Schenectady County

A man and his Model T ride on

The vintage Model T Ford only gets about 15 miles to the gallon, but 81-year-old Neil Rose loves


The vintage Model T Ford only gets about 15 miles to the gallon, but 81-year-old Neil Rose loves riding in it.

The Scotia resident’s son Michael drove the 1917 vehicle 1,400 miles round trip to Richmond, Ind., for the Model T Centennial T Party that ran July 21-26. The event celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Model T’s creation.

Rose got his first Model T when he was 16.

He bought the one he has now in 1946 for $75 when he left the Navy.

“It’s always been a part of my family. It’s always been part of me,” he said. “They say you’ve got to be half nuts to like a Model T, so I guess I’m half nuts. I learned to drive one in the field when I was 9. I’ve always had one.”

He drove this car for about six years after buying it. He said there was a lot of wear and tear, so he put it in the garage for 10 years. Then, he completely rebuilt it in 1962. “It’s been on the road ever since,” he said.

Fifteen years ago, he repainted it. Now, it is due for another painting.

The car has a bumper sticker with a picture of a Model T and saying, “I may be old, but I still get hot.”

Rose said he was looking forward to the event. “It’s one thing I wanted to do before they put me in the ground,” he said.

He would have liked to drive the car himself. However, his arthritis and bad knees prevented that. “The brakes aren’t the greatest,” he said.

He went with about 12 people from the local Model T chapter. He left July 15 and it took about seven days to travel there. The car can only go about 35 to 40 miles per hour and the gas tank only holds nine gallons. “We stopped every couple of hours — drive 100 miles or so and get some gas,” he said.

There probably were a few strange looks when he was on the highway, but once he got closer to Indiana people were familiar with the Model Ts because of the nearby convention.

The drive out there was mostly uneventful. He did have a problem with the fan blade and it was so hot that the gas vaporized. He is lucky that he did not have a flat tire. Many Model T owners did.

There were nearly 1,000 Model Ts from 47 states and nine countries represented. Rose said he enjoyed meeting all his fellow Model T enthusiasts. “I talked to people from Australia, Norway, England,” he said.

Rose said one of the highlights was participating in a parade of 375 cars like his. “We broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest parade of Model Ts,” he said.

In another event, groups of people compete to see who could assemble a Model T in the fastest time.

He was interviewed by local media and by Edsel Ford II, Henry Ford’s great-grandson, for a show to be aired on public television. He also spoke with Henry Ford III, Edsel Ford II’s oldest son.

“You know why they picked my car. They wanted one that looked like somebody had used it,” he said.

Rose said he was surprised by all the attention.

“These things wouldn’t have happened to me in 100 years,” he said. “I’m so glad I went because I’d never get the chance again.”

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