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Model A Fords

isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
edited March 2014 in Ford
Guess I can't shake the old car bug!

Answered an ad yesterday for a Model A "Tudor".

Had one a long time ago and remember it fondly.

I'll probably go look at it next week. The owner
said it had been "restored", runs and looks good,
no rust etc. He wants 5900.00.

Have I lost my mind?


  • mkovalskmkovalsk Posts: 114
    I am worried about that, too.

    I plan to only lift the car until the front wheels are just off the ground. With the small amount of suspension travel in the "A" it won't have far to drop.

    I will also block the rear wheels so it can't roll.

    Does your patent also cover only cutting enough of the head to cut the one remaning stud? ;-)

  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Posts: 219
    Maybe, but it's the best kind of insanity to have.
    I'd go for it, but then I've always been a little partial to cars of that era, not that I was even alive then.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 33,325
    You really get around (automotive wise). Not sure how you can go from an RX7 and 328 to a model A, but to each his own.

    An old guy around the corner from me has an old Model A pickup in his garage. Looks original, as in what a 70 year old car would look like (not at all restored. As far as I know it doesn't run, since I haven't seen it run in 3 years.

    That street reminds me of a new topic to start, and something to add to sports wagons. Might be a long night.

    2019 Acura TLX A-spec 4 cyl. (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I've had three RX-7's The BMW is a 325i.

    I would be embarassed to try to list the cars I've owned in my 52 years. I doubt if anybody would even believe me.

    A Model A is a very primitive car and almost impossible to drive on the freeway. Anything over 50MPH is really pushing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It's a putt around city car at best, and the mechanical brakes are scary. But there are tons of them on the road, they are simple to fix, and you can get parts anywhere--and cheaply, too. Aside from a VW bug, there's hardly an old car you can name that is so easy to restore and keep going. But certainly the car has limitations as a practical driver. You need strong arms to steer, four big feet to stop and lots of patience getting anywhere.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Doesn't sound much worse than an early Mustang with manual steering.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It's worse, believe me, although your Mustang 3-speed transmission will be in the rebuild shop a lot more often than your Model A 3-speed, that's true.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Because you can't stop! If everything is adjusted just right, you just might get one wheel out of the four to skid a bit!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Back in the '50s when they were putting V8s in these things, how did they stop? Drag a foot on the ground?
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Posts: 219
    That's why cars of this era's bumpers meant business. They had enough flex in them to bump up against something and not be any worse for wear. The brakes on a Model A were great when compared to the external contracting brakes on GM cars of the 20's and early 30's. They could really get your heart racing trying to drive in modern traffic, especially when some "dead-in-the-head" individual would pull right in front of you to see what you were driving.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    To "juice" brakes back then. I think the later model hydraulic brakes from later fords would pretty much bolt on.

    Ford was one of the last to do away with mechinical brakes.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You do see many Model As with converted hydraulic brakes. Good idea, too! Of course, you can always pull back real hard on the Model A emergency brake and that will lock up the rear wheels usually.

    They often didn't stop back in the old days...that's why there was such a slaughter on the roads, compared to now, where the fatalities per mile driven is so much lower. Of course, there are still over 40,000 killed every year in the US and ten times that mangled in one way or another.
    So I wouldn't say it's exactly SAFE out there, even with ABS, air bags and all the rest.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    The guy selling the Model A finally had it transported here and I went to look at it.

    It's funny what "restored" means to different people! It had been painted with a brush, the fenders were cracked, had the wrong wheels, etc.

    Still, it ran well and would have been a lot of fun I guess...

    The basics were intact. I just think that for 3000.00 more I could find one that was finished.

    Nice guy selling it and I'm sure it'll sell quickly.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    So you can add hydraulic brakes. What about power steering and seat belts?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Seat belts wouldn't be a problem, but power steering would be'd need to change everything, and probably the engine, too. It wouldn't be a Model A anymore.

    $3,000 sounds about right for that car if it's a good runner...any running, non-rusted, complete and un-botched Model A should be worth about that.
    These cars actually look good when they are a bit shabby, I think.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    REALLY liked this one!

    Seriously, it wasn't bad for a sixty year old car. Lots of painted over bondo that scared me/

    I agree with you on the shabbiness issue. A perfectly restored one looks better than it did when it left the factory. My idea would be about a condition 3 car.

    And I wouldn't micky mouse the brakes either. As you said, enough modifications and it's no longer a Model A.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Model As weren't all that well put together from the factory--most As today are much over-restored.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    And it's funny to watch the judges at a car show arguing with the owners about some dumb detail.

    I'll take a good daily driver. If a truck throws a rock that chips the psint, I won't care.

    Oh...a funny thing happened while I was looking at that Model A. We had shut off the engine and were standing about twenty feet away when it started rolling down his driveway!

    We both reacted at the same time and ran over to the car. I grabbed a door pillar and held on while he jumped in and re-applied the emergency brake!

    Isn't that a typical Model A?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Having seen somebody run over while trying to stop a car, I just let 'em roll now.....exception being if it were heading for a baby carriage.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I agree except it wasn't going that fast at that point. We both noticed it at the same time...said the same thing...Oh S..t! and ran for it!

    Like a scene from The Three Stooges..!
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    I don't recall ever having heard "Oh S..t!" in a 3 Stooges episode.
    As far as cars go (cars in general are expensive)
    would a Model A be a fairly good car to use to learn to work on cars. Are they (or their parts) hard to find? I came up with the crazy idea of buying an old VW Bug (ugly car IMHO, but simple and cheap), and some service manuals, taking the thing apart and reassembling it, just to learn how it works. Doing that to an A Model sounds much more appealing though. How much would a restorable one cost, and how much on parts?
    Can you still buy the skinny tires? (Or is that the T Model I'm thinking of?)
  • Reminds me of a buddy in high school, he had a 65 Ford with a three on the tree. One day he decides to change the plugs on it, so he pulls it up in to his parents driveway sticks it in reverse and begins to pull the plugs. Well you can guess the rest, I think he had taken 4 out of it when it rolled down the driveway up over the curb and into the neighbor across the streets rose garden. Actually that white car kind of looked good in all those red roses.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Yeah, with the spark plugs out, they do tend to lose a bit of compression!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Model As are a great hobby. There are still probably 1/2 million of them on the road, parts are CHEAP, and plentiful, too, and they are easy cars to repair. A car like this would be a fun restoration project, sure!
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Can we say "Wheel chocks"?
    Guess not.
    Thanks for that advice Shifty.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    My father in Law is restoring a 1930 sedan but upgrading brakes and electrical to 12 volts. I guess they had 6 volts back then and a little dim on the lights. I think he got his tires from Chile or some place in South America where they still make them because there are lots still in service, I guess. He has been at it slow for 3 years when time is available but by July 4 he hopes to have it out. In Nor Calif we've seen A's on the Freeway for short drives in the far right lane and they seem to get up to 55.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It's amazing....Model As and AAs are still popping up in barns. I just saw a 31 Model A Mail Truck that had been parked 43 years ago in a tin shed! It was a mess, of course, but you know, it was all there. The mechanicals would be no problem, and some sandblasting and welding would take care of the front fenders and hood, but the big problem is that the body of the mail truck is all tongue and groove with framing. Lots of cabinetry work to do.

    Probably not "worth" restoring (you can find a restored mail truck for around $20K), but a rare item of historical interest. I bet not more than a few dozen survive.

    I have NO problem with upgrading Model As for safety and reliability. Good for him.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    A Model A on the freeway you can bet the rear end gears have been changed to the "high speed" type.

    That is a very worthwhile (and undetectable) modification!

    I'm not sure what the origianl ratios were but they were stump pulling low.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Yeah, about 55 mph is all you'd want to go anyway with mechanical brakes and skinny tires.
  • mkovalskmkovalsk Posts: 114
    How do you get a head off a Model A?

    The head on my '30 Tudor is cracked. I have a new head, but I can't get the old one off.
    All the nuts are off the studs, but it won't budge.

    I filled the cylinders with oil and cranked the engine by hand. Oil came out all around the
    head gasket, but it still won't budge. I put the nuts back on, but with 1/4 inch clearance
    and tried starting the engine. There isn't enough compression with the leaking head
    gasket to start. Now I have a chain fall holding the front of the car in the air attached to
    the head. It's been hanging there for two weeks, with periodic jumping on the front
    bumper. It *STILL* won't budge!

    Any ideas?

This discussion has been closed.