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Classic Cars Crank it up

They don’t have air conditioning, CD players or cup holders and they don’t go very fast. But the dearth of newfangled accessories doesn’t affect the popularity of vintage Model T Fords. And there were truckloads on display this weekend at the Easton Historical Society Antique Car Show, where collectors, aficionados and fans took a step back in time and toiled in the slow lane.

Ralph Hermann is president of the Connecticut Crankin’ Yank Club, but old cars aren’t just his hobby: he also owns and operates an antique car restoration shop in Essex, Conn. “My Dad got a Model T in the 1960s and I guess I just got bitten by the bug. I’ve loved them ever since,” he said.

The oldest classic Ford he owns is a 1909 Model T. Of the 15 million manufactured by Ford, Ralph’s vehicle is number 5,877. He and other members of the Crankin’ Yank club are less interested in looking at their vintage cars than they are in actually driving them: “We love to take them out on the road. They’re terribly fun to drive and people love to see them out there,” he said.

Here are some interesting facts about the Model T, according to Ford:

The first Model T was built in 1908. It was marketed as the first low-priced, mass-produced automobile with standard, interchangeable parts.

The Model T was offered in colors besides black between 1908 and 1914, and again from 1926 to 1927. But Henry Ford preferred black paint because it dried faster.

Fuel economy was estimated to be between 14 and 21 miles per gallon; its top speed was about 45 miles per hour.

The idea for the Model T assembly line came from a Ford engineer who got the idea from a slaughterhouse "disassembly" line.

The price was $850 in 1909 and fell as low as $260 for a stripped-down model in the 1920s.

The two-speed transmission was advertised as having three speeds: the "third" speed was reverse.

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