Model T Safety Checks

An overview

Like many other contentious issues the spectrum of opinion with respect to “Collector Car Safety Checks” runs the gamut from “why bother” to “ let’s pay to have them professionally inspected every year”.  Also like other contentious issues the reality is that the best approach lies somewhere between those two extremes with Alberta’s current process which involves the “Provincial Transportation Office”, “the SVAA”, and the various “Specialty Vehicle Clubs”, probably being the most effective arrangement in Canada.  In that regard, the general consensus is that safety is and safety inspections are desirable, and that the various members of specialty vehicle clubs, in our case Model T Fords, are in the best position to do a conscientious job of developing safety check lists for their specific vehicles as well as providing technical guidance to their fellow members as they check their vehicles.

Basically, with the SVAA acting as a common voice on behalf of all of the Collector Car Clubs it represents, the Province allows the various specialty vehicle clubs to both develop their guidelines and conduct safety checks with evidence of active safety check programs flowing from the various clubs through the SVAA to the Province upon request, and with safety stickers being provided to the various clubs via the SVAA.  To date the voice of the SVAA and the evidence provided have held advocates of a more stringent process in abeyance and only the continued success of the overall program can be expected to preclude our current Provincial regime from further regimenting the process.    


Within our Club

The Model T Ford Club of America (MTFCA) maintains a Model T’s ‘Safety Checks Form’ which is available on their website, - - which incidentally our own Chris Brancaccio is the Webmaster of!  This is a credible “Model T Safety Checklist” available for use by Club members on an as required basis.  Additionally as an assist to those members who may desire some technical advice and guidance a “Spring Safety Checks Day” hosted by club member Ted Zylstra in recent years, is organized annually by our club

It should be noted that regardless of who may offer advice and/or guidance, from a liability perspective it is the individual vehicle owner who is responsible for signing the completed safety check form signifying their vehicle has been properly inspected.  Also in this regard, without challenging the car owners it is generally a member of each Club’s Executive Team, often the Club Secretary, who distributes the stickers obtained via the SVAA on the Province's behalf to any Model T owners who have signed the declaration that their vehicle met the safety criteria identified on the checklist.  In reality however, relatively few Model T owners who may conduct inspections are not members of our own Foothills Club.

From a documentation perspective, completed and signed safety checklist forms are to be relayed to the Club designate who in return will provide/return one of the SVAA supplied safety stickers.  This process had resulted in a multitude of Model T’s having been safety checked the documentation of which is accumulated by the Club to occasionally be summarized for the benefit of the SVAA, or to be made available should the Province itself request any documentation.

One last topic worthy of comment relates to the frequency of the safety checks.  Although some members of the collector car community advocate annual checks of all collector cars, the arrangement with the Province does not require that every car be re-checked annually as it is recognized that a majority of them travel somewhat less than one or two hundred miles per year.  At present the guideline available via the SVAA which is designed to reflect the Provincial Government's desire simply reflects that, "upon a change of ownership a new check is required", and that, "a copy of each check sheet is to be retained by each Club for verification purposes".  In general however, besides checking newly purchased vehicles, owners should consider the wear and tear any given vehicle may be exposed to and use good judgment when deciding how often to re-check it.


 Cheers, Ron Rigby