Model A enthusiasts have fun preserving bits of Americana

George L. Winship, Editor
Members and spouses of the Redding Rambling A's car club gather in the Shasta Outlets parking lot each month except June and July.

Photo by George L. Winship, Editor

Members and spouses of the Redding Rambling A's car club gather in the Shasta Outlets parking lot each month except June and July.

Club members get together for a community breakfast at the Frontier Senior Center in Anderson.

Photo by George L. Winship, Editor

Club members get together for a community breakfast at the Frontier Senior Center in Anderson.

A tool box map shows all states and a portion of Canada that Vi and Pete Westler have driven through in their Model A Ford.

Photo by George L. Winship, Editor

A tool box map shows all states and a portion of Canada that Vi and Pete Westler have driven through in their Model A Ford.

The first Sunday of each month, except June and July, members of the Redding Rambling A’s car club gather shortly after 8 a.m. in the Shasta Outlets parking lot.

From there, they parade north in single file along Highway 273, arriving at the Frontier Senior Center in Anderson in time to enjoy a $5 per person community breakfast.

The distinctive blend of factory stock to heavily modified Model A Ford engines is music to the ears of these automotive enthusiasts, noted Pete Westler, 80, of Redding.

Pete and Vi Westler are two of the club’s charter members.

The Redding Rambling A’s formed in 1975. It is one of 35 northern California chapters chartered by the Model A Ford Club of America.

“We were a club of abut 40 members when we started,” Pete Westler said. “We grew to about 50 at one time. Today, we have 30 names on the roster with about 15 active members.”

Nationally, the organization was established in 1957 and today boasts nearly 14,000 members in 300 local chapters, according to Alex Janke, the organization’s 2013 president.

The national club maintains its headquarters in La Habra, Calif., and is planning its annual banquet Dec. 4-8 in San Antonio, Texas.

Locally, the Redding Rambling A’s meet to conduct chapter business and plan events at noon on the fourth Tuesday of each month in a meeting room at the Redding Holiday Market on Placer Street.

For fun, car club members take part in at least four parades each year including Redding’s lighted Christmas parade, the Damboree and Veterans Day parades in Shasta Lake City, and the Cottonwood Mother’s Day Rodeo Parade, noted Colleen Thoensen of Redding.

Colleen and husband Ron Thoensen joined the club several years ago after purchasing a 1930 Tudor Deluxe Coupe from a seller in Minnesota.

Individually, members of the club routinely drive their classic automobiles hundreds, if not thousands of miles, each year to take part in club tours throughout the country.

“The club has been to Canada at least five times. There was a group that traveled around the world with their cars,” Pete Westler said.

Proud of the 100,000 or so miles they have put on their 1929 Business Coupe, the Westlers have a map of the United States, Canada and Alaska painted on a metal tool box mounted on the car’s front bumper that shows each of the states in which they have traveled.

“For about the last three years, we’ve been attending the community breakfast here in Anderson. We also do a club outing about once a month. Last Saturday, we took a short drive out to Oak Run to tour the Phillips Brothers’ sawmill and box factory,” Pete Westler said.

“It was really interesting because everything out there is steam-powered,” noted Norm Faith, a member of the club for nearly 14 years.

“The Phillips Brothers make all of the wooden boxes that Enjoy magazine uses at their store,” added Ruthie Faith, Norm’s wife.

Club members pay annual dues of $20 and receive a monthly newsletter mailed out by Vi Westler.

“We are really informal. Our club meetings would never pass muster for advocates of Robert’s Rules of Order,” noted Pete Westler, a former club president.

Each Christmas for the past 18 years, club members take turns ringing the Salvation Army bell for two days outside the Redding Holiday Market to raise funds for food, clothing and presents distributed to needy families in the area,” Pete Westler said.

“One year, with proceeds from one of our regional events, we even made a $2,500 donation to the Shasta Library building fund for the Redding branch that was under construction,” Westler noted.

And each Christmas, as they have for the past 18 years, members will drive their cars to a Redding nursing home and take residents for a nostalgic ride before joining the nursing home residents and staff for lunch, he said.

“We don’t really like to talk about these things because we’ve never really tooted our own horn or anything like that,” said Westler, almost embarrassed by his own responses to a reporter’s questions.

“Oooga, ooooooga,” one can almost hear northern California residents chorus in unison.

© 2013 Anderson Valley Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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