Fourth-grader's favorite ride is a classic Model T

September 25, 2007|By JANET HEIM

WILLIAMSPORT - You won't see many 9-year-olds riding around in Model Ts, but Julia Smoot is the exception.

Julia was born in 1998, 71 years after the last Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line. She was 5 or 6 when she took her first ride in the Model T owned by her grandfather, Franklin Spielman, at her request.

Not only does she love riding in her Spielman's 1923 Canadian model, but she's also the youngest member of the Maryland Blue & Grey Model T Club, as well as the Model T Ford Club of America.

Club members fondly call her "Fred," although no one can explain why.

The local club meets one Sunday a month and goes for drives in Maryland or up to Carlisle, Pa., or into West Virginia from May through October. They might visit a museum or historical site, then have lunch together before the ride home.


Julia is the daughter of Cristy and Kevin Smoot of Boonsboro. They live on Pendleton Court near Fairplay/Tilghmanton.

She joined the club two years ago when she was in second grade. Julia paid her $10 dues from her own checking account.

Now a fourth-grader at Williamsport Elementary School and in the magnet program, Julia still looks forward to the club's activities, including excursions and helping the club as needed, including registration and directing cars in the parking lot for special events.

"What makes Julia so special is that the younger generation likes sports cars. Julia likes to preserve the old original cars that go 30 mph," said her grandfather, Franklin Spielman.

He also noted that his Model T's fuel tank only holds 10 gallons of gas and gets good gas mileage because of its slow speed. Spielman said it's a primitive car, with no speedometer or heater, the temperature gauge outside and a windshield wiper that is operated by hand.

"The standard color is black," he said with a laugh.

In 2008 Julia and her grandfather plan to attend the 100th anniversary celebration of the Model T in Richmond, Ind.

When she's not touring in a Model T, Julia is a cheerleader with the Williamsport Bears. She's also involved with her church, Rehoboth United Methodist in Williamsport.

Spielman said you don't have to own a Model T to join the club. A $10 membership fee covers the entire family once an application form is submitted and club members vote on accepting the new application. For more information, call Spielman at 301-582-3871.

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