As a salesman in the automotive industry, Liam Ellicott has seen his share of eye-catching vehicles arrive at Kamloops Ford Lincoln. Sports cars, 4X4s and luxury sedans — you name it.
But no one, not even the most seasoned car dealer with decades of experience, could have predicted the arrival last week of Uncle Henry.
“It’s really quite something,” said Ellicott. “It’s definitely not your usual trade-in.”
Henry is a 1917 Ford Model T — the dealership’s newest showpiece and, without a doubt, the most impressive trade-in its sales team has received.
For the last eight years, this fully restored vintage beauty was mostly hidden away in the garage of Kamloops resident Harvey Hantula. A lifelong devotee of the Ford brand, Hantula has owned everything from a 1937 V8 Coach to a 1946 Coupe.
He bought Uncle Henry in 2004 from an Edmonton man who specialized in restoring Model Ts. He brought the car back to Kamloops with the plan to display it in parades and vintage auto shows at every opportunity.
“I wanted people to appreciate it the way I did,” he said.
But Hantula admits he has been too busy in retirement to give Uncle Henry the spotlight he feels the car deserves.
So he decided to trade the $25,000 Model T to Kamloops Ford Lincoln with the hope that Uncle Henry would become a fixture in the company’s new showroom on Halston Avenue.
The first person he approached was Ellicott.
“It was a little bit challenging at first,” said Ellicott of the dealership’s decision to accept the trade-in. It wasn’t a simple matter of looking up the car’s Black Book price, which is typically the starting point for most trades.
“No one really has their finger on an appraisal for it.”
But, after a little investigating and negotiating, dealer and seller worked out a deal they were equally satisfied with — Hantula would get $15,000 toward the price of a 2013 Ford Escape SE and the dealership would get a unique and permanent addition to its showroom.
It’s been about a week since Uncle Henry has been in his new home and all the employees love the car, said Ellicott.
Hantula, meanwhile, is delighted with his new SUV, which he says is “so exotic compared to Uncle Henry, it’s unreal.”
He admits he misses his Model T (there will always be a special place in his heart for Henry), but at least he knows the car has found a home that appreciates it the way he does.
Nearly a century after rolling off the assembly line in Detroit, Mich., old, hand-cranked Uncle Henry has found a place of honour, indeed. He may be hundreds of kilometers from his birthplace but he’s more at home than he’s ever been.