The father-and-son duo of Hamilton set out on a cross-country trip, centered around raising awareness of cancer research and cherishing the time they left together.
On Friday, after months of planning, 85-year-old Ray Osborne and his son drove to Windsor, Ont., to pick up a newly restored 1927 Ford Model A.
The two take her on a drive from Windsor to Vancouver for what Osborne calls his “last big ride.”
This is because the 85-year-old has terminal cancer.
The classic Osborne has a lot of history. It was built in October of 1927 in Windsor as a demonstration vehicle, and was taken to various dealerships so people could test it out before buying a similar vehicle the following year.
However, according to Osborne, a member of the Stewart family in Hamilton “used his connections” to purchase it for his wife for Christmas that year.
“I actually bought it from Mr. Stewart nearly 60 years ago,” Osborne recalls.
Since 1963, Osborne has owned the car, and has been driving it with his children and grandchildren.
“I’ve had this car for a weird 60 years,” he says. “It was born in Windsor. That’s where it was built. So I thought it was only appropriate to start in Windsor for its last ride.” “Henry is the name I gave the car and Henry is making his last trip across Canada…For me, this is my last big trip too.”
The idea for a father and son trip across the country started about six months ago, according to Osborne’s son, Michael Ludwig.
“He’s not going to be able to take a large number of long trips, so we thought, ‘Let’s do something with each other. [and] “Have a nice little bonding journey,” says Ludwig.
“While we’re doing that, we can raise a little bit of extra money to fight cancer and try to help others,” he added.
But before the two of them could zip towards British Columbia, the classic Osborne needed restoration so it could handle the long drive.
The car was delivered to London-based Weedmark Classic Cars, according to owner James Weedmark.
“It’s one of those nerve-wracking things where you want to make sure everything is OK. It’s a long way,” Widmark says.
Weedmark says the biggest challenge in restoring the car has been finding the necessary parts for it since the car was built 95 years ago — ten years before Osborne was born.
But with the help of companies in Canada and the United States, along with local mechanics, the restoration was a success.
“Everyone come together because the cause is great,” Widmark says. “It’s a great experience. You have a chance to work on something you might never see again.”
After restoration, the Ford Model A was brought to the Windsor High Performance Dealership where Osborne and Ludwig began their cross-country journey – which spanned more than 4,000 kilometers.
The father and son duo plan to stop in towns along the way, share Osborne’s story, raise awareness about the importance of supporting cancer research and solicit donations through a QR code posted on the car.