2009-06-20 / Top News

St. Ignace Marina To Showcase Prized Antique Cars Saturday

By Jonathan Eppley

This 1915 Ford-Ames Racer, which was converted into a race car in the late 1950s from a Model T, has sat in storage for almost 40 years. It will appear in the 13th Annual Antiques on the Bay car show in St. Ignace this weekend. (Photograph courtesy of Bob Terry) This 1915 Ford-Ames Racer, which was converted into a race car in the late 1950s from a Model T, has sat in storage for almost 40 years. It will appear in the 13th Annual Antiques on the Bay car show in St. Ignace this weekend. (Photograph courtesy of Bob Terry) Bob Terry, 54, of Grayling, is entering a car into the 13th Annual Antiques on the Bay car show that is almost twice as old as he is. He will be entering a 1915 Ford-Ames Racer into the car show in St. Ignace this weekend.

His car may be older than many of those ever entered into the show, and probably their owners, too, but it will still be considered the new kid on the block because it has sat in storage for about 37 years. It hasn't been exhibited in car shows since the early 1960s.

The race car, which was transformed and restored from a 1915 Ford Model T between 1954 and 1959 by Leslie Henry and Walter Ames in Pennsylvania, was purchased by Mr. Terry's father, Glen, in 1965. He kept the car in the showroom of his Davison Ford dealership until 1972, when he retired to the Grayling area, where the car was put into storage and nearly forgotten.

Last year, Mr. Terry came to the antique car show in St. Ignace as a spectator, and was impressed by the classic cars on display. He decided to clear the dust off his late father's early-century Ford and prepare it for exhibition at car shows in the state. He entered the car into antique shows in Grayling and Cheboygan last summer.

"I decided to start taking it to a few shows. . . . This might be the first major show," he said about entering the car into the St. Ignace show. "I'm kind of wet around the ears. It's all kind of new to me."

Ryan DeVries, a classic automobile restorer in Grand Rapids, helped get the dormant automobile running again. Mr. Terry said only minimal work was needed to get the car in working order, including draining and replacing its fluids and cleaning the carburetor and transmission.

He enjoys driving the twoseated automobile around town, even when going to pick up a few things at the local grocery store.

"I've probably drove the car more in the last year than the car has been driven by our family" since it was purchased in 1965, he said. "When the weather is nice, we'll take it out for a spin. She just spits and sputters and just goes down the road."

The restored Ford has a four-cylinder, two-speed, 20- horsepower engine under the hood and is capable of reaching speeds up to 62 miles per hour. It has two seats, a crankstarter, and weighs about 1,200 pounds.

Soon after restoration was completed in 1959, the car was exhibited in car shows around the country. In 1959 and 1960 it was awarded junior and senior first prizes, respectively, at the Antique Automobiles Club of America's annual national spring meets. Those same years, it also won back-to-back first prizes at the Old Car Festival at Greenfield Village in Dearborn. The car was featured at the Henry Ford Museum's Sports Cars in Review show in 1960 and 1965.

The 1915 vehicle was driven on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1959 and was in car shows in Ohio, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware before being purchased by Glen Terry.

Bob Terry plans to enter the car into next September's Sports Cars in Review show at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.

His 94-year-old Ford race car will be among those appearing in the Mackinac Bridge Rally and parade through St. Ignace Friday, June 19, and will be on display all day Saturday, June 20. A wide variety of vintage cars and trucks will be on display at the marina, American Legion Park, Mackinac Grille, and Star Line Dock parking lots.

Classic Chryslers will be the featured cars this year.

Admission to the show is free.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2009-06-20 digital edition