A New (Old) Way To Drive
WBCK-Townsquare Media[/caption]When I was about 15, my stepfather took me out in his 5-speed Honda sedan. We sat in a parking lot in first gear, where - over and over - he made me start from a stop to get the feel of the clutch/gas dynamic.
Turns out by the time I was 16 and ready to take the driving test, he replaced that car with an automatic. So, I rarely since have had occasion to "drive a stick," as the old saying goes (my cars have all been automatics).
That's a good thing as it relates to the Gilmore Car Museum's Model T Driving School, so say the coaches who spend several Sundays volunteering to teach average Joes like me how to drive Henry Ford's icon. They insisted it's better to learn a Model T's quirks without that teaching in one's head.
But, for me, the same sort of lack of coordination I had with the standard "H" in my dad's Honda applied in Mr. Ford's Model T - only worse! There's a lot more coordination involved. There are three pedals on the floor (the brake is on the right, not the left!), the accelerator is on the steering wheel, the parking brake acts as "neutral" - and then there's the "spark advance" - whatever that means.
They call me a "car guy" - but I admit, when it comes to HOW cars work, I'm a novice. I stalled the Model T three times, forcing my instructor to get out and crank the car started again each time. Sorry about that!
Anyway, a fun experience it was. Like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time, you begin to get the coordination and enjoy the ride and the sound. And those Model T's can haul it!
One of my classmates, 86-year-old Tony, had a great time. And he got the coordination immediately.
"It's kind of like operating my old tractor," he said.
Tony and his instructor get ready to take the Model T Runabout for a spin. Photo by WBCK-Townsquare Media[/caption]There's still time to get in on the Model T Driving School. Click the link and check out the remaining available dates. And bring your coordination!