My dad couldn't wait to get me into cars and taught me to drive the Model A when I was 13. We went up and down the old dirt road "out home" until I mastered the clutch and learned to stop looking at my feet. After that I was hooked.

We moved to town the next year and dad let me buy a 25 dollar 33 Chevy. The plan was for me to work on it until I was old enough to get my permit. I got it done too soon and my "test drives" took me farther and farther from home. Dad found a buyer for the Chevy!

In 1953 dad decided we should buy a Model T and "fix it up". He found a 22 center door that we restored, and I kept that car 40 years. I called that car my "Rainmaker". It seemed that I could get it out on the sunniest day and cause a sudden shower.

We met a then young Ernie Hemmings while working on that Model T and he told us he was going to start his own magazine. I was the 6th person to give Ernie 50 cents for a subscription to Hemmings Motor News.

Ron Cloat, with '37 Dodge Stock Car in 1954

I went through my Model T days, Stock Car racing days, and finally wound up in the Model A hobby in 1976 when I bought a 31 pick up. At the time I had a commercial property with a big garage out back and that became my place to tinker with the truck. It wasn't long before other Model A guys started coming around and I wound up in the restoration and parts business.

Rainmaker Restorations

In 1982 I bought another commercial property, built a "real" shop and incorporated as Rainmaker Restoration. We bought Ernie Hemmings Standard Auto Parts mail order business in 1988. These days my wife, Jane, pretty much handles the parts business and I tinker in the shop.

December 2006

Rainmaker Ron's Beloved X-31

Photo of Ron courtesy of Robert Hesselmann

Rainmaker Ron Stories on Ford Garage: