Let NASCAR’s Joey Logano teach you how to drive a Model T

Mike Drilling

There’s something a little odd about getting a lesson on the Ford Model T from someone who makes a living driving 200+ mph in a Mustang GT. But NASCAR is only what Joey Logano does for a living. Off the track, he’ll shirk his race suit and “Sliced Bread” nickname, choosing to spend time around a collection of rides that don’t always go left. Among them is his self-proclaimed favorite, a 1924 Ford Model T, that recently became the subject of an episode in his latest YouTube-series “Carography.”

Logano overviews the vehicle in the only way appropriate for a T: simply. He revels in the durability and integrity that Ford achieved while also hitting production numbers in the millions, confessing, “I’ve had this thing for seven or eight years and haven’t really touched the motor on this thing. It just continues to run, and run, and run.”

Jumping in, Logano notes, modern operators who are unaccustomed to a Model T might assume that Ford accidentally mounted the steering wheel in backward. However, this design is actually very much intentional and integral in the operation of a Model T. The vehicle’s throttle (R) and spark (L) levers are positioned underneath the wheel within reach, such that the driver can keep a comfortable grip on the wheel while having control over fuel and spark at their fingertips.

When it comes to those tricky pedals, as every quality teacher does, Logano relates the Model T’s quirks to the more popular conventions that a person is already familiar with in standard manually operated vehicles. As he points out, the ‘T requires an almost backward-logic to all things brakes, reverse, and clutch.

On the road, Logano takes you through the basic acceleration and deceleration patterns of the car until something on the dash jogged his memory. “About five years ago … I got to take Edsel (Edsel Ford II) on a ride in the passenger seat with Darrell Waltrip in the back. At the end of it, I had to get Edsel to sign my car …” The camera shifts to a hardly legible signature in white. “… because I thought it was cool. I had a member of the Ford family, riding in my Model T.”

What the video displays most, in just ten short minutes, is the sheer amount of fun to be had in an iconic Model T. The number of stories about them and in them can last a lifetime. And that list keeps on growing, even over a century later. The Model T proves the adage once again, it’s equally fun to drive a (really) slow car fast; especially one that’s so engaging in feel and tact. Life in the slow lane isn’t always a bad thing.

1915 Ford Model T Front
Mike Drilling
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