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Making it cross country in a Model T

Aug. 20, 2015

Here’s a bit of classic car news you may have missed this week: the completion of a 3,500 mile road trip by an original 1915 Ford Model T, with its arrival at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts.

Sponsored by two groups – the centennial of the Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE100) and the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) – this Model T road trip recreated a similar cross-country journey completed by 21-year old Edsel Ford, the only son of you-know-who (that would be Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Co.), and six friends to visit the American West and the 1915 World’s Fair in San Francisco 100 years ago.

The “recreation” trip traveled as much of the original route as possible; mainly back roads comprised of dirt and gravel. HVA also noted that while the Model T had a top speed of approximately 40 mph, it averaged between 25 and 30 mph for most of the trip.

Even when temperatures climbed to 100 degrees the cockpit was comfortable with the canvas top up and a breeze flowing through, the HVA team noted – adding that its 1915 Model T did not suffer any significant breakdowns, only suffering a flat tire in Kansas that later led to a quick change of the left rear wooden wheel.

Mark Gessler, HVA’s president, added in a statement that the purpose of the trip was to elevate national awareness concerning the importance of our nation's automotive heritage and the role of the Ford Model T in shaping modern America.

"The trip provided the HVA team with a greater appreciation of the development of our national road system and those early pioneers who experienced cross-country travel by automobile," he said.

The group noted that it collaborated with the Antique Automobile Club of American Library, the California Historical Society and PPIE100, to plan this particular Model T’s journey.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr 1 | Senior Editor

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