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Barry Silver Films acquires Model T Girls book for feature adaptation

Barry Silver Films has acquired the film and television rights to the book “Darlene’s Silver Streak and the Bradford Model T Girls” from author John Butte. Screenwriter Thane Swigart (EAST OF THE MOUNTAINS) has been hired to adapt and co-produce. Producers are Silver and Lowell Blank (HOLES, THE GUARDIAN).

Known as the Gypsy Coeds, the story revolves around a group of gutsy young women who drive a Model-T Ford across depression-era America to the 1939 World’s Fair. On their way to New York City, they meet Henry Ford and other luminaries of late 1930s America.

“When I first saw this story in Road & Track, I knew it would make a terrific film,” said Silver, “Here was this group of courageous women breaking through societal norms, struggling with so many of the same issues we face today. Yet there is also a kind of innocence to it that is very compelling.”

“When Barry first mentioned the story to me, I knew immediately it was something I wanted to pursue,” said Blank, “It reminded me of the type of story that audiences of all ages could enjoy together, and we are thrilled that John Butte has trusted us to bring this story to the screen.”

“It’s part of a unique time in American history,” said screenwriter Swigart, “I feel very lucky to adapt this story for the screen.”

For his part, author Butte was happy to finally find the right team to bring this story to life. “I grew up in Bradford Illinois and my mother, whose name was Regina Fennell (Butte), was a member of this group of incredible American women whose real-life adventures would be hard to believe if they weren’t true. Most of the girls were in high school together.” Mr. Butte added, “I am thrilled to be working with Barry, Lowell, and Thane to bring this true story to life.”

While the group of girls actually went on multiple trips with different members over a period of a decade, the film will focus on one trip, incorporating many of their adventures into the story of how they traveled from Bradford to New York City to attend the 1939 World’s Fair and meet Henry Ford, becoming celebrities themselves along the way.

Mr. Butte and his wife Carmen still own the original car nicknamed the “Silver Streak” and travel across the Midwest and Eastern Canada to select car shows and museums, sharing both the hand-painted Model T and the stories of the amazing women and their remarkable journeys through a fascinating and still relevant time in our country’s history.

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