The Ford Model A was the successor to the famous Model T. Between 1927 and 1931, Ford built over four million of the cars. Today, they’re antiques, but the Naper As are a local car club dedicated to keeping these motorized pieces of history on the road.
“There are lots of people with older vehicles, some people like to keep it like it’s a museum piece; you can’t touch it, don’t get in it. They don’t drive it very much,” said Jim Weaver while behind the wheel of his 1930 Ford Model A Town Sedan. “I think most people with Model As are out driving their cars.”
While members of the Naper As love to drive, there’s work involved with keeping an almost 90-year-old car on the road.
But the owners of the cars enjoy wrenching on them, with many going the distance to a full restoration.
“The next thing I’m going to do is install the top,” said Bill Johnson who owns a 1930 Model A Coupe. His car is mechanically sound, but he still has extensive bodywork to complete before his car is restored. “These cars had a wood framework roof, so the metal doesn’t extend all the way. Then you have chicken wire and padding, and the final layer is the vinyl covering.”
When they do get the cars out of the garage and onto the streets, they usually get smiles from the people they pass.
“I get very obvious responses, like ‘oh look at that!’” said Nick Mazzarella, who is the Secretary of the Naper As and owns a 1931 Model A Fordor. “I’ll blow the horn to get a rise out of them, people will give me a thumbs up and say ‘oh I love your car!’”
And the Naper As try to hit the streets whenever they can, with weekly lunch meetings and participation in local events like the annual Memorial Day Parade.
“We all meet Downtown before and drive the World War II veterans in our cars. They put their names on the cars,” said Gene Egert, President of the Naper As and owner of two Model As. “While you’re waiting, they assign you different veterans, so you get to talk to these guys, who have stories you wouldn’t hear anywhere else.”
Another place you can catch the Naper As is the annual Downtown Naperville Classic Car Show, where their Fords are on display with many other historical cars.
The Naper As are also an official chapter of the Model A Ford Club of America, a national organization dedicated to the historic car.
Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.