Horseless carriages weren’t around when Col. James Richardson lived at Harmony Hall Plantation Village in the 1760s nor when British Lord General Cornwallis is said to have commandeered the site in Bladen County during the Revolutionary War.
That didn’t prevent several members of the Southeastern (U.S.) Antique Car Club to bring their vintage cars to the historic site Saturday afternoon to participate and enjoy the activities during the 255th anniversary reunion.
Vintage cars, including a 1925 Model T Ford Fordor sedan owned by Riley Reiner of Wake Forest, rumbled down the dirt road leading to the main house shortly after noon.
“This was the most expensive Ford in 1925,” Reiner said. “It cost $690. It was very fancy because it had a rear view mirror and a windshield wiper, electric starter and mountable wheels. The upholstery is much more rich than in other cars (of the time.)”
Reiner’s Fordor has been fully restored, although it lacks pull down curtains for the quarter windows and the rear window. “The rear window curtain was not for privacy,” Reiner said. “They pulled it down because lights from behind you would reflect off the windshield and blind you.”
The vintage car has been dubbed “the wedding car” by Reiner and his wife, Sandra. That’s because the former owner of the car drove the Reiners daughter and son-in-law, and their son and daughter-in-law from the church to the reception after each wedding ceremony.
“He was getting up in years and he developed leukemia,” Reiner said. “He wanted to sell it to people that he knew. I had made a pledge to my wife there would be no more cars. But I said the wedding car is for sale. It didn’t take her 2 seconds.”
Reiner, now 67 and retired after a 33-year career with the Wake County public school system, became interested in cars when he was 13 years old. It was a way for him to spend time with his father, he said. Reiner has his father’s 1915 Model T Touring car, which has a brass radiator and oil lamps.
Reiner also has his car that he drove to high school, a 1930 Model A Ford coupe. It was the vehicle he drove from Wilmington, Delaware, to attend East Carolina College in Greenville, North Carolina. “That’s 400 miles,” he said. “It would take 16 hours.” It’s also the car he was driving when he picked up his wife-to-be, Sandra, on a blind date. “It’s been 44 years, and I still have the car and I still have her.”