Model Ts to make stop at depot museum
July 7, 2009
By David Hayes
In his youth, Greg Spranger enjoyed the thousands of tales his grandfather shared, especially those involving the family’s Model T Ford motor car.
“He described driving throughout the states, finding routes where there weren’t any roads and even ‘discovering’ California,” Spranger said.
As the head driver for an Indiana trucking company after the depression hit, Spranger said his grandfather was one of the first in the community to pack up the family and head west to start over in California.
So, it was a no brainer that Spranger jumped at the opportunity to act as liaison between the DownTown Issaquah Association and King County, organizing the local leg of an historical cross-country journey involving Model T Fords.
The Centennial Ocean to Ocean Endurance rally kicked off June 14 at New York City Hall, when 55 Model T Fords rolled away from the Big Apple on a trip due west. Each is an original 1909-1927 Model T.
The rally commemorates a 1909 race — the Ocean to Ocean Endurance Race — that ended in Seattle at the Alaska-Pacific-Yukon Exposition. The Model Ts’ stop in Issaquah will be part of the final leg of the 3,900-mile cross-country Centennial Run. Spranger said the group isn’t stopping just anywhere along the cross country route. Rather, they’re making visits to significant communities that are helping commemorating the journey.
Issaquah’s tie is the Issaquah History Museums’ new exhibit detailing the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle. It was the final destination for the Model T rally on the University of Washington campus.
The Model T drivers will visit the exhibit at the Train Depot Museum July 11, an event that has Spranger quite excited.
“We get them in town for the whole day,” he said. “For this big a monumental, historical event, that’s just mind-boggling.”
The depot parking lot will be roped off for just the Model Ts. There will be a barbecue, live music and a couple of presentations about the AYP Exposition at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The cars and their drivers will then spend an hour at the XXX Rootbeer Drive-In, before moving on to a private party at Evergreen Ford. Spranger said part of the Evergreen lot will be cleared to make room for the Model Ts lined up around the front of the dealership.
“That will create an amazing view for drivers on I-90,” he said.
The truly amazing part of the original journey was the racers who were literally traveling out into the unknown.
The route of the 2009 rally mostly follows the original race, with cars stopping in the same towns along the way that they did a century before. In some places, the old roads have disappeared, and participants in the modern rally will use interstate highways. For the most part, though, the original route is the same.
Spranger said he is excited to lead the procession down I-90 out of the pass into Issaquah, himself behind the wheel of the 1927 Bugatti, which usually sits idle in the Hailstone Feed Store. He also gets to escort them to the finish line in Seattle on July 12.
On the Web
Model T Ford Club International Centennial Run: www.oceantoocean.ning.com
Alaska-Pacific-Yukon Exposition Centennial Celebration www.ayp100.org
Reach Reporter Michael Bayless Rowe at 392-6434, ext. 248, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach Reporter David Hayes at ext. 237 or email@example.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.