The Family Car

old photoMy dad spent five years restoring this 1928 Model A Ford. I guess I don’t know what inspired him to pick this specific hobby or car, but I imagine it had something to do with his friend Raymond Tracy who spent most of his spare moments with old cars, specifically Model As and Model Ts (did you know “T” came first?). With a full time job and three little girls at home, my dad’s restoration project was completed in stolen weekend moments with the help of assorted neighbors, brothers-in-law, and friends. He used the original wood body as a pattern and fashioned all new pieces in his wood shop. He refurbished the engine and stretched the itchy woolen fabric over the seats and interior ceiling. I’m always amazed at how many more tricks are required to start the thing; historically, you had to have been pretty smart to drive a car—and pretty strong to turn the wheel without power steering!

I remember taking pictures of the restoration project to show and tell in elementary. The car drove us to all sorts of local parades (I think dad decided to quite participating after a kid threw candy back at him and hit the Model A. Eep!). Before the car was complete, dad would drive just the chassis around town, and I don’t recall anyone thinking that was weird. There are hundreds of photos of the process buried in drawers and boxes in my parents home.

No turn signals, no heat or air conditioning (though you can open the windshield for a little extra breeze), and no radio (conversation between passengers required). The perseverance my dad exuded in completing this project is a testament to his ceaseless hard-working nature. He may have started restoring the car for himself, but he ended up creating lifelong memories for our family. I hope the next owner will recognize the love and effort so expertly mixed in the “Arabian sand light” paint—an official Model A color that disproves the myth that all Model As were black.

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