Thursday, 3 July 2008

What's outside today 45 - 1915 Ford Model T

Outside Ford's Dunton Technical Centre last weekend, that is. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Ford Model T and Ford offered us the chance to use it for the Verdict, albeit on private roads. This is the car with Ivan Bartholomeusz, one of the people who looks after Ford's UK Heritage Collection, which is kept in a big warehouse in Dagenham, rather than in a museum.

This car is a lot of fun, once you get used to the bizarre pedal arrangement shown below. The left-hand pedal engages first gear in the depressed position and second gear (there are only two forward gears) in the raised position. Between the two is neutral. The centre pedal is reverse, and the right-hand pedal is the footbrake. The lever is a transmission brake - when applied, it also puts the car into neutral. The throttle is operated by a stalk on the steering wheel, rather than any of the pedals. It sounds absolutely impossible, but it's not too difficult to grasp with a bit of practice.

One interesting fact I picked up from the chaps at Ford; while these cars are very old and exceptionally appealing, they are in fact not worth very much. Ford simply made too many of them for them to be particularly valuable.

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