Cruising speed for a TT

I was wondering how fast one might reasonably expect out of a TT on a club tour. I’m curious about the TT pictured. I don’t have many details. It’s said to be a '17, Ruckstell equipped, in average mechanical condition. For quite a few years its been a parade queen only. If you have any questions that would help in answering my original question, please post them and I’ll answer as best I can, or try to get answers. Tom in Taylor Mil, KY 41015

First of all, the first handful of prototype TT’s were built in 1918 and
did not escape Ford factory use and testing. The first TT’s sold to the
public were in 1919, so an investigation of parts present might be of
interest to a buyer to understand what you are buying …

But, to your question …

An original TT with factory-built (unbalanced) engine and farm gears
(7:1 ratio) will get really shaky above 15mph, with a top end in the low

Build that engine with a few power upgrades and a good balance,
and that low 20’s might be more comfortable, but those gears will
limit going any faster.

Change the rear end to express gears (5:1 ratio) with that upgraded
engine and you can easily cruise at 35mph and hit a top end in the
high 40’s.

I know these specs because that is what I have done with my TT.

My next step is to install a rebuilt Lincoln aux. transmission. If the
math bears out, my current top end should be a comfortable cruising
speed and a top end in the 50’s.

Of course, one has to track the power potential and limitations of
the engine against these higher gears, as the earth is not flat and
those pesky hills will dog out the old flattie four muy pronto unless
attention and dollars are thrown at increasing power to push those
high gears.

Hope that helps …

Do you know what the current engine build is like ? Rear end gears ?

Keep us posted. Looks like a neat truck.

The TT is owned by a local Budweiser distributor. Duh! Once a year they do enough to get it through a parade or two on a wing and a prayer. Mostly it’s suffering from lack of affection, attention, and IMHO only needs some TLC. Fleet mechanics tell me from time to time there’s talk of selling it. If it could be bought at a super reasonable price I’d be interested.

Burger, your reply as to its speed for touring purposes confirmed my thoughts on the matter. Our club drives their A’s and T’s at about 35 m.p.h. on tours, a speed where they feel “good”. I feel certain this particular TT wouldn’t last long even with its Ruckstell. That factoid makes it less desirable to me, but doesn’t rule it out completely should it become available.

As for specifics, none of the mechanics know anything much about it; they tell me it was there when they hired on. Using the “Armstrong Commencer” the engine does seem to have good, uniform compression across the board. The picture is a pretty honest depiction of the old workhorse.

When I got home from AFG, I was committed to finally getting a TT.
I had heard the slow-poke stories for decades and when I walked in to
the Antique Auto Ranch, I immdeiately asked the crew how I could
make one “go fast”. My request was met with rolled eyes at first, but
I was persistent and slowly the discussion turned to actual T science
and the lessons on how to massage more power out of the plant had
to coincide with any increase in long legged gearing. After I bought
my TT and became a fixture of the local T scene, the guys were more
than happy to lurn me up on ways to make it happen. Experience in
simply driving the thing added another dimension to it, … little
details like how to attack hills, power range, etc.

Henry did not balance his T engines. Didn’t need to. With the roads
of the day, they would never get wound up high enough to need it.
With the primarily paved/smooth roads we enjoy today, you will easily
find just how quickly that old dog wants to shake itself apart, so the
first order of business in producing power is the get those internals
sweetly balanced, just to allow the engine to MAKE power. THEN you
add stuff like a counterbalanced crank, performance cam, better carb
etc. to push the revs into the higher end of the arc. Just doing that
made a huge difference, even with my old 7:1 farm gears. I could now
do 25mph, where without the balance, the shakes were keeping me at
15. With the 5:1 express gears, 35 was an easy cruising speed on flat
ground. After the engine got broken in a bit, I found the top end edged

You will always have problems dogging out on hills. If I am now making
40hp, it is still not enough to be unaffected by hills. I say this, as you should
expect the normal T trait of slowing on hills because of low hp … it is
just the nature of the beast. But mine, as it sits now, rarely requires low
pedal on anything but the steepest of hills, or if for some reason I cannot
get a run at a hill, say, … forced to start out at low speed from a stop light/
sign and immediately climb a grade. But overall, I am very happy with the
set up, and look forward to seeing what the overdrive will do to change the
power dynamics. The Ruckstell is an underdrive gear only, and if used right
can keep you out of riding the low pedal. But it will do nothing for higher

I do not consider myself expert on any of this, and can only relate my own
experiences, and pass on wisdom given to me by those much more knowing.
But should you need help, I am happy to share what I can.

26 731 2016 aug 01.jpg

I have a 23 TT. I was told they were slow. I did not know what to expect but I took it out with no cab and a 9ft 8in1 wood bed and couldnt believe the speed. It has a chicago 3 speed and high speed gear set. It wasnt running great because it sat outside since about 2009. I hit 32mph. The motor is really tired. Some engine work and I think it will out run my 26 roadster pickup.

Hi Dallas, Good to see you over here. Have you done any more work
on your TT besides the cab rebuild ?

What is your Chicago overdrive ratio ?

I am painting the Martin Parry cab after the 1st of the year. Then it comes home and gets mounted. The 8in1 bed is next. Just replacing some bad wood in that. Need to open engine up and have a look at condition. I am almost finished with the roadster top install. I drove the TT for the 1st time this fall. Im hooked!

Semi-related, on account of the Budweiser truck also being a
non-factory built cab, … what do you have in mind for the paint
and finish ? Will you do it up as a commercial job with lettering,
etc ? I have been tempted to do something like this with mine,
but waffle on the decision of exactly what I would do it as … :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Hey, its good to talk with you again. I found what I think is a Martin Parry green paint under the wood that held the glass in. The 8in1 convertible truck body is a farm bed so I will paint it the same green. All the sheet metal will be a 1923 Ford shade of dark midnight black. The metal panels in the sides of the MP cab will be the same kustom shade of black. I am doing a 3/8 wide green box stripe on black panels in the cab.

Dallas, you are aware (of course) that the correct Ford colors for 1923
varied by week, and sometimes even by day. As an example, the Dark
Midnight Black was only used on alternating Thursdays of every third
month, with a Medium Midnight Black as the alternate. Wednesdays
were restricted to only Coal Black, except when substituted with Medium
Raven Black on those days that fell on holidays or an equinox. You get
the idea. You can look all this up on the MTFCA website in the chapter
between which oil is best for Model T’s and the benefits of waterpumps
and Marvel Mystery Oil. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Im pretty sure it was built on June 21st which would be the correct color black, unless it was figured in cosecutive work days . Where in my calender?

According to the very official FOMOCO color chart, your '23 should
be dressed in Really, Really Black ! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I will have have them darken it up a bit for that.

Trying to figure out how this forum works over here. I started 2 posts and somehow lost them. What size are the photos here?

I do not know the answer to your question. I just resize my stuff to
“medium” and they post just fine.

I dont have a water pump. I have to use a wood block under the wheel. MMO keeps me regular and breath smelling good. I use oil that comes in plastic bottles. I have found filling the glass ones take too long.
I will have to check out the gear ratio in the TT. 6 forward gears and 3 reverse could take a while.
I finished the top on the roadster pickup last night and drove it to breakfast this morning. 25 degrees wasnt bad.