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Man travels 3,600 miles in a 1929 Ford A coast to coast along Route 66


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Man travels 3,600 miles in a 1929 Ford Model A along famed Route 66

  • Ryan Tebo had never been beyond Pennsylvania until he headed across the country on a road trip this month
  • The 30-year-old motor enthusiast from New Hampshire started in Illinois on August 13 and ended in California on August 22
  • There were no major issues with the motor, last driven by its previous owner 10 years ago, but he made stops at quaint car shops and had help from locals
  • Tebo received hundreds of messages from people supporting his slow journey 

A 30-year-old New Hampshire native has driven across Route 66 in the height of summer in a 1929 Model A, taking in the famous sights in just nine days while rarely breaking 45 mph.

 

Ryan Tebo – who had never been beyond Pennsylvania – spent several days driving from New Hampshire and arrived at the route's eastern branch starting point in Chicago, Illinois on August 13 and made it to Santa Monica, California in the three-speed manual by August 22.

 

Despite the sweltering 115 degrees Fahrenheit heat in places, and the coronavirus pandemic, Tebo documented his 3,600-mile-journey on social media and found it was the ideal time to take a road trip in the Ford motor which has no electronic fuel injection and drum brakes.

 

‘It’s a good driver, which is what I look for—I like them pretty much original. I won't buy one that's been chopped or anything like that, but I'm not so crazy that it has the right spark plugs in it for the period.'

Just days into his trip on August 16, Death Valley, California recorded the highest temperature recorded on earth at 130 degrees. Meanwhile Tebo was heading toward the West Coast in a motor with a decades old cooling system.

 

Tebo said there were no major issues with the motor, last driven by its previous owner 10 years ago. The only times it would have had to hit 55 mph was when it overlapped with interstates.

 

He only had to fix the carburetor on Day 2 when he smelled burning and realized an aluminum component had warped and begun to leak between the intake and carb.

 

Tebo also constantly had to refill the radiator on the old motor he picked up on Facebook Marketplace because it was regularly boiling over but after details of his journey were shared on Facebook, he made some new friends across the country.

 

'You watch the news and you think America's really in a bad spot,' Tebo said in an interview with Hagerty. 'If I go off what I've seen so far, I don't know where the news is getting their information from.

'The people really surprised me - how outgoing they are, and how willing they are to help. I've gotten hundreds of messages from the United States and all over the world [from] people that are watching.' 

Tebo – who is from a small town – said he identifies with the people who reached out to him excitedly as with the arrival of interstates, many roadside restaurants and other businesses have lost customers.

Pictures taken on Tebo's phone show iconic locations along the route such as in Tulsa, Oklahoma as well as the quaint motels, gas stations and beautiful horizons along the winding highway.

 

After getting his certificate of completion on the Santa Monica Pier, he took a different route back starting up the Pacific Coast Highway and heading along the Oregon Trail.

 

He told followers that tackling roads with 10 per cent gradients between Oregon and Wyoming was 'interesting' going up and coming down.

 

Tebo shared shots of Mt Rushmore in South Dakota (pictured) last week and also noted a few 'close calls' with elk

 

'The people really surprised me - how outgoing they are, and how willing they are to help,' Tebo said. 'I've gotten hundreds of messages from the United States and all over the world'

 

The old car is seen leaving Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota this month

 

The motor is pictured outside a Bates Motel sign near Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas

 

 

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  • Mark Gregory changed the title to Man travels 3,600 miles in a 1929 Ford A Coast to Coast along Route 66 - Content Warning he is doing this Trip in a car with Drum Brakes and No Electronic Ignition

I'm sure the trip home was more enjoyable then the trip out! I've been on most of the roads, that he traveled, more times then I can remember. I've been traveling the roads less traveled for sixty years. It's a great country, ALL of it. Fear of traveling is a state of mind, reality is very different, in a good way.

 

Bill

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Actually, I think I read that the car has an electronic ignition system and that was the only part that he complained about.

 

Ironically, its sole modern concession, the electronic distributor, represented Tebo’s only real complaint on his cross-country trek; its built-in timing curve isn’t ideal for that particular motor, and it removes the driver’s manual timing controls from the steering wheel.

 

Also, what's strapped to the roof? An observation platform? Is he bringing plywood home from Home Depot?

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On 9/1/2020 at 9:16 AM, Matt Harwood said:

Also, what's strapped to the roof? An observation platform? Is he bringing plywood home from Home Depot?

 

I saw that.  He does appear to have a ladder strapped on as well.  Is he camping in it,  thus using the platform for his tent? Looks kind of awkward and cumbersome otherwise.  Seems you always have to worry about and screw around with stuff like that so it wouldn't be worth adding. 

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On 9/1/2020 at 12:40 PM, Linus Tremaine said:

The platform is for a tent if he can't get a hotel.

 

Actually it's better than sleeping on the ground with snakes, scorpions, and poisonous spiders.

 

 

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What a cool trip. I cannot imagine having that much free time and budget when I was 30 years old, but good for Tebo! We can all do the journey vicariously with him. 

 

I used to drive a 30 Model A to work every day, year round, when I was about his age, come to think of it. It was an older restoration with incorrect upholstery and a roof which leaked, and 3rd rate paint job. But I loved it, and had a ball driving it in traffic, with people staring in wonder. I was a sheet metal worker at the time, and would sometimes put my hardhat on as I drove, so that people would not mistake me for a car collector on a tour or something. And I loved parking it in shopping center parking lots while running errands. It blew people's minds. LOL

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FWIW, the guy's real name is Ryan Thibeault.

While I admit he's having a great trip, IMO folks are making too much of the fact that this is a largely stock car. In Oct 2014, I drove a bone-stock 1930 Tudor from McMinnville, Oregon, back to Atlanta, without much of an issue. Since it was a forty-plus year old restoration that had only accumulated a bit more than 1,500 miles since being finished, I did have to replace the rock-hard water pump seal the first night out and the overcharging generator (nearly 15 amps at cruising speed!) failed one day away from home. (I was too lazy to adjust the third brush and planned to replace it with an alternator anyway.) The forty-year old Firestones didn't give a bit of trouble, although a leaking stem on one tube resulted in a flat in Broken Arrow, OK.

AACA members may recall the story of my trip that appeared in the Antique Automobile in the summer of 2015.

 

Ryan's will have made a longer trip in his Model A than I did by the time he gets home. I did have a chase car as we drove out to Oregon to get the car, so had a bit more of a safety factor, if you will.

But these are reliable cars, if maintained and not screwed up by ham-fisted shadetree mechanics.

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Unrestored 1919 Franklin Touring's 9,000 mile circuit of the USA .  

 

https://www.franklincar.org/news/jim/

https://jalopnik.com/one-intrepid-motorist-is-at-present-traversing-the-nati-182828384

 

There's more about his trip on YouTube. 

 

About 20 years ago a 1931 Franklin Sedan from central Connecticut zig-zagged around the country roughly 10K miles, then back home to Connecticut. Trip written up in the Franklin Club publication, but nothing online. Only breakdown was a well-used Bendix drive spring.

 

Paul 

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Many early makes of cars can make long trips... and they often did in their day.

 

It's the lack of proper maintenance, and/or repairs by, as you say, the "ham-fisted" that were "inflicted" on the cars that most often cause problems. For 40 years, 50% of my work load has been having to fix what others - including some "pro" shops - have "fixed." 

 

Paul

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33 minutes ago, PFitz said:

For 40 years, 50% of my work load has been having to fix what others - including some "pro" shops - have "fixed." 

 

Oh, my goodness, the stories I could tell about the "restoration work" I've seen that was done by well-known and very expensive shops...

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  • gwells changed the title to Man travels 3,600 miles in a 1929 Ford A coast to coast along Route 66

Paul, 

 

I have just spent some hours reading that entire thread about that unrestored Franklin and it's history with its one-owner family. Marvelous story, and great reading pleasure.

 

Offering my sincere thanks for you sharing that. 

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He’s up to 6,700 miles now headed back to NH. He repacked the wheel bearings in a hotel parking lot a few days ago. He also created a blowback tube with water bottles and duct tape so it wouldn’t get into the cab so easy. Sounds like typical 1930s travel to me.

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While not in a Model A, I drove across continental U.S. in my mid-twenties (30+ years ago) with several mid-‘50s/early-‘60s vintage cars, including a ‘55 Packard, ‘57 Buick, ‘57 Lincoln, ‘60 Buick, ‘60 Chrysler, etc. All were pretty much stock.


The quickest crossing was in a ‘60 Windsor I bought for $120, changed all fluids, did a tune-up, serviced the brakes, put a set of new whitewall bias-plys on it and got on the road few days later. Two and half days from L.A. to Baltimore and flew back. The entire round trip took less than 68 hrs. 


Oh, to be young again...

 

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2 hours ago, CHuDWah said:

Sounds like a great adventure – maybe decades ago when I was 30. But now I like A/C, comfy seats, power everything and 70+ mph.  😉

And I've grown opposite in my old age. When younger I was enamored by all the convenience, creature comfort and power assist features/options 1950s/1960s cars had (and made sure they all worked), but now I prefer my vintage road trip/travel cars quite analog & spartan with old-school technology. 

 

My DD ('16 1/2-ton PU) has most of the modern features/options they all offer nowadays, but I don't even care to know all nor have never used all of them and most importantly, I don't get any driving "pleasure" from it. It is just like all modern cars/trucks, just an appliance for hauling my ass and stuff back and forth.

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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23 minutes ago, TTR said:

And I've grown opposite in my old age. When younger I was enamored by all the convenience, creature comfort and power assist features/options 1950s/1960s cars had (and made sure they all worked), but now I prefer my vintage road trip/travel cars quite analog & spartan with old-school technology. 

 

My DD ('16 1/2-ton PU) has most of the modern features/options they all offer nowadays, but I don't even care to know all nor have never used all of them and most importantly, I don't get any driving "pleasure" from it. It is just like all modern cars/trucks, just an appliance for hauling my ass and stuff back and forth.

 

I understand and agree with driving pleasure in a vintage car.  But that wears out after a few miles - for a 3600 mile trip, ummm...NO!  But like I told plymouthcranbrook in another thread, "if we all liked the same stuff, there wouldn't be enough Plymouth Cranbrooks to go around!  😉 "

 

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2 hours ago, CHuDWah said:

Sounds like a great adventure – maybe decades ago when I was 30. But now I like A/C, comfy seats, power everything and 70+ mph.  😉

 

In the late 1970s I drove my '33 from Baltimore, MD to California (along an indirect route with a 1500 mile side trip tossed in). The desert didn’t seem too bad: I just pulled the rod that holds the front passenger bucket seat in place, moved the seat to the back and put a cooler there filled with ice, soda pop and water.

 

But now I have become a “weather wimp”. Living on the beach where the temperature is seldom below 50°F or above 80°F can do that to you. The thought of heading east into the baking desert in a car without air conditioning becomes less appealing each year.

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In time, after some considerable miles behind the wheel, our confidence in our old cars  grows. Our old cars are often made better and more reliable after each repair we complete. I think a long trip is worthwhile and very rewarding in our old cars.
 

I like stock old cars too. As my confidence grows, I take my ‘38 on more and more trips further from home. I hope to go about 500 miles on a trip in my ‘38 coming up soon. We’ll see. The trip will depend on the weather.  I feel pretty confident about the trip. I love all the new people I meet and talk to every time I get gas.  A 500 mile road sounds like a great start to my touring years to come. 

 

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Any time I see stories of folks who do trips like this I follow it with envy.  I always think if only I could get that much time off work I would do it. Road trips like these are very inspiring and a good reminder to so many in the social media generations that never experience anything close in their lives and that these old cars and motorcycles were driven across country long distances. Often many now think they are achieving a feat when they drive 50 miles to a car show.

 

In some ways its more challenging to do a cross country trip now in a 70 or 80 year old car vs when it was done during same time period of the car and in some ways easier. Auto repair shops along the way back in the day would have many parts in stock or could get them in short order and importantly mechanics that knew how to work on them were plentiful. Today you have to plan much better and carry parts and repair knowledge with you. But today we have cell phones that bring the world to our finger tips.......as long as there is cell service. With today's high speed traffic and distracted drivers it can be a real challenge doing 45mph when interstate travel is necessary without getting run over.....although the roads are way better today than in the 30s as many back then were dirt. So you not only didn't have A/C with modern cabin air filters but imagine sweating in the heat on a dusty dirt road in an open car for miles on end.  Guess that's what rivers and lakes are for. LOL  

 

Thanks for posting the story Mark!

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