Focused on Mississippi: Kirk Hill and his Model T’s

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Ahhhh, it’s almost summer. And nothing speaks summer more than time on your hands, an open road and 3,000 miles with a destination in mind.

That’s Kirk Hall’s idea of heaven, minus the wind in your hair because this Mendenhall native’s preferred mode of transportation is an antique Model T. WJTV 12’s Walt Grayson brings us the story.

 I first met Kirk Hill in association with his hobby of working on and restoring Model T Fords a couple or three decades ago.

“It’s a real forgiving car. It’s a real interesting car. And it’s the car that put everybody on wheels, you know.”

I think lots of us would be surprised that the Model T is STILL putting people on wheels. There’s a bunch of them out there running. Kirk’s wife, Rita didn’t realize that at first.

“When I met Kirk I had not even know there were Model T’s still around except in museums. I sure didn’t know you could get in them and drive them around the countryside.”

Well, that was before Rita navigated with husband Kirk on a couple of Great American Races. She’s a fan of Model Ts herself now. And the two of them are spending their spring this year getting another Model T ready for yet another cross country run later this summer- New York to Seattle. 3000 miles.

“It’s the oldest car we have,1914. But it’s got the most comfortable seat. After the 2013 race riding in that little bitty racecar for all day long, I decided we needed to go in a comfortable car.”

Now whereas you or I might get the oil changed before we take a long trip in our car, you have to do a little more than that with a Model-T.

Well I had to rebuild the rear axle. I’ve already rebuilt the motor. I rebuilt the front axel. I’ve done all that. And now it’s coming down to cosmetics. I love working on them. I love helping people work on them. It’s therapy for me.

“I really love it. After going for a few rides I find out how relaxing it is to slow down to about half the pace we go in our regular car and be outside in the fresh air and look around and see things.”

So a little paint up and polishing and the Hills will be ready to hit the road. The road rally this summer is more about endurance than speed. And to prove something this old still works about as good as it did when it was new.

Kirk says if you want a Model T you need to be handy with a set of tools. But as far as complexity, if you can work on a lawnmower you can work on a Model T.

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