When Ernie Muirhead drives around his block in Provo, you can hear him coming — or at least his Model T.
The car with a 1914 engine sounds different from cars from more recent decades. It’s almost indescribable, like nothing you’ve ever heard.
It’s a fuller, rhythmic shake of a sound that comes from the car’s unique design. It’s beautiful, as Muirhead would say.
“Even yesterday when I was going around a corner, dogs were barking at me and everything. That was funny. I thought this is great, because the first time a dog ever saw one of these in 1914 that really got to them and they really started barking, ” Muirhead said.
That sound and the look of cars that are mostly more than 100 years old driving down the street is just one thing that makes the Model T special, which the Utah Valley Old Car Club hopes to show the public with its upcoming Spring Dust Off Tour.
“The potential spectators should get a thrill of seeing 100-year-old cars and seeing the car that put our nation on wheels going up the canyon and in a setting that’s not just a car show but where they are actually going and moving, ” UVOCC President Don Pendergrass said.
The tour, which will take place on May 27 at 9:30 a.m., will allow the Model T’s to lead the pack of cars 25 years and older as they tour from Canyon View Park up Provo Canyon to Vivian Park and then along the South Fork of the Provo River to Conrad Ranch.
The tour covers a total of 8 miles and will leave Canyon View Park promptly at 10:30 a.m.
Muirhead said he knew he wanted to know more and collect Model T cars since he first saw one at 11 or 12.
“I started looking at the car and thinking it hasn’t been that long (since this was built). I’ve got to have one of these, but they got harder and harder to find, ” he said.
The Ford Motor Company was built from 1908 to 1927, and during that time the cost of the car decreased from $850 to $260, which also accounted for the popularity, demand and number on the road, according to Ford.
“(I collect them) mostly just because they are so unique and fantastic, ” Muirhead said.
And they are. His 1914 Model T Touring and 1914 Model T Runabout both feature some unique details, like hickory spoke on wheels, kerosene lamps on the back and rare parts just to name a few.
Wayne Atkinson, a Fairview resident and UVOCC member, will bring his 1923 Model T to join the handful of other cars at Saturday’s tour.
Atkinson said the Model T is a special car because of its place in history and for its ability to endure.
“They are primitive but they were well built with the best materials available, and that’s why there are still quite a number of them running in the world, ” he said. “I enjoy the basics. You know there’s nothing fancy — no radio, no turn signals, no heater and nothing we are used to today. I enjoy the basic, very simple fun of driving them.”
However, it’s difficult to get those cars on the road because of the speed and pace of traffic in most places.
“I would just like to see it encouraged with the old slow cars to bring them out and enjoy them, ” Atkinson said. “There’s a lot parked in garages, and people never get them out.”
While the spectacle seeing these cars out and about, at least for one day, is a big deal, Pendergrass said the idea originally came from Allen Strasburg, a former member of the UVOCC who passed away several years ago.
“It’s because of him and his experience that I said, ‘I’m getting up in years — I’ll be 83 soon — and it’s time that these things in the back of my mind came to fruition and we had something to show for it, ” Pendergrass said.
Strasburg, a former UVOCC president, mentioned that he hoped the club would be able to host a tour for the Model T’s. He owned a 1924 Model T and wanted a tour for those cars because it was hard for them to keep up with the other, faster cars.
It’s something that has stuck with Pendergrass for quite a while, but this will be the year the UVOCC fulfills that idea.
Image by Apouf from Pixabay