About the Car

 

On this trip we are driving the above car and trailer. The car is a 1915 Model T Speedster that Matt restored when he was in high school and the trailer is a Teardrop Trailer Matt build specifically for this trip 2 years ago. He made up the plans for the trailer himself.

 

The car is not a kit. It really is a 1915 Model T Speedsters. It has a 4 cylinder Model T engine in it as well. 

 

What is a Speedster? A Speedster is a racecar. Back in the teens, twenties and thirties they were called "cutdowns" because guys would take a full bodied car and strip the car down the frame. They would then build the racecar using the gas tank, wheels and radiator from the full bodied car. They would add seats and a home made body. Often the body did not consist of much because they were trying to get the car to weigh as little as possible so it would go as fast as possible.

 

How much horse power does the car have? We don't know exactly. Stock Model T's have 23 horse power. We are guessing this car has about 55 horse power.

 

How fast does the car go? We've had it up to 70 miles per hour but we comfortably cruise around in it at 45-50 miles per hour. 

 

How many miles per gallon does the car get? It gets about 16 miles per gallon rather it is towing the trailer or not. 

 

Do you have to hand crank it? No. Model T's came out with starters in 1919 and this car has a starter. It was customary for people to put new accessories on their Ts and a starter was just such an accessory. 

 

You made the engine "modern" by putting an alternator in it? We did put an alternator on the car. However, this does not make it modern. Remember that as of this trip the car is 94 years old and so is the engine. It has been running for many years. Saying the alternator makes the car "modern" would be like saying if you give a 94 year old  a cane s/he is as agile as a 20 year old. Alternators did, appear on cars in the 1960s.

 

Why did you put an alternator on the car? We drive the car a lot in the dark. The alternator makes the headlights brighter which makes it safer to drive in the dark. 

 

What type of engine does the car have? The car has a 4 cylinder Model T engine.

 

Why doesn't the engine sound like a four cylinder engine? The engine has an overhead valve Rajo racing head which has larger valves and a 1.5 to 1 mechanical advantage which means the valves open farther. It also has a BB1 Carter Carburetor which has a larger throat. The car also lacks a muffler and lacks a four inch straight exhaust pipe. This all means the engine breaths more than a stock T and sounds healthier. These are all period racing accessories and modifications.

 

What kind of brakes does the car have? It has 2 wheel mechanical brakes on the rear wheels. They are called Rocky Mountain Brakes. Originally the car did not come with outside brakes. It just had a band in the transmission which stopped the car. However, it was common for people to upgrade to outside brakes. The Rocky Mountain Brakes on this car are original not reproduction. 

 

Is the car a stick shift? No, it has a planetary transmission which is an archaic form of an automatic transmission. There are no gears in the transmission. There are bands. The transmission is operated by three peddles which control the bands rather than hydraulic pressure which controls the bands in modern automatic transmissions. 

 

How many gears does the car have? Originally it only had two (high and low in the planetary transmission). However it was common for people to upgrade to an auxiliary rear end. Our T is upgraded to a Ruxtle auxiliary rear end.  This is a two speed rear end. I have heard time and time again that the Ruxtle rear end is the only non-Ford accessory which Henry Ford approved of.

The Sleeping Space in the Teardrop Trailer Inside the Back Hatch or "Kitchen" of the Teardrop Trailer
Dash of the Speedster

Left to Right: Key (top), Headlight Switch, Amp Meter, Glove Compartment

Floor of the Speedster

Left to Right: Emergency Brake, Peddles (Left Peddle is Low Band, Neutral, High Band - Middle Peddle is Reverse - Right Peddle is the Brake), Little Round Button Looking Thing is the Gas Peddle, Brass Bar is a Foot Rest

Motor Meter on Radiator

The Motor Meter is how you know if the car is warmed up or if it is running too hot. If the red line in the thermometer is in the clear circle at the top of the Motor Meter the car is running too hot, is very likely to overheat and the radiator will probably be damaged.

Rock Guard in Front of Radiator
Wheel on Speedster

The wheels on the Speedster and Teardrop all match. 

Rocky Mountain Brakes on the Rear Wheels of the Speedster
Step Plate into the Speedster Ruxtle Shifter with Black Ball Shaped Knob to Shift the Auxiliary Rear End and Gas Tank with Registered Racing Number 418 Painted on the Side
Tail Light on Speedster 

Model Ts only had one tail light. This is an original electric tail light. Many people think it was converted from gas but it was not. This tail light has taken quite a beating and finally on the trip we had to hold it together and secure it to the car with bailing wire. 

Friction Shocks on the Speedster

Friction shocks were/are an accessory on Model Ts. They help make a rough ride a bit more smooth. They came in hand on this trip.

Hood with Leather Straps on Driver's Side of Speedster Birds Eye View of Under the Hood of the Speedster
About the Car Day 1-2  Day3  Day 4  Day 5  Day 6  Day 7  Day 8  Day 9  Day 10 Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day17, Day 18, Day 19 Day 20 Day 21 Day 22 Day 23 Day 24 Day 25 Day 26 Day 27 Day 28 Day 29 Day 30 After Commentary
Alaska 2009

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