Friday, December 15, 2017
Business

My Favorite Car: Richard C. Clark, 82, Dunedin

'21 Model T Ford

My father (pictured) had just returned from Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and had to get to work to feed five mouths. Trouble was, no wheels. Grandfather knew of an old uncle who had an old Model T up on blocks in his garage. Someone drove the car down to St. Pete from Lima, Ohio. He didn't want the car anymore so he gave it to the uncle, who was happy to give it to a veteran nephew. Of course, the car was ravaged. Weather, mice and time did a number on it. Grandpa and Dad went to work and shortly got the T working. Dad used it, and finally put 1921 on the rear because he got tired of telling everyone the age. Dad got a chance to go to work for his brother in Clearwater. It was a brutal trip for Dad and the car. This is where I come in. I had a "modern" Ford — a 1939. Dad approached me for a trade. I jumped at the chance and was a proud owner of an antique. Little did I know what I was in for. The transmission ran with something (as I recall) called "bands," which wore out fast. That was a bear to change. It was definitely not a chick magnet. The more I drove it, the less I liked it. The front seats were bucket seats with 18 inches between them with no gear shift on the floor. The two doors were in the middle between front and back seats. The windshield wipers were hand-operated. Oh, one good thing. It had a starter! It was awful at night. The lights were so dim, I saw my friends with nice wheels and longed for a newer car. So I traded for another '39 Ford. I was happy until I drove by Grant Ford and saw my '21 T in the showroom window. Uh oh, a big mistake! Many years of cars have come and gone since then. The '21 T was only about 25 years old at the time. If I had kept it, it would be about 90 years old now. I smile now at my youthful ignorance.

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