First car was handed down

By Cyril Lawrance – Melville, Sask.

My first car, a Model-T Ford, had been handed down in the family from my parents to my brother and finally to me.

It originally came from a neighbour who went to town only on Saturday in the summertime, so it was like new when my parents got it.

It was a 1923 touring model with a canvas top and curtains – if you took time to bother with them. Most of the time it was wide open.

Some time in the 1930s, our father decided it should be converted to a closed model and he was able to find a 1926 model that had a closed top. I think they were called ‘glass houses’. They were completely closed-in by big glass windows.

Father found this closed model at St. Lazare, Man., from Fouillards. As far as I know, they are still in business today.

The motor was worn out so we just unbolted the closed top from it and the same with our open top and presto! we had a closed top Model-T.

Father used it to haul us and others to Birtle, Man., consolidated school. They used to pile at least 10 kids in it, three-deep.

By the time I got it, it had been over many miles of roads and required many hours of fixing to keep it going.

Model-Ts had a few faults. The transmission was a two-speed affair, which was the forerunner of our modern automatic transmission.

It required a fair bit of fixing and the ignition system with those buss coils left something to be desired. The only brake that really worked was the brake in the transmission – and only if it was adjusted regularly.

I kept it and used it for about three years. Then I took the glass top off and it became an ATV of sorts.

My next car was a 1928 Chevy. What a wonderful car! It came with a clutch and a three-speed transmission, balloon tires, four wheel brakes, and an ignition system they used until the late 1960s.

I was born a farm boy in Birtle in 1926. I had my first car when I was 16, and have had a car ever since.