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History on the move: Ford Model Ts touring Kitsap | Kitsap Week
BREMERTON — Kathleen and Gary Ebbert’s car has seen a lot of road, a lot of miles, a lot of history.
The Port Orchard couple’s 1915 Model T touring car first took to the road as President Woodrow Wilson was trying to keep America out of the war in Europe.
That year, stunt performer Harry Houdini was wowing audiences with his straitjacket escape performances. The first stone of the Lincoln Memorial was put into place. Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae wrote “In Flanders Fields.” Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox hit his first career home run off of Jack Warhop of the New York Yankees. The Raggedy Ann doll was born. Mexico was rocked by revolution. America’s first stop sign was erected, in Detroit, Mich.
Almost 100 years later, the Ebberts’ car is still cruising, having outlasted countries and dynasties and movements, a testimony to the wonder of simplicity in engine design.
“That’s part of the secret,” Ebbert said of the car’s no frills engine. “My husband said, ‘Henry Ford made a good product, don’t mess with it.’ ” She added, “We’re very passionate about the Model T. We love them. It’s like going back in time.”
You can take a trip back in time Friday and Saturday at the 34th annual Can-Am Model T Tour in Bremerton. Forty-nine Model Ts, from 1911 to 1927, will be parked at the Baymont Inn & Suites, 5640 Kitsap Way, Bremerton.
The Model T enthusiasts will drive their cars to Port Townsend on Friday, leaving at 8:30 a.m. and returning by 6 p.m. On Saturday, the enthusiasts will leave at 9 a.m. and drive to Keyport for lunch and a museum tour.
This Can-Am tour is “the biggest one that’s ever been,” Ebbert said. Participants hail from Canada and the Northwest states. More than 100 people are expected to participate, she said. Cars began arriving at the Baymont on Thursday.
According to an article on Wikipedia, the first production Model T was produced on Aug. 12, 1908 and left the factory in Detroit on Sept. 27, 1908. On May 26, 1927, Henry Ford watched the 15 millionth Model T Ford roll off the assembly line at his factory in Highland Park, Mich.
The Ebberts, who are active in the Kitsap Peninsula Model T Club, own 12 Model Ts, dating from 1914 to 1927. Some are restored, some are not. “We prefer them as natural as possible,” she said. The models they like to drive are the 1915 Touring, 1923 Speedster and the 1925 Roadster.
In 2009, the Ebberts’ car and 49 others — each representing one of the 50 states — participated in a reenactment of the 1909 Ocean to Ocean Endurance Race sponsored by the millionaire Robert Guggenheim as part of a publicity campaign for the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle.