- Associated Press - Saturday, August 19, 2017

OTTAWA, Ill. (AP) - John Krug has been building Ford Model T cars for over a decade and he’s only just getting comfortable behind the wheel.

He has, however, vastly improved his understanding of the vehicle since he began.

When John first fired up his 1919 Ford Model T in 2005 he planned on pulling up to the house to pick up his wife, Diana. A misstep on the clutch sent John and his car through the garage door.

“My wife never heard a thing,” said John, who lives north of Ottawa on East 18th Road. “I went inside and told her, ‘Honey, I’ve got good news and bad news.’”

The good news was John had finished completing his first Ford Model T car. The bad news was the garage door was going to need some work.

“So then I said, ‘You want to go for a ride?’ and she said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ She wasn’t too interested at that time in going for a ride,” John said with a smile.

Diana said the pair has since gone for multiple rides in John’s 14 rebuilt vehicles.

Or is it 20?

John is quick to correct that he has 14 working, including some older military vehicles, but technically has 20 complete cars.

“So we just found out we had six more cars than I knew we had,” Diana laughed. “But yeah it’s fun and the people’s response to it as we drive down the road is fun. They just love the old cars.”

The couple drives the car when the weather is pleasant, but never if they need to get somewhere in a hurry.

John said people usually slow to a crawl around him because their heads are fixed upon the classic car.

He understands their awe, however, as he recalled his own amazement upon seeing one at a tractor show in the early 2000s.

“I listened to the unusual sound and looked at the wood spoked wheels and I just thought they were really cool,” John said.

The owner of the vehicle told him they were relatively easy to build and John started to look for parts and a manual.

“With the modern cars (manuals) tell you how to fasten your seatbelt and tune the radio. This told you how to do everything,” John said.

Ford didn’t make a pickup vehicle at the time so customers had to buy the chassis and either build it themselves or have a carriage maker build it.

He built his and it remains his personal favorite to drive.

John’s collection of tools and parts has grown considerably over the years and today most of it is housed in a number of garages, which have been redesigned to appear like 1920s businesses. His first car, the 1919 Ford Model T known by his family as Dolores, rests inside of a garage made to look like a 1920s Ford garage.

“Building them is what I like to do, but it’s interesting, because I’ve gotten more interested in the history of the 20s and how people lived and worked and all that,” John said. “It’s pretty interesting. It was a good time.”

He’s able to use the internet for additional research and reaches out to others online for help.

When it comes to putting it together, it’s a one-man job.

“He does it all himself,” said John’s son Matt. “Once in a while he calls me for help, but he does 99.9 percent himself. We’d just screw it up.”

John used to be a farmer, but now he spends most of his free time building or thinking about building classic vehicles.

As far as future restoration efforts go, John said he’ll be sticking to older vehicles.

“I’m mechanically inclined a little bit, but I’m not like some people who can build a modern day hot rod,” John said. “But these are pretty simple so it’s not too bad. The hardest part is driving them.”

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Source The (Ottawa/Streator) Daily Times, https://bit.ly/2ePu8iF

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Information from: The Daily Times, https://www.mywebtimes.com

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