Tuesday, April 30, 2013

World's Largest Model A Museum to Open May 18 in Hickory Corners

The Grand Opening Celebration of the all-new Model A Ford Museum—the world’s largest public museum dedicated to the Model A—will take place Saturday, May 18, 2013 in Hickory Corners, MI.

Fashioned after a 1928 Ford dealership, the new museum is located in southwest Michigan on the campus of the renowned Gilmore Car Museum – America’s Signature Collection.

“The Model A is a car that all can relate to,” explains Michael Spezia, executive director of the Gilmore Car Museum.

“It was an affordable and very popular automobile that has been owned and enjoyed by millions of people,” Spezia continued. “We are proud and honored to welcome the Model A Ford Museum to our historic campus.”

Nearly 5 million Model A Fords were manufactured between 1928 - 1931 and marked the second commercial triumph for Henry Ford after the Model T. In fact, during that time period more people owned a vehicle produced by that Ford Motor Company than any other maker worldwide.

In late 1927 when Henry Ford announced the first all-new Ford in two decades would soon be available, he was greeted with such tremendous public enthusiasm that 400,000 Model A Fords sold “sight unseen” before the car was even unveiled.

“The legendary Model A Ford has become an icon of Americana,” says Stan Johnson, president of the Model A Ford Foundation, Inc. (MAFFI). “And the museum will preserve the car and the era.”

Johnson states representatives from Ford Motor Company, including Corporate Historian Robert Kreipke, will take part in the Grand Opening ceremonies. They’ll be joined by representatives of various national and regional Model A Ford clubs, as well as hundreds of Model A Fords from around the country at the event.

The Model A Ford Foundation, Inc. (MAFFI) was able to raise over $1 million dollars for the building project and completed the 12,000 sq. ft. museum in just under a year.

Among the nearly 30 vehicles, cut-away engines and various memorabilia in the new museum, exhibit highlights include:

* Thomas Edison’s Model A. This was the very first Model A Ford completed, was driven off the assembly line by Henry Ford on October 21, 1927 and presented to inventor Thomas Edison. Here it will be exhibited for the first time in decades to the general public. In 1943, Edison’s widow donated the car to the Henry Ford Museum, which has graciously loaned it to the Model A Ford Museum.

* A rare 1930 Model A school bus. This vehicle originally served the El Monte, California school district. It was rescued and restored by a Model A club in Placerville, CA and shipped to the museum in time for its opening.

* Authentic and unusual Model A Trucks. From an original United State Postal delivery truck to a unique dual powered-axle truck that was used in building the Hoover Dam and a tow truck that could be ordered with stylish sides and chrome side rails.

* Original 1920s and 30s clothing. These period garments range from styles worn by school children, housewives, and workers, to a prized wedding dress.

* Complete parts and service department. More like a time capsule, this display sports many brand new parts remaining in their original packaging or unopened crates from 80 years ago. The gas pumps located in front of the dealership still boasts only 18.5 cents a gallon!

“The Model A is a consistent favorite among car collectors and is also one of the most recognized autos of all time,” states Jay Follis of the Gilmore Car Museum. “For many it represents the antique car hobby itself.”

The new Model A Museum Grand Opening will take place Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 9am – 6pm, at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI.

A ribbon cutting ceremony takes place at 11am, with special guests and keynote speakers. Visitors can also enjoy historic lectures, presentations and tours and live music throughout the day.

This special event is open to the public with admission to the Gilmore Car Museum and campus only $5 each—less than half normal price. Those arriving in a Model A Ford will be given special parking near the Model A Museum and free admission to the entire Gilmore Car Museum campus. To learn more about the Model A Ford Foundation, Inc. and its new museum please visit www.MAFFI.org.

The Gilmore Car Museum - America’s Signature Collection is situated on a 90-acre historic campus near Kalamazoo, MI, midway between Detroit and Chicago. For more information, please visit www.GilmoreCarMuseum.org or call (269) 671-5089.

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