Back Road Boys roll Model As to Long Siding

One shiny classic after another pulled into the Long Siding Bar and Grill Monday, Aug. 28 about midday and drew lots of attention since leading the group were half a dozen well-restored Model A Fords ranging in years from 1928 to 1931. Patrons and passersby buzzed around the parking lot taking photos and recalling memories from their past the cars had evoked.
The Back Road Boys come from all over the east side of the Twin Cities, and had met that morning at Maplewood Mall for the longer-than-average ride out to the Long Siding Bar and Grill for lunch. In keeping with their name, the car enthusiasts take only back roads and rarely get on the highway.
Owner of a 1930 Model A he’s had for 50 years, Jim Griffin from West St. Paul, said the old Fords have a top speed of 55 miles per hour, which he observes is barely fast enough even for the county back roads.
Group members, outing planner, and Model A owner Mike Buhl said, “We just go out for a ride in the country every other Monday.”
He said he’s noticed the Long Siding Bar and Grill a few times when he’s driving north to the cabin or to go hunting. Buhl figures it’s a good place since the parking lot is usually full, so he suggested it for a Back Road Boys road trip. Besides, he said he likes out-of-the-way places.
Long Siding is a longer than most the group takes, but Buhl everyone and their old cars made it without incident. Some of the drivers said that’s not always the case with old, unpredictable classics.
Griffin said, “If you want to be able to drive them, you have to be able to repair them.”
Buhl said the classic-car club began in 1992 as a group of Model A enthusiasts who would work on their cars and then drive them around together. The vehicles broke down often, he said.
The members said the group includes about 17 Model A Fords from different years, the oldest of which is from 1928. While all of them look at bit different, Griffin said they’re all basically the same model.
A few of the Model As had an optional luggage rack on the back, Griffin had installed seat belts in his. Though the old classics are exempt by grandfather clause, his family fussed enough about his safety that he finally installed them in his classic.
The Back Road Boys have evolved to include classic cars of all kinds. Most of the owners have restored the pickups and sedans themselves, and the club is open to anyone who likes to drive around their old car.