World's Largest Ford Model A Museum Opens
- The world's largest Ford Model A museum has opened to the public in Hickory Corners, Michigan, on the campus of the Gilmore Car Museum near Kalamazoo.
- Fashioned after a 1928 Ford dealership, it houses more than 30 different Model A vehicles, including the very first Model A Ford that Henry Ford drove off the assembly line and a dual powered-axle truck that was used in building the Hoover Dam.
- A Lincoln Motor Car Museum is in the works.
HICKORY CORNERS, Michigan — The world's largest Ford Model A museum has opened to the public in Hickory Corners, Michigan, near Kalamazoo.
Fashioned after a 1928 Ford dealership complete with service bays and gas pumps, the museum was built by the Model A Ford Foundation, Inc.
It is one of several museums on the campus of the 47-year-old Gilmore Car Museum founded by now-deceased local car collector and philanthropist Donald Gilmore.
The museum houses more than 30 different Model A vehicles, including the very first Model A Ford completed — marked No. 1. Henry Ford himself drove it off the assembly line on October 21, 1927, and presented it to inventor friend Thomas Edison.
It's been in storage since 1943, when Edison's widow donated the car to the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan, which has loaned it to the Model A Ford Museum.
"It hasn't been seen in many years, so we feel very lucky to have this on long-term loan," Jay Follis, marketing director for Gilmore, told Edmunds in a telephone interview.
Follis said America feels a kinship with the car, since many relatives have owned one at some time or another. Ford manufactured nearly 5 million Model As between 1928-'31.
In late 1927, when Henry Ford announced the first all-new Ford in two decades would soon be available, he was greeted with such tremendous public enthusiasm that 400,000 Model A Fords sold "sight unseen" before the car was unveiled.
"Its modern-day equivalent might be all the customers standing in line for the new iPhone," Follis said.
Other museum highlights include a rare 1930 Model A school bus, which served the El Monte, California, school district. It was rescued and restored by a Model A club in Placerville, California, and shipped to the museum in time for its late May opening.
An original United State Postal Service delivery truck, a dual powered-axle truck that was used in building the Hoover Dam and a tow truck that could be ordered with stylish sides and chrome side rails round out the collection.
The Model A Ford Foundation, Inc. (MAFFI) was able to raise over $1 million for the building project and completed the 12,000-square-foot museum in just under a year.
Follis said another Ford product will make up the Gilmore's next museum. The Lincoln Motor Car Museum is in the works now.
Edmunds says: This museum earns straight As in Ford car history.