(From the RIDE-CT archives…)
LITCHFIELD, CT – Debbie Deziel and Guy Livolsi of Litchfield went from saying “I do” while getting married at the Hopkins Inn in Warren, CT back in September 2021 to adopting an enthusiastic “Let’s do it” attitude the next day by loading up their 1929 Ford Model A Special Coupe for an overnight honeymoon at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA.
Deziel and Livolsi had been together for more than eight years at the time and had acquired the rare Model A in 2018. Both seemingly have motor oil in their veins, along with blood.
Deziel’s first car was a 1968 Ford Mustang, which was followed by a 1969 Mercury Cougar with a Hurst shifter. “When I was a little girl, my dad owned a transmission business in Waterbury and would take the family to car shows, and I fell in love with old vehicles at that point,” she said.
Livolsi’s first car was a 1957 Ford. “I purchased it at the age of 14. Over the next couple years, until I actually turned 16 when you could get your license, I worked on the car and got it roadworthy,” he said, reporting that he kept the car through high school and into college.
“I probably have owned at least 150 cars. Some of them never ran. Some of them were parts cars. Some of them were aspirations of restorations that never happened. Some have been restored and driven. Tough to keep cars stored, so I went on to motorcycles which take up a lot less room. I can get 10 motorcycles in a one-car garage,” he reported
It was Livolsi who learned about the Model A’s availability. He was playing in a men’s “over 50” hockey league, was in the locker room “and the guy sitting next me just happened to say, ‘Geez, my wife’s aunt just died and they have some sort of old Ford in their garage.’”
It was Deziel who retrieved it and who is listed as the owner. “We purchased the car and then we hired a tow truck in Connecticut to go down to New Jersey to pick up the car. Guy was working so I had to go down with the flatbed and a compressor in hand to blow up the rotted tires so we could roll it on to the flatbed,” she said.
Ford built the Model A for four years. It was the successor to the Model T and lasted for the model years 1928 through 1931. More than four million were sold. The Model A had a $500 base price in 1929 and the Special Coupe was a limited edition that featured an artificial leather top.
See the 1929 Ford Model A in action in this YouTube video…
Deziel said the Model A was in “pretty good shape” when it arrived thanks to a restoration in 1968. The four-cylinder engine ran a tad rough, requiring a rebuild. Otherwise, she said, “There wasn’t a lot to do. Now the paint needs a little bit of touching up.”
The currently 95-year-old Model A has a rumble seat and a portable trunk that gets strapped to a rack on the rear of the car. It was in the trunk that Deziel and Livolsi stored their belongings for the 40-plus mile trip to Stockbridge, with RIDE-CT tagging along. The journey over town and lesser state roads was accomplished speeds of 40 to 50 miles per hour. A string of letters reading “Just Married” adorned the trunk.
The Model A ran much better than it had on their way home from their wedding. “She ran a little rough,” said Deziel. “It was nighttime and we had the lights on, and for some reason when the lights are on, the motor’s running a little bit rough. We’ll have to have someone look at the electrical system in the car. As soon as you turn off the headlights, she purrs. We made it home. Slowly. We limped her home but made it.”
Before pulling out of the driveway the next morning, though, they noticed a bolt was missing from the trunk rack. A zip tie was employed before a quick detour was made to the hardware store for a replacement bolt. The date was 9/11, a sad day in U.S. history, but the couple got a pick-me-up at the hardware store when they met a woman who asked to take their picture.
The woman snapped the pic “and then she looked at us and said, ‘Thank-you. We really needed this.’ I think that’s one of the reasons I love driving the car is because it evokes such happiness,” Deziel said.
The Model A is also just fun to operate. “I love driving it,” she said. “I drive it to church. I drive it to the grocery store. Any chance I get to drive it, I enjoy it.”
(A version of this story originally appeared in the Republican-American newspaper on Sept. 18, 2021.)