Years ago, Austintown truck driver Ron Rhoades never thought he would someday be the owner of a classic Ford automobile. Today, he can often be seen cruising in his 1930 Ford sedan with the Florida antique plates on it.
"I kept it in my mother and my name," he said. "She lives in Florida so the car is registered there."
The vehicle originally came out of Fort Myers, Fla., where Henry Ford had a winter home.
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Ron Rhoades of Austintown and his nieces, Samantha Rhoades, 13, and Daisy Calabrett, 11, enjoyed a trip to Fitch on Monday to bring lunch to Ron’s nephew in the Fitch marching band. Little did the girls know they would be riding in Ron’s classic 1930 Ford Model A.
"Who knows, maybe it was one of Henry Ford's own cars," Ron said.
Purchased for $8,000, by Skip Gage and his mother, Nova Rhoades, it had some restoration work done to it. Gage and his mother enjoyed the car for awhile, and when Gage passed away a few years ago, he left the car to Nova. At that point, his mother put the title in both of their names and allowed Ron to bring it home to Austintown.
"I trailered it back home from Florida," he said. "I decided to keep the Florida registration and antique plates on it though."
The vehicle is all original, including the quail radiator ornament that was common on early Fords. It has the original flat-head four cylinder engine in it and the gravity-fed gas tank that is located in front of the windshield.
I have young kids ask me why I am putting gas in by the window," he said.
Rhoades, a veteran from the 101st Airborne, has to make occasional trips to the V.A. Clinic and, if the weather is nice, he does it in style.
"I had it on the freeway recently doing 55 miles per hour," he said.
At that speed, Rhoades jokes about the car's air conditioning. The front window tilts out from the bottom to create an air flow while traveling on hot days.
Rhoades said he isn't a regular at car shows, but he loves to take the car out and show it off. Last year, he drove it in the Austintown Fourth of July parade, but this year's threat of rain kept it in the garage.
He did break it out on Monday to deliver lunch to a nephew who plays in the Fitch band. He brought his nieces Samantha Rhoads, 13, of Girard and Daisy Calabrett, 11, from Austintown, along for the trip.
"I like the fact that we don't have to wear seatbelts," Daisy said.
As for Samantha, she said the downfall of the classic Ford is that it was too noisy and there was no radio.