Model T Roadster Pickup Haulin’ History at the Springfield Museum
MUSEUM NOTES BY MARILYN STONE
In last week’s column (JULY 13, 2022 – Transitions) about the location of this museum, an early garage was operated at this location by the Macy & Young Garage, selling the Model “T” Fords. As an example of those classic vehicles, the Springfield Museum now displays a 1925 Model T Roadster Pickup Truck that is owned by Leonard Magee. I asked Leonard to tell us about the truck and he came up with these facts.
It is a Convertible Pickup with only one door, which is on the passenger side. The driver’s side doesn’t have a door because there is a combination emergency brake when pulled back, and high gear when pushed forward, that is in the way of where a door would be. In order to enter the car you either go through the passenger side or hop yourself over the body on the driver’s side.
On the front of this car is a crank which must be manually turned to start the motor, because the Model T has no starter. The left side of the steering wheel where today’s cars have their turn signals, has a spark lever. Push this lever up when cranking so you don’t get too much spark, or the crank will kick back and possibly break your wrist or arm.
On the right side of the steering wheel is a lever that gives more gas when pulled down. This lever was replaced on newer cars with the accelerator pedal on the floor that we push down with a foot. If you pulled the spark lever and the gas lever all the way down, the car would go as fast as it could, which would be a blistering 45 miles per hour, but you would never know how fast you were driving because there is no speedometer.
The only seat is in the front, as the back is a pickup box. The front seat holds two people (tightly), and this seat has to be taken completely out to fill the gas tank which is directly under the seat. What do you think of that for engineering?
The windshield is completely flat and is divided down the center. The “air conditioning” in 1925 was when you push the top window open and drove! The tires are very narrow and very tall. The car was also light weight so most people could lift any corner. This made it easier changing tires, but also made is easier to tip it over if you went very fast around a corner.
If you think all this is confusing, try driving it for the first time! There are many more interesting features about this 97 year old Model T, so come to the museum back room to look at it yourself! Museum hours are 2:00 to 4:00 on Sundays or any day by appointment. See you at the museum!