Created by Museum volunteers and staff, this cutaway provides a unique view of some of the major mechanical systems in a Model T.

By gently pushing in on the crank and turning slowly, you can see these systems in motion. Spark and throttle levers on the steering column are connected to the timer and carburetor for demonstration. Please use with care.

Some color coding.


Green – Intake manifold and valve

Red – Exhaust manifold and valve

Blue – Coolant

Clear – Timer


Blue – Forward

Yellow – Reverse

White – Brake

Careful inspection of the relationship of the fuel tank, which was located under the front seat, and the carburetor tells the lie to one of the most common myths about the T. Namely that reverse provided a better (i.e. more powerful) gear ratio than forward gears. This myth was used to explain why drivers approached large hills in reverse. The truth of the matter is that Ford was constantly looking for ways to make his cars less expensively, and relied upon gravity to feed the engine. As the carburetor is only slightly below the fuel tank, even when on level ground, climbing a hill frequently denied the engine of the necessary fuel due to the angle the car achieved. By backing up the hill, fuel was sure to flow to the carburetor and thus keep the engine running.

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