Ford Model T attempts drive around the world

Dutch retired couple set off in 2012 and hope to return home in 2017

Published: March 18, 2016, 6:30 PM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 12:53 PM

100-year-old Ford Model T on quest to drive around the world

A Ford is on a quest to drive around the world. In today’s motoring world, that probably isn’t a big deal but the Ford isn’t exactly from today’s motoring world … it’s a 100-year-old Model T.

Dirk and Trudy Regter at the wheel of their 2015 Model T

The 1915 Model T is owned by retirees Dirk and Trudy Regter from The Netherlands, who took possession of it in 1997 and began their journey in summer 2012, some 80,000 km ago, in support of SOS Children’s Villages (an international organization working for the needs of children since 1949).

So far, the journey has taken them from home to South Africa, across the U.S. and Canada, and through South America before returning to Europe, where it was involved in a collision. The couple hopes to resume the journey to New Zealand and Australia, up to Indonesia and India, across the Himalayas into China and then through the former Soviet republics into central Europe and back home to Holland. They are expecting to complete their journey in 2017.

Ford built 15,000 Model Ts between 1908 and 1927 mostly in the U.S., but also at assembly plants in Canada, Germany, Argentina, France, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, Japan and England.

The Regters have previously owned a 1923 Model T and a 1928 Model A, with Mr. Regter inheriting his passion for Vintage Fords from his father and grandfather. The journey car is unaltered from its original factory specification (with the exception of bigger tires for the wooden spoke wheels, in order to make the ride more accommodating over the long run) and is powered by a 3.0-litre gasoline engine. The Model T was initially powered by 2.9-litre 4-cylinder, making 20 hp.

Outside of the crash and a few minor incidents, such as a broken front wheel in Africa that needed welding, the journey has been largely uneventful.

“I’m pretty handy,” says Dirk. “And a screwdriver, hammer, some duct tape, tie wraps and tensioning straps go a long way.”