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Stow -- For area residents around the region who own certain early Ford cars and trucks or are just interested in them, there is a local club that may suit them.
The Northern Ohio Regional Group of the Early Ford V-8 Club of America meets in the Stow Safety Center community room, 3800 Darrow Road, on the third Friday of the month at 7:30 p.m. The next meeting is Oct. 21.
The NORG has more than 100 members.
"We've got about 30 who are pretty regular," said Stow resident and NORG Treasurer Dan Francis.
According to NORG's website, the Early Ford V-8 Club of America is a non-profit corporation "dedicated to the restoration and preservation of Ford Motor Company Vehicles from 1932 through 1953."
Francis said those Fords had "flathead engines," which have the engine valve, in the engine block, rather than in the engine head above. The valve opens to allow fuel into the combustion chamber and the design cut down on some of the parts needed.
"It was Henry Ford's swan song," said Francis. "It was a well-designed engine, easy to maintain."
Different cars, but
a shared interest
The Early Ford V-8 Club of America dates back to 1963 and NORG formed in 1969. It started meeting in Stow in 1984.
"It's an active club," said Francis. "They don't want to keep [the vehicles] in museums. They want to keep them on the road."
NORG President Jeep Iacobucci, a Westville Township resident, said vehicle owners are of course welcome to come to a meeting and join the club, but actually members only need to have an interest.
"Some members don't even have cars," he said, adding he is hoping to attract some younger members to keep the NORG going long term.
"People under 50 don't know these [vehicles] exist. It's a part of history," said Iacobucci.
Iacobucci, who has raced stock cars, has been an NORG member, along with his wife Georgene, for about 20 years, but he has owned his 1947 Mercury Coupe for "a long, long, long, long time," since the 1960s, and he does not treat it as a museum piece.
"It's been to 41 states and Nova Scotia. Been to both coasts four times," he said. "One time, I went to the East Coast, got a crab sandwich, turned around and went to the West Coast. Took about a month and a half."
Iacobucci added that the car is a "part of my family."
Francis and his wife Diane have been members about three years.
"My Dad bought a [1941 Ford pickup] truck in high school when he was 17," he said. "He drove it a year and then put it in storage. Storage was my grandfather's garage."
Francis said his father and grandfather are both deceased and he has been working to restore the truck. Three years ago, he was searching the Internet for parts and discovered the Early Ford V-8 Club of America and NORG.
"This club is a huge resource for me," he said.
Brecksville resident Craig Gorris, who with his wife Annette is responsible for putting out the NORG newsletter, joined through another club member in 1979, but has owned his 1944 Ford coupe for 56 years.
"The camaraderie and the availability of people who have parts," he said, when asked what he gets out of being in the club.
Annette Gorris said that through the club, she and her husband have met fellow enthusiasts from around the country and even other countries.
"It's the best organization where wives can participate with their husbands and form new friendships," she said.
Sagamore Hills residents Richard and Rose Beyling, who have belonged to the NORG for 45 years, have owned their 1953 Ford Club Coupe for 16 years.
"The car is all original except the paint, and it only has 42,000 miles on it," said Richard Beyling.
"It's just the camaraderie," he added, referring to the club. "It's meeting people from all over the country who have an interest in cars. We've met fantastic people from all over the country."
Lakewood resident Jack Bukszar said he owns a 1951 Ford two-door Custom, belongs to three antique car clubs and was introduced to the NORG by Iacobucci.
"After being in the club four years, it is by far the most fun club I've been to," he said.
Francis said the club does not just have meetings. There is an outing every month, and club members take their vehicles various places to show them off, such as nursing homes.
"We have a good time with the club," he said.
Iacobucci said club members come to care about each other.
"When one of our members passes away, there's an early Ford museum in Auburn, Indiana and it has a flag; and we buy a brick [for placement around the flagpole] with their name on it," he said.
Beyling recalled a family story that emphasizes what the club means to him and his wife. About 25 years ago, their son's Ford Mustang was stolen in New York. It was found, but the battery had been stripped out. Although the car was not one the Early Ford V-8 Club of America is focused on, local members came to the rescue.
"They jury-rigged the battery and they got it home," said Beyling. "That's the kind of people in this club."