Hundreds lined the streets in Ishpeming and Negaunee Thursday afternoon to see a parade unlike any other in the U.P. It was a parade of Model As, part of the 2012 Model A Convention. Around 300 Model As paraded through Ishpeming.
Residents were seen all around the city trying to get a good look. The car owners gathered outside the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum to mingle and admire each others' vehicles. Duane Wells made the trip from Lansing, Michigan with two others. Some owners keep their Model As off the streets, but for Wells and his 1931 two-door deluxe sedan, these cars are all about having fun.
"There are so many models up here that are gorgeous, and everybody enjoys their car. They don't have to do anything fantastic. Just go get an ice cream cone and enjoy your Ford," said Wells.
Marilyn Maddox, from Fort Worth, Texas, agrees.
"This is the car we travel in. When we take a summer vacation, it's in this car. We have a relationship with the car. Her name is Camille," said Maddox.
Camille is the name of the woman who signed over the papers when Maddox's husband bought the car. Her Model A has traveled through every state, except Hawaii, and parts of Mexico and Canada. It's even been north of the Arctic Circle. With air conditioning, modern seats and an eight cylinder engine, Camille isn't exactly fresh off the assembly line.
"Well, we tell people it's had a heart transplant but that it was from a compatible donor. A lot of people with street rods put a Chevrolet engine in a Ford, but my husband is a Ford man all the way, so we have a 289 Mustang under the hood," Maddox said.
When the parade finally got underway, it was lead by a piece of history: the 20 millionth Ford ever built, a 1931 Model A. The 300 Model As made their way from Ishpeming to Negaunee, back to Ishpeming, before ending at the Al Quaal Recreation Area. The 20 millionth Ford, however, traveled to the Superior Dome in Marquette to be on display.
Al Quaal was packed with Model As from 37 states, not to mention more from Canada and New Zealand. Owners enjoyed a pig roast put on by the Superior A Club out of Ishpeming and a musical performance by the Blue Notes. Planning the event was a huge ordeal, but the Superior A's say it couldn't have gone better.
"With all the smiles on everybody's face, everybody is enjoying their time. Everybody I've talked to, everybody is just glad to be up here," said Dennis Stanaway, a member of the Executive Planning Committee for the Superior A Club.
The 2014 Model A Ford Club of America's convention is scheduled to be in Tacoma, Washington.