It’s been about a year since we last posted, so it’s time for another travel adventure! This year, it’s a domestic trip (actually several connected trips) in our 1931 Town Sedan Model A Ford.
Some of you have already “met” our touring car, who is named Maxie, and this is what she looked like last time you saw her:
Well, she has undergone a startling transformation, but before I show you her new dress, I need to explain the first part of this summer/fall’s adventure: The Lincoln Highway, America’s first transcontinental highway.
Many of you know that Jay travelled the Lincoln Highway with our Model A Touring Club in 2013. That was the 100th birthday of the Highway, and as part of the celebration a group of Model A’s joined the cars driving from San Francisco to Kearney, Nebraska. At the same time, cars were driving westward from New York City, and the two groups met in Kearney for a huge celebration. When the festivities were over, the Model A’s continued on the Highway until they reached New York City.
Well this year, there is another 100th anniversary for the Highway. This time it’s a recreation of the first military convoy across the U.S.
The original military convoy during the summer of 1919 was a monumental event in the history of the United States. On that convoy was a young army officer, Lt. Col. Dwight Eisenhower, who learned many lessons as the convoy crossed the country on the Lincoln Highway.
Eisenhower learned that military vehicles were often too heavy to cross bridges designed for passenger cars, resulting in the need for temporary bridges to enable river crossings. This knowledge proved useful when the Allied forces moved men and equipment across Europe during World War II, as the Germans destroyed bridges in their path.
Eisenhower also learned the importance of good roads, not only for civilian travel, but also for national defense, as it is imperative for the armed forces to be able to move quickly and efficiently to provide this important function. This knowledge was reinforced again during World War II, when Eisenhower saw the great roads the Germans had on which to move their war machine. From these experiences came today’s Interstate Highway System, which had its start during Eisenhower’s presidency in the 1950s.
The original 1919 military convoy took two months. The recreation will take less than three weeks. So, what happened to Maxie? She joined the military! And here she is today:
We have no proof that Model A cars were used in the military in the 1930s, although there is ample evidence of military Ford trucks, etc., at that time. So, Jay did some research and used a little creativity to create a 1931 military staff vehicle.
Jay was in the Air Force, but – of course – the “Air Force” didn’t exist in 1931; it was the U.S. Army Air Corps. Normally, a staff car would be used by a general, and the general’s flag would be displayed at the front of the car. Jay’s car displays his own rank when he was in the service: