Detroit To San Francisco In A “T”

Next month, to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a team of Historic Vehicle Association staffers will be driving a 1915 Model T across the country. Read on to learn more about why the Exposition is significant in the history of modern American car culture, how Edsel Ford plays into the equation and how you can follow along on the HVA’s trek.

1915 Model T

Seeing The Country By “T”

In, 1915, thousands of cars traveled across the country on newly created highways such as the National Old Trails Road and Lincoln Highway to San Francisco to experience the amazing array of exhibits at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE). The PPIE was a world’s fair set up to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal.  Millions of spectators attended the event and beheld displays from around the world. The PPIE even featured a Ford assembly line, where 18 Model Ts would be churned out daily in front of a packed crowd in the Palace of Transportation. Over the course of 1915, approximately 4200 Model Ts were constructed at the fair.


The PPIE sparked a flood of cross-country traffic that ushered in the age of the great American road trip. Among the many who made the trip was a young Edsel Ford who, with a group of friends, traveled from Detroit to San Francisco to see the show.  He did so fittingly in a 1915 Model T Touring.


To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this event and Ford’s memorable journey, the HVA will depart from Detroit next month following the route of Edsel in a 1915 Model T Touring. Through the aid of Edsel’s diary, the team has been able to largely reconstruct the route with stops in Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Albuquerque, the Grand Canyon, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

1915 Model T

Further information on the journey, along with a full itinerary as where you can follow along and meet up with the team, will be available next month.

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