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Vintage car club makes brief stop in Lunenburg

by Robert Hirtle


Mary Tribbett, left, of Dixon, California, joins club president Alan Bennett and his wife, Susie, by the Bennetts' vintage 1931 Model A Town Sedan.
 LUNENBURG - Lunenburg's historic waterfront took on a new, "old" look the afternoon of September 30 when 39 vintage automobiles converged on the parking lot of the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.

 The cars are owned by members of a group known as the Model A Touring Club who formed in the late 1990s with a simple objective of promoting enjoyment of the Model A as a touring vehicle.

 Club president Alan Bennett, of Calabasas, California, is the leader of this year's club tour of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which was scheduled to start out September 28 in Portland, Maine, but became redirected because of the weather.

 "We were supposed to hook up Sunday morning, but [Hurricane] Kyle stopped that. We couldn't get across from Portland … so we drove up to Calais, then all the way up to Saint John and took the ferry from there last night," Mr. Bennett explained.

 Despite being tired from their late evening arrival, the group managed to arrive at the museum in time the following day to take in the final harbour cruise of the season on Bluenose II. They later left to tour other areas of the province, including Cape Breton, as well as several points in New Brunswick during the balance of their trip.

 Mr. Bennett said their cars were shipped to Portland by truck in 53-foot containers, a mode of transportation that would ensure they would land in that city on time. The rail lines will be used to return them to their homes at the conclusion of the tour "because it's a lot cheaper than trucks."

 He said tours are conducted once a year, and draw members from all over the United States and Canada.

 "A lot of these cars have been to Europe," he explained.

 "We've taken them from Calais all the way down to Ax, France. As a matter of fact, a lot of us were in France during 9/11. We got there September 10, picked up our cars and went into the Black Forest, got back to the hotels and found out what happened."

 Mr. Bennett said while most of the cars in the club are "pretty much original, a lot of them have overdrives in them, they have high-compression heads in them, so you can get up enough speed."

 He said such modifications are particularly useful when driving in his home state of California where having enough power to "get out of the way of the other cars" is often important.

 "We get up to 50 to 55 miles per hour with them, but we don't try to go much faster than that," he laughed.

 With the age and relative mechanical simplicity of their vehicles, most owners are able to carry out their own repairs should something minor break down during the course of the tour.

 "If it's something major, there are Model A people locally here that can help you if you need a head or an engine or something like that," he said.

 The tour will continue until October 19 when the group returns to Maine via the Digby to Saint John ferry.



posted on 10/07/08
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