Model T Ford of America meet – June 2009

Towards the end of my recent holiday, I was driving along country roads, heading towards Bryce Canyon, from my overnight stay in Cedar City, UT, when I came across a trio of Model T Fords. I thought nothing of it, really, and carried on. Just as I came to the village area that is a mile or so before the National Park entrance, my eyes were distracted by the sight of an entire car park seemingly full of Model T Fords. Dozens of them. On closer inspection, tens of dozens of them. Instinctively, I turned sharp right, and parked up, to get a closer look. What I quickly learned was that this was the Model T Ford of America’s national event. Tin Lizzies from all over America and Canada were gathered together for a week of drives around some of the most beautiful scenery of America, in Southern Utah and North Western Arizona. Just under 200 vehicles had assembled from all parts of America and Canada. Some had driven there, some had been trailered there, but now they had a week of motoring along the by-ways, and some quite challenging roads, to enjoy. Everyone I spoke to was very friendly, all the more so, as often happens in America, when they discovered that I was from the other side of the Atlantic. Many of the drivers were retired people, but there were several cars where the whole family had come along. I meandered around the cars that were parked up, took plenty of pics, and talked to several of the owners. They told me that they were staying in one town, and had a different destination every day. To be honest, I did not pay that much attention to the details of where else they were going, as I had scenery to go and see and my own itinerary to explore. I took lots of pictures and moved on.

Later in the afternoon, heading south from Bryce and towards my next overnight stop in Page, AZ, I came across the group again, at the location for their afternoon tea stop. And the next day, I came across them again. So, several opportunities to take pictures or more Model Ts than anyone is likely to see in a lifetime in Europe! Survival numbers for these cars are high, not least because so many were built. I was also told that as the steel from which they were made was produced in a foundry next to the plant and to Henry’s specifications, there was some special part of the production process which ensured that he ended up with higher quality steel than was used in contemporary Chevys and Dodges, so that is another reason for the large number of survivors. These cars are mechanically simple, so they can (and the event proved if for some people) be fixed relatively easily at the side of the road without the need for sophisticated diagnostics and lots of bespoke tools.

After my first encounter with them, I did come across several of these cars out on the road, too. Most of them seemed able to maintain a steady 45 mph cruising speed on the undulating roads of Southern Utah. Because the cars are so narrow, zipping past them was easy, though most of the owners were happy to pull right over to make it even easier, too. How they were going to get on climbing out of Zion Canyon, where they headed later in the week, I am not sure.

A real mix of cars were included within the group, from the early 1908 models all the way up to the last cars from 1927. There was a good mix of 4 seaters, 2 seaters, some commercial vehicles and even a few out and out sports models. There’s no easy way to categorise the many photos I took, so they are presented here in a large block.

I could not help feeling that this would be a marvellous way to spend a week. Great scenery, good weather, pottering about in an old car with a large number of like-minded enthusiasts. Many of the participants told me that they were also members of a local club and they generally had an event of some sort each month. This one would put something like 700 – 800 miles on the wheels of each car, during the week, which is a lot. Getting the cars from Alberta, from Georgia and even from California was no easy (or cheap!) task, but what a wonderful pastime.

2009-07-16 18:17:25

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