Model T Ford Club of America to dedicate Bruce McCalley Memorial Library and Research Center
The Model T Ford Club of America maintains a museum and library in Richmond, Indiana. Images courtesy Susan Yaeger.
If you have anything more than a passing interest in the Ford Model T, you likely have read something by the late Bruce McCalley. His works The Model T Ford Encyclopedia, Model T Ford: The Car That Changed The World, and From Here to Obscurity, the last cowritten with Ray Miller, are considered authoritative among enthusiasts of the Tin Lizzie. Now, the Model T Ford Club of America has announced that it is expanding its museum’s library and rededicating it as the Bruce McCalley Memorial Research Library and Research Center.
McCalley was a founder of the MTFCA and editor of the club’s Vintage Ford magazine from 1966 to 1991. He continued to write and publish until shortly before his death in 2012 at the age of 86. McCalley spent many hours in the Benson Ford Research Center in Dearborn, Michigan, unraveling the mysteries of the Model T’s 19-year production run. Until his death, McCalley was also a regular presence on the MTFCA message board, helping to spread Flivver facts in the digital age.
The shelves of the Bruce McCalley Memorial Library and Research Center will soon be stocked with 600 additional volumes, courtesy of Ron “The Coil Man” Patterson.
The vigor with which McCalley pursued information on the Model T has inspired others to immerse themselves in the lore of the famous Ford. One of those who has done a good job emulating McCalley is Ron Patterson, known in the Model T community as “Ron the Coil Man,” thanks to his proficiency with making the Model T ignition system new again.
Patterson, a longtime member and supporter of the MTFCA, has collected more than 600 books, pamphlets, catalogs, and other pieces of Ford-related ephemera. In the autumn of 2016, he approached the MTFCA Museum in Richmond, Indiana, to offer his collection to its library. His only stipulation was that the facility and collection be named in honor of McCalley.
Special features of the expanded collection are several rare and unusual volumes related to Ford history.
The addition will quadruple the number of volumes on hand and add some incredibly rare and unique items, such as J8: A Chronicle of the Neglected Truth about Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company, written by Walter M. Cunningham in 1931, and A Ford Dealer’s 20 Year Ride: The Story of a Ford Dealer’s Joy Ride, Sleigh Ride, and Rough Ride by William P. Young, from 1932. Both titles showed founder Henry Ford in a negative light and are rumored to have been suppressed by the company.
A formal dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting are to be held at the museum on Saturday, November 4, 2017, at 4:30 p.m. McCalley’s son, David, will be on hand, and the public is invited to attend the ribbon cutting and an open house from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Those who cannot attend the dedication itself can still plan a visit to the museum Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 309 N. 8th Street, Richmond, Indiana.