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Old 07-26-2018, 03:01 PM   #1
braol
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Default Great Story from my Uncles' 1957 Model A trip...

My uncle told me about one trip in my grandfather's '30 Sport Coupe. So my two uncles and their cousin were to drive the car up to our family summer place near Spooner Wisconsin from their home in Chicago in the summer of 1957. Back in the day they took US-14 to Madison, then US-12 to Black River Falls and so-on and it could take 12 hours. (Today it only takes 6-7 depending... As a reference, the old Chicago and Northwestern "400" train to Minneapolis only took 400 minutes..about 6 hours and 40 minutes back in the day.)


The plan was for my grandfather to leave a couple hours after they did and hopefully catch up at some point. Sort of like an safety support team. Well, the muffler fell off around Woodstock, IL so they threw it in the rumble seat. Mind you, only two people could sit in the front so the third person had to sit with a now hot exhaust system for part of the trip. They got pulled over in Black River Falls where the local cop told them to get out of town with their jalopy...just as our grandfather caught up with them (way ahead of schedule). Then the car died at a gas station in Eau Claire, WI. The shop just happened to have a new distributor for a Ford and the mechanic installed it and they were on their way. (It's my suspicion that it was probably just the condenser that quit and they got scammed.) They made it in about 14 hours and were welcomed like heroes by the rest of the family who served them victory milk (they were just teenagers)...just like in the Indianapolis 500!


My uncle still has the car and it's running with that same "new" distributor. I forgot to ask if the condenser has been replaced since 1957. He runs the car with Ford wire wheels from a later model Ford (1932??) because the smaller tires are cheaper. My G-father did this starting in the late 30's...must have been the thing to do back then. He still has the original wheels in the garage.
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Old 07-26-2018, 10:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: Great Story from my Uncles' 1957 Model A trip...

Fun story, braol! Thanks for sharing it. I suspect that a lot of drivers had issues like that back in the day. Hope you'll find a way to keep your grandfather's Sport Coupe in the family.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: Great Story from my Uncles' 1957 Model A trip...

More Model A lore: It turns out that my Grandfather, who had consumed a fair amount of beer at Wrigley Field watching a Cubs game, stopped at a service station on the way home where the Model A was parked For Sale. They bought it for $700 on the spot and the rest is history.

My cousins and i are going over there next weekend to redo the brakes and reminisce about our relatives. This summer we will be showing my Tudor, G-Pa's Sport Coupe, and my cousins '32 Ford (belonged to my Great uncle) all together at next summer's Pewaukee, WI Car Show. Man how I wish I had my G-Pa's '53 Cadillac...
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Great Story from my Uncles' 1957 Model A trip...

Great story. Thanks for sharing. People today are still taking long trips like that in our Model A's, myself included, but in 2018, there is NO mechanical or parts support out there on the road at any garages. So today , we are pretty much on our own unless we can contact Model A people along the way where we are broke down. Back in the 50's, there still was some tech support along the roads, as you mentioned in your story. Traveling in a Model A today is a very adventurous undertaking.
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Great Story from my Uncles' 1957 Model A trip...

Don't know when your grandfather bought the A but $700 was more than a new A cost. My Dad bought a new B standard coupe and paid just under $500 for it, if he'd bought a spare tire from the dealer it would have cost over $500.
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Great Story from my Uncles' 1957 Model A trip...

That was $700...in 1957...
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Old 12-06-2018, 03:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Great Story from my Uncles' 1957 Model A trip...

Quote:
Originally Posted by braol View Post
That was $700...in 1957...
A's were usually in the $50 or less range then. Must have been a special car!

For reference I found a 1957 ad for a used 1952 Ford station wagon for $795. I'd guess an offer of $700 cash would have bought it. That A must have been gold plated!

Last edited by 40 Deluxe; 12-06-2018 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: Great Story from my Uncles' 1957 Model A trip...

Ok...just got off the phone with my uncle Bob...it was $175. The number 7 must have gotten stuck in my brain. $175 makes sense...even if highway robbery because a LOT of beer had been consumed from my understanding...
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Great Story from my Uncles' 1957 Model A trip...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Peters View Post
Great story. Thanks for sharing. People today are still taking long trips like that in our Model A's, myself included, but in 2018, there is NO mechanical or parts support out there on the road at any garages. So today , we are pretty much on our own unless we can contact Model A people along the way where we are broke down. Back in the 50's, there still was some tech support along the roads, as you mentioned in your story. Traveling in a Model A today is a very adventurous undertaking.
BRAOL, Thanks for sharing the story.
I fully understand how "on your own" we really are when travelling in a Model A. As I've said here a number of times, my wife and I love travelling the outback in one of our As while pulling a camper trailer. A short trip is 6,000 miles. I carry a few spares but my best security is good preparation.
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:03 PM   #10
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Default Re: Great Story from my Uncles' 1957 Model A trip...

$175 sounds more correct. I paid $150 for my wide bed pickup in '58, and thought that a bit high but it was pretty straight and running good. I still have it.
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: Great Story from my Uncles' 1957 Model A trip...

Great Story Enjoyed reading it...Thanks for posting.
Good Day!
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: Great Story from my Uncles' 1957 Model A trip...

That's a great story, and quite an adventure. Glad you and your family are working towards a tour this summer. Somewhat related and I guess this should be on the 'T' forum, but my grandmother told me stories of their travels to Fla from MD in the late 20's early 30's in a Model T. She has long since passed and unfortunately I have forgotten any details, but I do remember that they had quite the time.
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