Great article from Ryan on five speed conversion of a Model A
A Model A Ford can be one of the simplest machines in which to work. That’s a good thing because if you own one, chances are there’s something that needs to be worked on. When I purchased my ’30 coupe, there was a laundry list of small things that needed to be done and an even larger list of things I wanted done. I tackled that small laundry list first with things like rebuilding the water pump, carb, and updating the ignition and electrical to 12volts. These were things that were necessary; the water pump and carb leaked, while the wiring harness was held together with residential wire nuts. Back on the road, it became painfully obvious by the ever increasing noise emitted from the transmission that it would require my attention next. That’s when I had to make a drastic decision; rebuild the existing transmission or upgrade the stock 3-speed with a T5.
If I’m honest, by the time I was ready to pull the transmission, I had already decided the coupe could use not only a couple more gears, which meant I could now make a slightly safer attempt at highway driving, I was also done with the double clutching, no syncro-shifting driving that occurred using the original transmission. The fact that I had a good T5 with an S10 tailshaft sitting under my work bench made the decision even easier.
There have been a handful of T5 kits available on the aftermarket, but they all seem to lack one thing or another. Some use the stock Model A bellhousing (so as to keep the pedal mount) with an adapter, but that can push the trans too far rearward. Others use a custom bellhousing designed to replace the Model A unit, with the T5 bolt pattern machined in place. Some were fairly inexpensive while others were outwardly the opposite. Most were out of business or unavailable. Unsure on how to proceed, it was while surfing the ‘net one night looking for a solution that I came upon the website for Vintage Metalworks. I jotted down the phone number and gave Dave Farwell a call that following morning. Turns out they not only had a kit to do the swap, but also offered a couple other solutions I hadn’t thought of.