Fall 2013

Putt Putt Putt

Charlie Little, ’69, has been a Ford guy since high school, when he wanted to buy a Model T

By Bruce Morgan

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Charles Little, ’69, at home with Gladys, his 1913 Model T Ford. Photo: Patrick McNamara

Charlie Little, ’69, has been a Ford guy forever. It started in high school, when he wanted to buy a Model T and his father said, no, get a Model A instead; it’s safer. He did and eventually owned a series of Model As up through medical school.

His current stable consists of a 1913 Model T (named “Gladys” in honor of his mother, who was born that year); a 1923 Model T panel delivery truck (with vintage lettering on the side commemorating his grandfather, who ran a meat-and-provisions business out of a similar vehicle many years ago); a 1924 Model T Touring Car, a 1930 Model A sedan and a 1931 Model A roadster, still in pieces.

Little built a six-stall garage next to his home in South Paris, Maine, to house his treasures. He stays busy knocking down and rebuilding them—or having them rebuilt, since he’s no master mechanic—and hunting around for parts online.

There’s a sizable Model T community out there, with some 7,000 member families nationwide. In 2008, Little and his wife, Mary, attended a gathering in Richmond, Ind., that marked the 100th anniversary of the first Model T ever to reach market, in the autumn of 1908. Nearly a thousand cars were on the scene, attended by their proud owners. A highlight of the weeklong event saw between 300 and 400 Model Ts passing in review, which Little calls “the longest parade ever of a single model car.”

Little has always made some room for fun, skiing in the winter months, and lately, buffing and tinkering with his cars. “I didn’t let medicine be my whole life,” he says, “and you have to keep busy when you retire, or else you rust.”

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