Vintage Model-T's race into Snoqualmie Valley | SLIDESHOW
July 15, 2009 · Updated 4:24 PM
Fifty-three vintage Model T cars rumbled onto Meadowbrook Farm on Friday, July 10, just two days away from completing their 3,900-mile transcontinental trek from White Plains, New York, to Seattle, Wash. The run reenacted a 1909 race from New York City to the Alaska-Pacific-Yukon Exposition in Seattle.
A Model T Ford finished first in the original Ocean to Ocean Endurance Race in 22 days. Henry Ford used the race to market the car, which was in its first year of production. Over 15 million were made before it was discontinued in 1927.
This year’s reenactment, the Centennial Run, follows the original course as much as possible, including a trip across Snoqualmie Pass. The original Model T competitor had to be dug out of the snow on the pass by a railroad crew.
On Friday, drivers stopped to chat with local residents and enjoy a salmon bake prepared by the Snoqualmie Tribe Canoe family.
The run’s organizer, Peter Bernhardt, and his wife, Mary, were driving their 1911 Model T Torpedo Roadster, a sleeker model produced for only one year.
“They’re tough cars, and once you get them right, they really roll,” Bernhardt said about Model T’s.
The couple, from Charlottesville, Virginia, had already driven most of the route twice in preparation for the run.
Washington state had given the drivers the warmest reception so far, he said.
Asked how the car rides, he said, “I’ll give you a ride.”
The car’s engine — visible from the cab — jumped to life. Bernhardt worked a bevy of levers and pedals, and the 98-year-old car rumbled down Boalch Avenue. Despite horse-and-buggy suspension, the car offered a smooth ride.
Drivers have worked to keep all the cars going through the 29-day trip. One owner, Ken Hummel, gave his extra engine to another driver he’d never met before.
“Some nights it looks like a war zone (in the motel parking lots). One night there was 15 cars out there getting ripped apart” and put back together by their crews, said Hummel, of Avonmore, Penn.