The first Model A Ford rolled off its Highland Park, Mich., assembly line in January of 1928.

The “A” was a populist vehicle, relatively affordable but extremely well-built and durable —in short, a worthy successor to the Model T. the car that revolutionized the auto industry when Henry Ford introduced it in 1914.

Over five million Model A’s in 17 different body styles, were built between 1928 and 1931. Surprisingly, many are still operational today, their owners active in touring groups and local chapters of the Model A Ford Club of America.

And some owners like Bonham plumbing and electrical contractor Hugh Gregory, actually use their prized old cars in their daily lives, Gregory drives his 1931 Ford truck five days a week, hauling materials and supplies to job sites.

But quite a few other Model A’s are lying neglected or disassembled in the backs of garages and barns, and Gregory would like to meet their owners. “We’ve got parts to trade”, he says with a grin.

The life expectancy for a well-tended Model A is virtually forever, notes Gregory, who owns three — two that he reassembled, and one ravaged by termites, that he is now painstakingly restoring from scratch.

“I’ve known people who’ve had Model As in their garages for 15 years and haven’t taken them out”, says Gregory.

“I’m sure there is also Model As some-place that nobody knows about. Some of them are sailed away right here in our city. I know of at least four on Oak Street alone, just between Main and Second streets”.

Another Model A owner and a friend of Gregory’s — Bonham resident and Oak Street dentist Clinton O’Brien—adds: “There are a lot of old garages in the city, and back yards. I’ve seen Model A axles and bumpers just lying around. You can recognize them if you know what to look for”.