The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Mich., gave me a rare opportunity to start and drive a 1914 Model T. Usually, only trained staff members get to drive one of the museum's 14 T's.
Before cranking up a Model T, there are a few steps you have to take, lest you risk serious injury or death. Not that anyone's trying to scare you.
First, you reach into the car's cabin and put in the key. (All Model T's were made with identical keys. Auto theft wasn't popular in those days, but it would have been a cinch.) Then you adjust the a lever next to the steering wheel. Next make very, very sure that the parking brake is all the way on, for obvious reasons.
Next, you go up front and pull out the metal ring connected to a small chain coming out of the grill.
Then you grab the crank handle. Make sure that your thumb is out of the way in case the crank bucks back, or else you can forget about counting past nine.
Now, you don't crank in a circle like you might have seen in the movies. You pull up a little bit, then push the crank handle in towards the car, then you give it one hard pull up to the top kind of like starting a lawnmower. That should do it.
If it doesn't, let the crank fall down the other side and try again. (Never, ever, push down while cranking. If you haven't guessed, you could get hurt.)
The engine should be puttering along. Reach into cab and push the lever back down and adjust the throttle - on the other side of the steering wheel - to its lowest speed.
Now get in. You have to walk around the car because there's no front door on the driver's side.
NEXT: Driving away