Santa Barbara enthusiasts praise Ford Model A
The popular Ford Model A car has proven to be timeless.
Just ask members of the Model A Ford Club of America.
The Model A car was produced by the Ford Motor Co. from 1928 – 1931. And in those four years, the Ford Motor Company produced almost 5 million Model A Cars — which means 20 million wheels plus spare parts had to be made.
Almost 100 years later, people are still driving Model A Cars, even from California to Washington, which some of the MAFCA members in the Santa Barbara chapter have done.
According to mafca.com, MAFCA “is dedicated to the restoration, preservation and enjoyment of the Ford Model A and AA cars and trucks, as manufactured from 1928 through 1931.”
Members of the Santa Barbara chapter said one of their favorite parts of owning a Model A is seeing people’s reactions to the cars.
People will stop to take pictures and even slow down while driving to get a better look, which always makes the members smile — at least until they worry the driver might cause an accident by holding up traffic.
On the other hand, members get just as much enjoyment in restoring and maintaining their cars as they do in showing them off (maybe not just as much, but close).
One of the pros about Model A cars is that they are really simple. Members say you only need minimal mechanical understanding in order to figure out how the car works — or at least to get it working enough to get it to someone who can fix it.
It’s so easy that even a child could work on a Model A car, which MAFCA Santa Barbara member Aaron Machado knows from experience. When he was 6 years old, his grandfather had him take apart and put back together a Model A transmission.
Now Mr. Machado drives a beautiful maroon 1930 Ford Model A DeLuxe Coupe and acts as one of the resident mechanics of the club. When members need help restoring a car, they often go to Mr. Machado.
When it comes to car restoration, there are usually two groups of people: people who try to use only original parts and people who use remanufactured parts. One of the pros of restoring Model A cars is the accessibility to parts. And although one can find original parts, the accessibility of remanufactured parts go a long way. However, remanufactured parts are not always 100% accurate and need to be modified in order to fit. But MAFCA SB says that’s part of the fun.
And according to MAFCA Santa Barbara member Randy Douglas, there are another two types of people in this hobby: those who like to build and drive, and those who like to make the car look pretty.
Even though all of MAFCA SB’s Model A cars are pretty, they also drive well, which is true of Mr. Douglas’ 1929 Ford Model A Tudor (sounds like “two-door”). Having pretty cars that drive well allows MAFCA SB to participate in local parades, drive to car shows, and even participate in Model A car challenges, which members love to do.
MAFCA SB members range in Model A experience. Some people have been members and Model A owners for decades, and some have only been Model A members for a short time.
One member, Steve Penniman, got his 1929 Ford Model A Roadster Pickup just about nine months ago, which is actually how Mr. Penniman got involved with the club. In order to find his Roadster Pickup, Mr. Penniman contacted MAFCA SB, and MAFCA SB helped put Mr. Penniman in contact with sellers.
But here’s a warning to people wanting to buy a Model A. MAFCA members say that if you buy one, it is likely that you’ll end up with another. They even joked that when you first buy a Model A, you don’t realize it’s pregnant — because pretty soon, you’ll get another.
It is hard to talk about the Model A without talking about its predecessor, the Model T. One Santa Barbara MAFCA chapter member, John Gilbertson, has a Model T that just turned 103 years old. (Another member joked that her favorite part about being in the club is that the cars are older than her).
Even with his love for the Model T, Mr. Gilbertson made it clear where his loyalties lie, stating, “The Model A changed the world.”
He recently purchased a 1929 Ford Model A Fordor that he is going to restore, so he has space for his grandkids.
Through its dedication to the restoration and maintenance of Model As, MAFCA SB has cultivated a friendly and exciting community that will somehow probably outlast the Model A.