I am pretty excited to be attending the Gilmore Model T driving school tomorrow. I am looking to purchase my first Model T sometime soon and I have been studying everything I can get my hands on that is Model T related. But I thought that a driving class would be a good way to get some hands on experience on what to look for while researching my purchase. Hopefully I don't crash into anything tomorrow.
I didn't know anything like this existed beside just one guy helping another. Sure as heck wish I'd have gone to one. Book learnin' is OK but you find it's limited in practice.
There are five Model T Driving Schools around the country:
The Gilmore Museum in Hickory Corners, MI
The AACA Museum in Hershey, PA
Speedy Bill Smith's Museum in Lincoln, NB
The Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum
in Hood River, OR
The Lemay Car Museum in Tacoma, WA
There might even be more that I'm not aware of.
These make good birthday / Father's Day / Christmas gifts..... even for Mother's Day!
We went to Gilmore this past Wednesday but there was no driving class available. Hopefully as it become more popular something closer to New Orleans will open up.
The Gilmore Museum has 12 days that Model T Driving lessons are given from April 28 to Sept. 27th, 2018. They are given on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with both morning and afternoon sessions. The dates and times are on their web site, and reservations must be made in advance.
Vern, if you know of a Museum with Model T's in your area that might be a good place for T driving lessons to be given, please let either me or Susan at the MTFCA know, and we'll contact them to discuss it and help them get started with the lessons.
The five museums listed above that give the T driving lessons all use their museum owned cars and do the driving on their museum grounds, not on the public streets.
My Son, son-in-law, and myself did the Gilmore driving school for fun. It was a great experience. Nice folks, a lot of driving, even drove with a guy who knew Henry Ford.....
I highly recommend it
We have been to the Gilmore and it's a great place!I never tought my wife to drive either of our T's because i was/aim scared to let her crank one.Do they at the Gilmore teach how to step to the front? Another question is do they teach both early and late as they do not steer the same.Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
I was taught to drive a T by a friend in the local high school parking lot (when school was not in session). As it happened, a local newspaper reporter saw what we were doing and took a photo. The photo actually made the paper. I'd post it, but it got packed up when we moved to Florida from MA. and I have no idea where it is. We did give the reporter a ride.
Bud, They start the cars.(All had electric start, even the '15) There were a variety of vehicles. We had a '15 touring, a '19 touring, a depot hack (can't remember the year) and a centerdoor (also can't remember the year). You switched up several times to get a chance at the different models.
You are asked to stay in low gear on the main campus but are allowed into high on their "track/loop" and outside the main campus.
The group is split into two smaller groups, while one is driving the other is getting a tour of a section of the museum, then they switch several times
do they start you off with horses like farmer john? story im told he kept hitting things with the FORD, so his son came up with the idea of hitching the team to the front of liz,he knew how to control them. [INTERESTING].
My dad taught me how to drive our T.
He explained how to start it and what the controls did while it was in the driveway, said see ya later, and went in the house.
I started it - stalled it as I tried to back out of the driveway - restarted it - backed out of the drive (onto a major street Rt 140 in Taunton Mass) - pressed the low peddle to go forward - and stalled it again.
Once I figured it out and got going I drove it to the high school, picked up the cheerleaders, and took them to a football game.
Almost forgot, the cheerleaders wanted me to drive around Taunton Green before going to the game.
When stopped at a red light at the green a cop came over and had me shut the car off.
Then he laughed and told me that just wanted to see if I could start it.
I had a really fun time today learning how to drive a Model T. The two big surprises were 1) The brakes are shockingly poor. 2) How far forward the break lever needs to go to in order to be in high gear. Overall I think I did pretty good. I didn't have any stalls, and although I had some confusion with a few of my stops, I didn't run into anything. So today was a blast and I feel confident that when I finally get around to buying a Model T that I can safely start to learn how to REALLY drive it.
My dad and I were the first two instructors of the Gilmore Car Museums driving school. We got together our cars and just taught some people for fun. Gilmore had the idea this would be a good educational opportunity and the rest is history. I used to own the 15 touring now owned by the museum and got it running and driving for them with Mark and Phil Eyer's help. I am glad you enjoyed the experience!
If you're going to participate in the driving school there's a chance you could wind up driving "my" '19 Touring car which went to the Gilmore for that class.......
The California Auto Museum in Sacramento also has a Model T Driving class. Classes fill up fast. The next one is July 14 and Sept 22. Taught by members of the Sacramento Valley Model T Club. www.calautomuseum.org
My wife and I took the class last summer, she got it for me as a Christmas gift the previous Christmas. I'm sure it's no coincidence, it was also our 16th anniversary the day we went. ;)
It was very unintimidating, and the instructors were great. What I thought was neat was the way it was broken up, and they way they ran it you were never bored if you weren't driving. Very enjoyable day for sure!
I wanna see you behind the wheel of that Amish Drag Buggy
This girl can now drive a Model T - thanks to Tuesday’s Driving Class at the Gilmore!
Gus and John summed up the experience very well. During the class we switched instructors three times. I picked up different tips and tricks from each one.
It seemed about half the students received the class as a gift from a family member. My husband surprised me with mine for Christmas.
For anyone who has a family member that hasn’t conquered the T lever, pedals, and throttle yet...the driving schools are perfect. It is always easier to learn from a stranger (they can’t share stories of all your flub ups). Plus, with a borrowed car, there are no worries about what the “learning curve” is doing to YOUR Model T’s engine. The Gilmore cars are set up to take the abuse and one of the driving instructors (shown in the photo below) regularly works on the Ts to keep them in shape.
Classes like these will help build our hobby. I bet several classmates will become T owners. The Gilmore has another great program just for youth. Look for an upcoming article on it in the Vintage Ford magazine.
Hi Aleesa, Thanks for telling us about your Model T driving & learning experience. I can tell that you still have the "wow" smile on your face.
Can't wait to see the article about this in The Vintage Ford!!!
I went out to the Gilmore Museum last week and was very disappointed; there were only two Model T's on display and both were black era cars in permanent display settings. They have entire buildings dedicated to the Ford Model A and other automobile giants but nothing for the Model T. I thought they used to have a few early brass T's years ago; maybe they switch them out every so often, but still, a few more Model T's would be nice!
Bill, you missed the barn where on the second level they have T #171 (two pedal two lever). There are several Ts there to see but it is an antique car museum that has a few Ts, not visa versa.
Bill, the Giillmore is so big it is so hard to see everything there in one visit. The reason there is an A Museum and other buildings dedicated to one badge or another is because their organizations have decided to build their museums on the Gilmore’s campus and provide continued support, but let the Gilmore run them.
Our club has its own museum in Richmond, Indiana. Please stop by for a visit, you will be able to get your fill of T there in all shapes and sizes. If you haven’t visited lately, come back it is has grown and changed tremendously in the last year.
They actually had a few more T’s there in the two-story barn including a brass-era #131, one of the earliest documented Ts found so far. They also had an early Ford made right after Henry was ousted from his 2nd company. It looked more like a carriage and had an ornate brass rail and long side wicker baskets.
As soon as my oldest ships off to boot camp next summer (and I can finally resign from my position as XO of his Sea Cadet division- thus freeing up mucho time!) I will be getting back on that project. Don't worry, it's mostly T based, so it's vaguely on topic. ;)
Aleesa- I'm glad to hear your experience was as enjoyable as ours. Our 3 instructors were awesome! We had one younger gentleman, one intermediate (about my age mid 40's or so) and one 'more experienced' gentleman. They were all very patient and very knowledgeable. I would definitely recommend the course to anyone with an interest in Ts!
All together I think Gilmore has perhaps 10-12 Ts now. Though they are light on the brass cars, with perhaps only 4 brass cars, make no mistake, they have a LOT of Ts. The brass cars are #131, a 09 two lever, a 1911 Touring, a 1911 Vee radiator racer and my old '15 Touring. They also have an original 17 Touring, a 19 Touring, a 22 Centerdoor, a 22 touring, a 25 Depot Hack, a 26 Runabout, 26 Coupe and a 26 touring. Those are the cars I can remember off the top of my head. Not bad for a collection that is not a T museum.