david o 1930 Ford Coupe

Annabelle Goes To A New Home

In the early1960s we were living in a small town in Southwestern New Mexico. I was ten or eleven years old. I loved old cars even back then. We lived out in the country. There was a neighbor that lived a mile or so south from our house. One day I was walking near the neighbor's house and I saw a Model A Ford sedan parked behind his house. It wasn't running but it was all there. I can't remember if it was a two door or a four door but I loved that car at first sight. It was black and boy did I want that car. The driver's side left front fender had been hit but there was a replacement fender for it. The interior was fair and the overall condition of the car appeared good. I can still remember the smell inside of the car when I opened the door. The smell of gasoline and moldy upholstery. The smell of love. Pure classic Model A.

I admired the car and finally found the nerve to go to the front door to inquire if the car was for sale. My neighbor came to the door and I asked him about the car and he said, "Yes, I will sell it for $250 dollars".

I rushed home and told my dad about the car. I didn't ask him for a loan because I was an unemployed elementary student and my only source of income came from a few dollars I received for special occasions like Christmas or my birthday, or an occasional dollar or two we would earn from returning coca cola bottles found along the road to the grocery stores for two cents each.

My dad didn't buy me the car. Two hundred and fifty dollars was a lot of money in those days and I'm sure he had a good reason for not buying me the car. Besides he probably knew he would never be repaid.

The years passed but I never forgot the Model A Ford that could have been mine. I made a vow that one day I would own a Model A Ford. I got older and got married. My job required several moves and we had a family. There were other priorities but the idea of a Model A Ford was never far from my mind.

In 2010 the kids were grown and the family priorities had lessened. I decided that it was time to pursue the dream. I told a friend that is actively involved in MAFCA (Model A Ford Club of America) that I was interested in buying a Model A. A few weeks later he sent me an e-mail and told me that a car had just been posted on the MAFCA website. It was a very nice 1930 Model A Coupe for sale and that the price was right. The car had been listed for about one hour when I called the owner and made arrangements to drive to California and see the car close up.

I drove to California and liked what I saw. The car was an older restoration. it was painted chicle drab and copra drab. It had a rumble seat. The wheels were black. It was a two tone beauty. It wasn't perfect but it had my name written all over it. There were minor dents and dings as one would expect from a car with a twenty year old restoration. It was a driver and not a garage queen. The owner drove the car occasionally and enjoyed it. He had owned it for twenty years. He told me that he had almost cried the night before I showed up at his house to pick up the car. He had two other antique cars and decided one had to go for whatever reason. I didn't ask him why he was selling the car but it was not a happy day for him.

I bought the car and transported it to my home in Arizona. It was the fulfillment of a dream.

I have never looked back. Annabelle holds a place of honor in my garage. My wife and I will occasionally load up the two Chihuahuas and take a tour around the numerous county roads and citrus groves surrounding our home. We named her Annabelle. She runs like a new clock, strong and never missing a beat. People will often honk, wave, and give u the thumbs up. I have never had anyone behind me get impatient when we are putt-putting along at 40 to 50 miles per hour.

Even though I have had the car for four years the feeling of driving a Model A Ford is still exhilarating. I still get a happy feeling when I see Annabelle in the garage beckoning me to go for a ride. There is nothing like a Model A Ford on a nice day.

11 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Tom Collins Scottsdale/Carp Lake March 25, 2015 at 17:22
    My wife Nancy wanted a Mod A when she started driving, he Dad said no too dangerous. When she got the hots again I said "how about a Shay?" so we found one and we still drive it regularly for fun and parades. It is safe and reliable. Last year we bought a Fordor Murray 31 and I wish it was as safe and reliable as the Shay. We do drive it for parades but not much pleasure cruising.
  • 2
    Jerry mobile al March 25, 2015 at 18:18
    Great story
  • 3
    John Morris Placentia, Ca March 25, 2015 at 20:26
    I feel the love brother. Spring, summer and fall, warm temperature, clear sky and we have a great Model A day. Mid winter not so much. (1928 Roadster without top)
  • 4
    CJ CA March 25, 2015 at 20:38
    Great story of another happy Model A driver who has learned the Model A Ford is probably the best car for the least money (at the time) ever made.
  • 5
    Jay Skinner Spain March 26, 2015 at 13:52
    Beautiful car, I love it when they are kept original. My budy and I bought one for $25 in a grassed over lot. Spent another $25 for a transmission. It ran great, little wobble at 40, but what can you say. We still didn't have our drivers licenses yet, so it was kept at their farm.
  • 6
    Brenda O Washington March 26, 2015 at 15:48
    AH-the joys of a model A! Including the little mechanical tweeks that are usually taken care of within minutes on the side of the road! I have had mine since it was a basket case. If no other car ran-it always would. We love to take it up in the hills next to us. Especially to get our Christmas tree in the National forest-it is a pickup. Boy you should see the reaction from the other drivers when we come down with a tree on top! Enjoy!!
  • 7
    rod Southern California March 26, 2015 at 20:04
    I have a 1931 coupe exactly like the one in the picture. Same colors. Although I like to keep things authentic, I did put hydraulic brakes from a 42 Ford on the car and have changed the lights to 12V so you can see at night. The old Ford joke about the 6V lights is that you had to get out of the car at night with a flashlight to see if the headlights were on. Much better with 12V.
  • 8
    Jim Ohio March 27, 2015 at 14:30
    I get the same beckoning my Model A. She's my favorite of the eight cars I own.
  • 9
    Al Montana March 27, 2015 at 22:43
    I never grow tired of driving my '30 Model A Coupe. A 1931 Model A was the first car I ever owned. I paid $40 for it. Don't ya just love the sound, it's so unique, one you won't ever forget.
  • 10
    AO CT March 27, 2015 at 11:26
    Its amazing how the Model A stories are so similar! I too have wanted one since childhood and now finally have one of my own-Eleanor, a 1931 four door town sedan. It is a total escape when you get behind the wheel, smiles all the way. Even just listening to her idle in the driveway, you know what I mean.
  • 11
    Robert Jenson Phoenix AZ March 29, 2015 at 20:02
    My dad bought my '29 Model A in 1957 for me. Cost was $100, and he drove it home as I didn't yet have a license. It was a 2 door Coupe, with fixed soft top and landau irons, and the back window folded up for good ventilation. I learned about metal crystallization (broken bolts), open circuits (corroded ignition switch), overloaded electrical circuits (fried bulb at bottom of steering column, in the high school parking lot), pulling and disassembling an engine, what happens when engine overspeed occurs (no babbitt metal in the main bearings) and the disappointment of having to sell it. It was a good teacher of things automotive, and sometimes I see Model A's and reflect on the one that was once mine and wonder where it now is and in what condition. Once thought that I'd like to have a big warehouse and fill it with all kinds of wonderful and beautiful cars, but life and the cost of such brings me down to reality and enjoying the classic sports car that I will be passing to my son when it is time. It's tough to love cars - they get in your blood!

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