By Peter Winnewisser
In 1987, several Model A Ford enthusiasts who were determined to save not only Model A cars and trucks, but also the memorabilia and documented history of the Model A, formed the Model A Ford Foundation Inc. (MAFFI).
The purpose of the foundation is to preserve Model A Fords, historic data and related memorabilia, as well as encourage research and educate present and future generations about the Model A era. The group is a 501c3 educational charity.
The foundation works closely with the two national Model A Clubs: The Model “A” Restorers Club (MARC) and The Model A Ford Club of America (MAFCA). It complements the work of these two clubs in preserving the heritage of one of the most significant automobiles in automotive history.
Among the projects undertaken by the foundation is indexing the Model A drawings at the Benson Ford Research Center, collecting era advertising and factory photos, expanding the MAFFI KR Wilson tool collection and preserving samples of all the upholstery and trim items used in all models of the car.
By 2002, both the increase in foundation holdings and the fact that displays were scattered in California, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Michigan made it clear that there was a growing need to have a dedicated museum. Since then, a primary focus of the foundation trustees and the membership has been to build a museum, a project supported by the Model A community.
In November 2010, an agreement was signed for the operation of the Model A museum as part of the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Mich., located halfway between Chicago and Detroit. The Gilmore Car Museum is a complex of many buildings with its own collection of cars, but also shares its campus with the Classic Car Club of America Museum, Pierce-Arrow Museum, the Franklin Museum, the Tucker Historical Collection and Library and soon the Cadillac & LaSalle Museum, the Lincoln Museum and the Model A Ford Museum.
The Model A Museum is planned to be 12,000 sq. ft. with a facade made to look like a Model A-era dealership. The facade’s design will be taken from a design suggested to Ford dealers in the May 1929 issue of an era publication called Ford Dealer and Service Field Magazine. The walkway leading to the museum will be paved with engraved bricks purchased by supporters.
Model A Museum construction will cost $900,000, about 80 percent of which has already been raised. To supplement the construction costs, the foundation is looking to raise an additional $700,000 for interior displays, a contingency account and an endowment account. Spring 2012 is the target date for breaking ground.
A major fundraiser completed this past July involved raffling off a restored 1930 Model A Tudor donated to the foundation by Jason Dryer of McLean, Va. Nine thousand tickets were sold, representing a donation of $45,000 to the museum building fund. The winner was Larry Loffredo of DeRuyter, N.Y., a member of the Mohican Model A Ford Club, a chapter of both national Model A organizations.
If you have a specific interest in the Model A Ford, or just a desire to help save automotive history for future generations, you can make a contribution by buying an engraved walkway brick or share one with a friend. To join the foundation, buy a brick or get more information, visit the MAFFI website at www.maffi.org or contact Art Callan, executive director, at email@example.com.
The Model A Ford Foundation is administered by a board of 15 trustees, all volunteers. The president is George Tynan of Dallas. Membership also includes a subscription to the foundation’s quarterly newsletter, The “A” Preserver. To learn more about the Gilmore Car Museum, call 269-671-5089, or visit GilmoreCarMuseum.org.
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