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Looking Back: 2014 Old Car Festival

October 7, 2014 Think THF

A 1931 Ford Model A leads a line of early cars and bicycles through Greenfield Village.

The calendar tells me that summer ended on September 23 this year. I know better. It really ended with the conclusion of our September 6-7 Old Car Festival, the traditional finish to The Henry Ford’s busy summer event season. But now that it’s fall by anyone’s measure, it seems like a good time to look back on this year’s show.

Dobles were mechanically superior, but alliteration made Stanleys the most memorable steam cars.

Approximately 900 cars, trucks and bicycles, none newer than 1932, turned Greenfield Village into a veritable motor museum – and one where most of the vehicles operated, at that! Steam and electric vehicles -- along with a few obscure marques -- offered variety, while the mass of Model Ts and Model As reminded us of how popular those Fords were in their time.

Dodge turned 100 in 2014. This 1929 Senior Six helped us celebrate on the Village Green.

Dodge, celebrating its centennial in 2014, was our featured make. Some thirty Dodge Brothers products lined up along the Village Green and charted the company’s early history from the no-nonsense (but mechanically superb) Model 30 of John’s and Horace’s day, to the stylish DL from the early Chrysler years. Most were highlighted in a special Dodge-only Pass-in-Review program held both days. Our other special treat was The Henry Ford's 1905 Franklin Type A runabout, returned to all of its air-cooled, operating glory for the show.

My favorite thing about Old Car Festival? The cars look so "right" (er, "Wright") among Greenfield Village's historic buildings.

Old Car Festival is the longest-running vintage car show in the United States, and much of the credit for that longevity goes to the Greenfield Village setting itself. Where else can antique autos be displayed among so many period-correct buildings? And, more to the point, where else can owners drive their beloved cars among such perfect surroundings? You’ll want to walk the grounds, talk to the owners and take in some of the special programs, but you could do a lot worse than to just sit back on a bench or under a tree and watch the Fords (and other makes) go by…

Matt Anderson is Curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford

Michigan, Dearborn, 21st century, 2010s, Old Car Festival, Greenfield Village, events, cars, car shows, by Matt Anderson

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