Local woman donates 1927 Ford Model T in memory of her late husband
AZTEC — In 2001, Helen Root's father-in-law gave her and her husband, Jack Root, a 1927 Ford Model T.
For years after that, the truck sat in the barn at their house.
On Saturday, that changed.
Helen Root drove the truck down Main Avenue in Aztec during the Founders Day parade. Afterward, she parked it at its new home — the Aztec Museum and Pioneer Village.
Root explained that while the vehicle was in the barn, it was covered up and no one could see it. However, she and her late husband always wanted it to be some place where it could be admired.
That prompted her to donate the truck to the museum in memory of her late husband. The museum dedicated the truck on Saturday during Founders Day.
The truck itself is an example of one of the more well-known and important vehicles in automotive history. When it was new, the 1927 Model T sold for $380. That was the last year Ford made the Model T.
During that time period, the chassis was the only constant for the Model T. The owners would then select the features they wanted, including the type of cab. They also were free to choose whether they wanted a truck or a coupe. The one donated to the museum has larger wheels on its back, making it a one-ton truck, or a Model TT.
In 1965, Root's father-in-law bought it for $25. In the truck, he found gas ration cards from World War II that allowed the previous owner to deliver fruits and vegetables using the truck. Those cards also will be on display at the museum.
Wink Meador, a local car collector, tuned up the vehicle so that it could be driven. Meador himself owns five Model Ts.
"They're just great history," he said, adding that when people think of the 1920s, they picture the Model T.
The car attracted Roxanne Farmer, a history buff who has been traveling for years learning about different states.
Farmer and her husband retired from their jobs in San Diego about 14 years ago and decided to "discover" America. Since then, they have chosen one state a year to learn about, and this year, their state is New Mexico.
"This is the most important car in automotive history," Farmer told Root as she admired the truck. "Because this meant everybody could have a car."