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Ford Model T Completes 3,500-Mile Road Trip Inspired by Edsel Ford

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 8/22/2015 Kelly Pleskot
Ford Model T Completes 3,500-Mile Road Trip Inspired by Edsel Ford

The Ford Model T is one of the most important vehicles ever made, but it's hard to imagine it as a modern road-tripper. Proving the world wrong, a team of drivers took a 1915 Ford Model T on a 3,500-plus-mile road trip from Detroit to San Francisco, retracing a historic journey made 100 years ago by Edsel Ford.

Research

The Historic Vehicle Association began the trip on July 17 with a restored 1915 Model T similar to the one driven by Edsel, Henry Ford's son and later president of Ford Motor Company. To recreate the original trip, the HVA stopped at a number of historic sites en route to San Francisco, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, the Petrified Forest National Park, Summit House at Pikes Peak, and the Grand Canyon National Park. The journey took way along National Old Trails Road, portions of which later became Route 66. The epic adventure ended in San Francisco 34 days later, where Edsel and a group of friends were headed to the 1915 World's Fair, officially known as the Panama-Pacific Exposition.

HVA Ford Model T Worlds Fair Trip© Provided by MotorTrend HVA Ford Model T Worlds Fair Trip Surprisingly, the Model T fared well along the journey and suffered no major breakdowns. One minor glitch occurred while the team was passing through Kansas, where drivers had to swap out a flat tire and change one of the wooden wheels. Needless to say, it was a slow trip. The Model T averaged between 25 mph and 30 mph for most of the trip, only reaching a top speed of 40 mph. Because of these limitations, the Model T had to drive along back road dirt and gravel sections along the original route, deviating slightly from Edsel's plan.

Historians know so much about Edsel's trip since it was particularly well documented at the time. With nearly 200 photographs and daily journal entries from the original road trip, experts were able to recreate the journey with accuracy. Unfortunately, the whereabouts of the original Edsel Ford Model T remain unknown.

For more information on the recreated road trip, called the Road Trip Century Celebration, visit the Historic Vehicle Association's website.

Source: California Historical Society

HVA Ford Model T Worlds Fair Trip 2© Provided by MotorTrend HVA Ford Model T Worlds Fair Trip 2
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