A restoration of love—and good luck charm.
The late John Darin Sr, Co-Founder of English Gardens, restored a 1929 Model A pickup truck in 1967. Rumor has it, he chose the 1929 model because that was the year his wife, Philomena, was born. Through the years, this red pickup truck has been featured at the opening of every English Gardens location since 1980 and is now considered a family good luck charm.
After picking the truck up in Alpena, Michigan, the yearlong restoration could start. The company Mr. Darin hired for this project also restored all the cars in the Henry Ford Museum. They quickly realized the truck needed so many parts, a second one was needed just to complete the project. In 1968 the Model A was finally road worthy. It became Mr. Darin’s pride and joy. He often drove from his home in Allen Park to the Dearborn Heights store on summer days. His kids remember their dad taking them and their friends for ice cream riding in the back of the truck.
The Model A has many original parts, but some modifications were needed to make it ready for modern day driving. New tires, turning signals and new headlights were some more modern additions. However, many original features are intact. The original engine, which hits a top speed of 65 miles and hour and gets 13 miles to the gallon, is one. There is even a push button start near the floorboards, a crank start option in case the battery ever dies, and a flip-to- ventilate front windshield. Dean, Mr. Darin’s son, jokes the car required training to even start, having a series of tasks one must perform before even attempting to get the engine running. The truck still runs and is driven into our stores for display at different times of the year.
There were approximately 4.8 million Model A’s on the road between 1929 and 1932. The MSRP at the time was $525! The bright red of Mr. Darin’s Model A was a custom color choice called Poppy Red. He wanted to be sure this truck made a statement.
John Darin Sr. was born September 18, 1926 in Joliet, Illinois and moved to Metro-Detroit when he was 10. He, along with 2 brothers-in-law, acquired the first English Gardens store in Dearborn Heights in 1954, and built the company to what it is today. Mr. Darin passed away February 7, 2018.
Checkout the Model A in person at our English Gardens Royal Oak store during the 2022 Christmas Season.
Learn more about English Gardens here.