Model A enthusiasts from across Illinois recently converged at Ken Ehrenhofer’s Woodstock residence to buy and sell historic Model A Ford parts, look at vintage cars and share stories of cross-country road trips and vintage car restoration projects.
As director of membership and public relations for the national Model A Restorers Club and regular contributor to The Model A News magazine, Ehrenhofer recognizes the value of preserving and restoring the historic Model A Ford.
On his property – 40 Horse Farm – Ehrenhofer hosts a yearly Model A parts swap for the Illinois Region of MARC. His most recent swap meet was on a rainy day in late August.
Produced by Ford from 1927 to 1931, the Model A was the successor to the Model T.
“All of the proceeds from the swap go to help the Model A Ford Museum,” part of the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Mich., Ehrenhofer said. “Our club has a beautiful section in the museum – and this swap helps to support it.”
That museum encompasses a 13,000-square-foot re-creation of a 1928 Ford dealership. The Model A Ford Foundation, Inc. now works to preserve Model A Fords, related memorabilia and a large collection of automobiles, prints and engines. Ehrenhofer visits the museum regularly.
“Model A’s are for everyone,” said Model A owner and enthusiast Colin James, who came to the swap from Chicago. “The great thing about the Model A is that you can be an enthusiast at any age.”
In 2015, James took his wife and young children from Chicago to Niagara Falls, Canada, for the MARC National Meet – in his vintage Model A.
“We took side roads, and the kids really enjoyed it,” James said. “It was great to see so many Model A’s there.” James highlighted the bonding that comes with the Model A community. “The entire family can experience it together – it spans the generations.”
Family is what brought Amy Rozney, 17, of Park Ridge, to 40 Horse Farm.
“I followed in my Dad’s footsteps,” she said. Rozney is the National MARC Youth Coordinator. “I want to get more kids involved. I want them to know all of the many ways they can get involved – even if they can’t drive!” Rozney said.
Ehrenhofer agreed there are many opportunities to share vintage cars with youth. He recently assisted in the filming of “Key of Capone,” a movie written, directed and produced by local high school students.
“It was fun. They were a great group of kids,” Ehrenhofer said. “It is really nice to be able to share this love of cars with others – especially with young people. … Being part of this movie was a fun experience.”
One of the perks of being a part of MARC is that when film directors are in need of period cars, they go straight to the top. One of Ehrenhofer’s cars was featured in “Road to Perdition” with Tom Hanks.
That car sat in the entryway of 40 Horse Farm – after the rain had subsided. Though the expected amount of Model A’s and Model T’s were thwarted by the weather conditions, Harvard resident Doug Mather was not to be deterred.
“I’m an everyday driver. I drive this to run errands. I drive it around town. You’ll see it out,” Mather said of his 1928 Briggs Leatherback green four door. “A little rain doesn’t stop me.”
That was the general attitude of the day during the August meet in Woodstock. Adults and children alike enjoyed rides on Ehrenhofer’s 1929 fire truck or his brother Ron Ehrenhofer’s 1911 Model T. Enthusiasts and serious buyers toured the property looking at vintage automobiles, searching for much-needed parts and watching a pinstriper in action. Families enjoyed the camaraderie found at Ehrenhofer’s 40 Horse Farm and the food.
“I’m happy with the turnout. I love to see people having fun – despite the early morning rain,” Ehrenhofer said of the event. “Restoring Model A’s is a hobby, but it is even better when you see people really enjoying the cars.”