In 13 minutes and 10 seconds the Nation’s Capital Model T Ford Club’s (NCMTF) assembly crew took a 1925 Model T pickup from what looked like a pile of junk to a running, driving machine at the 34th annual Rod Run to the Beach. The group came from Maryland and Virginia to demonstrate their finesse for the crowd on Saturday.
The youngest member, and only female, of NCMTF’s assembly crew was 12-year-old Caroline Hronik. Her father, Rick Hronik, also a member of the seven-member group, worked feverishly under soft grey skies. Colonial Beach local Dick Sullivan was another assembler. Crew Emcee Erwin Mack kept the crowd entertained with as many facts about Model Ts, Henry Ford and Ford Automotive as he could come up.
The first Model T was built in 1908, even though it was named as a 1909 model year. They were also available originally in blue, green, red and other colors, with black fenders despite Ford saying, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” It was only when production sped up to the point that the other colors took too long to dry that they began to come in only black.
Ford is also mistakenly given credit for inventing the modern assembly line, but that actually belongs to Ransom Olds, the founder of the Olds Motor Vehicle Company. Ford did help the assembly process along by adding moving conveyor belts and increasing employee pay from $2.50 per 10 hour day to $5.00 per 8 hour work day.
According to Mack many Model T owners are seen driving in reverse up hills, because of gravity fed gas lines. Hills were measured in steepness by gallon. A six gallon hill being much less steep than one that called for nine gallons of gas to make it up that particular hill!
The Colonial Beach Education Foundation runs the annual Rod Run to the Beach to help fund scholarships for graduating Seniors from CBHS. Other things the foundation has done include the purchase of instruments and uniforms for the high school band, a new library for the elementary school, and playground equipment.
Well over 100 vehicles of every shape and size decorated the Town Hill for the weekend. Although a rainy Sunday kept crowds down, Saturday had a fairly large number of visitors. Car clubs from the tri-state are were in attendance, many of whom have become regulars at the annual event.
As of press time award announcements had not been received.
The CBEF can be contacted at: Colonial Beach Education Foundation Scholarships & Student Financial Aid Services & Awards P.O. Box 121 Colonial Beach, VA 22443. Call 804-224-9925 for more information.