Bill S 1930 Ford Model A 2dr Coupe

My Brand New Bride Helped Get Our Model A Back On The Road

At the time of my wife's and my engagement in 1968-1969, our one and only car was my 1930 Model A coupe, which I had just restored. I was the third owner of the car and have now owned it longer than it had existed at the time. It was my only car for the four years we went together and about a year after we were married, so we had many adventures in it going back and forth from Milwaukee, where I grew up and both of us went to school, to Chicago, where she grew up, to Detroit, where I was working at Ford Motor Co.

The most memorable escapade was just after we got married. As you can see in the picture we drove away from the Church in the rumble seat with my brother, the best man, driving, the maiden of honor riding shotgun, and the other wedding party couple each on a running board. We were starting our new life together in the Detroit area and so were traveling from Chicago to Detroit. I typically went on the secondary highways as the car's cruising speed was about 55 mph.

Everything was right with the world as we were motoring out in the country along US12 when suddenly the car came to a screeching halt with the rear wheels locked up. I was able to get the car to move by pushing it with the clutch in, so I knew the problem wasn't in the transmission or the rear axle. With the car in gear, after rocking it back and forth by pushing it, we were able to dislodge whatever had caused the engine to lock up.

I always traveled with a tool box in the car because of the need for occasional on-the-road repairs. Starting with the simplest solution I removed the starter to find one of the Bendix bolts missing from the starter drive. Figuring we had a loose bolt in the flywheel housing I knew we had to remove it or risk the lock up happening again. To get access to the inside of the flywheel housing on the Model A it requires removing the engine or pulling the whole rear axle and transmission assembly.

A car with a family of about 6 or 7 kids in it kindly stopped and gave us a push into a grocery store parking lot where we could work on the car. I gathered a number of dairy crates (in those days they were metal, not plastic like today) and jacked the whole rear end of the car up and supported it on the dairy crates. We were able to disconnect the rear axle/transmission assembly at the flywheel housing far enough (within the limited distance we had of the supporting dairy crates) for my wife's slender hand and arm to reach down into the housing and remove the errant bolt. We got everything back together, got back on the road, but had to push start the car, because the starter wouldn't work without the problem bolt that was now mashed up.

As the last 44 years can testify, this exploit was just the beginning of a very adventurous and interesting life together.

2 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Peg CO July 15, 2014 at 10:19
    I would love a current picture of you two by the car!
  • 2
    Katie Minneapolis July 16, 2014 at 09:30
    How very romantic!

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