the quality of replacement parts you buy for them, no different than repro parts for the T. This isn't a diss to the model T, since I had never had one let me down but aircooled VW's are as reliable as they come.
Years ago when I toured frequently with the HCCA the guys with the big cars looked down on what they considered to be the lowly Model T. If you didn't have a Simplex, Mercer, Locomobile or other 40+hp car you weren't where it was at. Over the years the T's happily toured right by the big cars that were often plagued with breakdowns. Slowly, the big car guys bought Model T's to add to their collections and their T's wound up being the car they used most often! Begrudgingly, they will admit that the Model T is probably the most reliable and fun to drive tour car money can buy!
I think the Model T was the VW of its day.
The Model T of its day.
On the road in Sinaloa, 1974
Now, 41 years later, I'm looking forward to some long distance cruising by Model T.
Yup,I'm sorry to say i bought a new 71 bug and it was reliable!! When i was told it would need valve work at 50,000 miles it did,it needed a total overhaul!! I worked in a chevy plant then and our millwright leader told me-You know Curly if someday they close the plant you will wonder if gm would have sold one more chevy would we be still open???? Nope,the model T made jobs for hundereds of thousands of Amercain jobs,the bug not so much!!!! We closed that plant in 1983 and 7 people left after me!!When i went to Olds,it was gangbusters but to many off shore buyers did that in too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
The reliability of most vehicles rests squarely between the ears of the operator. Take care of
your vehicle and be aware of odd sounds, etc. and chances go way down that this vehicle
will ever leave you stranded or with a huge bill.
Most people want a turn-key, never-think-about-it vehicle and are quick to b!tch when
reality comes knocking. Plain and simple.
Farfignewten!! Your right when i buy new i want turn key!!!!!!!!!!!!Bud.
I suppose it's all relative. _The ugly, cough drop-looking cars coming off the assembly line today are dead reliableóand totally devoid of personality, individuality or class. _But by virtue of their electronic ignition, computerized fuel-injection and digital whizz-bangs, you wave the ignition key at them and they start right up. Period. _Not only that, they require virtually nothing more in the way of maintenance than an occasional oil change. _No grease-jobs, no tune-ups, no nothing.
That's not to say there was a whole lot of trouble starting any in the string of used, carbureted, points-&-condenser cars I owned once upon a time, but each seemed to prefer its own individualized start-up technique. _My '61 VW Microbus required flooring and holding the gas pedal, then releasing it the moment the engine caught; the '68 Buick Sportwagon preferred fluttering the pedal while cranking; the '63 Caddy needed three pumps of the accelerator, a ten-count and then hit the starter; etc. If you knew the combination, these engine started reliably, but then they all needed a few minutes of warm up time in a cloud of blue-tinged smoke before actually hitting the road. _Some of those cars actually had an idiot light on the dash that went out when the coolant temp had risen to the magic value.
I place my 12-volt, self-starterized, '15 Model T somewhere in between the Fabulously-Finned 60's and today's Chicklet-gum cars: Ignition off, pull the choke closed and hold the starter button in for about three revolutions, then flip the key to battery and if she doesn't bequeath a free-start, bop the button once and the engine fires right up. _Works just about every time. _The only exception was when my timer decided it was time to retire. _In fact, any time my engine is running rough or occasionally skipping fire, that just means it's time to wipe out the timer and give it a few drops of fresh, clean oil. _But yeah, given the required maintenance, these Flivvers are surprisingly dependable.
2011 F150 ecoboost. All electronic. 1:Has died on acceleration twice, once just after passing semi at 75mph. Apparently accumulates water in intake manifold that on acceleration, dumps to the engine and it shuts off.
2:Who ever heard of a two piece 15 inch positive cable from battery to the electronics that corrodes and separates at 4 years old. caused another death in traffic.
3:new style plugs wear to wide gap at 60K miles. High compression from turbo causes spark to exit through side of plugs to boot to ground. Dealer said plug cracked. After second plug 1 month later, "old" mechanic looked at it and says not crack but "carbon track" and said this was common of turbo's of the 80-90"s. Needs dielectric grease in plug boots and more frequent change of plugs to avoid excess gap.
4: carbon buildup manifold side of intake valves at 80K miles. Ford dealer fix "replace the heads".
I'm not so sure about new cars being reliable or turn key!
I had a í65 Beetle in the late 70ís.
HITLERíS REVENGE !!!
I am relatively new to the T world (owning one) but have been familiar with them for quite awhile. One of the highlights of owning and driving a T is the mechanical connection you have with the car. You can either feel of hear every component do it's job, or not in some cases. if you are mechanically inclined and like it, how then could you not love the T. If one truly enjoys old cars that are extremely basic without all of the fluff the T is it. Dusenbergs and America Underslung's are nice, and I appreciate those cars for what they are, but in the same breath I appreciate the T for what it is and maybe even more. Judging by the smiles, waves, honks and crowds that gather when it's parked somewhere others do as well. People identify with a T in more ways then one. When it comes to the issue of reliability I've found out that the amount of reliability is equally related to the amount maintenance performed.
Ford Expedition, 2008. Warped exhaust manifold at 40k. Both exhaust manifolds warped at 108k. Hell, they ain't even moving parts. I have driven countless cars well over 250,000 miles each and never, never replaced an exhaust manifold. To me that ain't progress and it certainly isn't reliability!
I agree with you Charlie. After 11 years of weekly use on full registration my 24 T has never let me down. Maintenance is dead easy and routine like any machinery. I have other cars but none of the give me the feeling that driving my model T does.
My Model T has been really reliable...after I dropped a wad on rebuilding the engine, installing a Ruckstell, new tires and rims, and a whole lot of other stuff. If I had to spend all that cash on my regular vehicle, I would have junked it first. I guess the 'T" is special...and I treat it that way.
You can't expect one to be reliable if it has 90 years of wear and tear. Spend what it takes to put it back like it was and it will be VERY reliable.
I can think of 3 times that I drove my T when my modern cars failed me.
One of the best is when my modern truck battery failed. I drove to Sears in my 26 Coupe with the truck battery in the trunk. I pulled up and walked into the store. The young kid behind the counter asked me what I needed. I told him I needed a battery. He looked at me with wide eyes and asked if it was for the car I was driving.
I told him that it was a battery for a modern car that had failed so I drove a car that did not need a battery. The look I got was priceless!