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Bessy returning to Dixon June 1

Party in works for repaired, restored Model T

Steven Angvick (left) removes the seat from the Model T so he and Bob Stauffer can gain access to the battery.
Steven Angvick (left) removes the seat from the Model T so he and Bob Stauffer can gain access to the battery.

DIXON – She’s looking mighty fine for 94.

With her horsepower restored and a new spring in her chassis, Bessy is coming home.

The Reagan Boyhood Home plans a homecoming party June 1 for its 1919 Model T, which had been relegated to the garage until visiting members of the Fox Valley Model T Club decided to get the old gal going again.

They took her to Elgin and spent several months restoring her to her former beauty and running condition.

Bessy has been with the Reagan Home since March 1990. Former President Ronald Reagan’s father Jack, loved to tinker with cars, inspiring her purchase.

She got her name last year after the home asked local schoolchildren to enter their suggestions and a vote was taken online.

On June 1, visitors will be able to slip behind Bessy’s wheel and get their pictures taken, and club members will be there to show off their own Model Ts and answer questions folks might have.

Afterward, the club will head out to Sauk Valley Community College to give Reagan Home volunteers lessons on how to drive an antique car.  

The Reagan Home paid for some parts and for insurance. Snyder’s Antique Auto donated parts, Herb’s Glass donated glass, and Kevin Prus rebuilt the engine.

“The list of people who have helped restore Bessy goes on and on,” said Brandi Langner, the home’s executive director. “She is being shined and polished like never before.

“Bessy has undergone a true makeover,” she added. “We’re very thankful for the time and effort the members of the Fox Valley Model T Club have put in to restore her. We plan to drive her in parades and show her at some car shows.”

Coming home

Bessy's homecoming party will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 1 at the Reagan Boyhood Home, 916 S. Hennepin Ave.

Dixon Culver’s will sell frozen custard to help raise funds for her upkeep.

For more information about Bessy’s coming home party, please call the Reagan Home at 815-288-5176.

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