If there is a lesson to be learned from the story you are about to read, it is this: When you find a real “keeper,” make sure to keep ’er.
The story begins in 1958 when a man named George Smith found an old wreck of a car in the backwaters of the Des Moines River. Fortunately, Smith looked beyond the surface and saw a piece of history worth saving.
“When it would flood, the water would come up to the axle on the car, but he drug it home,” explains Joe Russell. “He paid about $15 for it, and the neighbors laughed at him for paying that much.”
Just imagine if those neighbors knew how much the restored 1914 Model T Ford has sold for in more recent years.
Smith, who was the uncle of Russell’s wife, Judy, restored the Model T and drove it frequently around Boone. The couple inherited the car many years ago and to Judy, in particular, it meant a great deal to have that car.
“It was a part of my childhood; it means the world to have it,” she explains.
But when the couple first acquired the car, they had a young and growing family, and the small Model T didn’t fit their needs, even for recreation.
“We had two boys and the car had only one seat,” Russell recalls.
As the family grew, Russell went looking for something with more room.
“I sold that car and bought this one, and I don’t think my wife ever forgave me for selling it,” Joe says with a knowing regret.
The car he bought is a 1924 Model T with two seats, a beauty in its own right. The couple still has the 1924 model, but with seller’s remorse that lingered during the years, they eventually decided that while owning one Model T is fun, owning two is even better.
“About three years ago I asked the guy who had bought it if he’d be interested in selling it, so I bought it back again,” Russell explains.
Don’t ask how much he paid for it this time around. Suffice to say this car, as George Smith knew in 1958, as Russell’s wife, Judy, always knew, is a real keeper, and is staying in the family a long time this time.
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or email@example.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”