OXFORD — Ah-Ooga-Ah. Ah-Ooga-Ah.
That’s the sound of a 1929 Model A pickup horn being tooted by 19-year-old Garrett Haslett, of Oxford as he drives the recently restored truck down the road wearing wrap around sunglasses and a wide grin.
The front and rear springs that were added by the Ford Motor Company in 1929 to increase load capacity does little to ease the rough ride even over the modern hard topped roads.
The hand operated windshield wiper – one wiper on the driver’s side – requires one hand out the window clasping the wiper while the other hand is firmly on the steering wheel. It works until one hand is needed to shift the three-speed manual transmission with the floor shift.
Using hand signals to make a turn back into his driveway, Garrett checks the nickel-plated
instrument dashboard panel of the pickup truck which is powered by a four-cylinder , 32-horsepower flathead engine, and toots the horn again.
“No one knows what they are,” he chuckles after making a left turn signal with his arm out the window.
Garrett, an Eagle Scout and graduate of Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, is the recipient of a Youth Restoration Award from the Model A Ford Club of America. He is one of only nine winners nationwide – eight boys and one girl ages 12 to 22 years old, who received one of the awards presented every two years.
The Model A Ford Club of America, Inc. (MAFCA) is dedicated to the restoration, preservation and enjoyment of the Ford Model A and AA cars and trucks, manufactured from 1928 through 1931 when some 5 million Model A cars and trucks were sold for as little $385.
He was the only winner of the Youth Restoration Award from Maine, says his proud mom Penny Haslett. As a winner he received $2,200 in gift certificates to buy Model A parts in various catalogs.
“It is quite a accomplishment to get this award,” said Penny.
For Garrett, who previously helped his dad Joel Haslett work on restoring a 1946 Willis Jeep, the restoration project has been a three-year project from chassis to the finished on-the-road truck.
Parts have came from all over – the frame was found half buried in chicken manure, the steering column from a car show in Hartford. His dad says he goes to the Tractor Supply Store car show on Monday nights to talk shop and look for more parts.
They have searched inside barns, rusty heaps of metal, kept an eye on high-end auctions and, even as a 15-year-old, asked Sun Spots, the popular Sun Journal column, for help in finding parts.
With the help of many people, notably his dad, and organizations, including the Model A Club of Kennebunk to which he belongs, Garrett has taken a rusty chassis found in a farmer’s field and built a running Model A pickup truck. The pickup has carried a 90-year-old woman whose father drove a Model A and a member of the United States Senate – Angus King – as passengers along the way.
The 1929 Model A pick up truck was considered a dependable and roadworthy commercial truck during its four-year run. It got its name from the A-shaped frame. Although it has a crank start, the 1929 Model A pick up truck was the first to have an electric start as well.
The project has been time consuming and expensive, but a labor of love. With the help of others and the prize money, which will be used to tweak a few features on the truck, Garrett has successfully completed the renovation.
“It’s not the cheapest hobby in the world,” he said with a grin.