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Old 08-21-2019, 08:44 PM   #1
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Default Model T Safety Additions

I know the Model T is probably the least safe car you can drive, but I have started looking for one to buy and my wife will not ride with me until I make it as safe as a Model T can be....and maybe not even then. I have a 1930 Tudor and it has been upgraded with LED lights and turn signals (I recommend LED headlights, LED tail lights and LED turn signals to everyone). I have seat belts, modern shocks and I am in the process of replacing my tires with the new OEM style whitewall radials. It is still not a safe car, but it still looks completely stock and it is much safer than the way it came from the factory. My wife will even ride with me sometimes when there is not much traffic.

What I am looking for is recommendations of what could be done to make a standard looking Model T be a safer Model T. I am looking for a convertible, so that adds to the danger. I know the obvious things like replacing the windshield with safety glass and upgrading the brakes to rocky mountain brakes and making sure it has the most modern lighting you can put on the car without making it look modern.

But I wonder how safe wooden wheels can be? Is there any advantage to adding seat belts? Does it need a high compression head to help it pull into traffic? Does it need an orange triangle like a tractor because it can't pull into traffic very easily? Are there any tires or tire mounting styles that are recommended or to be avoided? Should it be upgraded to 4 wheel brakes? I know these are only a few of the questions, but I have to start somewhere.
Let me know what you think.

Thank you.....Bryan
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Old 08-21-2019, 09:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Model T Safety Additions

Seat belts will do no good in an open car, there is no safe strong place to mount and no roll over protection.

Lights and signals yes to that.

GOOD wood wheels are just about as safe as others, metal bends as do wire spoke wheels, you should see the A wheel we have in the shop!
Touring or runabouts are not convertibles, they have no side windows except for maybe side curtains.

I drive mine in city traffic all the time and does fine. A Model T is not a high speed car and has no place on freeways and best not be traveling on higher speed 2 lane roads in heavy traffic, unless there are lots of turns out.

While adding better braking is a good idea, depending on what year, the 30 X3-1/2 tires have a very small road contact area and locking up/skidding is not stopping. The T front end, because of it geometry was not made to use front brakes. It has been done but you need the understanding of how to do it right.

Something like the "Z" head, good idea. Gives a little more hill power.

In case you think about asking later, the Ruckstell is ONLY an under drive and does not give higher top speed.

While mine can do 45-50+ on the flat open road, even with everything in good shape I don't drive it that fast to often unless there are clear roads. Even with Rocky Mtn brakes it still lacks stopping power. Between 30 and 40 keeping lots of distance between me and the car ahead, fun to drive.

BEFORE you jump on a T, find someone that knows them and have them take a look see first. I can't start to tell you how many people I have dealt with that just jumped on one, only to spend $1000's later to make it right.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas!
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: Model T Safety Additions

Hundreds of thousands of people get on a motorcycle and ride them every day and the statistics for accidents really aren't all that bad. The Model T is a slow car that would not be safe on any fast pace roadway no matter what you did to it to try and make it more so. They are not practical for daily drivers. I wouldn't want to be strapped into one any more than I would want to be strapped to a motorcycle unless it was highly modified for speed. I can see trying to update a model A for safer travels but they have 4 wheel brakes and will go a lot faster.

If the wife doesn't want to ride in it then put a leaver on it & leaver at home.
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Old 08-23-2019, 07:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: Model T Safety Additions

Bryan, The best safety devise would be what is attached to the steering wheel. Always plan your trip and stay off busy roads. Find dirt roads most of the drivers in a hurry don't like them, drive within the capability of the car. Drive slow have fun, Chuck.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Model T Safety Additions

Agree with Chuck - the driver is the most important safety device. I recommend that you add some sort of brake light. A cell phone is handy if you are like me and forget to check the gas before driving. Flashing lights and safety triangles etc. won't protect you from folks who look at their cell phones more than the road.
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:05 AM   #6
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Default Re: Model T Safety Additions

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I installed disc brakes last winter. Safety is number one when driving out there with modern cars . They work great. I know it doesn’t look original. But let me tell you I have about 1/2 throw in the pedal and it stops!!
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Old 08-29-2019, 03:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: Model T Safety Additions

While i've been tempted to put front brakes on mine, i know that's introduce steering pull to one side if the road surface was poor or mismatched.
And i rejected seatbelts. Rather jump out...
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