MINOT, ND (AP) – Leon Humble grew up in Wolford and always remembered the Ford Model T his grandfather had. In recent years, Humble, who lives in Phoenix, has been able to locate the Model T in Wolford and then restore it.
Humble said his grandfather, Carl Maute, who operated a farm in Wolford, purchased the new Model T in 1918.
“The best I can find is my uncle told me it came in five or six crates (on the Great Northern Railroad) and that they assembled it on site. I don’t know if that meant at the station or I imagine they loaded him onto a wagon and transported him to his home in Wolford, which was only half a mile from the station, ”Humble said.
Humble said his grandfather emigrated from Germany to the United States in Wisconsin and then settled in Wolford in 1901.
“He and his brother, Jacob, both settled in Wolford,” Humble said. “My parents bought him the farm, then he moved to town and became a carpenter and handyman. “
Of his grandfather buying a Model T touring car, Humble said: “He was one of the first in Wolford to own a car.”
He said the Model T had functional use.
“He was on a farm and he picked it up later. Then he hauled, I guess, wood and stuff in it, ”Humble said.
Humble left Wolford in November 1956. After graduating from high school, he joined the military for three years. He went to electronics school in the military and was assigned to a guided missile battery in downtown Chicago.
When he got out of the military he hitchhiked all the way to Arizona and took a number of math classes before Arizona State University considered him, then was accepted and graduated. a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in commerce.
His career over the years has been in the fields of electrical engineering and semiconductors. He started other businesses and retired three times. Now he said, “I’m 83 and enjoying life.
Humble said his grandfather’s Model T stayed in Wolford at least until the late 1950s, the Minot Daily News reported.
“That’s when my uncle donated it to the Dale Hawk Museum (in Wolford),” Humble said. “This is where he stayed for a while. I have a bill of sale my uncle sold to Slaubaughs. I think he sold it outside the museum.
Because he restores cars, Humble said he had started to take an interest in the Model T and if he could find it.
“I have eight old cars that I restored. My last addition was a WWII Jeep from 1942, ”he said.
He started calling friends from high school.
One of the boys from Slaubaugh said, ‘I think Richard has that in his Quonset grain,’ Humble said. He said a vehicle was there and it was mostly covered in grain. Rodents had been there. demolished the horsehair seats.
“They took a picture of it and sent it to me,” he said. He remembered riding in his grandfather’s Model T pickup and knew that the Quonset’s was his grandfather’s vehicle.
The Model T had stayed within a 10 mile radius of Wolford over the years.
“I bought it, then I went to North Dakota and brought it back to Arizona,” he said.
The Model T remained in the Humble Cabin in the Flagstaff, Arizona area for a number of years. “In 2009, I said I will start restoring it. It took three years, ”Humble said.
“It was a frame restoration. I removed all the nuts and bolts – I rebuilt the engine. It’s probably as good or better than the new one in fact, ”he said.
He said he has no automatic driving functions. “There is no gear change, three pedals on the ground and the throttle and spark are all controlled by hand on the steering wheel,” said Humble.
He said it works well.
“The engine would probably go 80 km / h, but the problem is that the wheels are big and they have wooden spokes. The problem is that the rebound of the front wheels is very delicate, so it starts to move a lot if it goes over 30, ”he said. He said 30 and under is a safe speed to drive him.
He said getting the parts was not a problem, but it was expensive.
“It cost me about $ 28,000 to rebuild it because my grandfather put a bunch of parts from different years on it. Anything that broke, he would just go and get a Model T part, whether it was a 1916 or a 1925. If that matched, he would use it, ”Humble said, adding,“ L fit is a relative word. Sometimes it’s okay, sometimes not so well. I took it all out and restored it with all the parts from 1918.
“The seat was made of horsehair and everything was eaten away. I don’t paint or do upholstery, so I found people in the Phoenix area who did both, ”he said.
“It took three years and I worked a lot on the weekends. I was still working most of the time, ”he said. “I wanted to be done with that, so I hired a guy to do a lot of parts orders. He was an expert on T models, so I would go to his place on the weekends and help him, ”he said.
When the Model T was ready, Humble entered it in a July 4th parade at Munds Park, about 130 miles north of Phoenix.
“The special story is that I had a sign made that said it was my grandfather’s. It makes him special, ”Humble said.
“I took him to several auto shows. He is doing really well. I won first prizes for this at major auto shows, ”he said.
“It’s one of those priceless things,” Humble said of his grandfather’s Ford Model T.