Old girl still getting out and about

By Catherine Pattison on Sat, 16 Sep 2017 | Latest News
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Wanaka couple Murray and Jenny Pryde will be bring their 1915 Ford T Roadster over to Dunedin to display in the annual Autospectacular in the Edgar Centre today. (SATURDAY). PHOTOS: CATHERINE PATTISON

Murray and Jenny Pryde's 1915 Ford Model T Roadster requires knowledge born of long-term ownership to both start and drive.

Fondly referred to as ‘‘the old girl'', this fine example of motoring history has been part of the family for two generations, belonging to Mrs Pryde's father Doug Pedlow initially, and has had a home with the Prydes for the past 50 years.

The Central Otago Vintage Car Club secretary, Mr Pryde, of Wanaka, kindly offered Drivesouth a ride around the block in it. He adeptly coaxed the 15kW (20hp), four-cylinder Ford engine into life and demonstrated the intricacies involved in operating the two-gear transmission.

For the uninitiated, it is quite a process, although a starter motor, which would not have been present on the original model, makes it easier, Mr Pryde said.

‘‘I've driven it so much and so often it is second nature. It ticks along reasonably well, but the brakes and the steering are not like a modern car so you are on it all the time,'' he said, with a smile.

Once on the road, he pointed out the three foot pedals, which serve as low gear, reverse and the brake. The accelerator is a lever located on the wooden steering wheel. The horn requires a squeeze and the sole windscreen wiper is hand-operated by the driver.

The Ford has a Ruckstell diff, which is handy on the hills, as it cuts top gear down by a third, Mr Pryde says.

Despite its quirks and the fact that when ‘‘you go over a bump, you have to hold tight to the steering wheel'', the Prydes love getting out and about in the Model T. They recently drove it through to Haast and have been known to do 400km in one day. The colder spring weather meant they couldn't drive the Ford from Wanaka to Dunedin to display in today's Autospectacular, so it was towed on a trailer to join an exhibition of solely black cars.

Despite its advanced age, the Ford is very low maintenance and usually only requires a paintwork and brass plating polish, Mr Pryde said.

‘‘It can just sit there for months and then away we go.''


2017 Autospectacular:

This year's Autospectacular will be held at Dunedin's Edgar Centre from 9am to 4pm and features 70 years of Ferrari, 50 years of Camaro and hot Japanese cars. The club display theme is golden times and there will be more than 270 classic vehicles on display, along with a swap meet, trade sites, and children's entertainment. Entry is $10 per adult, $2 for children ages 5-13, those under 5-years-old free and $20 for a family pass (two adults and two children).