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THE $15 CAR
Ivan Wilcox, shown below with wife Liddie and their 1915 Ford Model-T
black Roadster, has owned this car since 1944. He purchased it from then
76-year-old Fred Hiller on January 16, 1944. The selling price was $15 and
the promise to take good care of the car. Ivan has kept his promise and the
car has won many first place trophies at local shows.
In 1944, Ivan was in high school and had a Grit paper route in Tanners Falls
and Dyberry. He delivered his papers by bicycle and Mr. Hiller felt Ivan
would stay much drier on stormy days if he had a car. Mr. Hiller offered to
sell Ivan the car he had purchased in 1915 for $375. He had used the car
until 1931 when he put it in his barn.
At first Ivan did not want to buy it because he felt he could not afford the car.
Once he looked at the car he had to have it. It took Ivan nearly three months
to save up the $15 to purchase the vehicle. After paying for the car, Ivan and
his father pumped up the tires by hand and then they towed it the two miles to
Ivan worked on the car and got it running. He used it to deliver the papers
and drive to school. He had a wooden pickup box with a gate built for the
back of it in those days. He later restored it to original with a turtle back
One memorable experience Ivan recalls was during the winter when he was
driving up Smith Hill, near the current Box Hill Sawmill, with two friends. He
hit a chunk of ice and the steering wheel was pulled out of his hands. The car
hit the snow bank and rolled over. The occupants were all thrown from the
car and one of the friends received a broken collarbone. Another friend came
along and helped Ivan upright the car. He then cranked it about 20 times, it
started and he drove on home. The only damage the car sustained was a
Over the years Liddie, Mary and Ivan, Jr. have replaced the roof and had the
upholstery redone. Ivan, Jr. stripped and refurbished the wheels and the car
has had a paint job. Ivan found the unusual “Honesdale” sign that adorns the
radiator, shortly after purchasing the car while he was cleaning out a
neighbor’s attic. The sign was used to advertise piper cup airplanes in
Honesdale and reportedly had a small propeller on it. Harrison Bellhauser did
the beautiful artwork on the side of their car hauler.
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updated 02/29/04 markg