Slow ride: 200 Model Ts will roll through Western Pa.
When Simon Neubert was 9, he helped his father restore his first Model T. By 15, he had built his own speedster from donated parts. Since then, he has restored a third and driven the century-old automobile from Pikes Peak in Colorado to the LasVegas Strip to Tennessee — even to his prom and graduation at Knoch High School and classes at Slippery RockUniversity.
Mr. Neubert, 24, is a member of theWestern Pennsylvania chapter of the Model T Ford Club International and has spent the last year and a half preparing for the arrival of 200 more ModelTs on Sunday.
Next week around 500 Model T enthusiasts from nearly every state — plus Canada and Australia — will be driving around Western Pennsylvaniafor the 62nd annual Model T Ford Club International annual tour, hosted by the local chapter. At least one car from every production year, 1909-1927,will be in attendance.
The festivities begin Sunday in Saxonburg with a barbecue and car show from noon-4 p.m. at Roebling Park. It is open to the public. Thirtyoneantique cars will be judged based on authenticity, with one in the running for the Stynoski award, the most prestigious honor. Visitors will learnabout this storied auto.
“You learn about the assembly line and Henry Ford,” said Gwenn Neubert, Simon’s mother, who was brought into the hobby by her husband, Tim, who founded the local chapterin 2003.
“That’s what put America on wheels. That’s why we drive on the right side of the road. That’s why we have left-handed steering because of him.”
In their Model Ts, members will take a sightseeing tour of Western Pennsylvania next week. Each day, they will drive at least 100 miles from the Marriott hotel in Cranberry to various museums, sites and private car collections in Butler, Beaver and Lawrence counties, Ms. Neubert said. They will travel at a Model T pace— around 35 mph.
“We enjoy them as they’re meant to be enjoyed,” Mr. Neubert said. “Driving, not just being seen in a showroom.”
Members of the Western
Pennsylvania club meet monthly to take drives around the area and attend events ranging from car shows to apple festivals. Each ofits 16 members owns at least one car. In the Neubert family thereare 11, and Kevin Prus of Columbia, Ohio, has seven. Tin Lizzies bring together hobbyists from all over the world who have a passion for driving and the car’s history, Mr.Neubert said.
Ford’s car revolutionized American life. Mass production and a price under $400 in 1919 allowed average people to afford cars for the first time, Mr. Neubert said. Nearly 16 million Model Ts were manufactured, and it is estimated that more than 1 million exist today, making it relatively easy to locate parts. Some members found cars online and others by word of mouth. Some were hidden away for years in garages or barns. Unrestored Model Ts normally can be purchased for $1,000$2,000, and a fully restored antique averages $10,000-$12,000, Mr.Neubert said.
“People enjoy the rustic, mechanical feeling you get when you drive one of these cars. It gives you a sense of a real, visceral ride. … You get that feeling of an early 1900s motorcar.”
He said that the process of painstakingly restoring one —some have taken more than seven years to complete — gives drivers a greater sense of the Model T’s historical significance. Although Ford is often quoted as saying, “You can have any color as long as it’s black,” other colors were offered toward the beginning and end of production, Mr. Neubertsaid.
The tour is hosted every yearby a local American club. In recent years, participants have toured Montana, Minnesota, New York and Texas. This is the first tour held in Western Pennsylvania.
Mr. Neubert hopes people of all ages will come see the Model Ts, but he issued a warning: Take a ride and you might find yourself wanting oneof your own.
“Everyonelearns about the Model T in third or fourth grade ... but not everyone gets tosee one, let alone 200-plus.”
A 1924 Model T Roadster will be among the over 200 cars here next week when members of the Western Pennsylvania Model T Ford Club host the 62nd national tour.