Out of the barn: How a 75-cent parts car saved Grandpa’s Model T
Dianna Lundberg’s grandfather, Holman Amey, once scored two Model T Fords for a grand total of 75 cents. Nearly 100 years later, one of them is still in the family.
It all began when Holman received a 1922 Model T from his father as a reward for being valedictorian of the Pittsburg (New Hampshire) High School Class of 1923. The second T was also something of a gift.
As Dianna’s husband, Ken, tells it: “A salesman drove up Tabor Road (in Pittsburg) and his Model T quit right in front of Holman’s house. Holman came out to see if he could help, and the driver was highly aggravated, walking around the car kicking the tires and muttering about Henry Ford’s ancestry. Holman offered him 75 cents for the car, and the fellow said, ‘Sold!’”
Through the years, Holman cannibalized parts from the salesman’s Model T to keep his 1922 model on the road.
“Holman was a very careful and detail-oriented person, and he was able to make the car last his entire life,” Ken says. “His children were allowed to look at it, turn the crank, and climb into it, as long as they had clean feet and didn’t mess around with the gadgets.”
Holman used the Model T as his main transportation before parking it in the late 1930s when he bought a used Packard. When the Packard threw its last piston—“using up Holman’s final bit of patience,” Ken says— he sold it and brought the Model T out of retirement. Eventually, following WWII, Holman bought a new Packard, and the Model T was mothballed for another 20 years. It saw the light of day in 1964, but only to be moved to Holman’s daughter’s farm in Granby, Massachusetts, where it mostly sat for 53 years, brought out only to participate in local parades.
Holman passed away in 1976, and his daughter would follow years later. The car remained in the barn, waiting to be discovered. That day arrived on May 27, 2018.
“I remember swinging the barn doors open and seeing the classically shaped headlights peering back at me from the shadows,” Ken says. “I rolled the Model T out into the sunlight and loaded it into an enclosed trailer. I cannot explain how it felt to return the car to Pittsburgh for the first time in 75 years. Tears were rolling down my face when I drove past the original farmhouse.”
Ken’s first stop was to reunite the car with his wife’s father, Roy Amey, and Roy’s brother Paul. Then he took the Model T to his father’s garage, where the two worked through the winter to bring the car back to driving condition while keeping the car as original as possible.
Finally, on Memorial Day weekend 2018, Ken and Dianna Lundberg and their daughter, Katelyn, drove Holman’s 1922 Model T on Tabor Road once again, tooting the car’s horn as they passed the family cemetery. Ken described the experience as “exciting, scary, and nerve-racking all at once.” Holman’s sons also received long-awaited rides.
Ken says he and Dianna are proud to be the newest stewards of the century-old time capsule. “The car has never left the family,” he says, “and it will be passed onto Katelyn.”
Somewhere, Holman Amey is smiling.
Editor’s note: Hagerty’s Classic of the Month begins with a simple conversation. A member calls Hagerty and shares their story with a licensed agent. Those stories are collected, and a committee chooses a weekly winner. The four weekly winners are shared with the entire company, and employees vote to determine the best of the month. At the end of the year, there is another vote to decide Hagerty’s Classic of the Year. Congratulations to Licensed Sales Agent Courtney Garber, who originally shared the story of this month’s winner.