Thursday, 28 March 2019

1930 Model A Ford Special Delivery Panel Van.

Our Show's Car Curator, Ken Warburton, penned this little piece for us on one his own personal cars that he will display this April in Cronulla. You will discover that patience is a virtue, once you've read this story about how Ken finally ended up owning this magnificent Vintage 1930 Model A Ford Special Delivery Van.

The long journey started way back in October 2006 when I retired after 34-years service as a Trolly-Dolly with our National Carrier, Qantas Airways.

I can remember the words my dear old Dad said to me when I hung up the wings from my last Los Angeles direct flight. "You know son, you are going to need something in your life that makes you want to get up in the mornings" how true are those words of wisdom. 

In September 2017, I became the proud owner of this
1930 Model A Ford Special Delivery Panel Van.
Photo: Steve Core  

I am a motor mechanic by trade, so I still loved tinkering with cars and boats. The opportunity for me to purchase my first Model A Ford happened 6-months after I retired. I was offered to buy a 1931 Model A Ford Delux Tudor 2-door sedan. This vehicle just happened to be burnt out and as you know I love a challenge...

So I bought the vehicle with the intention of a (body off) full restoration. Anybody who knows anything about Model A Fords will agree with me, that they are heaps of 'SHIT' however you can still purchase every part for them brand new in America.

Not knowing too much about restoring a Model A Ford, I decided that the best way to learn about my investment would be to join the Model A Ford Club of NSW

It had taken the previous owner 30-years to put this vehicle together.
A retired Master Builder - he constructed the body himself.

Photo: Steve Core  

The first meeting I went to in the Community Hall at Merrylands was really a blast, I thought that I was the only crazy person, until I started talking to other long time club members and owners of Model A Fords. I can distinctively remember talking to one gentleman at the meeting (who has since passed) who owned four Model A Fords in various stages of renovation.

The other club members welcomed me to the Model A Ford world with open arms, plus information and advice which I really appreciated. The President of the club invited me to a maintenance day for interested members the following weekend at Neville Jones residence in Baulkham Hills which I did attend. 

On that particular Saturday morning there were other club members that had driven their Model A Fords to the maintenance day for guidance on how to repair their vehicles. My 1931 Model A Ford Delux Tudor 2-door sedan was still in my garage waiting for a little tender loving care from her new owner.

In September 2017, I became the proud owner of this
1930 Model A Ford Special Delivery Panel Van.
Photo: Steve Core  

Now to cut to the chase. Neville Jones took me under his wing and showed me his beautiful 1930 Model A Ford Special Delivery Panel Van that he had been nurturing for 30-years. I thought to myself WOW !!! how good is this Classic vehicle.

Even a Holden man would have to admit these Model A Fords are pretty special and approximately 15 Model A Fords are headed to the 5th Annual Sylvanvale Pre-WWII Vintage Car Show to be held in Cronulla Mall on Sunday April 14th, 2019. (So don't miss out on these automotive treasures of a by gone era).

Neville's panel Wagon is unique and started life as an engine and chassis both dating from 1930, Neville told me that he wanted a panel van BUT could not find one. He had an engine and chassis so he built one himself. Being a retired master builder he sourced authentic parts over 5-years including doors from Bendigo and a radiator grill that had to be knocked back into shape after being run over by a Mack Truck. 

All original 1930's Ford tool kit
is stowed under the rear floor panels

Photo: Steve Core  

It was entirely built to original specifications from America. It has a beautiful tool box, Coachwood panels and etched glass. It took the span of 30-years to collect all the original and genuine items that are displayed in this tool kit.

I realise this story is a little long winded, however it needs to be told because as Custodians of these vehicles of the by gone era, I believe that it is imperative that we exhibit these iconic treasures to the younger generation whenever or wherever possible.

With the guidance of my fellow club members and friends, I completely restored my 1931 Model A Ford Delux Tudor 2-Door Sedan back to new in a little over 2-years. (nothing that money can't fix). I am still the proud owner of this Classic vehicle.

The engine bay and in the top right-hand corner
and inset - a 1930's genuine Ford branded oil can.

Photo: Steve Core  

Fast forward (10 years) to September 2017, I was away on the Model A Ford Club's Spring Tour in Mudgee, when I heard a rumour from one of our club members that Neville Jones, my mate from all those years ago wanted to sell his pride and joy. I quietly excused myself from the company that I was with and phoned Neville immediately to find out the real truth.

He told me that he reluctantly had to sell his 'BABY' due to medical reasons, however he wanted his vehicle to go to a good home. Somebody that would look after it in its original condition and that they promised that they would not turn the vehicle into a HOT ROD.

I could hear the sadness in his voice and said to him that I could be interested in purchasing his vehicle. So I made arrangements to visit him the following Monday once I returned from the Spring Tour.

On Monday 28th of September 2017, 10-years since I first laid my eyes on this magnificent vintage motor vehicle I was now the owner of this very rare vehicle and proud of it.

The previous owner and the man who lovingly & meticulously
put this entire vehicle together, Neville Jones

Photo: Ken Warburton

There was also another condition of the sale, Neville asked me if I would attend his funeral in his vehicle, and of course I agreed to his request. So far so good, I have not had to adhere to his final request as yet, thank heavens.

That my friends is the story of how I eventually became the owner of this 1930 Model A Ford Special Delivery Panel Van.

I hope that you enjoyed the ride, because I sure am.

Cheers for now... 

Thursday, 21 March 2019

A super-rare car to make its Cronulla debut

An extremely rare car in Australia will make its debut at our Sunday 14th April Car Show in Cronulla. The car is a 1915 Monroe. A US-built car, closely associated with Chevrolet, that was never sold or marketed in Australia. 

And this 104-year-old car rather ironically is tucked away in a garage right here in the Sutherland Shire - only a couple of kilometres from our Car Show venue in the Cronulla Mall.

Above: Here's an example of what the 1915 Monroe Roadster looks like.
Shire local, Ian Bourke will bring his Monroe to our Show in April 2019

Sutherland Shire local and vintage car enthusiast, Ian Bourke owns the vehicle.

Monroe - a brand not at all well known in Australia - so you may well raise the question - what exactly is a Monroe? 

Monroes were first built in late 1914 in Flint, Michigan in the Chevrolet No.2 plant, which was the former Imperial Wheel plant. The same factory where the Chevrolet Classic 6 was built.

One small claim to fame to Monroe actually has is that in the early 20th Century they had a major Motorsports win. Gaston Chevrolet raced and won at Indianapolis in 1920 driving a Monroe with an average speed of 88mph. Not many of us were around in 1920 to see that famous win!

Here's Ian Bourke's actual 1915 Monroe vehicle.
It graced the cover of the February 2019 edition of the
Veteran Car Club of Australia [NSW]'s Spit & Polish magazine.

The Monroe company president was RF Monroe, and the Vice-president was WC Durant. There was a cross stock-holding arrangement between Monroe and the Chevrolet companies.

1915 era advertisement for the
Monroe Roadster

The Monroe's final design was a cross between the 1914 Royal Mail and the 1913 Little Four, and shared many of the engineering features on the Royal Mail, and descended from the Little and Whiting. 

The engine was manufactured in the Mason engine plant, another company linked to Monroe Vice-president Durant. 

The Monroe Body Company in Pontiac, Michigan built the bodies for many early model Chevrolets. The Monroe Body Company was eventually taken over and absorbed into Cadillac.

The Monroe vehicle was included in all of the printed Chevrolet sales literature of the time and was sold through US Chevrolet Dealer network as an extension to the Chevrolet range, and it was tactfully lower priced than the Baby Grand and the Royal Mail. 

Ian Bourke's 1915 Monroe way back when he first set eyes on 
it in Cleveland, Ohio in 2001. It's come a long way 18-years later to 
make the cover of Spit & Polish magazine.

In a trade-off for factory space, the Monroe company moved from Flint, Michigan to Pontiac, Michigan in 1916. Then, just two short years later in 1918, the company collapsed and subsequently changed owners a few times in the next few years, then ceased production all together in 1923. 

Early 1915 advertising for the Monroe Roadster.

So while no Monroes were ever sold here in Australia they are very closely related to Chevrolet, and share a lot of design and parts with pre-General Motors branded Chevrolets.

Ian Bourke will be displaying his car with a little bit of 'spit and polish' on the tiles of the Cronulla Mall on Sunday 14th April, 2019. Just one more good reason to make sure you don't miss our very unique Show full of remarkable and unique vehicles.