Cruising back in time at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum

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Cruising back in time at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum

Jason Harris is a lucky man.

"I get to do for a living what I would do if I didn't have to work," says the artifact service technician at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, one hour south of Edmonton.

Harris works in the restoration shop and his latest labour of love is about to hit the road.

"It was beat up pretty bad," recalls Harris when he first laid eyes on the 1933 Ford "Fordor" four-door sedan.

"It was a full body restoration, down to every last nut and bolt, a complete reconstruction," he said.

The transformation took four years of off-and-on automotive archaeology, sourcing parts and elbow grease to refurbish.

But it wasn't enough to have it looking good, the real test for the team was to have it run.

"To look at them is one thing, that's like art, that's like a Picasso or a Monet.

"But to experience them, to get in them, to feel the road, the bumps, the rattles just the way it was in 1933 is just the total package for me," Harris said.

The car will hit the road this spring as part of the museum's vintage vehicle tour program, a program that features six vehicles manufactured between 1927 and 1954. 

A special feature of the museum is that members of the public are able to climb in and go for a spin, says museum spokesperson Cynthia Blackmore.

The museum, established in 1992, is run by the Province of Alberta and is dedicated to interpreting the impact of technological changes on transportation, aviation, agricultural and industry.

The 9,500-sq.-metre main building contains the exhibit hall, restoration and conservation shops, even a drive-in theatre. 

"It's a wonderful place for people of all ages, for those who have been to a drive-in before and had a great experience — that you don't want to talk about — or all the people who have no idea what a drive-in is."

The museum is open year round, but Harris admits the real action starts in the spring.

And come May long weekend when the 1933 Ford leaves the bay of the restoration shop, Harris admits, "I'll probably shed a tear." 

You can see more from the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, Alberta on Our Edmonton Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday and Monday at 11 a.m. on CBC TV.