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A long time dream comes true! My ‘new’ 82 years old Ford Model A

Ford Mod. A w. ATWATER KENT logo
Emmanuel Riginos’ Ford Model A Tudor bearing the Atwater Kent radios logo. On the fender posing, his brother Alecos

Readers of my Blog may have seen a previous post titled: My next classic/veteran car investment? dating 11th May 2011. In that post I was sharing my desire to acquire one day a prewar classic and more specifically a Ford Model A, similar to a car that my father Emmanuel Riginos owned in the 1930’s in Athens, Greece.

Hence the famous line of Dr. Martin Luther King I have a dream seems befitting. This dream started many years ago when upon shuffling through old family photographs, I discovered few pictures of my Father’s car in the 1930’s. It was a Ford Model A Tudor.

I was looking at these pictures and was wondering about what kind of driving experiences, sounds, smells etc such a car would offer. Slowly the idea to obtain one day such a car settled in my mind. To boot, one evening at the PHILPA Club, Dimitri Vernardakis, our President, told me this: ‘Byron you ought to get yourself a prewar car’, an advise that was never forgotten.

The Car at the Classic Car Auctions premises in Canton Ohio awaiting shipment
The Car at the Classic Motorcar Auctions premises in Canton Ohio awaiting shipment

Recently (Spring 2013) that dream became a reality. After an extended search in Europe and in the USA markets, with the help of few good friends, this particular example was found in Canton, Ohio, inspected, serviced and a deal to buy was concluded in mid April 2013. Soon after the car was loaded on a closed transport heading to New Jersey Container Terminal Port from where it was placed in a 20 Foot container and shipped to Piraeus. Of course I was in great anticipation to see and drive the old lady, as this acquisition marked the first time of buying a car from far away without having seen it up close myself…

Special thanks go to my good friends Alex Vazeos, an Etceterini cars collector and Myron Vernis of Glenmoor Gathering Concours d’Elegance who have been instrumental for my ‘Dream to Come True’; plus to my new friend Bob Lichty of Classic Motorcar Auctions who ‘pro-bono’ looked after all the details of the deal, the US title change, fund transfers, getting the car serviced and arranging shipment from Canton, Ohio to New Jersey!

The Model A is being loaded onto an enclosed car transport for the journey from Canton, Ohio to New Jersey Port
The Model A is being loaded onto an enclosed car transport for the journey from Canton, Ohio to New Jersey Port
Loaded in the 20' container and secured for the transatlantic crossing
Loaded in the 20′ container and secured for the transatlantic crossing

24th April update: The car was booked on the vessel ZIM Rio Grande 46E sailing on 10th May 13 and arrived in Piraeus on Saturday 1st June 2013; provided it would clear Greek customs in time, what a nice June 6th birthday present that would be!

The ZIM Rio Grande Contaner Vessel brought the car to me :)
The ZIM Rio Grande Container Vessel brought the car to me! 🙂

June 7th update: finally chasing the delayed arrival or the US Title within the Kifissia Postal Sortation Office, on Friday June 7th the car, via the adept services of the PHILPA Customs Clearing Agent, namely Elias Athanasoulas [many thanks Elias, well done!], cleared the bureaucracy and the 20” Container was loaded on a trailer truck bed. Then it was taken to a nearby container depot, for placing the box on the ground, thus making the unloading procedure quite easy. The photos and the video clip capture these memorable moments and trace the car resting in company with other cars of my collection safely in my Garage.

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Unloading the Container from the semi-trailer
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The moment of truth! First glimpse of my much awaited ‘new’ car! Upon opening the container doors a distinctive ‘old American car’ smell oozed out. Immediately, the unfastening and chock removal procedure commenced.
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Behind the wheel for the first time: rolling the car out of the container
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Next task, loaded the car onto a transporter for taking her to my trusted mechanic John ‘Motorman’ Palmos for the first inspection and start-up
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On its way from Piraeus to the North of Athens; many hoots and thumbs up on the way 🙂
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My friend Robert Smith behind the wheel, taking her out for a first test drive after adjusting the advance timing

June 16th update: the FMA underwent a ‘crash detailing’ service undertaken by Mike Tsaltas of www.swell.gr in an effort to be ready for its first public appearance in Greece, participating in the Parade of the ‘2nd PHILPA TATOI CIRCUIT 2013” event. In between my good friend Robert Smith offered his knowledgeable services for adjusting the timing and expediting the car’s technical inspection for obtaining its ‘historic car’ FIVA card certification and license plates.

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Changing gears on a fully unsynchronized 82 year old gearbox requires ‘old car drivemanship’, a talent Robert has in abundance (owner of a 1918 Ford Model T among other prewar and classics).
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Mike ‘Swell’ Tsaltas doing his magic on the soiled rag-top
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At the same time a horde of accessories and spare parts sourced from Mac’s Antique Ford Parts are gradually being fitted, improving the car’s appearance and operation
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Part of the fun for many car collectors is the ‘deepening knowledge’ for the newly acquired model. Manuals, schematics, reference books, memorabilia etc help to enhance the experience…
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Mike’s assistant George ‘swelling’ the running boards
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Among the accessories, the Ford logoed headlight protective covers go well with the radiator stone guard option, to be proved useful when rallying 😉
Front radiator view with the stone guard, 'my b-d' bespoke license plate, and the Quail Motometer radiator cap
Front radiator view with the stone guard, ‘my b-d’ bespoke license plate, and the PHILPA-Antique Car Club of Greece badge
Detail of the Quail Motometer radiator cap
Detail of the Flying Quail with Motometer radiator cap
The RH engine bay after having been detailed
The RH engine bay after having been detailed
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View of the LH engine bay after having been detailed
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The Data Patent and Body Number templates on the firewall indicating S/N 4558478, which means that this car was produced during May 1931
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The cabin of the Roadster after being swelled. The seat belts are a modern accessory but allowed by the Judging standards for safety reasons
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The pedal area after being swelled
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The dashboard after being swelled
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The frugal instrument panel of the Model A
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The dual side mounted spare wheels along with the cowl lights where part of the standard accessories for the Deluxe model B-40 version
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Side mounted spare wheel detail
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The RH license plate indicates the car model year
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The wire spoke wheels are fitted with a set of white wall tires
Detail of the side windwing mounts and top release butterfly
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Side view of the car after being swelled
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Front view of the car after being swelled
Side view of the car after being swelled
Rear view of the car after being swelled

We made the race against the clock and the car did motor proudly and took its place among other historic vehicles, parading in front of thousand car loving spectators 🙂

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In good company with a 1934 MG PA at the ‘2nd PHILPA TATOI CIRCUIT 2013’ Parade
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In good company with a 1934 MG PA and a 1926 Chevrolet SK Tourer at the ‘2nd PHILPA TATOI CIRCUIT 2013’ Parade
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Parading at the track of the ‘2nd PHILPA TATOI CIRCUIT 2013’

Next event: the ’42nd PHILPA International Rally’ in the Peloponnese during Sept. 2013.

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