By Bill Rothermel
This year’s Invitational at Saratoga on May 20 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., will reunite two former roommates 44 years after they last shared a roof. Jim DeGolyer’s 1929 Ford Model A Tudor and Jason Tagliaferri’s 1934 Ford V-8 Cabriolet were parked together in Caroga Lake, N.Y., until 1967 when DeGolyer, a resident of Port Kent, purchased the Model A when he was in high school.
“I saved up $50 from shoveling snow and my dad and I went to buy the car,” DeGolyer said. He remembers returning home without the car, devastated that it was not his. “The next day, the owner called and said he couldn’t sell me that old car for $50, but he could do so for $25. Unknown to me, him and my father had worked this all out ahead of time.”
DeGolyer remembers the car looking like it needed a total restoration at that time. “Not unlike what it looks like today,” he chuckled.
After DeGolyer’s purchase, the Model A was given an amateur restoration that included rebuilding the engine, replacing the rear spring, a new radiator, and seat covers over the existing upholstery, along with new floor mats. DeGolyer said he and his father painted the car themselves and estimates the car is driven about 300-400 miles per year. (DeGolyer can only provide an estimate since the odometer remains stuck at 87,000 miles, where it has been since 1967.)
Tagliaferri, of Gloversville, bought the companion 1934 Ford V-8 from the second owner’s son in 2007. At some point in the car’s history, the original owner sold it, but the new owner could not make the payments and the car was sold to Hank Born Sr., the second owner. Born then put the car in storage in the early 1940s. Mr. Born’s son retrieved the car from storage in 1985, had the engine rebuilt, overhauled the brakes, replaced the five tires and installed a new tan top as an original green-colored top was not available. (This exceptional car was featured in “Watching the Fords Go By,” Feb. 9, 2009.)
“Other than the items mentioned, the car remains all original, including the Vineyard Green exterior paint,” said Tagliaferri. “I even have all the service records for the car.”
As a testament to the care given to the V-8 Ford, Tagliaferri noted that Mr. Born drove the car sparingly, and never in the rain. Born’s son also said his father waxed the car every Sunday after coming home from church. Evidence to this was the countless cans of paste wax stored on the shelves that surrounded the Ford in the old garage.
DeGolyer said history tells him he should have bought the V-8, but back in 1967, they were both just old cars. He admits that his Model A is not a showpiece, but alongside the largely original V-8 Cabriolet, they both have a great story to tell.
Both vehicles will be shown at the 4th Annual Invitational at Saratoga on May 20 at the Saratoga Automobile Museum (110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, NY.) Learn more by calling 518-587-1935 or go to www.saratogaautomuseum.org.
Ford fans should check out these Blue Oval resources from Old Cars Weekly: