Prohibition mash: The makings of a prewar sleeper – Daniel Beaudry @Hemmings

Prohibition mash: The makings of a prewar sleeper – Daniel Beaudry @Hemmings

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This is where it starts… the stock 1929 Ford Tudor on the day I took delivery. From here, there will be a series of subtle hop-ups to arrive at a powerful interwar sleeper. Sorry–I couldn’t resist a bit of fun with a sepia-toned filter. Photos by the author except where noted.

A few weekends ago, members of my club generously descended upon my garage for a big “thrash” to help me finish my 1931 Ford Model A/B bobtail speedster. When father-and-son Barnstormers VSC (“Vintage Speed Club”) members Brian and Matthew Cholerton arrived, they were towing my next project: a 1929 Ford Model A Tudor sedan. It came at just the right time, because it would prove a positive counterbalance to some unexpected setbacks with the speedster, validating the wisdom of having at least two vehicles to play with.

For almost as long as I had been working on the speedster, I had known that I also wanted a hot-rodded sedan, so when I discovered that Brian had one and that he was planning on selling, we quickly came to an agreement. He even very generously towed it the 200-plus miles from his home to mine. Though I wasn’t quite mentally or financially ready for it, there it was, exactly what I had been hoping for.

And what I had been hoping for was an affordable Model A Tudor in running condition with a serviceable body, but one that wasn’t rare or in such good condition that it would be a good candidate for restoration. As someone whose tendencies run toward preserving historical artifacts (rather than altering or even restoring them), I knew it would be a long time before I’d find one that fit the bill as well as this one did whenever I finally decided I was “ready” to buy one.

As far as this particular sedan goes, and 1929 Tudors in general, they are indeed special… because with 523,922 of them rolling out of Ford’s factories, they hold the record for the greatest number produced of any Model A in any body style for any year. So this means I don’t have to feel quite as bad about hot-rodding the A, at least from a rarity standpoint

In terms of condition, while it starts up, runs, and stops well, has a remarkably clean underside, and no significant dents or rust, it appears that the owner before Brian might have begun restoring the car but then lost interest and hastily put it back together for sale. So while a new correct “Cobra Long Grain” vinyl top had been installed, many other condition issues went partially or entirely unaddressed.

Most obvious of these: Its paint demonstrates a tendency to chip, its driver’s-side door is significantly out of alignment, and its interior is limited to only seat covers and door panels made from cardboard boxes upholstered in gray crushed velvet (crushed velvet?!). Behind those door panels, the metal window anti-rattlers–both bent, and for some reason at the same angle–had been loosely stashed and, along with one internal upright support with broken rivets, had been creating a significant racket when driving.

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