One of our favorite artifacts, the Museum’s 1922 Model T, just came back from it’s 98th year checkup at Village Ford! It was originally purchased by Arnold Thiel from Clyde Ford’s dealership, which is now Village Ford. After Arnold’s death, Malita Goebel, his sister, drove the car for the next thirty years. Of her time with the 1922 Model T, Malita remarked, “How we enjoyed that car!”
Malita also enjoyed music and dancing, and spending time with her family. She played the piano often, and after one dance with Henry Ford, he complimented her on her skilled waltz. She also had a passion for history, serving as a teacher at Oxford School in Dearborn and as President of the Dearborn Historical Society for many years. She drove that car to school every day and her husband Jerome helped keep it in excellent condition. Jerome would also sometimes let neighborhood kids take turns sitting in the Model T. Malita was also found of entertaining neighborhood children by letting them sample some of her baked goods as they came fresh out of her wooden coal-burning stove.
Malita was described by Ivadel Moore as having a “patient and sensitive spirit.” Today, Malita’s Model T is part of the Dearborn Historical Museum’s automobile collection. One day, her grand-nephew was set to be married and his fiancé requested the use of Malita’s Model T for their wedding car. The car has also been featured in almost every Dearborn Memorial Day Parade since it was donated to the Museum. A 1972 article in The Dearborn Historian speculated that Malita’s Model T would still be operational on its 100th anniversary in 2022. We kept this appointment to make sure that the car meets that commitment.
For more behind-the-scenes photos such as these, check out the Museum’s Instagram!