When the Tin Lizzies come to town on Canada Day there will be one waiting to welcome them.
Don McLean’s 1927 Model T canvas top roadster will be parked beside Don’s Barber Shop to greet more than 100 Model Ts coming to Fort Macleod on Friday, July 1 when the Foothills Model T Club stops on the last leg of its southwest Alberta tour.
The club is a charter member of the 7,400-member Model T Ford Club of America.
Model Ts from four provinces, 13 U.S. states, and one from as far away as Australia will line Main Street between Second and Third avenues from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
While McLean is not a member of the Calgary club, he decided he would put his Model T on display to represent Fort Macleod in the show.
“As far as I know it’s the only Model T here in Fort Macleod,” McLean said. “I felt I needed to show it.”
Ford produced 15-million Model Ts — affectionately called Tin Lizzies — in the United States from 1908 to 1927. Another million were produced in Canada.
The first cars built by assembly line were for the average pocket book, and many of them are still in fine form.
People are invited to view them along Main Street, take photos, and visit with the owners.
McLean bought his Tin Lizzie from a woman in Granum three years ago.
“Karl Hasselmann . . . he came in for a haircut one day, and told me about this woman in Granum — Sharon Kolstad — who had the car,” McLean said. “About a week later it was mine.”
McLean’s Model T will be on display during the morning until he takes it to Granum for the Canada Day show and shine at Granview Park.
“I’ll have it out beside the shop in the morning,” McLean said. “Then I’ll take it to Granum . . . if the weather’s good.”
Following the Main Street show the Foothills Model T Club will put on a barnyard cruiser rally — as close to a race as you can get without breaking insurance rules for the antique vehicles — at the F.P. Walshe school track at 2 p.m.
“A barnyard cruiser is an 18 horsepower, open-wheeled speedster with no fenders and stock Model T parts,” said Keith Robinson, who as a Foothills Model T Club member is also the first Canadian director of the Model T Ford Club of America.
Robinson and fellow member Roy Fulton will have their own speedster at the F.P. Walshe school track.
“Ours, we call it the John Deere D,” Robinson said. “It’s a 1924 Model T speedster painted with John Deere colours.”
“In the ’40s these rallies were a very popular event,” Robinson said. “Crowds would gather by the thousands to watch them.”
The Calgary club contacted Fort Macleod economic development officer Martin Ebel last year about coming to Fort Macleod on Canada Day.
The show is a one-time event, Ebel explained.
“This is part of a planned group tour that the Model T club is doing,” Ebel said. “It’s not likely going to turn into an annual event. Next summer the Model Ts will probably be touring a different part of Canada or the United States. So, people should really try to come out and see this, because it may not happen again for quite a while, if ever. That said, if we make a good impression on them, it’s possible that some of the Calgary Model T owners will consider coming back for things like the Santa Claus Parade and other events.”
“This is another opportunity for Fort Macleod to show its hospitality to visitors, and promote itself as a community,” Ebel said.