Antique Cars Still Part of Our ‘Love Affair’ – Mainline Media News

Americans have always had a love affair with cars.

It’s been that way since Henry Ford released his first Model T.

Although modern automobiles were first produced in 1885 in Germany by Carl Benz, and the first American automobiles in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1893 by Charles and Frank Duryea, this did not mean that “ordinary people” could buy them .

History tells us that the Model T, sold by the Ford Motor Company from 1908 to 1927, was the earliest successful attempt to create a car that most people could actually afford. And so began the love affair!

Between 1913 and 1927, Ford plants produced more than 15 million Model Ts

After selling 10,607 Model Ts, Ford remarked that “Any customer can have a car painted any color they want, as long as it’s black.”

Selling for $850, the car was considered a “reasonable value,” though still more expensive than the average American worker’s annual income.

Which brings us to the Philadelphia International Auto Show, the Antique Car Club of America, and Kimberton’s Mike Jones.

The show, now held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, is a wonderland of shiny new cars from around the world honking their horns in the vast halls. Among the dazzling arrays of today’s chariots of fuel and electric power are displays, equally alluring and glittering, of vintage cars that seem to awaken lingering addictions in soul mates to the roadster romance that still delights us all.

Among the more than two dozen antique cars on display, you’ll find a 1912 Model T Torpedo, a 1916 Case Model 40.7-passenger Touring, a 1947 Cadillac Club Coupe, a 1956 Thunderbird Convertible, a 1960 Dodge Matador and a 1963 Studebaker Avanti, R-2 to name a few. only a few owned by Eastern Pennsylvanians.

Helping owners put their antique horsepower on display in the Center’s Great Hall is Mike Jones, the show’s chair (and antique car owner himself), who is also a past president of the Antique Automobile Club of America.

An avid antique car enthusiast “for as long as I can remember”, Mike has many fond memories of them, but probably none more vivid than the one that occurred three decades ago when his restored 1931 Model A took first award at the AACA World’s Largest Show in Hershey, where he competed with more than 30 other Model A owners.

At the time, Mike said: “It’s extremely difficult to win in the Model A category because so many of these cars survived.”

Recalling that incident, he said a friend of his helped him find the car and another friend helped him restore it to “top condition.” Mike said they didn’t believe there was much work to do, but they ended up fully restoring the car.

“We took the body off the frame and did what’s called a ground restoration,

replacing every nut and bolt. We looked to reference books and photos to capture even the smallest detail, Mike said.

“I remember we copied the fabric, the color and the location of the pinstripes, the detail of the window trim. We polished the headlights in Redding, the mahogany dash went to Florida for woodworking, and the reflectors were silver plated in Oregon,” he continued.

“Every minute was fun and it was an absolute thrill to drive something as old and exciting as this and have everything from the single windscreen wiper to the bonnet and rear dome lights working perfectly,” he added. (Talk about a love affair!)

Other antique cars that Mike has owned over the years include a 1913 Buick Touring, a 1923 Oldsmobile, a 1930 Model A Roadster, a 1962 Cadillac Fleetwood, a 1968 Mercury Montego MX Convertible, and a Cadillac 1982 Eldorado

Outspoken and personable, Mike was born in Philadelphia, raised in Frankford, and graduated from West Chester University in 1964 with an M.B.A. from Villanova. He is a US Army veteran, serving 30 months in Tokyo and teaching conversational English to Japanese children and airline pilots. Married (wife Marcy) raised three children and six grandchildren, was a sales and acquisitions executive and later owner.

Mike is a “family man” with extensive experience serving alumni, business and community organizations. He and Marcy are longtime residents of the Valley Forge/Phoenixville area, currently living in Kimberton’s Coldstream Crossing community.


A fitting postscript to an essay on cars comes from long-time Tredyffrin reader Gene Poppel. Remember the old Burma Shave roadside signs? Like this: The space is big. Space is dark. Hard to find. Parking place. Burmese shaving.

(Note to regular readers: We wrote last week that today we’d be musing about restaurants and the Super Bowl. Apparently those thoughts have been stolen and will be relegated to the next few columns. Sorry about that, but please stay tuned.)

No one asked, but do you remember Cameron Fry (Ferris Bueller’s Off Day) telling Ferris, “My dad loves this car more than life itself. Never drive it! I’m just rubbing it with a diaper!”

Last word: Good day, good luck and good news tomorrow!

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