By Gary S. Angelo
Everyone's first car is a memorable experience. In the case of Von Wolfe, treasurer of the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club and resident of Columbiana County, he received his first car, a 1929 Model A Ford Town Sedan on Christmas morning at the age of 14. Wolfe is also the past director of The PennOhio Model A Ford Club.
"I was living in Fort Worth Texas at the time and I remember driving that car while I was in high school. I let that car get away from me. I sold the car in 1979 because I didn't have any place to keep the car stored. I was getting married and moving to Ohio," Wolfe said.
Wolfe said that it was during a Fourth of July Parade in Columbiana County in the early 1990's, when he finally got the urge to pick up where he left off and reclaim those glory days of owning an antique car.
"I saw a guy in the parade driving a Ford Model A and I decided that I have to pick up where I left off. Model A's are one of the easiest cars to restore, because parts are readily available and Model A Parts are not as expensive as other collector car parts. Our club gets our parts at Snyder's Antique Auto Parts in New Springfield, Ohio, and they are the world's largest supplier of Model A car parts. I have been in the club for almost 21 years," Wolfe said.
Today Wolfe is the proud owner of a 1929 Model A Roadster and a 1929 Model A Town Sedan, which he said was one of the more luxurious versions.
Wolfe said that the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club is one of the many chapters that comprise The Penn-Ohio Ford Model A Club.
Roger Yost, the club's historian, has been a member since 1959. He said the Penn-Ohio Model A Club was founded in 1955 by Chester Mott, a resident of Sharpsville, Pa.
Wolfe said that the interest in Ford Model A's at the time grew so much in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, that Mott encouraged local chapters to be formed within the Penn-Ohio club.
Wolfe also said it was the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club that was the first of those clubs or chapters to form at the time. The Five Points Model A Ford Car Club chapter includes the Ohio counties of Trumbull, Ashtabula, Mahoning and Columbiana counties as well as the Pennsylvania counties of Mercer and Lawrence. Other chapters in the Penn-Ohio club that span counties in Ohio and Pennsylvania include Copus Hill, Cranksters, Erie, Flying Quail, Keystone, Mohican, NEO, Ridge Runners, Rubber City and Tri-County.
"At one time there were as many as 20 chapters with over 600 members. What attracted me to the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club was the fact that the members of the club like to drive their Ford Model A's. We take tours driving our Model A's all over the country. A few weeks ago, we went up to Dearborn, Michigan, to visit the Henry Ford Museum and then we drove to the new automobile museum, the Gilmore Car Museum in Kalamazoo, Michigan. We try to take a one week tour every year," Wolfe said.
Wolfe said that two years ago the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club drove all the way to Seymour, Wisc., to a hamburger festival.
Ray Razzano, president of the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club and resident of Warren, said that the Penn-Ohio club has several different individual chapters located in different counties of the state of Ohio. He said the Penn-Ohio club is a non-profit group that is a driving and social club for enthusiasts of the Ford Model A. The club requires a membership fee, but members do not have to own their own Model A car. Enthusiasts are also welcome.
"It's a perfect thing, because if you come to the meetings you get to meet guys who own a Ford Model A car and multiple Ford Model A Cars. It's nice because people who are driving by our meets will see all the Model A's parked outside and admire all the cars. When we go on driving tours, our people in our chapter meet and we will caravan to different areas of the country," Razzano said.
Yost said he bought his 1929 four -door Ford Model A sedan from a gentleman from Lisbon in 1960. He said he picked up his 1930 Ford Model A Coupe from a resident of Akron.
"My sedan has been restored twice and my coupe is an original car and it did not have to be restored. The coupe still has the old paint. My sedan was just restored last year," Yost said.
Razzano owns a 1931 Ford Model A Cabriolet. He said before he got interested in Model A's, he was more into 1960s muscle cars. In the past, his dream car was a 1967 Pontiac GTO. Razzano's Model A moment came about during a trip to the National Packard Museum, when he wanted to part ways with his 1979 Chevy pickup truck.
"With the truck, I got to the point where I wanted to sell it and then I didn't want to sell the truck. There was a car show at the National Packard Museum. I thought, just in case if I took my truck down to the car show, someone would see it parked in the parking lot and give me a call and express interest in the truck. It turns out I met a woman named Gail Stroup, and her husband, Stafford Stroup, owned a 1931 Ford Model A Cabriolet, which the couple wanted to sell. The more I talked to Stroup, the more I became interested in Model A's. So I didn't sell the truck, but I ended up buying the 1931 Ford Model A Cabriolet from Stafford and Gail Stroup," Razzano said.
Razzano said that when he first bought his car, he just bought it because he liked the car. He said he did not realize how one-of-a-kind this Cabriolet was until Wolfe invited him to a Five Points Model A Ford Car Club meeting. It was through the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club that Razzano learned a lot about his Cabriolet. He said, through the members of the Five Points chapter, that he learned that less of these Model A Cabriolets were made. Razzano said that the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club meets on the second Saturday of the month at JD's Post House in Champion.
"This is my first year as president, but I have been a member of the Five Points Model A Club for four years. A lot of the guys in the club who restore these cars enjoy that process. In my case, I bought my car already done and it was in great shape. When we go on these tours, inevitably a car breaks down, but it's nice because everyone will lend a hand to get you back on the road if your Model A breaks down. The people in the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club are helpful and generous and they have a true passion for Ford Model A's," Razzano said.
Wolfe said that members of the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club will carry extra Model A parts with them when the club goes on their driving tours to lend a helping hand to members who break down.
"On tours, we carry small parts like a fan belt or a pump. The Five Points Model A Ford Car Club has a SWAT team, which stands for Special Workers and Tools Team. If someone needs to pull an engine or remove a car body part, we will call the SWAT team and they will help. The Ford Model A has unique tools and this knowledge needs to be passed down. The Five Points Model A Car Club currently has 62 members. Most of the members in the group own Model A cars and the sedans are the most popular in our chapter, because they have room for touring. Roadsters are also in demand because you can put the top down and open the rumble seats. Not all Roadsters have rumble seats, just some of the Roadster coupes have them," Wolfe said.
Wolfe said that every month an individual chapter of the Penn-Ohio Model A Club hosts a meet somewhere in Ohio or Pennsylvania. He said that different chapters host these meets every year and all the other chapters under the Penn-Ohio Model A Club drive their Model A's to these meets. For instance, in July the "Erie" chapter will host a meet in Erie, Pennsylvania and the Five Points Chapter along with all the other chapters included in the Penn-Ohio Model A Club, will bring their Model A's up to this meet. Wolfe said that these meets rotate among the chapters and a different chapter in the Penn-Ohio Model A Club will have chance to host a meet and other chapters in the Penn-Ohio Model A Club will have a chance to drive their cars down to these meets.
"Penn-Ohio Model A Club gives a participation award for the most Model A's driven to the club meets for most of the year. Our chapter, Five Points Model A Ford Car Club, has won the participation award for the last four years," Wolfe said.
Razzano said that the nice aspect of coming to the Penn-Ohio Model A Club events is the fact you can see all kinds of interesting Model A's. He said you can see everything from Model A sedans to Model A trucks.
"At the last meet I was at, I saw a Model A pickup truck where the guy had a motorcycle in the bed. Also at these meets you see that these guys put their own unique style stamp on their Model A cars and trucks. Sometimes their Model A's pertain to a theme. I saw another man with a Model A truck which was a Woodie and he had plastic fruit hanging out of the compartments. He was going for an old produce truck theme. A lot of guys put their own personal touch into their Model A's and it might be something decorated on the inside or they will also go all out. There are a lot of different styles," Razzano said.
Wolfe said that this year the Five Points Model A Ford Car club will host a meet on the third Sunday in October at Roby Lee's Restaurant and Banquet Center in Newton Falls. Razzano said that all of the Model A's from the chapters of the Penn-Ohio Model A Club will be parked at Roby Lee's and the public can come and check out the cars.
Donald P. Urchek, resident of Cortland and member of the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club, was the past president of the club for the last ten years. Urchek said he still owns a 1929 Ford Model A Roadster , which he has had since he was 19.
"My twin brother and I restored the 1929 Ford Model A Roadster for St. Roberts Church in Cortland. The priest got it out of a junkyard and convinced my mother to have my twin brother and I restore it. It was in pretty decent shape, but the motor was broken and we had to put a new motor in the car. We also had the car reupholstered. I still have this car and I have had it ever since that time. My wife and I had our first date in that car and I restored this car again in 2000," Urchek said.
Urchek said he owns another Model A Ford, a 1931 two-door sedan delivery, which he said he just got done building. He said this Model A is like a station wagon and a panel truck.
"Well, the sedan delivery was a car until I found a man who converts sedans into delivery vans. He closes off the sides and puts a door on the end. I had the door hinges already. I just needed a door, so I found a door online. I figured if Henry Ford has done it in the past, I could do it. I just took it out for the first time over the weekend of June 13th and 14th ," Urchek said.
Urchek said that most of the members of the Five Points Model A Ford Car club also belong to other Model A clubs, such as the Model A Restorers Club (MARC). Urchek said he also belongs to the Antique Automobile Club.
"In the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club we have members who have Model A cars, station wagons, hucksters and Double A Ford Trucks, which are one-ton trucks. The Double A trucks in our chapter are mostly stake bed trucks and panel trucks. The cars are more popular than the trucks. Anything that's a Model A Ford built from 1928 to 1931 we accept in the club. The Penn-Ohio Ford Model A Club has a banquet every spring and fall and different chapters of The Penn-Ohio Ford Model A Club hosts this banquet. Last year, we had the banquet at Mill Creek Park in Youngstown. At the banquet , they give out awards for what club has the most attendance and for the chapter that has a meeting every month. We give out awards to people who have been involved in the chapter for 10, 20, 30, 40 years and 50 years. After 50 years, you are considered a life member and you don't have to pay any dues," Urchek said.
Urchek said that every summer, the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club has a tour every summer. One of his greatest memories was when the club went to Greenville Village Museum and The Henry Ford Museum in Michigan.
"They built a new Model A Ford Museum just outside of Kalamazoo, Michigan called The Gilmore Car Museum. Our club donated some money to the museum and it's a wonderful museum. They have everything there. I remember they dug this Mercedes Benz out of the ground; the Germans buried it in the ground to hide it. Two years ago, we drove our Model A's to Georgia and back. We have driven our cars to Gettysburg, PA, Williamsburg, Virginia and we also went on a ten day tour all through West Virginia," Urchek said.
Urchek said that the Ford Model A is still the basic car that the Ford Company built in the late 1920's to early 1930's . He said that Model A's are simple to work on , as compared to novelty cars. He said that the engine is a Model A four cylinder flathead engine.
"With a Model A, you have to double clutch every time you shift. In the club, we usually keep our cars original. My cars are completely original. People can't believe that I drove my 1929 Model A Ford Roadster from Cortland to Cucamonga, Georgia and back. This was for a Model A Restorers Club meet that was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee. At the end of every MARCs meet, they usually hold a driving tour and this time the tour was in Cucamonga, Georgia," Urchek said.
Wolfe said that the best part about the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club is meeting people .
"We all love these ridiculously obsolete cars and we all share the common love for these cars. I have made some lifelong friends through this organization," Wolfe said.
Friday morning, one more contact called me for the Five Points Model A Ford Car club story, Roger Yost, resident of Bazetta, Township. He has been a member since 1959. He is the historian of the club.
I asked Yost a little bit about the history of the club and he said Chester Mott, who found the Five Points Club in 1955 was originally from Sharpsville, Pennsylvania and not Northern Trumbull County. I know one of my sources, Von Wolfe said Mott was from Northern Trumbull County. Most of Wolfe's history is correct about how Mott wanted to branch off into local chapters. Also I wanted to make a correction, I did some fact checking and they meet at J.D.'s Posthouse in Champion. Yost also said that The Gilmore Car Museum has been around for a long time, but the Ford Model A section is the new part of the museum.
Here is Roger Yost's quote:
Roger Yost, resident of Bazetta Township and historian of the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club, has been a member of the Five Points chapter since 1959. Yost said he has owned several Ford Model A's over the years. He said he used to plan the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club's trips and he picked out places for the club members to stay and eat. Today ,Yost owns a 1929 four- door Ford Model A sedan and a 1930 Model A Coupe.
"Chester Mott, resident of Sharpsville Pennsylvania, founded the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club in 1955. The members started out in a Model A Club called , Model A Restorer's Club (MARC) and then they wanted to branch off into the Penn-Ohio Model A Club. We don't meet at a clubhouse, but we meet at J.D's Posthouse in Champion and we get 50 people at our meetings. We drive our cars to the meetings. I grew up around Ford Model A's. When I was a kid, I remember when I would go visit my uncle and my grandmother and they all had Ford Model A's.That got me interested in Ford Model A's, " Yost said.
Yost said that the Ford Motor Company manufactured the Model A for four years, from 1927 to 1931.
"However, in 1930 and 1931 there was a change in the style. Somehow, The Ford Motor Company made more room on the inside for the driver and they changed the size of the exterior , in which the car's exterior went from 21 inches to 19 inches. Henry Ford built the Model A so that every person can work on the car. Instruction books and tools came with the Ford Model A during the late 1920's and early 1930's. The Ford Motor Company stopped making the Ford Model A in 1931 and by 1932, the Ford Motor Company went on to making the Ford Model B, which the Ford Motor Company only made for a year. Today, your car insurance tells you that you can only use your Model A for pleasure and maintenance," Yost said.
Yost said that the longest tour he has went on with the Five Points Ford Model A Car Club was to the Blue Ridge Mountain Skyline Drive, located in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
"We went 1400 miles on that trip in a week. Some great memories I have of the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club are getting to see other things people don't get to see, such as public collections at automotive museums. Sometimes museums let us into their back rooms, such as the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan. The Gilmore Museum has been around for a long time, but the Ford Model A section is the new part of the museum. I made a lot of close friends through the Five Points Model A Ford Car Club since I joined in 1959. My biggest disappointment was that most of the original members have passed away. Today, several of our member also belong to the National Packard Museum and my son was also the past director of the National Packard Museum," Yost said.