About 25 members of the Cedar Rapids-based Hawk “A” Car Club cruised into Perry in the early evening Thursday, happy to reach the comforts of the Hotel Pattee, the goal of their 125-mile drive.
The Hawk “A” club — their name captures their love both of the Iowa Hawks and the Model A Ford — fixed on Perry as the site of their June tour, one of six jaunts the club makes annually between May and October, according to June tour leader Lee Votroubek of Cedar Rapids. The club’s membership varies between about 125 and 140, Votroubek said.
After dining stylishly in the hotel’s Dallas County Boardroom, the members repaired to the Firehouse Ice Cream store for dessert and a look around the Iowa Fire Museum next door.
“Perry is a charming town,” said Joann Kiefer of Cedar Rapids, editor of the Hawk “A” newsletter. “The weather on the drive over was perfect, and the dinner was well worth the drive. Now we’ll check in at the Super 8 and drive back in the morning.”
Other stops on this year’s Hawk “A” tours include a one-day drive to the Amana Colonies in August and a trip to the Arsenal Museum in Rock Island, Ill., with some side excursions along the Great River Road, Kiefer said.
Production of the Model A Ford ran from 1928 to 1932, and many Hawk “A” members shared childhood memories of riding in the classics of U.S. manufacturing, though probably not in models fresh off the assembly line.
Henry Ford is said to have come up with the idea for mass producing automobiles on an assembly line after observing the working of a slaughterhouse early in the 20th century. Fordism eventually came to dominate factory production worldwide and is still the basic method for much assembly-line work here and overseas.
Gazing at the 85-year-old motor cars with the Carnegie Library Museum or the Otis Building in the background, it is not too hard to imagine what Perry was like when these cars were new and still sharing the road with horse-drawn wagons and frequent freight and passenger train traffic.
Did you like this story? Please support our daily coverage of local news and sports with a one-time donation or a recurring donation of $5 per month.