Model T shows mod­ern cars how to tour

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

BRENT­WOOD, Es­sex — A 100- year- old Ford Model T is on a chal­lenge to drive around the world.

Dirk and Trudy Regter from the Nether­lands have owned their 1915 Ford Model T since 1997, and be­gan their jour­ney in the sum­mer of 2012.

The cou­ple, both re­tired, have so far cov­ered over 80 000 km, vis­it­ing and sup­port­ing var­i­ous projects run by the in­ter­na­tional chil­dren’s aid or­gan­i­sa­tion: SOS Chil­dren’s Vil­lages.

The Ford Model T cov­ered 22 530,816 km in 180 days dur­ing the first leg of the drive in 2012, which took them from their home town of Edam to Cape Town in South Africa.

In 2013 the cou­ple drove through the USA and Canada, cross­ing 22 States dur­ing their 27 359 km, 180- day road trip. In 2014 they ticked off an­other 25 749 km through South Amer­ica in a fur­ther 180 days.

Sadly, the Model T was in­volved in an ac­ci­dent with a Land rover De­fender when it re­turned to Europe.

How­ever, the cou­ple plan to con­tinue their jour­ney through New Zealand, Aus­tralia, In­done­sia, and In­dia, cross­ing the Hi­malayas to China, through Mon­go­lia and back to the Nether­lands via Cen­tral Europe dur- ing 2016 and 2017.

Dirk pre­vi­ously owned a 1923 Ford Model T and a 1928 Ford Model A, in­her­it­ing his pas­sion for vin­tage Fords from his father and grand­fa­ther.

Ford built 15 000 000 Model Ts be­tween 1908 and 1927 to put the world on wheels, and owed its mass ap­peal to its af­ford­abil­ity, re­li­a­bil­ity and ease of main­te­nance with stan­dard, in­ter­change­able parts.

The Regters said all th­ese at­trib­uted still make the Model T easy to drive and main­tain any­where in the world, in­clud­ing the 3- litre petrol en­gine that is un­al­tered from its stan­dard 1915 fac­tory spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

The sin­gle ex­cep­tion is larger tyres for the wooden- spoked wheels, mak­ing the ride softer for long jour­neys.

“On the bor­der of South Africa and Botswana we met a farm- er who had an old Ford Model T in the shed”, Dirk said.

“He gave us a tyre off it as a gift to help us on our way.

Across North Amer­ica, the cou­ple met sev­eral other Ford T own­ers who still love th­ese rugged trans­porters.

Their jour­ney is about to restart, and more of the highs and lows of their amaz­ing jour­ney has also been posted on YouTube.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Af­ter driv­ing across three con­ti­nents, the orig­i­nal 1915 Ford Model T is still go­ing strong.

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