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Gilmore Car Museum offers a driving experience like no other

Hickory Corners, MI – If you’re looking to learn a new skill that very few people possess the Gilmore Car Museum offers one idea that is truly matchless: a driving experience like no other.

The Gilmore Car Museum has a fleet of seven authentic Model T Fords that are utilized in their “Old School” driving classes. Shown are a 1915 Runabout, 1917 Touring car and 1919 Depot Hack. Photo – Gilmore Car Museum


Imagine yourself behind the wheel of a car without a gas pedal, fuel gauge or speedometer. It’s like no vehicle you’ve ever driven and it’s not the newest autonomous self-driving auto. 

You can learn this technology that was considered extraordinarily cutting edge back when the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series, the RMS Titanic sank and the U.S. entered the first World War over a century ago.  

So how would you be experiencing it? In the driver’s seat of an authentic Model T Ford, built between 1908 and 1927.

“Think of it as going back to driver’s training—old school, that is!” states Gilmore Car Museum spokesman Jay Follis.

One of the Model T Ford Driving School instructors at the Gilmore Car Museum demonstrates how to crank start this 1917 Touring car as students look on. While the electric start was first offered by Cadillac in 1912, the Ford Motor Company didn’t offer it until 1919. Photo – Gilmore Car Museum


Follis explains that for this distinct experience students drive a Model T Ford right out of the Museum’s collection and throughout its historic campus.

Henry Ford introduced the Model T as a sturdy, low-priced car for the masses in 1908 and produced it with very few changes until 1927. It became affectionately known as the “Tin Lizzie,” and was soon chugging off the assembly line and into history. With over 15 million vehicles produced it became the world’s best-selling automobile until the Volkswagen Beetle surpassed it in 1972.

Driving a Model T Ford is truly unique as it’s controlled by three pedals on the floor, a handle beside the seat and two small levers on the steering wheel. The only fuel gauge was a wood stick placed into the gas tank—located under the driver’s seat. A speedometer was an option and a hand-operated windshield wiper didn’t become standard until 1925. By the way, there’s no push button or key starter.  Motorist had to turn a crank out in front of the vehicle, all the while adjusting the choke and fuel mixture!

If experiencing this type of authentic “time travel” sounds appealing, then you are in luck. The Gilmore Car Museum—North America’s Largest Auto Museum and just south of Kalamazoo—has offered Model T driving courses to the public throughout the summer for over a decade and each of the dates typically sell out quickly. In response, several additional classes have been added, bringing the total to 22 sessions scheduled for the 2019 season.

While the vehicles themselves may appear very simplistic by today’s standards, they do hold a challenge for drivers of modern cars.

The Gilmore Car Museum’s Model T Driving School makes for a fun and interesting experience or a truly unique gift.  The “Old School” driver’s training runs about four hours and each session is taught by long-time Model T owners and enthusiasts.  Each class includes practice driving in genuine Model T Fords around the Museum’s three miles of paved roadways.  Museum historians provide the engaging backstories of Henry Ford and the early Ford Motor Company, as well as up-close inspections of various Model Ts during the courses’ special guided tours.

This is a rare opportunity to interact with these authentic vehicles—normally only seen on static display—by actually sitting behind the wheel and driving one.

The cost of the Model T driver’s training is only $105.00 per student and is open to any licensed drivers or those with a valid learner’s permit. After successfully completing a road test in a genuine Ford Model T, each student will be presented with a Certificate of Completion and souvenir booklet.


The Gilmore Car Museum near Kalamazoo displays nearly 400 vehicles year-round, offers amazing special exhibits and a variety of great events. Class size is very limited and sell out quickly, so make sure to visit to reserve your spot today.

6865 Hickory Road,
Hickory Corners, MI 49060
PH. 269-671-5089

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