Model T owners gather in Saxonburg, back road across the region
If you travel the back roads of Western Pennsylvania over the next week, there’s a good chance you might find yourself behind about 200 classic cars.
Model T owners from across the country and around the world will converge on the region beginning Sunday as part of the 62nd annual Model T Ford Club International Tour.
Simon Neubert, president of the Western Pennsylvania Model T Ford Club, said he is excited to bring the tour to the area for the first time.
“Many, many of us in the club have gone to these tours before in different parts of the United States,” he said. “It’s just fun to give back a little bit and to not only be a part of the fun, but provide the fun.”
More than 400 people and 200 cars will take part in the event that kicks off Sunday in Saxonburg. The cars will be on display for the public from noon to 4 p.m. at Roebling Park.
“That’s really where we’re urging the public to come out,” Neubert said.
The rest of the weeklong event will be mostly for the Model T owners themselves as they take daily trips to Western Pennsylvania landmarks including McConnells Mill State Park, Moraine State Park, Amish Country, Lernerville Speedway and the Old Stone House near Slippery Rock.
Neubert, 24, of Saxonburg, has been around Model T cars since he was a kid. At just 9 years old, he helped his dad, Tim, who founded the Western Pennsylvania Club in 2003, build his first Model T. He built his own Model T at 15 years old.
“I’m definitely keeping the hobby going,” he said. “It’s just a whole different experience being able to drive a 100-year old car.”
The local club has about 35 members, many from around the Alle-Kiski Valley.
Buffalo Township residents Cliff and Barbara Bly, both 77, have been members of the club since it started.
Cliff always had an interest in old cars, but put his hobby on hold until couple’s three children were through college.
He got his first Model T in 1990 -- a 1927 two-door sedan. It took him three years to rebuild. He also owns a 1924 Model T Roadster.
“I had the engines professionally rebuilt and, basically, I did everything else myself,” he said. “It takes several thousand dollars to get it restored.”
The couple looks forward to seeing all of the Model T owners they’ve met over the years.
“One of the things we look forward to is seeing old friends that you only see once a year when you go on tour,” Cliff said. “We have friends as far away as Canada.”
Summit Township resident Ken Edinboro, 59, has been a club member for several years, but this will be his first tour. He was in charge of planning the routes everyone will take each day.
“We didn’t know if we could pull it off, but I think we’re going to do it,” he joked.
Participants will complete a trip each day, Monday through Friday.
“We just got in my van and we drove around and tried to map out a course that was all back roads,” Edinboro said. “Very seldom are we on any major road for any length of time.”
If you do find yourself behind the Model Ts -- which can only go 45 miles per hour -- Neubert asks for patience.
“Just be mindful and respectful,” he said. “We’re all out to have fun.”