Thanks to Mary S. Rauch for her delightful tribute to Henry Ford’s incomparable Model T (“The Model That Suited America’s Auto Tastes to a T,” Other Views, May 31). I have always regretted my failure to buy an excellent T roadster for $35 back in 1946, fearing that I would be unable to master its unorthodox “planetary” transmission.
In addition to being the subject of endless levity, the tin lizzie spawned a plethora of lore and legend. When the planetary forward bands began to wear out, knowledgeable owners would brake with the reverse band until the entire transmission gave up the ghost and could be replaced as a unit.
Farmers firmly believed that if a flivver was feeling poorly, it could be restored to health like a weary plow horse by a week or two of rest in the barn. And, the Model T came from the factory innocent of a rear view mirror, since there was no need to observe the car behind you--soon you would see it up front.
MARVIN H. LEAF