Learn to Drive the “Everyman’s Car”
Have you ever wanted to know how to drive a Ford Model T? Well, now is your chance to learn! The GilmoreCarMuseum in Hickory Corners, MI, northeast of Kalamazoo, is offering Model T driving courses to the public. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the car the put American’s on the road the Museum will hold three separate classes, with the first two on Father’s Day Weekend.
Henry Ford introduced the Model T as a sturdy, low-priced car for the “everyman” in 1908, and produced it with very few changes until 1927. It became affectionately known as the “Tin Lizzie,” and was soon chugging off the assembly line and into history. More than 15 million were sold, making the Model T the longest production run of any single model automobile apart from the Volkswagen Beetle.
While the cars themselves seem very simplistic by today’s standards, they can be very confusing for drivers of modern cars. On a Model T you’ll find no gas pedal. The throttle is controlled by moving a small lever on the steering wheel. The “Tin Lizzie” had two forward speeds and one reverse speed, and each of the three pedals on the floor are marked with a large letter representing its function: “C” for clutch, “R” for reverse and “B” for brake. Oh, don’t forget the crank out-front for starting the engine.
Confused yet? If so, you’re not alone. Many antique car enthusiasts have never driven a Model T and Museum guests are often perplexed by the three pedals.
For the fourth year in a row the GilmoreCarMuseum has taken the rare step of allowing any licensed driver, sixteen years old or older, the opportunity to drive one of these authentic vehicles normally on exhibit. Students can sign up to attend one of three classes that will be taught by a handful of long-time Model T owners and enthusiasts: Sunday, July 31, 2011.
Each half-day session will begin at 8:30am at the Museum and will include a bit of history on Henry Ford, the early Ford Motor Company, classroom instruction, up close inspections of various Model Ts, and practice drives. Cost of this “old school” driver’s training is only $95.00 per student or $75.00 per student for Museum members. After successfully completing a road test in an authentic Ford Model T each student will be presented with a Certificate of Completion and be allowed to drive a genuine Model T Ford leisurely around the Museum’s three miles of paved roadway. Class size is limited and they are filling up fast so please contact the GilmoreCarMuseum at 269-671-5089 to reserve your spot today.
To learn more about the Museum visit www.GilmoreCarMuseum.org.