Hickory Corners, MI, May 30, 2008 – Can you picture yourself behind the wheel of an authentic 1915 Model T Ford? Or have you ever wondered what it was like to drive one? Well, now is your chance to learn! The Gilmore Car Museum 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 that 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 offer a bit of a challenge for drivers of modern cars. First, you won’t find a gas pedal on a Model T. The throttle is controlled by moving a small lever on the steering wheel. The “Tin Lizzie” has 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!
Sound like an interesting challenge? If so, you’re in good company. Many antique car enthusiasts have never driven a Model T and Museum guests are often perplexed by the three pedals.
The Gilmore Car Museum 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 only on exhibit. Participants can sign up to attend one of three classes that will be taught by a handful of long-time Model T owners and enthusiasts: Saturday, June 14; Sunday, June 15; or Sunday, July 20, 2008.
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 Gilmore Car Museum at 269-671-5089 to reserve your spot today.
To learn more about the museum visit www.GilmoreCarMuseum.org.