COLUMNIST HARRY WHITELEY: My $15 automobile

It was in 1934 that I bought a Model T Ford Roadster.  Yep, that’s right, and it ran. I bought it from Jay Lynch who was running Northern Auto Company in Rogers City.

The sales slip shows that Harry Whiteley paid $15, plus 45 cents tax, for this car. He bought if from Jay Lynch at Northern Auto in Rogers City in 1934.

Jay was Mike Lynch’s grandfather and Brian’s great-grandfather.  Jay’s dealership was on Third Street in an area that is now a service station.  Some years later Jerry Lynch, Mike’s father put up the present building now known as “Mike Lynch Ford.”

I was a 15-year-old high school student when I made this costly purchase of a Model T.  I gave Jay $5 down and he let me take the car if I promised to pay the balance within two weeks. I drove home the happiest kid in town but that’s as far as I got.  My dad said, “You don’t move this car until you have Insurance.” I finally got the insurance but it was $25—ten dollars more than the car.

I thought black was a morbid color for a young car owner so I went out and bought a can of silver paint and made that Tin Lizzie sparkle.

I paid the balance as promised and kept the receipts.  In the ensuing years I kept saying to myself “I’ll remember where I put them.” A couple of years ago I told young Brian that I would give them to him as I knew he would want them. I also knew he wouldn’t believe what I had to show him.  Lo and behold, I looked for those receipts before I moved to Petoskey and couldn’t find them after turning my office upside down.  I was more then disappointed, I was really upset.

When we moved here I put everything in boxes thinking after we got settled I could go through them and see what was there. In about the third box I opened I found the receipts.  There they were after 65 years, a little crispy but still intact.

Brian, they are yours or your Dad’s but you’ll have to come and get them. If I still had the Model T I would deliver them but I gave up driving last June.

(Harry Whiteley is a former publisher of the Presque Isle County Advance)