Jim’s Blog: I Want a Model T

Wanting a Model T in this day and age doesn’t really make much sense. But who says car people have to be reasonable?

Here’s the thing: I drive a comfortable, connected, safe, brand-new GMC truck every day. It’s perfectly suited to life in the real world — the world full of cell phones, cup holders, and distracted driving. But when it comes to just having fun, I don’t think there’s a way to beat a good Model T.

Is a T fast? No. How about comfortable? Not really. Weathertight? Absolutely not. But I dare you to find something more appealing for a slow, lever-and-pedal experience you can share with your friends and family. Hop in a T Touring, adjust the timing and mixture, spin it over (by hand), and put-put your way to your destination at a whopping 20 mph — wind, bugs, and smells in your face. Every day is a parade in a car like that. Dare you not to smile.

The only reason you wouldn’t smile is if the thing broke, and odds are it probably will. But driver’s seat engineering is part of the appeal here, right? Bring some tools, but don’t bother with the cell phone. Your grandparents were able to figure it out, weren’t they? What’s your excuse then?

There. I’ve almost convinced myself to go do it. The best part is the price: $15k ought to get a great one. Should I? Let me know what you think in the comments below.



  1. Yes! But forget everything you know about conventional controls. None of them do what they might suggest. And get Rocky Mountain brakes.

    1. I’ve been told that if you just mash all the pedals in an emergency you’ll get a panic stop out of it.

      1. Actually, you’ll slide to a stop, as you’ll likely kill the motor having both the low and reverse bands engaged.
        That said, as I’ve said in past Cheap Thrills columns, to be a real car nut, you have to have a T-model at least once just to have the experience. I’d recommend finding the local chapter of the Model T Club of America and talk nice to a member about an orientation ride and drive, to see if it’s really for you (that is, after they recover from someone under 60 having an interest in them and not wanting to turn one into a T-bucket). Yet knowing your mechanical prowess, you’ll likely take to it like a fish to water.

  2. James – Please arrest this impulse ASAP. I’ve had one. When I finally lost my composure and patience, I moved on to a “modern” car – a 1933 Plymouth. The push down to go crowd can keep their toys. But, if you’re like me, you’ll have to learn this the hard way. Good luck.

  3. Go for it. I have had several Model T’s and they are the most fun to go on Model T tours. They are also the best parade cars to have. The grandchildren love riding in them. Enjoy

  4. Jim

    By all means go for it!
    I can’t imagine the Ferrari and Cobra drivers have any more fun than the T owners I encountered during the Montana 500 (ACC #29). As you said, every day is a parade.

    Besides, where else can you drive flat-out and still not worry about breaking the Interstate speed limit?

  5. Jim, you should!!!! I’ve wanted one myself for some time but just don’t have anywhere to keep it. They are arguably one of the most important cars ever produced. Which model would you look for?

      1. More people to help push? 🙂 🙂 :0

        Just joking…as I saw during the Montana 500 race, the cars are basically bulletproof. two cars out of 20 DNF’d….both with serious engine issues that couldn’t be fixed, though one guy made remarkable progress working in in enclosed trailer.
        A 10% breakdown rate isn’t any worse than you’d get in one of the high-end tours (you know where if your car breaks they loan you a new Porsche) and probably much better than you’d see on a Lotus or Alfa tour.

        Really, a touring car is great, one entrant took his 80+ year old dad with him, as well as brother, wife…not many collector cars say “family” like a T touring car.

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