Couple’s Worldwide Model T Journey Hits Detour

March 24, 2016

*See the vehicle before the accident as well its restoration in the gallery above

Nothing was certain the day last August when Dirk and Trudy Regter were involved in a high-speed crash in Belgium that severely damaged their world-famous 1915 Ford Model T.

The Netherlands couple and their passenger luckily did not sustain injuries from the accident that flipped the Model T, which was being towed on a trailer, on its side. The impact was enough to ruin the vehicle’s front axle and bend the chassis.

“After celebrating its 100 year-anniversary last February, the future of our Model T is very insecure,” Dirk said after the accident. “Luckily the plaque of the Model T Ford Club of America and the plaque of the Antique car club of Uruguay are undamaged.

After the Regters were pulled from the wreckage, it was evident that their world tour-traveling more than 80,000 miles and visiting more than 50 countries to raise money for a nonprofit called SOS Children’s Villages International-may be done.

The couple had already traveled 8,000 miles from Beijing to Paris in 2007, 14,000 miles from Holland to Cape Town in 2012, 17,000 miles driving through the U.S. and Canada in 2013, and 16,000 miles from Colombia to Brazil.

The situation seemed bleak following the accident, but Dirk started repairs last fall. The curved axle housing made dismantling the rear axle difficult. The front axle was a total loss.

“We found a good front axle, but we (had) to repair the holes and the threads of the king bolts,” Dirk said.

The chassis, out of alignment by more than an inch, was straightened. Dirk also hand built new woodwork for the vehicle’s rear. He also started assembling the new Ruckstell rear axle.

Hope for the continuation of the world tour has been restored.

“We are busy with the restoration. When the car is on the road again, we will continue our world tour,” Dirk told THE SHOP. “We hope next year to continue our tour in New Zealand.”

The latest leg of the Regters’ world tour launched in 2012. But the couple first realized the philanthropic power of the vehicle on a trip from Beijing to Paris in 2007 when they raised about $150,000 for disabled children in Mongolia.

Since launching their world tour in 2012, the couple has raised $40,000

for SOS Children’s Villages.

“We hope to collect more money of course during the rest of our world tour,” Dirk said. “Traveling with a 100-year-old Model T always brings a smile on the faces of the people along the road. People are helpful, interested and very friendly.”

Asked about the most challenging portion of the tour so far, Dirk said, “The leg through Egypt, down to Cape Town and through Africa was hard-very rough roads, very hot, difficult borders and a lot of corruption. But we made it.”

When repairs were needed on the road, Dirk said he was ready.

“The Model T is very reliable and strong-it is not very difficult to repair, thanks to no electronics.”

Click for more information on the Regters’ world tour.


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