Don’t tell Wayne Hull of Ossian there is a better antique car to own than a Model A. He vehemently defends the vehicles manufactured by Henry Ford between 1927 and 1931. “The Model A is the least expensive antique vehicle and the easiest to maintain,” said Hull. “People with antique cars brag about how much their cars cost. People with Model A’s brag about how much they drive their cars.”
Hull has owned three Models A’s – the vehicle Ford produced after the Model T — during his lifetime. His most recent Model A, built in 1930, is the only one he currently owns. Since purchasing it in 1969, he has driven it 146,000 miles.
“My wife, Shirley, and I take it on trips around the country,” he said. The Hulls have, in fact, toured 35 states in their Model A. “We’ve driven to every state east of the Mississippi River and as far west as Colorado,” he added. “The car does mountains okay but not as well as flatlands.” With an overdrive which Hull installed the car cruises easily at 55 miles per hour. The Hulls last long trip in the Model A was to Florida in 2007.
Wayne Hull bought his first Model A car in 1961 when he was 14 years old. He sold it in 1966, then repeated the process with another Model A. Along the way, Hull, a retired vehicular mechanic, learned how to fix and maintain that particular model of car. “Dad was an aviation mechanic so I learned much from him,” he said. “We also drove a 1952 Ford and a 1939 Ford truck.” Hull’s current Model A, a coupe, has a basic stock interior and seats four with a front seat and a rumble seat.
Wayne Hull could be considered a trend-setter for Model A’s in Wells County. He estimates there are eight Model A owners in Wells County, all of whom purchased their cars after Hull. Many, including the Hulls, belong to the Old Fort Model A Club in Fort Wayne. “Shirley and I like the people in the club and have been members since 1985,” he said.
Once a year, usually the first Saturday in May, the Hulls host a work day for Model A car owners at their home in Ossian. Wayne not only shares his mechanical knowledge with those who attend but also his garage-shop which has a car hoist for fine-tuning vehicles. As many as 60 people may show up, causing the Hulls’ back yard to look like a classic car parking lot. “We talk a lot about old cars and eat several gallons of chili,” he said.
On January 1 Hull and other members will meet in downtown Fort Wayne in their individual Model A’s. They will view holiday lights and decorations, then eat at a restaurant before driving home. “During the winter, we don’t take longer trips because of the cold weather,” said Hull.
Hull believes owning a Model A is a great pastime. “It works because people who own Model A’s support each other,” he said. “We enjoy being together and driving around with our wives in cars. It develops a special understanding between the people who do it.”
Reprinted with permission of the Ossian Sun Riser.