Veterans Memorial Lodge resident’s Ford Model A is still truckin’!

Al Kent in the 1930 Model A Ford he and his wife restored.

My name is Al (Albion) Kent. I live at Veterans Memorial Lodge, and am a lifelong mechanic and car guy. I am still a member of the Vintage Car Club of Canada (VCCA) – Victoria Chapter for well over 50 years. In my many years, I have had a few vehicles, but none has brought me more joy or been more special than the Ford Model A’s that I have owned. I wanted to tell you a bit about the last one I fully restored.

It was a long-awaited restoration project that patiently sat in my garage for more than 38 years, awaiting its time to shine. It was a passion project that my wife Barbara and I took on, and with some help from a few lifelong friends, restored to better than its former glory.

I had taken apart the 1930 Model A Ford over many years, but the serious restoration didn’t start until late 2007, and was completed in 2009. I painstakingly put back each fully restored part one piece at a time.

Soon after the completion of the project my wife and I participated in the 2010 May Tour Chariots on Tires in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. The 2010 May Tour had an organized tour (or road trip) with other vintage vehicles that took us to destinations around the Province of BC, and sometimes Washington State or further.

Along with the tour there is a nationally judged competition. My 1930 Model A was lucky to receive two wonderful trophies and a Blue Ribbon. I received three plaques that hang in my room at Veterans Memorial Lodge. One is for the restoration, and two are National Awards, one of which was Best in Class and Best Ford – which are the highest honours you can receive at the competition. 

Most would be surprised to know that along with the full steel body comes a bit of lumber as well. The roof is a wood frame structure covered in a vinyl material much like the roof of a convertible car, so it is waterproof. You cannot really see that when you are looking at it unless you are up high. You also don’t see it from the inside with the headliner. The Model A is tricky to start with its many levers, switches, and buttons; and even trickier to drive with its narrow wheels that bounce you here and there – all the while having to double clutch into each non-synchronized gear.

The colour scheme of the car is a traditional two-toned green having a darker green over a lighter green paint scheme. It has black fenders, and the wheels and pinstripe are a warm cream colour, giving the car a beautiful look. The interior is done in a wonderful tan and brown weave. You won’t find a glove box in a Model A, just a few pockets on the driver and passenger doors to stow away your sunglasses. The front window opens to create air flow in the car, and the one lonely window wiper keeps you from taking it out in poor weather. It has a 50 hp engine that putts along amazingly and has a top speed of 45 miles hour. The Model A is great to take for a cruise; although you can take it on the highway, it happily drives at a more leisurely pace on the slower side roads.

When you are on the road you see nothing but smiles and stares as people watch you amble down the street. I am fortunate that my son now has the car and keeps it in great condition, so I can still enjoy seeing it running and making people smile.