Century-old cars make a stop in tri-town

Jun 29, 2018

A number of vehicles traveled down Route 6 on June 6... like it was 1916.

Members of the Horseless Carriage Clubs of America drove through the tri-town on the way to Cape Cod. The area was one of the destinations of a 328-mile, weeklong haul from Portsmouth, N.H, down the New England coast.

In order to join the club, owners must have a vehicle built before 1916. Some cars on the trip were not built to exceed 50 mph, which is the speed limit on some stretches of Route 6. But they weren't necessarily traveling that fast.

“I’ve had this up to 50 [before],” said Richard Cutler, a Rochester resident and past president of the 4,000-member national club. “I don’t recommend it.”

Cutler's 1914 Model T, which elicits interested stares and cheerful honks from other drivers, is one of 43 vehicles on the trip, dubbed “By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea.” He's driven the car in 22 states since 1999.

Traveling in a century-old car can get a little dicey. Safety features are limited. On Cutler’s Model T, there are no seat belts, no adjustable seats, and no airbags.

“The only airbags depend on who's sitting next to you,” he joked.

Not all antique cars are the same, of course. Herb Singe pointed out that his 1907 Pope Hartford has seat belts.

“My car is just like a modern car,” said Singe.

Except... Singe's and Cutler's cars don't have roofs. When it rains, they feel it.

Cutler worries about his car rusting, but otherwise doesn't mind the rain.

Singe does. He'd planned to head to Sandwich the next day and was hoping for a dry trip.

“If it rains, I will get wet,” he joked.

Unfortunately for Singe, it did.