After the death of Tad Provence in October of last year, his cherished “Ramblin’ Rebel,” a 1930 Ford Model A Deluxe Coupe, fell into the hands of its newest caretaker, Bobby Ingram.
The car was rebuilt from parts found in a warehouse in Atlanta where Provence had a successful flooring business. He sent the car off to be rebuilt from those parts, and over time, he acquired the majority of the optional features, such as the spare tire mounts and the front toolbox.
The car shares many traits with what is driven today. It is powered by a front-mounted 3.3 liter inline four cylinder engine making 40 horsepower, sending power to the rear wheels through a three-speed manual transmission. Unlike modern cars, however, throttle and spark plug timing is controlled on the steering wheel.
“It has to be driven as if it is 1930,” Ingram said. “You step back in time in your thinking of traffic, thinking of timing. You gear down in your life. You can’t drive it like a modern vehicle”
Ingram drives the car to every home game where it is displayed beside the Grove. He spends time taking care of the car and ensuring that it will run strong when it is called upon.
“Henry Ford had a design where this car, if mechanically tended to, maintenance and everything, can last as long as the Pyramids,” Ingram said. “It is possible, with that care, that all I need is the right people to help that happen in the future.”
Ingram plans on training the next caretaker about how to maintain the car, noting that with the right maintenance, it can stand the test of time existing alongside the campus as a symbol of the culture on the Ole Miss campus, like the trees in the Grove.
“If I had it my way, the next intern will be able to carry on to the next intern and on and on,” he said. “The university, the alumni, will all have something one look forward to. One more thing, I know that car”