A pair of Model A Ford Sedans are parked in front of the 1928 service station at
the Gilmore Car Museum, the future home to the Model A Ford Museum.
(Photo courtesy MAFFI.org.)
HICKORY CORNERS, Mich. — Ground breaking for the all-new Model A Ford Museum, proposed as a 12,000-square-foot re-creation of a vintage Ford dealership, is slated to take place next summer on the Gilmore Car Museum campus. When completed, it will become the largest public museum dedicated to the Model A Ford in existence.
More than 50 representatives of various national and regional Model A Ford clubs were on hand at the Gilmore Car Museum on Nov. 4, 2010, for the official announcement of the creation of the Model A Ford Museum.
This artist’s rendering of the proposed Model A Ford Museum is based on plans
provided to dealers by Ford Motor Company through its May 1929 publication,
“Ford Dealer and Service Field.” (Photo courtesy MAFFI.org.)
The driving force behind the new museum has been the non-profit Model A Ford Foundation, Inc. (MAFFI) established in 1987 to preserve Model A Fords and related memorabilia, to encourage research, and to educate present and future generations on its legacy. The organization has successfully united the tens of thousands of Model A enthusiasts who are members of various clubs in support of the new venture.
Members and Officers of the Model A Restorers Club (MARC) and the Model A Ford Club of America (MAFCA) attended this month’s day-long event.
George Tynan, president of MAFFI, said the new museum was for all Model A hobbyists and “all Model A’ers will be the benefactors.”
The Model A Ford was manufactured from 1928 through 1931 and marked the second commercial triumph, after the Model T, for the Ford Motor Co.
When Henry Ford introduced the new Model A Ford in December 1927, he was following the overwhelming success of the Model T, which had been produced with few changes since it debuted in 1908. Over 15 million of the sturdy, utilitarian and low-priced Model Ts had been sold.
(L-R) Presidents Hugh Smith, MARC; George Tynan, MAFFI and Garth Shreading,
MAFCA stand in front of a recently donated 1929 Model AA Ford stake truck parked
on the site of the new Model A Ford Museum. (Photo courtesy MAFFI.org.)
The all-new Model A Ford was greeted with such tremendous public enthusiasm that it became an instant success and nearly 5 million were sold during its four-year production. In fact, an article in The Literary Digest published before the car was unveiled revealed that 400,000 Model A Fords had “been sold sight unseen.”
The stylish Model A featured twice the horsepower, a simpler and less confusing three-speed transmission, and was available in 20 body styles and a wide variety of colors, rather than just black.
The Model A Ford is a car that all can relate to, explains Michael Spezia, executive director of the Gilmore Car Museum. “It was an affordable and very popular automobile that was owned and enjoyed by close to 5 million people,” Spezia said. ”We are especially happy to welcome the Model A Ford Museum to our campus.”
The all-new Model A Ford Museum will provide MAFFI a permanent home for its collection of automobiles, display engines, and artifacts including factory photos, blueprints and research materials.
“The museum will feature several very interesting Model A Fords but it will be more than just a car collection,” explained Art Callan, MAFFI executive director. "It will take you on a journey through the Model A years — the end of the Roaring ’20s, the stock market crash in ’29, and the birth of Mickey Mouse.”
Rather than a single large structure to house its collections, the Gilmore Car Museum has nearly one dozen historic structures situated on 90 landscaped acres, making it feel much more like a park than a museum.
George Tynan, president of the Model A Ford Foundation and Michael Spezia,
Director of the Gilmore Car Museum (L-R, seated) share a congratulatory handshake
while Garth Shreading (left), president of MAFCA; and Hugh Smith, president of
MARC look on. (Photo courtesy MAFFI.org.)
The Gilmore Car Museum is truly without equal. Besides its own collection, the ever-expanding campus also serves as the home of the: Classic Car Club of America Museum; Pierce-Arrow Museum; Franklin Collection at Hickory Corners; as well as the Midwest Miniatures Museum and the Tucker Historical Collection and Library. The Cadillac–LaSalle Foundation, Lincoln Motor Car Foundation and the Model A Ford Museum also all have displays with museum structures planned.
With nine individual museum collections, the Gilmore Car Museum is becoming the nation’s premier automotive history destination.
Garth Shreading, president of the Model A Ford Club of America — the world’s large club dedicated to one make of automobile — agrees. “The fit between the Model A Museum and the Gilmore Car Museum is a good one,” Shreading said, “and offers much for our membership.”
To learn more about the Gilmore Car Museum please visit GilmoreCarMuseum.org and the Model A Ford Foundation, Inc. at MAFFI.org
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