A couple of years ago I entered a into conversation with several members about this car. It was prompted by a picture that had been posted (attached) of the car and a group of girls having their picture taken with Henry Ford, in 1938. Here's an update. I have completed a book about the car, the girls and the 8 adventurous trips they took between 1934 and 1942. The book will be released October 17, in conjunction with the car being part of an exhibition at the Peoria Riverfront Museum that opens that same day. The book is titled Darlene's Silver Streak and The Bradford Model T Girls. The book will be sold at the Museum store as well as the Wheels O'Time Museum and is also available online at Amazon.com. It includes a great deal of documentation from our research at the Benson Ford Research Center at The Henry Ford and pictures from all 8 trips. Here's the link to Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Darlenes-Silver-Streak-Bradford-Model/dp/0692491201/ref=sr _1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1444392528&sr=1-1&keywords=model+T+girls.
This is the link to the Exhibition at the museum: tp://www.peoriariverfrontmuseum.org/exhibits-collections/exhibits/gypsy-coeds-ride-th e-silver-streak?utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_medium=email&utm_term=&utm_content=&u tm_campaign=Hagerty%20Weekly%20News%2010-7-2015
Congratulations on finishing the book about the 1926 Model T Ford called “Silver Streak” and the girls that made those summer trips from Bradford Illinois to see the world (ok USA, Canada & Mexico). Thank you for the update – it looks like a fun book to read about life in the 1930-40s.
John’s aunt (Eleanor Butte) went on the summer trips in 1936 & 1937 in the Silver Streak and his mother (Regina Fennell Butte) went on the 1939 trip in the Silver Streak. John purchased the car and it is now in the Peoria River Front Museum in Peoria Illinois – about 35 miles or so south of Bradford IL where the Silver Streak resided for many years. Peoria is about in the middle of IL and if I was closer I would want to stop by and take a look.
A few pages of John’s book are available for review on the Amazon dot com link posted by John.
Some previous forum postings:
If I understood it correctly, John will be giving a special walk & tour through the museum on Sunday Oct 18, Nov 1 & Nov 29. And the car along with some additional items will be on display Oct 17 through Jan 17.
John, you might want to consider making a video of your walk. There will be many of us that won’t be able to drive that far but who might want to hear you share the story you have discovered about the car and those girls taking their trips.
Again thank you for sharing about your book and this great opportunity to see the car, hear the author, and tell Santa a gift we might want him to bring us.
Hap l9l5 cut off
You should read the articles by Stan Hoekstra of the Space City T's in Houston Texas here:
I had the opportunity to look the car over when it was on exhibit at the Wheels O Time museum in Peoria. It still appears to be a relatively original car. The body number and engine serial numbers match, and it appears that most everything is period correct. At some recent point, a Model A front spring has been substituted for the original T spring, and the top bows have been lost. The surprising thing to me was that it is equipped with clincher tires, and appeared to have been equipped with clinchers when the girls had the car.
I was also interviewed by the young lady setting up the current museum exhibit about general Model T questions, and the museum borrowed some artifacts for use in the exhibit. To give her a feel for what a trip in a Model T might be like, I gave her a ride in our 1926 touring, and later in our 1924 sedan. Yes, it is a lot different from riding in a modern car.
If you are in the Central Illinois area, stop by to see the exhibit.
We attended the opening reception for the Gypsy Coeds last night. The display is nice, with the car in the center, and a discussion of the girls exploits displayed around the room. Two of the original girls were there, as well as many family members of the other girls. There was a lot of fond family memories present.
The car was for sale some time ago. Glad it will be preserved.
Hap,thanks for the comments. Sorry I didn't get back here sooner. Needless to say, I've been busy. This past weekend was great. A very nice opening reception Friday evening and yes, Ron Dupree was there. He was a great help in getting the exhibit put together. Got a nice note from Mark Gregush in Portland, who did a lot of work on the Silver Streak prior to it shipping back to Illinois in 2012. For me, one of the highlights was having Darlene's daughter from California at the reception. Here's a nice little video that is playing in the exhibit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/nbtshuaov5gtho1/rc.v.2_GypsyCoeds.mov?dl=0
The other highlight for was having the two remaining living Gypsy Coeds in attendance, Winnie Swearingen Hays, who is in the photo above, middle back seat, looking at Henry, and Jean Turnbull Campbell, who went on the last trip in 1942. They are 97 and 96 respectively. We hoped to have Helen Fuertges Hickey with us. Unfortunately she passed away in early August. She went on the 1937 trip. She was 99.
One of the things that caused me to feel compelled to write the book, "Darlene's Silver Streak and The Bradford Model T Girls" was the documents my wife and I found doing research at the Benson Ford Research Center in The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. I had a hunch that the girls wrote to Henry. We found 35 letters and telegrams of ongoing communication between the girls (mostly Darlene) and Henry. Of course Henry never wrote any of the responses. They were written by his male secretary Frank Campsall. Most of these documents are included in the book. It helps explain the photo on the cover of the book, with autograph signatures of Henry and the 6 girls who went on the 1939 trip to the New York Worlds Fair, including my mother Regina Fennell (maiden name). They found out when his birthday was and either went to seem him (1938) or sent him a telegram of birthday wishes for 5 years. He put them up in the Clinton Inn in Greenfield Village in 1941.
The other thing that compelled me to write the book was the fact that I hadn't shared with my children the stories my mom had told me from her 193 trip and I was afraid the story was dying. I researched all 8 trips so I could tell a pretty complete story, so that the next generation would know the exploits of these remarkable gals.
Here is a link to some of the photos taken at the reception at the Peoria Riverfront Museum for the exhibit, Gypsy Coeds Ride the Silver Streak. https://thegypsycoeds.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/pictures-from-the-opening-of-the- exhibition-gypsy-coeds-ride-the-silver-streak-at-the-peoria-riverfront-museum/?p review=true&preview_id=2742&preview_nonce=7691c006da
Thank you so much for the update. I wish Peoria, IL was a lot closer -- I would really enjoy seeing the exhibit. You and others have done a great job of preserving a very special part of history. That would not have been possible without the car. (Yes, they could have flown – but that would have greatly increased the costs etc.) For anyone close to there, be sure to go before the last day which is Jan 17, 2016 (ref: http://www.peoriariverfrontmuseum.org/ )
John’s son did a nice music video (ok if you like classical, jazz, country western – it isn’t one of those styles) that includes some scenes of the Silver Streak. The Silver Streak shows up right after the 3 min mark with several good shots of the car. And through out the video there are lots of cars etc. from the 1920s that are on display at the Wheels of Time museum that is located nearby. The music video is located at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhyfvcasZeg&feature=player_embedded -- it is called “Face to Face” and I enjoyed it a lot.
(Note if you want to see both museums – check the Wheels of Time web site at: http://www.wheelsotime.org/ as they close for the season in a few days – Oct 31).
Hap l9l5 cut off