Cramped TT cabs

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Tom Hicks
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Cramped TT cabs

Post by Tom Hicks » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:16 am

I do not understand why Ford made the TT cab so cramped.

The seat needs to be moved back at least six inches to allow an average person to sit comfortably.

And the cab could easily be a foot wider, the running boards are much wider than necessary.

In many TT cabs I can not even get in the driver's side door.

Ford was a genius, so there was a good reason to crimp on driver comfort, but what was it?
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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Jeff Perkins » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:21 am

Seems to me that the average human male was shorter and a LOT more thin 90 years ago! :lol:
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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by George House » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:34 am

Ford made his TT C Cabs a perfect size. Since the 20’s we’ve added huge amounts of weight-gaining preservatives to our food and vitamins making for much larger people. I have a 1923 football program of two Division I colleges touting 125 lb defensive tackles. I’m 6’3” and have lost down to 235 lbs and have restored and often drive a TT C Cab. No way I can get in the driver’s side door. But I’m not about to butcher it up to enable driver side entry.
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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Raoul von S. » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:11 am

The question is more accurately asked, who invented the fat #@!, and why ?

The other factor is expectations. Look at the size of period horse-drawn vehicles, as
opposed to typical vehicles today. It's like comparing a phone booth with the living room
couch.

I am 5'10" / 180lbs and have no size issues with my box cab TT. I get in and out either side.
Could it be bigger ? Sure. But then the proportions and period look would be something
other than a Model T. Why not just get a new F-350 then, if space, heated seats, and cup
holders are the primary objective ?
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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by KeithG » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:18 am

Tom, The apparent reason Ford made the factory "C" cabs and closed cabs so short was to allow the box or bed on the back to be longer, without it being overly long. Plus, as was said above, people were thinner back then and fit into those cabs easily.

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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Mark Gregush » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:39 am

I am only 150/5-10 and the closed cab is cramped for me too, has nothing to do with being fat. I could wear two stove pipe hats and the top one would still not hit the roof, why is the cab so tall?
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :roll:

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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Original Smith » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:55 am

Try getting into the front seat of a factory town car!

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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Kaiser » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:01 pm

In a commercial vehicle, the space for the driver takes up (pay)load space, so give him as little room as you can get away with. Owner happy, driver not so ;)
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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by A Whiteman » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:20 pm

Or, when the day is done and you go -a-courtin …….


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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Raoul von S. » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:40 pm

Mark Gregush wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:39 am
..... why is the cab so tall?
========================================

Two words: "Aerodynamics" !
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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by JunkyJud » Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:13 pm

The man in the foremost position in this photo was the owner of my C cab. He is "J.G. Huch" as is painted on the side (see avatar). From what I've been told by relatives, he was about 5'5" tall. I'm 5'9" and could comfortably drive my TT all day long.


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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Camarodad1 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:05 pm

Great post! I can personally attest that it is a cramped space. I'm 6'4" and I have to strategically place my legs and feet to make it happen in my 27 closed truck. I used to own a 1930 roadster pickup and it was as cramped too. I'm guessing Henry tried to give as much payload space, and still offer enough room for the driver to function!
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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Steve Jelf » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:33 pm

LINCOLN_GENERALS copy.jpg
The President is 6'4". Nobody else even comes close to that. The tallest of them is probably under six feet. Up into the early twentieth century Americans typically were shorter than today, mainly due to diet and nutrition, and thinner, due to diet and physical activity. For most people T's and TT's weren't the tight squeeze they are for some of us today.
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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Duane D » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:35 pm

I believe the room in the drivers seat varied from one cab manufacturer to the other. I am new to the model t world but I have already realized the TT I have was not made for the short and heavy guys. However a friend of mine is 5’8” and about 155 lbs. he also is very close to the steering wheel. My TT only has a door on the passenger side. Even if it did have a drivers side door there would be no way to get past the steering wheel. I recently purchased another column and am in the process of shortening it 3”. When I trial fitted it those that set in it agreed that it would be much more comfortable to drive.


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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Tom Hicks » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:46 pm

Mr. Jelf is correct. I had not realized this, but the average American male 100 years ago was 5' 7", now the average is 5' 10". That is a BIG difference when getting into a TT cab.

A century ago, American men ranked as the third tallest in the world, standing at 171 centimeters (5 feet 7 inches). Now, they place as the 37th, with an average of 177 centimeters (5 feet 10 inches).
https://www.cnn.com/2016/07/26/health/h ... index.html

At 5' 10" and 180 lbs. I find the TT cab too small. But it was probably adequate for the average male in 1920.
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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Raoul von S. » Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:07 pm

Sounds like you and I are about the same size, which leads me to ask, what kind of cab
are you referring to ? Mine is a Ford closed cab. And, perhaps this is a matter of expections ?
My 50's-60's convertibles have a spacious amount of open area between the seated driver and
the steering wheel/dash. Seating is much more reclined. The TT is like driving a phone booth.
Very upright and no room to recline, for sure. But then again, I do not expect a truck like this
to offer such. I have adequate room to get in from either side, but will spend the entire time
driving in a very erect seated position, more or less, with my elbows, fore arms and hands on
the steering wheel. This ain't no 2012 F-250 with cup holders and heated seats.
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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Tom Hicks » Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:54 pm

My first TT had a homebuilt (probably kit) cab. Even by removing the seat back it was extremely cramped and I could not get in the driver's side. I removed the cab and cut out the front of the bed. Then I made the back of the 5" further back than it had been. Now I can have a thin cushion behind me and drive comfortably. I drive it a lot, and it has to be comfortable.

The second had a Ford cab and was barely acceptable from a roomy standpoint when the seat's back was removed, but it still had that "erect seated position" problem to which you refer. It was OK for a parade or short trip, but not good for regular driving.

The TT I am building now has the seat far back from that of a factory truck, and I expect to be able to drive it for hours without getting cramped. I guess we all have different needs and expectations for comfort, but I consider Ford's TT cab and all the homebuilt cabs I have been in cramped.
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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by John kuehn » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:01 pm

The cold hard truth is people are just getting bigger and wider! Ever noticed in more Dr’s offices and waiting areas that there are wider chairs in the rooms than there use to be?
Overall people had jobs that that burned off the calories after 2 or more plates of meat and taters. Not so much today for the average person.
On the other hand there have always been people over 6 ft. I am 6’3” and it’s tight in my 24 Coupe, 21 Touring and 19 Roadster. The TT trucks are closer and it’s just to tight for me.

I went on a Model A Tour with my wife’s Cousin in his 29 A pickup and it was tight. The original restored seat was the most uncomfortable seat I have ever ridden on. Other than that it’s a beautiful green pickup!


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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Allan » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:49 pm

When I built my 1912 Chocolate van, the drawings were scaled from original photos. The resultant seat has me driving with the steering wheel in my lap, my back straight up and fore-arms resting on the steering wheel. Definitely not a comfortable driving position. I was asked to build a second body, for a fellow considerably taller than me. I moved the seatback some four inches to the rear to help.
On my extended chassis shooting brake I designed it with the usual 1917 cowl and then wider doors for the cabin. These allow front seat access from both sides. Additionally, I made the seatback with an adjustable rake, 4 different positions in 5/8" increments. I set it initially where I thought it should be and haven't seen the need to alter it since.
None of this helps with Ford factory closed cabs, but it may help those building their own commercial vehicles.
For those building their own speedsters, consider a door with a back edge set at an angle to greatly wide access to the seat. It looks racy and at the same time makes getting in and out much easier.

Allan from down under.


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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Raoul von S. » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:12 am

I bought my TT box cab truck with every intention of driving it long distances to
no place in particular. It was to be the adventure truck. It is far from comfortable
in every way, from ride to handling to ergonomics. But that is what it is, and that
is what I wanted to own and drive, warts and all.

I guess maybe my driving habits of slow back roads, no schedule, and stopping often
lend themselves to TT driving that is interesting and the downsides of primitive vehicle
travel seem entirely appropriate when done on roads entirely appropriate for a 1920's
vehicle. The whole experience is one I ache for when kept from doing it for very long.
I have feet-deep snow on the ground, the thermometer reads 4 degrees above zero, and
my wheels are in Ohio being rebuilt. But my mind is on distant roads, lots of dust, rusty
things, and wiry old codgers on backwater paths with stories to tell. The less-than-modern
spaciousness of the old truck cab just isn't something I care about as a bad thing. It would
be out of character if it were spacious and comfortable.

DSC06433 (1).jpg
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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by Loftbed » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:26 am

A few years ago we visited the "Custer last stand" memorial in Montana. In their museum there is a display of cavalry uniforms. My first reaction was why are they showing children's uniforms? They weren't, The soldiers were that small!

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Re: Cramped TT cabs

Post by 46woodduck » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:58 am

If you really want comfort, buy a modern crew cab/extended cab truck. It will haul a bigger load and probably get better mileage and definitely cruise more comfortable and faster. Is that why we have interest in these old relics? The reason I want a TT isn't about air-conditioned comfort, it's about a time machine to live life at a slower pace and experience the adventures that it will bring.
Life is good on the lunatic fringe. Tom

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