Century old Ford still parading

An AMI Fourth of July
The 100-year-old Model T belonging to Dr. Thomas and Sissy Quinn got a flat tire on the way to the parade. Tom and his brother-in-law, Vinnie Giorgio, replaced it with the spare. - Tom Vaught | Sun

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – It was 1919 and the world was recovering from its first world war and planting the seeds for a second. In Pittsburgh, radio station KDKA was the first to receive a limited commercial license to broadcast. In Detroit, a Ford Model T was assembled and sold – the same one that drove in the Anna Maria Privateers’ Fourth of July Parade. For owners Sissy and Tom Quinn the classic four-door convertible almost didn’t make it.

While traveling toward Coquina Beach and the parade staging area, there was a loud boom and the passenger side front tire’s tube started making flapping sounds. They pulled into the Duffy’s Tavern parking lot and stopped. A motorist behind them, David Cassese, also stopped to see if he could help. He moved on after he surmised they were okay.

Don’t give up

The Quinns weighed the possibility of changing the tire; the spare was in good shape and full of air, thanks to Tom’s maintenance, but it was time consuming.

“I’ve never changed a tire with the jack, he said.

Things have changed over the last hundred years although the Quinns had the original jack and tools to do it. They called Sissy’s twin brother, Vinny Giorgio and his wife, Dottie, who joined them. They were approached by Holmes Beach Public Works employees offering help, but Tom Quinn and his brother-in-law, Vinny, got out the jack and started to separate the wheel from the car. The sun was out, but heat wasn’t a factor since it was still morning. The two men applied themselves and soon the new tire was on. Tom started up the 12.1-horsepower four-cylinder engine and moved the car under the shade of the car wash structure next door.

Tom and Sissy said they wanted to thank all those who offered help to get the centurion sedan going. Sissy Quinn believes in preserving history as she is director of the Anna Maia Historic Preservation Trust, a group that is trying to preserve some of the Island’s historic buildings.

The Model T goes Island

The Quinns got the car in 2001. It is mostly original and any upgrades, such as Rocky Mountain brakes for better stopping power and an electric starter, are factory approved.

Tom Quinn said the car could hit 35 mph although it’s happier at 25 mph, about the top speed of the golf carts that use the streets of Anna Maria Island. It is likely the old Model T would probably not get as many impatient drivers honking their horns at it. They would more likely get a short beep and a friendly wave.