To Model A moment in time

Dallas car club preserves history through restoration

With the turn of a key, roar of an engine, and the spin of a steering wheel, the Dallas Model A club have kept a part of the past in the present. The members spread appreciation for the 1920-1930s Ford Model As by restoring and taking these vehicles on tours throughout the community, to share the automobiles with those around them.

Started in 1960 by Carl McClellan, the Dallas Model A club has become the largest Model A club in the country. For more than 50 years, members have gathered together across America to show an appreciation toward the Ford vehicles made from 1928-1931.  

“You can do things and go places with the Model A that you wouldn’t normally get to go,” said Bill Holcomb, a member of the club since 1967.

The club has taken trips to several different locations, driving across the country to new and interesting locations. Driving in a long line of rumbling history, the members will travel together to entertaining or scenic locations. However, most of the tours have to occur during the spring and summer due to lack of heating and windows in most of the Model As.

In June, the club plans on taking a trip to visit the Mighty 5 national parks in Utah. Although most cars are not allowed to drive through the parks, the Models As will be allowed to. Arlen Evans, a member since 2002, said his favorite part of being in the Model A club is participating in these tours.

“If it sounds interesting, if it’s a fun or scenic place we haven’t been to before, we’ll go,” Evans said. “We’ve done Yellowstone, Blue Ridge Parkway, Colorado, Oklahoma. The club does everything from a single day to a three-day [trip].”

To be part of the community, members must pay twenty dollars a year and a fill out a form. Owning a Model A is not required. Members receive a red vest with a patch of the logo embroidered on the back . They can wear it to meetings and conventions, as well as decorate with patches collected from tours.

Because Model As are vintage vehicles, a large part of the club is focused on the process of restoring and rebuilding the cars. Once a month, members will meet to learn how to restore certain parts with the help of a restoration volunteer. The restoration volunteer’s job for the year is to plan the restoration gatherings and help inform people the proper way to work on Model A cars.

“They’ll meet either at the same person’s house or at a specific place, and the club will buys donuts and coffee for everybody,” Evans said. “It’s always a really big deal, and sometimes they invite other clubs to come to it as well. There’s a big turnout, it’s very popular.”

The Model A club not only focuses on the vintage Fords, but on sharing a community. The group welcomes all new members, encouraging them to introduce themselves at the beginning of each monthly meeting. The club’s purpose is to embrace the history of antique cars while providing a sense of family.

“It’s fun and fellowship,” Holcomb said. “And history.”