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Old 09-05-2010, 07:12 PM   #1
DeBordEngineMan
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Default What is average highway speed for the model a?

Hello guys I have been driving the wheels off of the Tudor around town and on the back roads where I live since I have the overheating problem fixed and just wandering since I have never drove another Model A besides mine what is a good average speed? I have a stock motor and transmission and rear end, I do not know the history of the engine I have just been going real easy with it until I am sure nothing is going to fly lose! The only thing that I have done to the engine is a new oil pump drive gear and distributor and new oil and plugs and a rebuilt Zenith and alternator. Seems to run out real good no knocks seems to do good all way around. I have been running around 30 to 35 on two lane back roads and seems a good speed for this car, on highway is around 40 to 42 I took my GPS to accurately check speed I just didn't know what "IS" a normal highway speed she will cruse nicely at 42 mph but today feeling a little more like "LETS SEE WHAT THIS BABY WILL DO" I ran her up to 50 mph but with stock transmission it sounded like I needed another gear to change into! So I did not run at that speed for just maybe a 1/2 mile if that far. I am not about speed if I want to fly I should have never bought a Model A! I am fine at 40 to 42 mph that is plenty fast to get you skint up! Just curious what these cars recommended speeds were. Thanks for everything guys, Robert DeBord

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Old 09-05-2010, 07:42 PM   #2
James Rogers
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Robert, mine will run a consistent 60-65 if I want. I generally run at 50-55 around here. Mind you I have made some mods to the engine and it is fairly fresh. I had a Tudor with only a HC head that we drove from Brent's to Dearborn in 03 and ran at 55 or more all the way there and back. 50 is not too bad once you get used to it. Seems like most have a vibration spot at 43-47 and once past that they run pretty good. Your experience may differ.
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Old 09-05-2010, 07:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Many people drive their cars quite fast, but I have always found that the car is happiest between 35 and 45. I drive 50 when the traffic makes it necessary to survive, and have had it up to 60, but I prefer 40-45. Your results may vary.
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:00 PM   #4
Vic in E-TN
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Robert:
My experience is two parts. If I am leading a group of A's in a club tour I need to keep my speed down to 45 MPH. I find that when I am alone, my speed is in the 55-60 MPH range. I have an OD and high compression head so I can usually go faster than many of the others. If I am out on the road I do not like getting run over.

I have been paying a lot of attention to my brakes. Good brakes are necessary and I know that you have been doing some work in this area.

I noted in your post a few weeks ago that you got Kevlar linings on your shoes. Why?

Vic
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:09 PM   #5
Kevin in NJ
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

It depends on a lot of factors.

The major factor is how well balanced all the parts are and how good is your cam.

I grew up thinking 55 to 60 was the normal speed as that is what my brothers 31 coupe was always driven (since 1970). My crappy looking fordor liked running those speeds too.

Ford spent a lot engineering to be able to do precision work on the all the critical parts. It was cheaper to build a car when any parts put together would result in a balanced engine.

Today is is VERY rare to find a crank grinder that can keep it all centered up. Throw in out of balance rods and pistons and a worn cam and it you get a pot luck engine. I know a bunch of cars near me where the guys drive 45 and I believe that is too fast for the cars.

If the car is built right you will not feel you are pushing it to run 55+. That is without any real major mods, just building the chassis back to factory. With modern fuel a slightly higher compression head and some B grind cam will keep the car pretty close to factory and get a bunch of extra power with out over doing it.

Keep in mind a balanced engine put very little load on the bearings if you are running the advance properly and keeping the rpms up. Lugging the engine is what is not good for the bearings. Just spinning along cruising down the highway the engine is a happy camper at 55+.

But what do I know?
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

35-45 depending on the type of road i am on. being stock my cars are happy at those speeds. by listening to your car you'll find the sweet spot. its tough when someone climbs up your tail either they want a closer look or there in a hurry.
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manycars View Post
Many people drive their cars quite fast, but I have always found that the car is happiest between 35 and 45. I drive 50 when the traffic makes it necessary to survive, and have had it up to 60, but I prefer 40-45. Your results may vary.
I agree with this. My car is "bone stock" and even though my brakes are good, I don't want to risk outrunning my brakes. I also personally feel more relaxed & enjoy my experience more when I drive 40/45.
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

I too like to operate mine at between 40 & 45 mpg. I've had it to 50 for a short period a couple of times. Will it go 60? Don't know. Maybe I'll try it one of these days. I am going to do a GPS check on the speed to see if my speedometer is accurate. My philosophy is: Why wear it out? I want it to out last me.
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

For my A: 30 mph uphill; 50 mph downhill. Ergo, average: 40 mph. That's about all my heart can take!
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:42 PM   #10
marc hildebrant
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

My Tudor has a stock motor/transmission.

I've had it to 50-55 MPH, but it's happy under 45 MPH.

Marc
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

0 to 60 mph in less than two hours

downhill......

with a good tailwind.
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:54 PM   #12
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

This is one of those subjects that routinely almost nobody agrees on. My Phaeton is all stock restored to original condition and well maintained. It is happy at 55 mph. I have had it faster, but normally drive it at around 55 top speed. In my experience, many of the people with heavier body styles than the Phaeton tend to be the ones that think a slower speed is better. It seems to depend a lot on which body style, the condition of the drivetrain, the terrain where you live, any modifications that you may have made, and your personal preference.
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:25 PM   #13
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Default Survey says ....

Check this Survey for highway speeds.

Bob
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:37 PM   #14
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

When driving a car without properly operating shocks 40 mph is fast.

I have found that my car creeps up over 50 more and more the longer I drive --most times I drive with traffic, and am not afraid to pass cars going slower than the speed limit.


stock head, B cam, no overdrive, properly working shocks.
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:41 PM   #15
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

40/45 good speed for me, feel the car runs at its best, don:t forget you gotta stop!!!
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:43 PM   #16
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

I currently drive around 45mph. I just got a new engine with new crankshaft, new cam, inserts, Brumfield head, lightened flywheel with V8 clutch, sleeved to standard, new inserted rods. When I install it I'll let you know! It should be as good as or better than a new engine.
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:45 PM   #17
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

When I had stock A's I drove 55 whenever feasable.
The 2 door I have now I have had over 100 many times with the modified B engine but I sure wouldn't want to drive it at even 75 for extended periods of time because of the wind noise. The car handles and stops as good as any modern car but slippery it isn't....
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Old 09-05-2010, 10:43 PM   #18
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

More importantly than how fast will it go, is how fast will it stop. Betsy has a comfort range of 40 to 45 MPH though she has gone faster. Because of her Flat Head Ted brake system she stops very efficiently from her comfort zone speeds.
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Old 09-05-2010, 10:53 PM   #19
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manycars


Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manycars View Post
Many people drive their cars quite fast, but I have always found that the car is happiest between 35 and 45. I drive 50 when the traffic makes it necessary to survive, and have had it up to 60, but I prefer 40-45. Your results may vary.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitch Bunkin in PA View Post
I agree with this. My car is "bone stock" and even though my brakes are good, I don't want to risk outrunning my brakes. I also personally feel more relaxed & enjoy my experience more when I drive 40/45.
Same here!
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Old 09-05-2010, 11:03 PM   #20
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

I keep it to 40 when at all possible and stay off interstates except for very short stints.

On long trips, my wife and I probably only average 25 to 30 mph after all stops and meals are considered. That's okay. We get there---sometimes 350 miles in a day.

This is how we have enjoyed our 31 tudor over the past 16 plus years and 43,000 miles.

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Old 09-05-2010, 11:48 PM   #21
DeBordEngineMan
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Thanks guys for all the different answers and different speeds that you all seem to go. In some of the posts some different angles came up that I had not considered before like the shocks.....I am running stock rebuilt shocks and the car handles nicely in the curves and the ride is good for a stock Model A I guess as it is the only A that I have drove so I really don't have nothing to compare to. I think that the car would run good at the faster speeds of 50 to 55 mph but just seemed like a lot of stress on the engine, I personal like it at 40 to 45 mph on the highway maybe later when I get use to the car a little more and know how the motor is going to "hold up", but I like to play it safe also when stopping at the faster speeds I do have new cast iron drums and new brake components all around and she will slide the tires but I hope that I don't have to try them out like in a panic stop if you know what I mean! So I guess it all depends on the driver and road conditions and how well you trust your A's motor to take the higher RPM's and the rest of your drive train as well as your A as a whole I guess? I guess I was just leary to push my A at the faster speeds until I get more comfortable with it also I just thought that the motor seemed to be running to many rpm's it just seemed to be pushing the car to aggressively? But I guess this is the nature of the beast with the stock motor in the A and the standard 3 speed transmission, I wish that I could ride and drive in a stock A so that I could compare, the only other A I have rode in was equipped with the Mitchel overdrive transmission and that was when I first bought mine and the first time that I had rode in one since my youth so I was overwhelmed with trying to take "everything" in that I could so maybe someday I can try another.....but for now I will drive mine at the speed that I am comfortable with till I get better accustom with it. Thanks guys for your posts I really enjoy reading and learning about the A, so keep posting your thoughts it is all good, Thanks Robert DeBord
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:20 AM   #22
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Ford advertised his cars going at 60mph. Your modern car also has a top spped but would you or the engine like that speed very long?
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:44 AM   #23
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Mine feels good at about 45-50, but it will do 65-70 if I use the
O/D which I seldom do. It's nice to have on those occasions when you have to keep up with the traffic. Sometimes at 60 the wind makes my top on the Sport Coupe
sound like the flutter of a piece of cardboard flapping against the spokes of a bicycle
back when I was 10 years old. Old timers know what I am talking about, lol.

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Old 09-06-2010, 06:22 AM   #24
Barry B./ Ma.
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

I drive my roadster and coupe between 40 and 50 mph. The coupe is happy up to 50 because of the Mitchell overdrive and the roadster around 40 to 42. Things get noisy in the roadster over 40 but somehow it doesn't feel as fast with the top down.
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Old 09-06-2010, 07:35 AM   #25
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

My '28 Special Coupe presently has 83,000 miles on it, engine heritage is unknown, save that it does not appear to have ever been bored ( original Ford pistons ); I am assuming the bottom-end is factory original too. It is "tired".

Flat-out on level road, it might make 55 mph. I keep it under 50 MPH by the speedo ( which reads about 5 MPH "Fast" at that speed ).

I've put about 3000 miles on the car since January, with no major issues aside from a blown head-gasket.

I know that Ford advertised the A being capable of 60 mph, but I am of the opinion that this was as much a marketing pitch as it was an engineering goal: in 1928-1931 there were few if any roads in this country where one could drive more than a couple miles at 60 MPH... so most folks were limited to relatively brief sprints.

I would be reluctant to take an "unknown" A and push it down the road faster than 50 MPH for any length of time; could be an expensive experiment.

Handling and braking are also important concerns.

I would definitely (personally) NOT take a Model A ( or any other car of this vintage ) out on an Interstate highway; at least not around here (NE Atlantic states). Even if your Ford can maintain 55 mph, it's at the end of its capability, while you will probably be 10-20 MPH slower than the AVERAGE speed of traffic. Add to that skinny tires, limited brakes, poor aerodynamics, no crash protections, and modern drivers, and you're really flirting with serious injury or death. Is it worth that risk ?

My comments are not intended for those with modified/"improved" cars... I'm sure those folks have done their homework and know what they're doing...

For me, the good old secondary roads ( WPA ) are perfect for me and my Flivver... I chug along at 40-50 MPH all day long... I also find myself gravitating towards the secondary roads when driving later antiques (1940's-'60s) or even modern iron when I want a break from the speed-demons, crazies, and tractor-trailers out on the Interstate.

If you need to get somewhere in a hurry, a Model A is probably not the best choice.

Just my observations & opinions, based on my personal experience(over 25 years using pre-1960 vehicles as daily drivers); your results may vary.

Take your time, drive safely, and enjoy your ride !
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:17 AM   #26
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Mine likes 35-40, I do go on the i/state and she likes 45-48, right lane, one eye ahead and one in the mirrors. No problems, trucks give me a wide berth and amazing how many on the 65mph i/state will FOLLOW me for miles.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:25 AM   #27
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

When i have my usual passenger I can get it up to 60 in about 1 1/2 hours - downhill, of course.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:40 AM   #28
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Funny that James Rogers mentions that most Model A's have a vibration spot at 43 - 47 mph. I wasn't aware of that. Mine has exactly that and it does go away at higher speeds of + 50.

I( drive mine at 45-55.

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Old 09-06-2010, 09:10 AM   #29
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

me & my tudor are most comfortable at 55-60 mph . insert mtr & 3:54's ......... steve
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:30 AM   #30
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

What I would like to know is:
1. What rear end ratio?
2. What RPM's?
3. What size tires?
These are variables in all cars,so they will affect "How Fast" you drive. I've heard to keep the motor between 1800-2500 RPM's. With my roadster, 3.78 rear 7.00-16 tires, 47-53 MPH is 1800-2500 RPM's .Can I safely "push" it Harder?
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:27 AM   #31
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

If you want your stock Model A to last long, keep it under 50 on the flat and dont lug it on hills.
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:32 AM   #32
Barry B./ Ma.
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MN Stumpjumper View Post
What I would like to know is:
1. What rear end ratio?
2. What RPM's?
3. What size tires?
These are variables in all cars,so they will affect "How Fast" you drive. I've heard to keep the motor between 1800-2500 RPM's. With my roadster, 3.78 rear 7.00-16 tires, 47-53 MPH is 1800-2500 RPM's .Can I safely "push" it Harder?
My 30 roadster has 3:54 rear and now has 17" (1934) wheels (5,25-17 tires) and seems comfortable up to around 45. My 29 Special coupe has 3:78 rear, 21" wheels, H.C. head and Mitchell O.D. and she's comfortable up to 55m.p.h. I don't push it over 50 because of the mechanical brakes and narrow tires.
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:59 AM   #33
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MN Stumpjumper View Post
What I would like to know is:
1. What rear end ratio?
2. What RPM's?
3. What size tires?
These are variables in all cars,so they will affect "How Fast" you drive. I've heard to keep the motor between 1800-2500 RPM's. With my roadster, 3.78 rear 7.00-16 tires, 47-53 MPH is 1800-2500 RPM's .Can I safely "push" it Harder?
Mine will cruise nicely at 65 all day long. But it has a 3:54 rear in it and 7:50-16's on the rear. I also have juice brakes 6:5 head, magneto, and a '39 box. Before I changed the car to this configuration 50 was as fast as I wanted to take it. Stockers like 45-50. If you want to drive it faster you need to change a few things, but they take right to the mods and if you like to drive on the freeway or long distances you'll be alot happier.

Tim
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Old 09-06-2010, 11:26 AM   #34
Jerry Parr WI
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

This question gets as wide a range of answers as what's the best oil. My dead stock A's seem have a sweet spot in the low 50's and that where I usually drive. On interstates I have driven low 60's for hundreds of miles. With 3.54 and HC head I usually add 5.

Seems like many get their first A as a "old" collector car and drive it like a fragile antique. My first A was a daily driver and I was a teen. It had good brakes and I never drove less than flat out. It was still going strong when I sold it.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:39 PM   #35
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

There are a wide range of opinions on the average highway speed of the A.

What people feel their car can do is based on how well restored their car is and the mindset as they drive their cars.

What is known as fact is the top speed and realistic cruise speed.

The dependent factor is all in the chassis. How well balanced is the engine, how well assembled is the chassis.

Clearly an unbalanced engine and a chassis put together with a mix of good used parts is going to be mixed in how it drives.

How many of those only running 45 mph knows if their crank was ground on center and has the flywheel on center? How many have their rods at the +- 1 gram at each end like the factory rods would have been made? What about that used cam that has uneven wear on the lobes? Who has that extra couple of thou here and there in their steering because they used a reamer on the bushings instead of hone them to fit.

With the mix and match of parts some cars just work ok and others not.

If you take the time to return the parts to factory specs then you will have a car that will run 55+ mph all day and night long. It will be comfortable and smooth running with a very minimum of vibration. Most guys would not believe they were actually in the Model A cause they have never been around a fully restored car. They only know others opinions based on cars put together with less then restored back to factory parts.

Personally, my opinion is that many guys that think 45 is the top speed of the A are being too optimistic. Some of the cars are not really safe at 30 MPH, but they run them 45 anyway.

Regardless of the opinions, the fact is the Model A can run the 60 MPH when properly restored to the factory prints. Today with the better fuels and a better understanding of combustion chambers, the better understanding of cams and the better quality of rubber we have our A's be very safe reliable and capable cars that you should NOT be afraid to run at highway speeds and expect more than 20 MPG.

Always know and understand that the Model A car restored back to the factory specs is very reliable and a joy to drive at any speed up to the 60's.
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:37 PM   #36
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

My car will go as fast as i want it too. I have a mostly inserted motor with a snyder hc head from Rich in Skokie Il. This motor is the best motor I have ever driven in a Model A, and I have driven alot of cars in the DFW area. Usually I keep it around 55-57, but when I feel like I'm in danger on the interstate, I will get up over 60 no problems. And my brakes are very good mechanicals. And I have a stock transmition, and a stock rear end. And I have a big heavy '30 town sedan
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:58 PM   #37
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

a lot depends on your "fear factor" over 45 my factor starts to twitch!
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:14 PM   #38
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

[QUOTE=Kurt in NJ;73993]When driving a car without properly operating shocks 40 mph is fast.

X2 on that. Adding shocks to my coupe was the best driveability enhancement I made, back when it was stock. No shocks: white knuckles, hope-it-stays-between-the-fences. Good shocks: arrow straight and cruised with a 'sweet spot' at 55-58. That's when it was bone stock, 3.78 rear, 19" Goodyears, no HC head, no 'cam', etc. Just a good-running stock A.
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:26 PM   #39
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

When our club does its tours, which may have 10 - 20 Model A's in them, we are normally in the 35 - 45 mph range. When those of us with overdrives get off by ourselves, we are in the 50 - 55 mph range.

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Old 09-06-2010, 04:42 PM   #40
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a lot depends on your "fear factor" over 45 my factor starts to twitch!
Reminds me of a friend's friend from Germany who said he knew that he was pushing too hard on the Autobahn when his peripheral vision saw the sweat start to bead up on his forearms. My comfort zone runs out much over 55 mph, but pretty good up to that point.

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Old 09-06-2010, 09:03 PM   #41
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

on tours we usually run around 40-50. If we get on the interstate, usually atleast 45 is the minumum. If a car isnt doing atleast 45, Ive been known to leave them. I dont feel like getting run over. When i'm by myself i usually atleast try to do 60 mph on the interstate. But i do have a 4 speed O.D. But i can vouch for jordan, my brother ^^^, our sedan with mostly stock engine, besides inserts and high comp head, and stock tranny & rear end it will run 60-65 all day long. (i drive faster than he does) Every cars sweet spot is different. Thats what you have to figure out. Most bone stock cars are anywhere from 45-53 mph from what i have noticed. Another thing i have noticed is, people think they have the max rpm while driving down the road, just because the engine is revving high. But what i noticed in our sedan, is we just go through that little vibration speed of 50-55 and it smooths out past that speed and just humms.
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:12 PM   #42
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

WOW! what a discussion I see that there are a lot of different views out there which is good! I like the response and boy I got several. I can say one thing for sure as different as each car is with it's own personalty so is the driving style of each driver! Each and every speed is "just right" for each individual whether it is at 30mph or 65mph to each his own, each person has to come up with what there "comfort speed" is and how well they trust and know there A as for me I will stay in the 40 to 45mph speed with my A but I am a slow driver in my modern car anyway I usually only do around 50 to 55 mph in it. So we have a lot of good feedback and that is what I wanted so everybody be safe whether at 30mph or 65mph and for the guys that go over that you all are just CRAZY!!!! HA! HA! If anybody else wants to ring in on this subject fill free! Thanks guys for all the posts, Robert DeBord
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:35 PM   #43
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

My 31 sw 4 door with overdrive likes 50mph. I had up to 64 for just a short spell.
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:42 PM   #44
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

My Coupe is essentailly standard apart from an 80 thou overbore and a 3.54 rear end and I cruise on the open road at 50 to 55mph (I have checked that with GPS ) It would go slightly faster but I get the impression that it could travel forever at 55mph . Interestingly enought I think my Phaeton with a B motor and carb is only slightly faster but gets there a lot quicker ie accleration is much better.
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:50 PM   #45
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I was sold on a mod that could do 65. Ha ha... I'm happy with my 45 cruiser. Some how I knew it was bs. Very happy at 45!!! Some day i'll up 65 :]' or not I don't like to stress the banger yet.'
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:56 AM   #46
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

How about RPM's, Anybody run a tach? What is a "safe" RPM range,with a stock motor?

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Old 09-07-2010, 05:50 AM   #47
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

MN Stumpjumper good question that is what I would like to know my old 4 banger seems like it is real stressed out at speeds of more than 45 mph but may just be me since I have never drove another A besides mine so I have nothing to compare mine with. Robert DeBord
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:02 AM   #48
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

It is not stressed so much by RPM. The stressor is imbalance and lugging.

The bearings really do not care have fast the crank is rotating. The journals are just riding on the oil and not really touching any metal. The problem is when the system is run off balance. You get the engine off balance from a physical imbalance say from a crank out of center or dynamically out of balance. You can also get out of balance when you are lugging, which I am out of the correct words to describe, but the common example is when you are in too high a gear for the speed. You can also be lugging the engine with the wrong timing setting at higher speeds.

The A should always be run at higher RPMs and you need to take time to understand the proper setting of the timing where the engine is happiest for the given driving conditions.

Keep in mind that an engine that is built out of balance will seemed stressed pretty easy as it is just not working right. By out of balance, I am being very general and including items like not breathing right because the valves are not letting it breath right.
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:37 AM   #49
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Mine goes 55 easy and thats what i cruse at. My biggest feer at thoughs speeds is at the moment im running 55 year old tires. Saving up for my new ones.
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Old 09-07-2010, 02:36 PM   #50
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

i wouldnt even get it out of the drive way with 55 year old tires
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Old 09-07-2010, 03:37 PM   #51
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

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Originally Posted by MN Stumpjumper View Post
How about RPM's, Anybody run a tach? What is a "safe" RPM range,with a stock motor?

SAE defines "overspeeding an engine" as operating it at speeds in excess of the point where peak power is produced.

The stock Model A engine produces its peak HP at 2200 rpm. In the case of my '28, with stock 4.50x21 tires and 3.78 rear, that should have me going along at 53 mph.

Theoretically, one should be able to drive at 2200 rpm "forever" w/o doing major damage to the engine.

The "babbit-pounding" Chevy six usually had its HP rated at 3200 to 3600 RPM, but then the six doesn't have the same inherent balance issues as a four (or V-8) with a single-plane crank.

Lugging isn't good for any engine, especially a "splasher" with expensive poured bearings.
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:11 AM   #52
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Thanks for the info Frank, most people don't use tach's. Drive by "feel". I don't want to ruin a good engine.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:53 AM   #53
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

One must always remember all those 80 yr. old parts that have to work together that may have cristalized that could let go. Not to be paronoid but I can't help but remember my highschool days in my 31 at 70 mph with marginal running gear.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:14 AM   #54
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

When I had my 1933 Chev., I would limit my top speed to 45 MPH.

One day, I was crusing along 128 in Massachusetts when a Model A pulled up beside me. He went up to 50 MPH...I thought, no Model A Ford is going to pass me ! I went to 50 too. This continued to 55 and then 60.

The chev. was starting to vibrate but I kept on going. I passed by somewhat north of 60 MPH at which time, the Ford driver gave me a "thumbs up" and smiled.

When I returned home, I found put that I had cracked the head and burned out a valve seat. I told my father what happened....he just smiled.

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Old 09-09-2010, 11:19 AM   #55
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

thought about that yesterday on my back and forth to work, well my car normally goes on the highway around 58-60 but i do find when back it off to 50 it runs more smooth and then if i take it down to 45 it runs great all day... just my thoughts
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Old 09-09-2010, 12:35 PM   #56
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

I had my 29 roadster up to 80,then i took it off the trailer.Then drove 40-45
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:35 PM   #57
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

I don't have a tach; those numbers were calculated from the mounted diameter of the tires / circumference, which in turn is calculated into "revolutions per mile", which is then calculated against the ring & pinion ratio to determine the "engine revolutions per mile", which in turn gives you your engine RPM at a given road-speed...

I'm not a math geek by any stretch, just plugged through the math one day, and came up with the numbers...

I certainly appreciate driving "by feel", and mostly do that myself, but I can tell you that a Model A with 21" or 19" tires and a 3.78 rear "sounds / feels" a LOT less "busy" at 50 mph than my friend's '40 Chevy six with 16" wheels and 4.11 rear at the same speed...

I like keeping my A under 50 MPH.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:26 PM   #58
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Robert: I have a 1930 deluxe coupe that is fully stock. Model A engines were designed to develop 40 HP at 2200 RPM. That translates to 48 MPH with 19" wheels and 4.75-5.00/19 tires with the stock rear-end gear ratio. Off the top of my head I think the ratio is 3.78 to 1. Anyway I installed a tachometer to check this out and at 2200 RPM the GPS registered exactly 48 MPH. I find that my A runs very smooth and happy at this speed. I also find that it will run smooth up to 55 mph. This translates to just over 2500 RPM and I do not believe this extra speed is in anyway detrimental to the engine. Lugging the A is the worst thing for the Crank bearings. Keep those RPM's up.

Love my A,

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Old 09-12-2010, 09:31 PM   #59
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Also if you have 21" wheels you will have to add 5 MPH to the 2200 speed of 48 getting 53 MPH
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:48 PM   #60
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

IMHO forty two is a 'happy speed for a stock A. I drove our '29 fordor from Northern WI to SW Florida in five days and rarely exceeded 42. The little Ford was just as happy in FL as it was when we left WI. If you visit with some folks that have drive Model A's long distances, they agree with the above. Californians excepted!
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:50 PM   #61
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

mine was cruising along really nice about 78 mph today coming down the northway from lake george area,,,,but then again i do have a 239 flathead in it
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Old 09-12-2018, 05:51 AM   #62
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

AH, the days when 45-50 mph were considered fast...today people drive their modern cars with no sensation of speed on the interior, and 45-50 in school zones and 80 on the highway...a danger zone for Model As.
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Old 09-12-2018, 07:15 AM   #63
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Just followed a Model A Sunday on route 9 in New Britain, Connecticut. Traffic was moving at 70 mph plus, he was tooling along at over 65 mph. He looked happy.

I keep ours to back roads, around town. Car really likes 35 to 45 mph.

To each his own. Enjoy.
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Old 09-12-2018, 07:27 AM   #64
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

I don't drive beyond the ability of my brakes to stop. My '29 rdstr is not my 2015 RAV 4 in its ability. 30-35 tops and I enjoy the view and pull over when I'm holding someone up.
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:26 AM   #65
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

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AH, the days when 45-50 mph were considered fast...today people drive their modern cars with no sensation of speed on the interior, and 45-50 in school zones and 80 on the highway...a danger zone for Model As.
Perfectly clear dry sunny morning today, and even the news reporters are commenting on the dozens of crashes on the Twin Cities freeways this morning. The traffic map shows every road with RED, meaning slowed to a crawl. The idiots are on the roads everyday around here. It's scary for any car. Look around at the other drivers, and the majority are very distracted, and not paying attention to driving.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:39 AM   #66
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

The new cars have touch screens in them that control everything, including the cabin tempurature. They are VERY distracting. It is frightening how much cars are computerized. Modern drivers find comfort in taking their eyes off the road and playing with menus on their touch screen. I really wish touch screen anything would be banned in cars.

The new cars also incorporate sensors to panic stop the car if it senses something in front of it. A colleague was driving 45-50 on a fairly busy 2-lane and a bird flew across his path. The car did a panic stop and the car behind him slammed into him, followed by the car behind that. He was seriously injured, and all because a computer took over the driving when it had no business doing so. Imagine that scenario playing out more and more from now on. How many lives and Model As will be lost to the computerization of cars?

Self driving cars drive as if being chased by the cops. Very frightening watching the Google cars weave in and out of traffic trying to jockey for one more car length ahead of the group. I was cut off by one of Google's self driving cars on 137 and it very nearly caused a collision right in front of me. Apparently, the self driving cars do not see Model A fenders as part of the car. Those self driving demons ought to be banned as well.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:49 AM   #67
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

I drive my car 35 tops. California drivers, traffic, and brakes that do not stop like a 2019 car make me go 30 around town. If they want to pass me, then pass me. My motor was built by a very renowned engine/model A guy and he has long passed so I'm babying my baby to last forever. Although I have been on the freeway because here in California the top speed now is usually 20mph!!!!
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:10 AM   #68
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Our Fordor would spin right up to 55 and you could push it into the low 60's. And this was on an engine of unknown origin running on basically 3 cylinders (30psi on #3) and bone stock to my knowledge.

Took it to the rebuilder 2 weeks ago and now have a chunk of rear main on my keychain... rods and mains were shot, lots of babbit in the pan. Definitely got some good service out of that engine though.

So glad we live out in the country. We still have the idiot drivers of course but at least they're more spread out. Although it is almost leaf peeping season again...
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:08 AM   #69
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

My Truck is a runner, not restored/balanced/top notch motor. With recent valve job and head gasket it runs fairly quiet/smooth up to 35, a litlte vibration/noise from 35-45 but OK, After that it get busy, more vibration and noise. I have had it up to 55 flat out on a level road, little head wind. Gotta remember, truck aerodynamics are like driving a barn door.


I do not know if the Truck transmission is geared differently, I know 1st is a real granny gear.
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:23 AM   #70
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There are a wide range of opinions on the average highway speed of the A.

What people feel their car can do is based on how well restored their car is and the mindset as they drive their cars.

What is known as fact is the top speed and realistic cruise speed.

The dependent factor is all in the chassis. How well balanced is the engine, how well assembled is the chassis.

Clearly an unbalanced engine and a chassis put together with a mix of good used parts is going to be mixed in how it drives.

How many of those only running 45 mph knows if their crank was ground on center and has the flywheel on center? How many have their rods at the +- 1 gram at each end like the factory rods would have been made? What about that used cam that has uneven wear on the lobes? Who has that extra couple of thou here and there in their steering because they used a reamer on the bushings instead of hone them to fit.

With the mix and match of parts some cars just work ok and others not.

If you take the time to return the parts to factory specs then you will have a car that will run 55+ mph all day and night long. It will be comfortable and smooth running with a very minimum of vibration. Most guys would not believe they were actually in the Model A cause they have never been around a fully restored car. They only know others opinions based on cars put together with less then restored back to factory parts.

Personally, my opinion is that many guys that think 45 is the top speed of the A are being too optimistic. Some of the cars are not really safe at 30 MPH, but they run them 45 anyway.

Regardless of the opinions, the fact is the Model A can run the 60 MPH when properly restored to the factory prints. Today with the better fuels and a better understanding of combustion chambers, the better understanding of cams and the better quality of rubber we have our A's be very safe reliable and capable cars that you should NOT be afraid to run at highway speeds and expect more than 20 MPG.

Always know and understand that the Model A car restored back to the factory specs is very reliable and a joy to drive at any speed up to the 60's.


Great Info.


My only comment is that take a ton of money for the above Those of us with limited budgets do what we can and keeps speeds down.
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:26 AM   #71
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I do not know if the Truck transmission is geared differently, I know 1st is a real granny gear.
Don't think so but can't say for sure. If everything is stock though you should have a 4.10 rear end as opposed to the car 3.78. If that's the case 55 is really cranking along
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:36 AM   #72
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

I'm running a 283 V8 in my 31 coupe with a T5 and a 3.50 ratio Ford 9" rear. At 65 mph in 5th gear I'm just touching 1,800 rpm. Needless to say it keeps up with traffic without any issues and I have plenty of pedal left if I want to use it. If I'm just going around 50 to 55 mph I rarely take it out of 4th gear.
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Old 09-12-2018, 12:11 PM   #73
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Don't think so but can't say for sure. If everything is stock though you should have a 4.10 rear end as opposed to the car 3.78. If that's the case 55 is really cranking along

Thanks, have often wondered why club members cruise at 45-55. Never asked, just assumed my A was really imbalanced since it is a runner. I always suspected the rear ends were different, thanks for confirming.
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Old 09-12-2018, 12:13 PM   #74
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Maybe of no interest to anyone
I have a 32 Model B that was converted to V8 flathead power.
There was some mention of fenders moving at higher speeds above
maybe 50 MPH.
I experience no such problem & am wondering if the difference is weight
related? But, as a kid, I don't remember any difficulties at high speeds
in my stock Model A coupe.
I can drive my 32 at 80 MPH for any amount of time without issue.
It is V8 powered & I have an Overdrive, and good hydraulic brakes
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Old 09-12-2018, 12:28 PM   #75
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

On tours, we usually target 50 mph as our speed. If I'm not in a tour, 55+ is my target speed.
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Old 09-12-2018, 12:40 PM   #76
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Fuel consumption is a big factor here in the UK. My nearest model A buddy lives exactly 15 miles from me so a 30 mile round trip .This costs me around 10 in gasolene which is $13 this is cruising at 45 MPH which is where my 30 CCPU is happiest anyway me too as I will be 80 next birthday, I dont go quick no more !!! Cruising at 30 MPH cuts fuel consumption by at least a quarter but you get more traffic backup behind you . I could go the country scenic route which is a 40 mile round trip at 30 MPH so the cost is the same but more fun on a lovely sunny day .

John in cool autumnal evening Suffolk County England .
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Old 09-21-2018, 08:49 AM   #77
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Tops on my 1930 model a fordor is about 50 mph! I drive this car with safety in mind and to me, getting the car stopped from any speed is important. The brakes on this car are as Ford built it, and they do stop the car, but the distance to stop is a bit more than my modern car! Speed gets mixed in with "why?" and "Safety?"
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:10 AM   #78
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

I usually drive my '31 CCPU at around 35 mph, any faster then the vibrations gets too much to take.
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:24 AM   #79
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

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AH, the days when 45-50 mph were considered fast...today people drive their modern cars with no sensation of speed on the interior, and 45-50 in school zones and 80 on the highway...a danger zone for Model As.
Same in Illinois and the vast majority of those running 75 in a 55 speed limit on our two lane highways are 18-20 year old girls, and semi trucks avoiding the Interstate because they are overloaded.

Yesterday alone going over to a neighboring town I had one guy coming at me that ran off the road I mean ALL four wheels off the road almost in the ditch as he was wrestling the car back under control, and later a girl following me ran across the dividing line I saw her in my mirror as she was tailgating me, trying to pass I think on a hill with a double yellow line, run the oncoming car off to the shoulder. And it was a sunny day, no rain no anything just a nice day.

Can't wait for the snow to fall. Hee-haw
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:35 AM   #80
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

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Can't wait for the snow to fall. Hee-haw
You and me both
There was an accident one town over a couple days ago. 20 year old girl coming down a slight hill with a left hand corner into town. Speed limit is 30... apparently she bounced off the bridge at the bottom of the hill when the road gets straight and level, went off the left side of the road and took out a utility pole complete with transformers. Beautiful day. One car accident
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Old 09-21-2018, 03:21 PM   #81
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Accidents can happen to anyone, I am on the road hours a day and have been saved from serious trouble many times by driving just a bit slower than the maximum I could be doing. Stay in the safety zone. With my A the safety zone is quite a bit slower than my modern car. Common sense goes a long way. Why is common sense so uncommon?
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Old 09-21-2018, 07:43 PM   #82
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

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Accidents can happen to anyone, I am on the road hours a day and have been saved from serious trouble many times by driving just a bit slower than the maximum I could be doing. Stay in the safety zone. With my A the safety zone is quite a bit slower than my modern car. Common sense goes a long way. Why is common sense so uncommon?
Exactly!
Reaction time and stopping takes a hell of a lot longer at 70 MPH than at 50 MPH. Idiots drive to the limit and then some, never thinking about what could and often does go wrong.
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Old 09-28-2018, 11:54 PM   #83
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

I have a 1930 Tudor that is fairly stock...except I think someone changed the gears in the rear end to 3.54 instead of the stock 3.78. The engine is fairly happy until the speedometer is indicating 50mph...and I am actually traveling 55mph. I can go faster, but the engine starts getting buzzy and that is fast enough with skinny tires and mechanical brakes. On a smooth road my model A seems really happy when my speedometer is at 48mph...and according to my GPS I am going 53mph.
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Old 04-30-2019, 02:31 PM   #84
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

My old gal is 1930 coupe, pretty much stock but with a Mitchell OD. I run it around 55-60 MPH in overdrive and it feels "good" at that speed. Seldom ever venture down the interstate but have drove it on tours to locations out to 150 miles mostly on secondary roads. Owned the car about ten years now, experienced very few problems with it.
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Old 04-30-2019, 03:27 PM   #85
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

There are more lies told about
the size of fish especially ones that got away
the yields of crops
the length of gentlemen's appendage
the speed of Model A's
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Old 04-30-2019, 03:56 PM   #86
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

I kind of look at how fast I can drive my Model A by understanding how well the brakes will stop it and also keep thinking about how little tire surface there is on the road! Mine may top out at 55, but so far, I have kept it at 45 or less!
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Old 04-30-2019, 05:38 PM   #87
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Driving a model A (not stock) over 150 mph at Bonneville is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
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Old 05-01-2019, 01:30 AM   #88
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

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Driving a model A (not stock) over 150 mph at Bonneville is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
do read my posting number 85
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Old 05-01-2019, 02:40 AM   #89
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

I believe in the comfort factor, every car is slightly different from the next. I and my car are comfortable at 40-45 tops. All the guys doing 60-ish good on them, I just don't like the vibrations, sound of engine and the thought of having to do an emergency stop at 60.
I average 500 miles a month and love to putt along at 40 mph
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Old 05-01-2019, 06:13 AM   #90
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Mine will do fifty but feels happier and less noisy at fourty
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Old 05-01-2019, 06:50 AM   #91
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Smile Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

My '31 roadster runs great at 50-55. It has a "B" block with a "B" cam &
3.54 rear end, rest is all "A". I have a fear of out running my brakes so
I try and keep my speed reasonable.....


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Old 05-01-2019, 10:44 AM   #92
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

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do read my posting number 85
Be careful who you call a liar.
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Old 05-02-2019, 03:11 PM   #93
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

We drive ours at fifty MPH where the road permits, faster when passing or getting out of the way of fast moving vehicles . I run the original 3.78 gears . I run several performance mods but that doesn't mean that I've got to push the model A any harder than I feel comfortable with !!!
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Old 05-02-2019, 03:53 PM   #94
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Default Re: What is average highway speed for the model a?

Hallo Speedmasters,
my roadster reaches a little bit more than 50 ml/h on the level road. If I think I have to do a full force braking at this speed, I'm not sure if the rickety car is manageable. The most comfortable cruising speed is about <45 mph.
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