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Two Model 'T' Ford Tales...

I have owned several Model T Fords over the years. Fifteen million were built from 1908-1927

They are quirky and fun to drive after you have learned to manage a crank, spark lever, hand choke, hand throttle and the three pedals on the floor that operate the planetary transmission.

Back in the late fifties I saw an ad in the Signal Star about a Model T for sale in Saltford. It belonged to the Dodkin estate and a lawyer in Windsor was in charge and asked for bids to buy the car be sent to their office.

I sent in an offer of $50.00.

A couple of months went by and I got a letter saying my offer was accepted and to remit the funds. I had $25.00, borrowed $25.00 from my brother Alvin and sent them the money. I was soon told to go get the car.

Over the years, with the build up of the road into Saltford and the little garage that housed the car being very close to the road, it had sunk into the ground so much that it was now impossible to open the doors. With the help of the Degroot family and others, after much digging we got the doors open.

Out of that garage we pulled an unbelievable great condition 1927 Model T green roadster.

We brought it to our home on Elgin Avenue. After gassing it up, filling the radiator, adding a new fence starter 6 volt battery and with my oldest brother Len behind the wheel, I gave it a short tow and Len had it running. I hopped in it and went for a ride and got instructions of how to drive it.

After a year or so I advertised it for sale in Motor Trend magazine and got a call from a man in Bloomfield Hills Michigan that he was buying the car sight unseen and would be up the following weekend with the cash and would take the car away. I remembered that Charlie Johnston, a mechanic at our garage had told me he had a proper Model T jack for $5.00. As there was no jack in the car I bought it.

Imagine my surprise when up pulled a chauffeur driven Chrysler Imperial limousine and this man, a Chrysler executive got out and introduced himself as the buyer of my car and that he was going to drive it to Detroit and home. Over and above the deal I charged him the price of the jack and off he went.

He obviously made it home as I got a notice from the border that the car was entered into the USA properly by its new owner.

In March of 1986 I saw a 1910 Model T advertised in Sussex, New Brunswick, and that it has been in the Armstrong family since new. I flew into Moncton, rented a car and drove to Sussex to see the car. The car had been handed down to where a George Armstrong, a man in his mid fifties, now owned it. The reason it was for sale was that he had been through two heart attacks and he was not going to touch that hand crank under any circumstance. I purchased the car, told him I would arrange transportation somehow and flew back home. John Riordan was born and raised in that area of New Brunswick. He operated a Ziebart store in Stratford and did that type of work for us. I told him about the car and he said he was going home for a visit shortly and could bring it back for me and that it should fit in the back of his pickup. It did, and that’s how it came home to me. In April of 1987 I advertised it for sale and a man from Switzerland contacted me that he was filling a container with Model T Fords and had room for one more. I sold him the car.

A couple of years went by and a husband and wife came in to our garage on Hamilton Street asking for me. They had heard of a Model T Ford being in the area and someone told them if there was such a car, I would know about it. It ended up that she was Geo. Armstrong’s daughter from New Brunswick and that this car should never have been sold out of the family, they wanted to buy it back, and how much would I take for it?

Sadly, I told her that the car was now owned by Remigi Odermott of Reginsdorf Switzerland. I’m sure that was the end of their search for that car.

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