June 9, 2023

Wheel Runs Away from a Model A Ford

My brother & his cars, a 1930 Model A Ford & 1949 Austin

My title ‘Wheel runs away from a Model A Ford’ was sparked by an old family picture one of my brothers posted recently which is reproduced here with this post, and it resurrected some equally old memories from my “Days of Yore” file.

I’ll tell you this little story, but of course it comes with its own patented disclaimer which allows me to tell it with a certain degree of literary license based solely on the memories of youth, which often sees such events not so much from the perspective of fact as it does from the one of impressions made indelibly upon it.

I’m a 7 or 8 year old kid at the time out playing in our rather huge and spacious country yard when I hear a clatter, and look up to see a trail of dust accompanying the arrival of an old, OLD car up our long and winding dusty driveway. It pulls up into our yard to the accompaniment of more clatters and a bunch of wheezes and chugs to a stop by the house.

And who should step out from this ancient mechanical marvel but my second oldest brother, face beaming in a radiant smile of what turned out to be proud ownership of his very first car. As I quickly found out from him this was a 1930 Model A Ford still in excellent all-around condition that he’d just acquired for $75 cash, and he was eager to show it off and take mom and I for a little ride in it – which is exactly what we all proceeded to do, touring proudly up and down the country roads of the area we lived in despite the fact he still had no drivers license at the time.

This inaugural trip proved to be only the first of the many more times mom and I were to accompany my brother in that old reliable wheezer of a car – mom always sitting stern-faced and stiffly upright in the front passenger seat beside the son who was piloting us along at an earth-shaking 20 to 25 mph – and me in the spacious back seat bouncing up and down in juvenile glee in sync with the potholes and bumps along the roads, completely ecstatic to be a part of these adventures in motorized travel.

It was on one of those occasions that the title of this post came true.

We were heading  for town that day along a section of the old Trans-Canada highway, and I’m in my usual perch in the middle of the back seat where I can keep track of the action more easily because I can see everything coming and going. We’re motoring along with my brother’s foot nailed to the floor on the throttle, traveling along at what still seemed during my young years to be astonishing speed of at least 25 mph.

All of a sudden I see a wheel that looks a lot like the ones that are supposed to be attached to our grand coach go rolling down the road ahead of us. It rolls off on its own to cross over the highway before coming to a gentle stop, leaning nonchalantly up against the gas pump of a service station conveniently located in its path of travel. Fortunately there was no oncoming traffic for the wheel to run into during the moments of time it took for all of this  to occur.

Naturally I mention it to my brother, who by now has seen it as well and made the same logical conclusion I had about its origin. He wisely takes his foot off the throttle and lets his ancient collection of metal coast to a gentle stop on the shoulder, where it kind of teeters back and forth a bit on the three legs left for it to stand on.

Exiting the car my brother goes running off to collect his wheel and roll it back to the car, where he simply proceeds to lean his shoulder against it to get it upright enough to gain ground clearance and shoves the wheel back onto the axle.

My brother confirmed in a recent conversation that this occasion was the only time such a thing ever happened with his old Model A Ford – although the same thing nearly happened again with his second car, a 1949 Austin. Being experienced in such things by that time, he handled his second occurrence with equal aplomb and economy of effort by simply tightening the wheel nuts.

That was the thing though with those grand old time cars like the Model A Fords – no fuss, no muss – something falls off those old buggies just go find it and slap it back on and away you go again seemed the general rule – which is exactly what we did that day, mom’s anxieties about further such occurrences notwithstanding.

When you’re a young kid growing up in the country like I was at the time, if a wheel runs away from a Model A Ford it’s a genuinely exciting experience you tend to file away in a special spot in your personal book of memories, so it can be resurrected for impressionistic storytelling occasions just like this one today.

Your comments as always are welcome. Use the form below to let me know what they are.


  1. great store Ken

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