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MODEL T

Still in high-school I bought a '26 Model T Ford roadster black, meaning no top, a convertible. The top rotted to gone but tatters hanging on the struts. It had a rumble seat meaning a seat would open up where the trunk normally is. It had running boards one could stand on, tall tires with wood spokes, big headlight lamps separate from the fenders. It had to be hand cranked to start it.

I first noticed that the neighbors and old timers all loved to talk about the Model T. You can put Oatmeal in the radiator to stop it leaking they said. You can put orange peals in the transmission to stop it leaking and grinding. You can fix anything with a dime. The screw slots were dime size.

And of course I was shown how to crank it. Never wrap your thumb around the crank ! I was told by every one. It can kick back and break your thumb ! The crank projected out from below the radiator. One engaged the crank by pushing it in - cranked it clockwise by pulling up and pushing it over the top, well at least pulling up, and the revolving engine disengaged the crank.

While running it was smooth, a four cylinder sounded like a sewing machine. Driving it was not for sissies, but more for people who could drive a team of horses. Once started, running and humming, one opened the door, mounted the running board and sprung into the seat. There were three petals on the floor as well as rusted holes, so I could see the ground one was driving over.

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