On a recent trip to Greenfield Village I took a ride in one of their Model T's. I mentioned to the driver that I was in the process of looking for a Model T to purchase. With me being what my mother would call "big boned" he said that I should steer clear of the improved Model T's (1926-1927) as there is less room for the driver due to the firewall being moved in to accommodate the new location of the gas tank. Is this true? If yes, then my question would be what models/years would offer the most room for the driver? And before anyone suggests it, yes I am aware of the optional fat man wheel.
Gus, I have a 14 and 26 and the 14 is better.
My 27 Tudor has lots of room but my 26 Roadster would be a tight fit for big people.
As a related side note, throughout my life I have not found a lot of advantages to being 5'7", but it's pretty nice if you own a Model T. My car was built for me. I fit just fine...
I haven't driven all years, but I've read that the brass era open cars are the least cramped.
A friend of mine has a 26 Tudor. He was able to move the seat back, so they may be the way for you to go.
I have shrunk to 5' 9", but my '27 touring car would be fine for a six-footer (once you get into the dang thing). I always use the passenger door when I'm alone. It isn't so much height - even with the top up, but leg length. The owner of the first T in which I soloed (a '24 touring) was 6" 2" and had no issues with size.
I'm a heavyweight, standing at about 5'11" and have no difficulty at all with the ergonomics of my '15 Touring. -Earlier cars have wider dashboards which may provide a negligible additional amount of side-to-side foot room. -All the brass Model T Tourings are pretty good that way. -Men of the 21st Century seem a little bit taller than were their Victorian counterparts (and we're giants compared our Feudal-Age ancestors), so a little more leg-room would be nice, but in the brass Fords, it's really not too bad. -Mr. Ford apparently decided on an "average" leg-length and planted the front seat accordingly, so guys like me will ride with their knees a bit above the top of the doors, which is okay if not ideal.
Some of the steel Tourings are a very different story, however. -Ho boy; I drove one a couple of years ago (and I wish I could remember the exact model-year, but it was somewhere between a '23 and a '25), and the layout of the pedals and brake handle was so awful, there was no comfortable place for me to rest my left foot, and with the brake handle in the neutral position, the darned thing was tucked right behind my left knee. -No way could I have lived with that Flivver.
I used to own a '26 touring, but, my '25 roadster has more leg room than it did.
When I was younger, I considered being over 6' to be a plus. The older I get, the more I see that it's not.
I've taken off over 100 pounds since my heaviest days and still have more to go, but I'm getting there. When it comes to Model A's and T's, if you're going to be tall, you'd better at least be skinny.
I drove a 26 Runabout recently, and it was pretty cramped. The pedals don't bother me as much as the brake handle does. It's just exactly right where my left leg wants to be.
My 24 Touring is better than the 26, but the brake handle is still ill-placed for my frame. I'm thinking about modifying my 24's handle to move it over closer to the false door. I've seen it done in photos a few times. It doesn't look like too big of a job.
Big Boned can mean a lot of different things. In the Air Force they have charts for the airplanes with ejection seats. Two folks of the same height can have a different leg length. And on the old T-33 T-bird jet trainer, a lot of folks with long legs were not allowed to fly it. Why, because if they had to eject their knees would hit the canopy bow on the way out. But a person with short legs of the same height was authorized to fly it.
In addition to leg length we also have the distance from our stomach to the steering wheel. As I age, I notice the steering wheel is getting closer and closer for some reason.
For both of those, the brass open cars are generally considered to have more room. And the 1911 Torpedo Roadster and Open Runabout have the most front seat room of any T that I am aware of. And the Town Cars had the least driver room.
Note the 1926-27 open cars have a fixed seat distance while the 1926-27 Coupe and Tudor have some adjustment in the seat position. See paragraph number 1259 for the Coupe and paragraph number 1280 for the Tudor at: http://www.cimorelli.com/mtdl/servicemanual/default.htm The Tudor adjustment takes a little effort while the Coupe adjustment you have to cut the back shelf panel.
You can obtain the most leg room with an aftermarket speedster or open express body etc. that the seats have been positioned to give the driver additional leg room. That is very easy to do while the owner is building the body. And if you make the seats adjustable -- then the short folks can enjoy the car also.
I would recommend that you go for a ride and sit behind the wheel of several different year models and body styles. You donít want to travel half way across the country to look at a good deal on a 1926 touring only to find out it would be uncomfortable for you to fit into.
And for just a little extra room, a smaller diameter steering wheel, a custom seat spring from Snyderís, a steering wheel wedge to move the steering column up rather than down all can add a little more room. And with more work you can shorten the steering column (the reverse of making it longer for the 1911 Torpedo runabout) and things similar to that.
Good luck with your search, Iím sure you can find a T that will meet your needs.
Hap l9l5 cut off
At 5'11" and 225 lbs my 27 roadster is slightly cramped but not too bad. My 25 touring is a lot more comfy!
1926 Roadster here. 5í10Ē, 200 lbs. I fit fine. Sure, the cockpit offers limited space, however, this is typical for many cars of this era. I Always use the passenger door for ingress and egress. Have the Ruckstell shifter in the middle as well, just slide over it. No complaints.
My dad was 6' tall. I am only 5'7" but when we sat side by side on a bench I sat taller than him. I am short only in the legs and he was very long legged. I have no problem with my 26 Roadster and 26 touring. I can also drive the 22 roadster without a problem. You can compensate by a few inches just tying down the springs and using less padding in the upholstery, or by padding more.
I have Ruckstells in all 3 cars and they are all center shift. However I have cut off about 4 inches from the handles of the 2 26's so that I don't hit the ignition switch when I shift into high. With the shortened shift lever I can just step right over it when I get in or out of the car. It is, however easier to get in when it is in low.
Just to be clear, big boned means I am fat.
At 5'9" and 200+ ,some days I slip in just fine and some days not so much. Now having the amazing hulk (Martin Vowell ) ride with me , there was a learning curve to getting into the car up front.
Having ridden and driving his 22 touting was no problem and having ridden in Steve Jelf's Runabout was no issue either.
Have a '26 Touring and '26 Tudor. Neither is terribly ergonomic for the driver. However, you can do some modifications to the Tudor's front seats to make them more comfortable. In the Touring your stuck with what you have, like it or not. In the Touring I have to sort of stuff myself in and then wriggle around until I am moderately comfortable and can still operate the vehicle. I did switch the 17" steering wheel out for a 16" one and that helped some. Still, this is not the car I would want to drive to California in.
I'm 5'10" and 240 lbs. my 20 roadster is cramped, as is my 26 coupe. My 23 touring has the most leg room and room behind the wheel of any of them. I assume this is due to the oval tank instead of round and lack of a cowl tank
My trick for getting into the 4dr 26 Canada touring is to enter from the passenger side head first and do a counter clockwise 180 and wiggle into driving position, 50 to 70 lbs less weight would help.
The drivers door on the car is for very small folks.
Its best use seems to be gaining access to the floor boards,steering wheel, & dash board.
As far as being a passenger is concerned, I've ridden in a 26 Runabout, a 22 Touring, a 27 TT and John May's 11 Touring.
The two Tourings were absolutely spacious from a passenger's perspective. The 26 Runabout was pretty cramped and the 27 TT was weird because of the straight-backed homemade seat...but otherwise pretty spacious.
Here's a video link to the ride in John's car. It was a bit chilly, but otherwise delightful.
'27 Tudor + 2 '23 Tourings. Not all at once. The 27 was first. I'm 6' 2". The Tourings are a better/more comfortable ride.
The open cars are all easier to enter with the top down. You can stand up and walk right in then sit down. However, with the top up, the earlier ones are easier than the "improved" model. Henry didn't like women, I guess, because either she had to wait until the man cranked the car or she had to crank it. Either way he couldn't hold the door for her unless she was the driver!
Gus, I have the answer to your problem, and it is for sale. When I built my 1917 shooting brake I made wide doors and the seat back is adjustable so you can make your own comfortable driving position.
Allan from down under.
At 6í4Ē, 290lbs., Iím a pretty good gauge for determining whether a car has a cramped cockpit. I owned a Ď27 Coupe for about six weeks. That was enough of trying to drive with my knees in my armpits. The Ď26/7 open cars are narrow, and thereís no place to put your left leg.
Iíve found that the earlier, the better, when it comes to legroom in Model Ts. My Ď23 Runabout has adequate room, but itís not ideal. My Ď14 Touring is very comfortable. I used to have a Ď22 Centerdoor, and it had a nice, wide cabin with plenty of leg room, but it required a bit of agility for ingress and egress. The most comfortable Model T that Iíve ever driven, was an Ď11 Torpedo. Iíd love to own one, but theyíre out of my budget.
Ď21 and earlier Ts all had a little more legroom than he later ones, due to a having a taller seat. In Ď22, Ford changed the shape of the gas tank to allow for a lower seat.
Really hard to generalize. My wife and I are both 5'10. I have short legs and long torso, she is the opposite. When we sit side by side I appear much taller. You won.t really know until you actually sit in one. Find T owners at shows who will let you sit in their car, we tend to be a very accommodating group.
I'm 6'1" and a big guy to boot. Can anyone comment about the room behind the wheel of a '17-'18 open touring car? I've been trying to talk a friend out of his '11 touring but it doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon and I'm anxious to join the Model T fraternity.
According to the 1928 Ford Factory Service Manual, the improved coupe and tudor front seats can be adjusted back.
My 19 is ok, At 240lbs my belly just touches the steering wheel. I would say, Go to a car show and find a t and ask the guy if you could sit in it. I had a guy get in my 19 for a photo a few weeks back that was VERY big boned. He did have some problem getting in and out but he did it.
I have wondered how potential buyers in the Model T's heyday thought about interior size when buying a car. Did Fords literature mention anything about roominess and comfort in their adds?
I owned a 22 touring car and never remember being cramped as I am 6í2Ē.
My friends 12 touring has even more leg room.
But another friend has a 26 touring and I am cramped.
The Improved car is not an improvement for me.
Iím 6í 1Ē at 230 lbs ... the stock Ď23 runabout is ok for comfort. My open body bucket seat speedster was very different. Loved being able to hang my left leg out to the running board.
Iíve yet to complete the top on the runabout and am thinking that it will be really difficult to see stop lights as I approach with the top up.
I lowered the seat frame in a 26, i fit in it fine but some 7 foot tall guy can't even get in the door.
I don't know a whole lot about re-upholstering and never dealt with a Classtique or Cartouche kit, but I'm constantly dealing with the over-enthusiastic foam-stuffing that a previous owner performed when he re-did the seats. -See, if you overstuff the side parts of the backrest in an open Touring or Roadster, you can lose several inches of side-to-side hip room and then both front seat occupants will be smushed together. -When I drive with my usual co-pilot, we have to empty our pockets into the toolbox so we'll have enough room to share the front bench.-
Intuitively, it might seem like more foam would be more cushy and comfortable, but trust me, it's not. -It's also important that the top of the backrest be a little bit less stuffed than the bottom so you won't find yourself sitting bolt upright or leaning slightly forward instead of the more comfy position of being slightly reclined. -As you can see in the photo, my seats are waaaaay overstuffed.
I'm 6-3 225 and last year I hopped into a buddy's 17 touring with the top up.
It was WAY easier than I thought and I had some room! Never had one of those fancy tops. :-)
I Zee my brake levers. They are in the way.
Bob, your seats are fine. Just find the valve stem and reduce the pressure from 200# to 55#. You'll be amazed at the results !
I am a member of the fat bastard club as well and at 5í 10Ē and 255lbs. I fit good in a Ď17 Touring, a Ď22 Coupe and a Ď23 Fordor. None have the fatman steering wheel. Iím nearly at 54 years and I find my biggest problem is not having enough time to play/work on these machines. Iím looking forward to retirement so I will have the time!
I'm 6 foot, about 230 pounds at this time. I have been as heavy as 245. I have owned a 13 touring; a 16 touring; and 23 chassis made into a Depot Hack. I presently own a 26 four door and the first T that I ever restored, my grandfather's 27 coupe. The only one that causes me any fitment problems is the 26 four door that I currently own (but is for sale). It is not only hard to get into through the driver's door because of the E brake, but is short on legroom, also. The 27 coupe has plenty of leg room and as long as my passenger isn't the fat lady who sings at the opera, I have plenty of hip room for my passenger. If my 27 coupe hadn't been my Grandfather's the only other 26-27 that I'd have rather had, is a two door sedan.
I'm 5'11" but have long legs.
I found the Improved T Tudors are the best.
You can move the seat back which is something you can do only in the Tudors.
I moved the driver seat back one hole and it makes a world of difference.......and makes getting in and out easier too.
A few of the T Owners here in Perth have relocated the front seat rearwards when restoring the vehicle. A few inches isnít
detectable when looking at the body but makes a huge difference to the driver. Iím 6í 6Ē and much prefer the 1910 to drive because of leg room than the 1926 Pickup
You folks are lightweights.
I am 6 feet tall and on my way down from 290.
I realized that I needed to do something when I had trouble fitting under the 19 when checking the oil.
I figure that loosing a few pounds would also help reduce the leftward lean
I'm 6' 1" and weigh more than anyone else has yet to admit (Although Fred is close). I'm comfortable in my wife's '18 Touring. I'm not UNcomfortable in my TT, but the car is more comfortable. The TT is not a good indicator as it has an aftermarket cab ('22 model) of unknown manufacture, so no way to compare.
I'm in the same boat as you Willis Jenkins.
Work and family pretty much consume all my time. These days, I get a few hours on the weekends to tinker with my old cars.
You folks don't know what a problem it is to drive your car. I am 6'4",weigh 250 and have size 16 EEE feet. I can drive my 23 touring but not very comfortable. The low pedal is a problem
but the starter button I have to do from the passenger side.
Willis & Fred you both are junior members of the large and in charge club, at 6í & above Fredís weight plus a giant hernia Iíve learned a few things besides needing to lose weight. As my cardiologist said Iím the perfect weight for a 7í2 man. So the 2 things Iíve learned: 1 on my former driver I installed a very early steering wheel. 2 donít wear light colored shirts, youíll get a weird smiley faced stain about mid section.