Readers of my blog may have seen the page Cars & More where there is a mention of one of my father’s early cars of the mid thirties, namely a Ford Model A Tudor. I have this very photograph in a frame in our living room. Stricken with the flu these last few days, I was expelled from the master bedroom and spent several nights on the couch. My eyes kept looking at this picture and after a while the idea just clicked: wouldn’t be nice if I managed to get my hands on a Model A? Not only it would be the first pre-war car in the collection but I would sense and feel how my dad went about his daily business in the streets of Athens during the mid thirties! The more I pondered on the idea the more sense it made. A search on E-Bay and Hemmings revealed an adequate supply of these models in the vast American market. Dwelling deeper into Henry’s creations, soon enough I was convinced that a Roadster Model A would be more fun and appropriate for the dry, sunny weather of my Mediterranean country. All these inputs being quite encouraging and inspiring, but was I really ready to shop from far away? Without seeing and test driving the prospective wheels? And then agonizing about shipment in a container by sea, plus going through the chores of clearing Greek customs upon landing and so on?
The answer to all these questions and concerns was a loud NO. But as it happens often in life, good fortune (or bad being just as easily present) came my way. By coincidence and circumstance I learned about a car collection being liquidated in Northern Greece. Soon enough a list of cars for sale appeared, among them one being a “1931 Ford”. Just that, no further details or even a picture was provided. With two other “gear-head” friends we flew bright and early to Thessaloniki on a Thursday of May 2011 aiming to examine several interesting examples. The suspense was mounting. Would that Ford be a Model A? And if so, which body type? The list of models good old Henry produced was endless:
Convertible Sedan (A-400)
Business Coupe or plain Coupe
Deluxe Coupe or Sport Coupe
Standard Fordor Sedan – Murray
Standard Fordor Sedan – Briggs
Deluxe Fordor Sedan – Murray
Deluxe Fordor Sedan – Briggs
Leatherback Fordor Sedan
Standard Fordor Sedan – Slant windshield
Deluxe Service Pickup
Town Car Delivery
Standard Tudor Sedan
Deluxe Tudor Sedan
Wood Panel Delivery… Amen!
I controlled my curiosity, in a way similar to a kid who savors his sweet candy; after evaluating thoroughly two Mercedes cars (a 300d Cabriolet and a 220 SE Cabriolet, both of 1960 vintage), and not as yet having spotted any pre-war cars in the storage hall, I inquired about the old Ford’s whereabouts. ‘Aha! We have to go to the other hall in the back”, came the answer from the collector’s son who was escorting us that fine morning.
Lo and behold! A nice looking 1931 Ford Model A Roadster was positioned and resting on quatropod car stands. Exactly the body version I was thinking about including that fun adding rear rumble seat! 🙂 Controlling myself for yet another time, with my Mag-Lite in one hand and digital camera strapped on the neck, I started scrutinizing the veteran old lady quite thoroughly. An older restoration but a decent one. All parts there. Dual spare wheels with chained mirrors on them. Wind wing deflecting glass. Single Trico windshield wiper of the vacuum type. Vinyl brown color upholstery. Tidy engine bay. No radiator ornament but fitted with a stone guard, no trunk box in the back, no air filter in the Zenith carb. Clean undercarriage, some oil marks on the cement floor. Not the greatest color combination, but…
Could this be my next investment in fun and a ticket to ride on the Emmanuel Riginos family car sentiments lane? Possibly so; the coming days will reveal what the fate of this 80 year old Model A will be. Will she find a new home with abundant tender loving care? A new pampered life with many happy outings and several old car rallies?
P.S. in my recent College reunion trip to the USA, as I was driving through East Dennis in Cape Cod, I saw a beautiful Model A Tudor. Made a U-turn and snapped few pictures of this smartly restored car, exactly the model my Dad owned in the mid thirties!