Paul Magrath never thought he’d fall in love with a Ford. He was a GM guy, his father was a GM guy, and that was that.
Then he drove a friend’s Model A to a car show in Newport, Rhode Island. He saw dozens of examples of the classic Ford, including one in its original yellow-and-brown color scheme that especially caught his eye. When it came up for sale in 1998, he and his wife, Carol, bought it.
The Model A followed the Model T, the most successful automobile of its time. Originally planning to call it the New Ford, Henry Ford went back to the beginning of the alphabet for a fresh start when the car debuted in 1928. The Magraths’ 1931 cabriolet was made in the final year of Model A production. Back then, you could buy one for about $600.
Since purchasing the car, Paul and Carol have replaced the top, the trunk, the engine, the clutch, and the transmission, all with authentic parts. “The guy who sold it to me was concerned that whoever bought it would keep it original,” said Paul. “He made me promise I would never make a street rod out of it.”
The Magraths have trailered the car to shows and meets around the country. Carol likes to add her own little touches. She fills the Model A’s small bud vase with fresh flowers that are color-coordinated with the car.
Their favorite event: a 2019 Model A Ford Club of America national tour centered in Kanab, Utah. From there, more than 400 Model A owners visited national parks, including Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. “The locals loved it,” said Paul. “We’d take over a small town and just make people smile.”