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Past rolls into the 'Burg
A group of Model A Fords stopped in Fredericksburg yesterday

 Ed Becker of Gettysburg, Pa., works on his car during the Model A Restorers Club tour yesterday on Hanover Street in Fredericksburg.
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Date published: 9/23/2009

BY BRYNN BOYER

For a day, downtown Fredericksburg returned to the era of bobbed hair, Chicago jazz and Prohibition.

The Model A Restorers Club national tour rolled through town yesterday, bringing Model A Fords from all over the country to Hanover Street.

The successors to Model Ts, Model As were built only from 1928 to 1931.

The tour, which started on Sunday and ends today, brought more than 250 of the antique cars to Charlottesville. From there, the antique-car owners took day trips to areas around Central Virginia and yesterday, some of them toured Fredericksburg.

David Black traveled from Birmingham, Ala., in his green 1930 two-door Model A for the tour.

"I've owned over 100 [Model A's]," he said. "I got my first one in 1954."

Black has been attending meets across the country for years but this was his first time in Fredericksburg.

Bob Tyler of Fredericksburg, has had his Model A for more than 30 years.

"I had had other antique bikes," he said. "This was just something different."

Tyler explained that the Model A comfortably runs at 45 miles per hour, but can reach speeds of 60 mph.

The 10-gallon tank is located in the front of the car, near the engine.

And air conditioning?

"It's that window right there," he said, pointing to the front windshield.

Still, the Model A Ford was an improvement over the Model T Ford.

"The Model A's have features that make them basically like modern cars," Black said. "They're extremely dependable."

MARC was founded in 1952 and is composed of about 200 local clubs.

The Mount Vernon Region hosted the tour, which is the first national tour for MARC.

Kimberly Herbert, the conference, sales and services specialist for the city department of tourism, has been planning the group's trip to Fredericksburg since December.

"We worked with them for activities to do in the area and how to handle parking," she said.

This morning, all 250 cars will drive to Montpelier, James Madison's historic home in Orange County. The cars will be parked in front of the mansion from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for visitors to see. The regular admission price to Montpelier includes a look at the Model A's.

"Those who work to restore and preserve Model A Fords are to be commended for their commitment to preserving history," said Peggy Seiter Vaughn, spokeswoman for Montpelier. "Having just completed our own restoration here at Montpelier, we have a strong appreciation for the time and dedication that must be invested in an authentic restoration."

Brynn Boyer: 540/374-5000, ext. 5779
Email: bboyer@freelancestar.com