Dale Hartman bought his first Model A Ford for $200 when he was in high school. He drove it for a couple of years before selling it. He didn’t sell it for any particularly reason other than he wanted a better car. But he wished he would have kept it.
So from the time they were first married he told his wife, Kate, he wanted to own another one. They had been married about seven years when his dream came true. For Christmas 1964, Kate surprised him. They were driving from one family event to another and finally back to their home. Kate had her gift to Dale hauled to their garage during their time away at family holiday gatherings. When they returned from their travels and he opened the garage door, he was greeted with a sign and a rusty piece of junk wrapped in a big bow.
“I thought you always wanted a Model A,” Kate says. Dale replied, “I said a good old Model A.”
Kate found the 1930 Model A Ford Business Coupe here in Winterset. The car had rotten wiring, no lights and a lot of rust. Dale had some friends help him place it on blocks to start the restoration. He worked on it off and on when he had time. He had the engine rebuilt. One year for Christmas, Kate had the upholstery redone for him. Another year she had the rumble seat reupholstered. Dale bought two used front fenders for $5 apiece and installed them himself. He carefully tapped out snow chain marks in the rear fenders. The remodel took approximately three years. Dale documented each step in photographs and filled an album to document the progress. He has owned his car for an impressive 49 years.
Dale and Kate take the Model A out for rides during fair weather every now and again. They have driven it in a parade a time or two.
“They’re just fun to drive,” Dale says.
Because Dale and Kate don’t drive the car often, Dale used to have trouble keeping the battery fresh. But now he uses a battery alert charger so his car is always ready to drive.
“Not a bad looking old car for just an amateur doing it,” Dale says.
Contact Darren Tromblay at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of What’s In Your Garage?