MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — It took more than a decade, but a Muskegon man is back behind the wheel of his classic Model T after Mother Nature tried to take it out.
“These are highly desirable to find and fix up,” said Steve Anderson, a retired autobody shop owner.
Henry Ford’s Model T gave birth to the auto industry starting in 1908. Gas-powered vehicles had already been invented, but the Model T was something many people could afford.
Henry Ford’s assembly line for building the Model T also revolutionized manufacturing. The utilitarian Model T was built so well, many had second lives, modified as street rods with new frames, suspension systems and high-powered engines.
That was the case with Andersons’ Model T.
It’s been a labor of love for Anderson since he found it languishing away in 2010.
“I bought it not running and not moving. The brake fluid in the car looked like wax. It sat for so many years,” Anderson said describing the condition he found the car in.
Even with decades of experience in autobody repair, the car was a challenge, but there was something about the old Tin Lizzy that inspired Anderson.
“I’ve been working on old cars since I was 15. I fell in love with it,” he said.
It wasn’t long before Anderson had the car on the road again.
About a year later, he’d driven the Model T to a family gathering. When he came home, he parked it in the driveway.
“Straight-line winds came through the next morning. Wiped it out. The tree fell right across it,” Anderson said.
The classic car was down, but not out.
Call it a miracle resurrection. Call it good solid springs. The old Model T seemed to send a message to Anderson.
“One the tree guys got the tree all out of it and stuff, it kinda rose up a little bit. Like it got up on its knees,” Anderson described the moment. “I walked around and looked at it and I says, I can fix this!”
It took 11 years and countless phone calls with other Model T and street rod enthusiasts, looking for parts and how-to information.
Along the way, Anderson’s passion for the old buggy grew.
The body is the only thing original on the classic turned street road, but what a body.
“The metal part is so strong. When that thing went through there, this post didn’t budge. And these posts up here did budge,” he said. “Ya know how they, I seen it before, where they put bridges together with them hot rivets. Pound them in. That’s what holds this car together. It’s amazing. And there’s tons of them in it.”
And now, the classic is back in action for what could be called its third life.
Next stop, Florida where Steve is retiring, and he’s taking the Model T along for the ride.