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99 Simcoe Street South
Central Oshawa, ON, L1H 4G7

(905) 576-1222

Since 1963 the Canadian Automotive Museum has preserved and shared the history of the Canadian automotive industry.

Darlene’s Silver Streak and The Bradford Model T Girls

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The Canadian Automotive Museum has year-round programming including tours, family activities, and receptions. 

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Darlene’s Silver Streak and The Bradford Model T Girls

  • Canadian Automotive Museum 99 Simcoe Street South Oshawa, ON, L1H 4G7 Canada (map)

On July 12, 1939 a group of young women calling themselves The Bradford Model T Girls stopped for the evening in Oshawa on their way from Illinois to the New York World's Fair.   Before turning in, they learned of the local "Night Owl Club" and went there to dance - recording in their diary the names of the local gentlemen they met. 78 years late their Ford Model T will be returning to Oshawa as author and historian John Butte retraces these adventurous women's path across Canada. 

The famous Ford Model T will be on display outside of the museum and a presentation will take place at 11am. Presentation included with regular museum admission. 


John Butte is the author of the book Darlene’s Silver Streak and The Bradford Model T Girls, which takes the reader along on 8 adventurous summer vacations in the 1930’s and early 1940’s in a Model T Ford Touring car, ‘Silver Streak’.  The vacationers, all young single women from Central Illinois, included his mother and aunt Eleanor.  The book also chronicle’s John’s successful search for the old car, finding it in Portland Oregon, having never been restored and returning it to Central Illinois in 2012.

Henry Ford’s Model T has been woven into the fabric of American history and culture like no other automobile, and the Silver Streak is a one-of-a-kind example of what the Model T was all about.  As owner and author John Butte is fond of saying, “It may not be the most beautiful Model T you’ll ever see, but it is an amazing piece of Americana.”  His research of both the car and the trips took him to The Henry Ford Museum where he and his wife uncovered photos and letters documenting two meetings the girls had with Henry Ford in Dearborn and four years of endearing correspondence with him.  Henry would serve as sort of a patron on three of the trips.

Darlene Dorgan, a “twenty something” Bradford, Illinois beautician began organizing summer vacations in her 1926 Model T starting in 1934.  Over a 9 year period in an era when young women usually stayed closer to home, they would crisscross the continent from New York to California searching for adventure and seemingly find it at every turn.  Their Depression Era travels included sleeping in country school yards, church yards and jails by night and by day meeting celebrities, movie stars and of course Henry Ford himself. 

Later Event: July 29
Cars & Cupcakes Walking Tour