Hi All ---
There's a Centerdoor for sale locally. I've always admired this body style but wonder how practical they are for driving --- for taking on a tour in hilly country. Are they decent cars for touring or are they uncomfortable, underpowered, or really only useful in flat country.
Looking at the weights, they are about as heavy as a 1926 Coupe, which I've owned, even though they look huge.
Any guys with experience, your thoughts welcome.
Scott they are a lot heavier than a 26 coupe and way underpowered a auxiliary transmission is a must and I always have felt that you are a little offset from the steering wheel but that is just my personal opinion
Never owned one but one i got chance to drive it was heavy car and felt like driving a box
And driver seat was small and felt out board to steering and pedals
The early '16 I had many years ago was a wonderful tour car. (Crazy paranoid me, they may not be as good as they used to be because of the crud-for-gas we have these days.) Because it was a brass T, I refused to use a modern accessory Ruckstell in it (part of how I became known as a "purist"). I had planned to use a Moore in it because they were available before USA entrance into WWI. However the car did well enough on the hills I toured in those days (small compared to where I live now) that I never got around to installing the Moore. I was clocked twice at 55 mph, and think I drove the car at that speed many times. Although the engine was very stock (even cast iron pistons!), it was an above average performer.
I really wish I had never sold that car!
But that is me.
Slow, slow, slow but fun to drive. Drivers seat is offset which takes a bit of getting used to and since the windows don't go all the way down hand signals are difficult. I don't know about going 55 in one but I know you couldn't stop it if you did without auxiliary brakes. I am in the process of fitting Rocky Mtn. Brakes on mine. I never owned a closed T before and did not plan to keep my Centerdoor but now I am hooked. Just be sure it has safety glass in it or be prepared for a big expense. There's an awful lot of glass to replace.
I'm waiting for Dave Huson to post one of his Centerdoor on top of a mountain photos.
You all need to go for a ride in my '19 - Ricardo head with matching intake, larger than stock intake valves & stock geared Ruckstell.
Participated in the Can-Am Tour last September in Spokane, WA with a handful of the Montana 500 folks - with a full house - 4 adults, both days & I kept along with all the other T's !
A couple more considerations. While the weight is a bit higher than a touring car, which is a bit of a point against on hills. The wind resistance with the smooth sided body and windows seems somewhat better for the sedan than with the touring top up. So level ground top end is maybe better with the sedan.
Another consideration with that weight that should be thought about. With all that glass? The center of gravity is higher with the sedan, a consideration that does affect the handling of the car. Sometimes, in unexpected ways.
When I got my center-door running, and first started driving it, several other center-door owners asked me if I "had experienced the bunny hop yet?" Turns out, something different about the weight distribution up high can, under certain conditions, cause the car to bounce the rear end while the body floats merrily along. A very interesting effect if it ever happens to you. The rear end sort of loses traction ( I was on a left turn, and the rear end started to try to come around from behind!). Fortunately, because I had been warned about it, I was not caught by surprise. I steered into the skid and throttled back, the rear end stopped bouncing and I went along my merry way. No one around me was likely even aware of it.
It has been about twenty years since I sold that car. I regret it almost every day.
I don't know why (something about the weight distribution is all I can figure?)? But I have never heard of the fordor or later tudor sedans doing that. I know a lot of center-door sedan owners have never experienced it. However, I did, and when I had mine? I heard from several other center-door owners that had also experienced it. Maybe part of the problem was that wonderful Bay Area road maintenance? There were a lot of center-door sedans in the Santa Clara club. Still are. And most of the owners love driving them.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I'm with Steve Tomaso on this one. My '19 centerdoor also has aWaukesha-Ricardo head with a high volume aluminum intake and one of the 'straight thru carbs. Consequently it's highly peppy. It's my wife's favorite. The passenger seat is easier to move out of the way than my '26 tudor. I even had 6'4" Royce Peterson in the passenger seat- comfortably- for about 15 miles. you won't need an overdrive tranny or auxillary brakes to easily tour at 40 MPH safely. As has been previously mentioned, they're top heavy. I have some kind of small leaf springs on all 4 corners to prevent the 'rolling motion' left and right. Don't know if Hasslers would do the same. Before you buy it, check out the wood condition- especially in the left and right rear corners. Then install bud vases with plastic bluebonnets and yellow roses !!
>> When I got my center-door running, and first started driving it, several other center-door owners asked me if I "had experienced the bunny hop yet?"
I just had the thought about that Centerdoor Bunny Hop effect. Seems to me that if the wind is right, the body might be lifting up and reducing the weight on the rear wheels, letting them bounce. Why? Look at the roof of a Centerdoor. Doesn't that look like the top side of an airplane wing??
Funny the thoughts that come into your head after a little bit of scotch.
I have a 22 centerdoor and it's great on hills and it's very comfortable. Now that I have a good rebuilt engine in it, it's very fast. The windows can rattle because they're not wind-up, and I do tend to drive with part of my butt off the seat because the seat is not exactly in front of the steering wheel, but I'm used to it and I love the car. It's great looking and a blast to drive. I drive it all winter and summer- comfortably.
I love my 1919 Centerdoor Some may know her as the Gray Ghost.
It has a Z head stock crank I think a cam the carb is an NH sway back that was board out to a strait through and a Ruckstell 3 to 1. It's been up to 60 mph once
We were on the leaf peeper tour in Colorado and the day we went up to Rabbit Ears Pass 9,426' we were the last T to leave the hotel by several minutes but first to the top!
Great all weather car dry in the rain (my wife likes that) open the big windows and it's like a touring with the top up.
I have seen two centerdoors up on two wheels going around corners too fast. Be careful.