Category: Ford Model A

Hiding In An Idaho Barn For Half Its Life, This Late-’31 Ford Model A Coupe Will Quietly Adapt Newer Tech For an Enhanced Driving Experience – Jeff Koch @Hemmings

Hiding In An Idaho Barn For Half Its Life, This Late-’31 Ford Model A Coupe Will Quietly Adapt Newer Tech For an Enhanced Driving Experience – Jeff Koch @Hemmings


An A-wesome Barn Find

Confession: The Ford Model A you see on these pages is mine, passed down through half a century of single-family ownership. For the bulk of its lifetime within my wife’s family, the Ellers, it lived in a barn in Sagle, Idaho. Does that make this late- ’31 coupe a barn find? Truth be told, it’s never been lost… the Ellers always knew where it was. And they certainly know where it is now. How did it come to be?

Doug Eller was conscripted into the United States Armed Forces two weeks before the end of World War II. By the time he arrived in Southern California and got the lay of the land there, the war was over. Needing to get back to Spokane, he bought a car and hot-footed it home, after which he immediately flipped it for triple what he paid. Faster than you can say “There’s a business model here!” he opened Eller Motors on Sprague Avenue in his hometown.

Soon Doug’s son, Dick, was drafted into regular trips to the City of Angels to buy new stock for the dealership. As the years passed, Doug amassed an array of vintage machines of varying quality for his own collection and amusement. By the late 1960s, Eller Motors was profitable enough that Doug bought acreage on Mount Schweitzer in Sagle, not far from Lake Pend Oreille.

During the spring of 1969, a farmer from Western Montana drove across two states to be rid of the Ford Model A seen on these pages. All reports from the Eller family indicate that little beyond maintenance (and truth be told, barely even that) was given to the coupe. When it arrived in Spokane, the Ford had already been given its thick coat of Earl Scheib green, on both body and (incorrectly) the fenders, which then lost its gloss and faded into something more resembling suede. Its original mechanical brakes had been converted to a 1939-’48 “juice” system, and the mohair cloth interior had been replaced with a root-beer-colored Naugahyde. The vinyl top patch had been replaced with a piece of riveted sheetmetal slathered with white house paint. But rather than flip the forlorn Ford, it was absorbed into the family collection.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Koch

There’s junk in the trunk because there’s no rumble seat.

By the mid-’80s, Doug had retired, Dick moved on from the used-car business, and Eller Motors was no more. The family story goes that a barn was built around Doug’s cars, just as he called time on the business. Fifteen years later, Doug passed; his three kids split the cars, but only Dick held onto any of his father’s collection—including this Model A.

When relocated, the (perpetually flat) Allstate tires—last sold by Sears in the mid-Seventies—mounted to the wheels had sidewall cracks that you could stick a nickel in. The trunk full of bumperettes, spare grille shell, and other parts had never been emptied, and an Eller Motors stock number was still taped to the rear-quarter window. It was all there, though not entirely as-factory-built stock, and needed to be thoroughly gone through and sorted.

Alas, with time and talent in equally short supply, I sent it out to Sam Guthrie at Arizona Model A for all sorts of work to get it drivable again: brakes, wiring, and heaven knows what else. A local shop cut out the parcel shelf and moved the front seat-track hardware to the rear bolt holes; it did wonders for the ergonomics of driving, with me no longer hunched over the oversized steering wheel, and better able to access the start button located between the steering column and cowl. Once that was completed, we pooted around the block a couple of times, with Dick grinning like a Cheshire cat the whole time, and that was that. The Ford sat once again.

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 1930 Ford Model A Coupe “Used By John Dillinger Auctioned


This car was used by John Dillinger, Hommer Van Meter and John Hamilton to get away from Melvin Purvis and 17 other FBI agents that were sent to Little Bohemia, WI on April 22, 1934 to take John Dillinger, dead or alive, by President Roosevelt and J. Edgar Hoover. This was the largest crack down in all of FBI history and most famous incident, it was reported in newspapers all over the U.S. and in other countries.

When the gang had escaped, they had driven the car to St. Paul, Minnesota and had gotten into a running gun battle with police, exchanging gun fire for over 45 minutes. They finally got away, but this paid a toll on John Hamilton because he was shot during the gun battle and died in Chicago three days later from his wounds.

During this incident, two FBI agents and one CCC worker were killed and eight more people were wounded. After this incident, President Roosevelt was so upset that had Melvin Purvis and J. Edgar Hoover failed to capture Dillinger one more time, it would have been the end of the FBI as we know it today. This car is considered the rarest Dillinger car, there is no other like it.

Listing here

Reliving an epic 12000-mile adventure in a Ford Model A – Alastair Clements @Classic&SportsCar


It was 1962. My wife Jan and I had recently graduated in our respective vocations, her as a kindergarten teacher and me in architecture.

When we met, Jan had a ticket booked on a liner bound for the UK, but those plans were put on ice and it was marriage for us instead.

Before we got together I had done a fair bit of travelling, including a six-month stint in Japan, so seeing the world was high on the agenda rather than settling down, as a few of our friends were already doing.

Back in the 1960s, after graduating with some sort of degree or in a trade, youngsters in Australia (and many in Europe) seemed to gain the urge for adventure.

We were no exception, and began drawing up plans fairly soon after our wedding, but air travel proved prohibitively expensive. There were bus trips available to various parts of central Asia and India, and it was pretty basic travelling.

All on board would help to pitch tents and cook, yet it seemed a great way to see the world without having to look after your own vehicle.

But, having decided to go to Europe, we elected to drive and we chose a 1928 Model A Ford to do it in – after all, nearly five million buyers between 1927 and ’31 can’t have been wrong about these rugged workhorses.

We were living and working in Melbourne at the time, and after talking to other adventurous types it soon became clear this sort of journey was possible. Not easy, perhaps, but possible.

That was enough: the challenge was there and we were young, healthy and eager.

Decision made, although our parents were not so sure

On the Nullarbor early in the trip, on the way to Perth

Mutual friend (and fellow architect) John Dalton, was keen to return to the UK so joined us for the trip, packing his own one-man tent.

After a basic restoration of the Ford, our running around in Victoria prior to departure did little to indicate what lay ahead for the car.

We left Melbourne in late November 1962, with my brother and family accompanying us until our lunch stop. Jan’s sister, Sue, and a couple of friends were also present early in the morning to bid us farewell.

They were probably all wondering if they’d ever see us again.

Turkey’s Highway No 1 was under construction when the Hunters passed by in their Ford Model A

In Adelaide we met Jan’s elderly grandparents and two aunts, who all raised eyebrows at our chosen mode of transport, and on leaving the South Australian capital we happened upon a roadside weighbridge for grain trucks.

We drove on to the platform and were surprised to find that we weighed in at 39cwt, or 1950kg. Empty, the Model A tipped the scales at 21cwt (1067kg), so inevitably, as well as overheating, we had a few tyre problems.

We started with the best 450x21in rubber we could rustle up, but it let us down.

We bought four new tyres in Perth, and those then took us through to London, but compared with the vehicles of the many other fellow travellers we subsequently met, the Ford turned out to be relatively trouble-free.

We were really lucky to have decided upon the sturdy and simple 3.3-litre, four-cylinder Model A.

Even the ubiquitous Volkswagen Kombis and Land-Rovers were not immune to problems, generally with springs or clutches, and often because they were heavily overloaded.

We even spotted a Sunbeam-Talbot and a Morris 1100 – the latter was the first I had ever seen, and it wasn’t handling the conditions well

Some travellers had converted small buses into caravans, with youths and families going to Australia, and all too often they suffered from mechanical issues.

Citroën 2CVs seemed to put up with the tough conditions well, though, and later in Germany, shortly after waving to a 1928 Bentley that was broken down on the autobahn, one tore past us as we sat at a steady 40mph.

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Brake Drum Investigation


The Model A has an early Ford juice brake setup rather than Henry’s original mechanical system. The car is exhibiting a bit of a brake pull under heavy braking and left front brake drum is a little scored.

I was given a drum a while back that is marked “cracked” so decided to investigate condition.

The drum has been stored in the shed for quite a while, so being cast it’s a bit rusty

Had a go at cleaning up and removing the majority of the rust

What seems to be the original wheel bearings seem to be still in place and in good shape.

Part numbers appear to be visible on the drum

Next step will be to run the drum up on a lathe to further clean the braking surface and check for cracks. But so far so good

Careful parts selection makes dry lakes-tribute 1929 Ford Model A roadster pickup appear convincing – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


Appearance is one thing, but to take inspiration from the days of gow jobs and dry lakes racing means careful parts selection, and this 1929 Ford Model A roadster pickup listed for sale on benefited from obviously intentional and thoroughly thought-out design and engineering, from the built Ford flathead four-cylinder engine to the chassis featuring un-split wishbones. With very few concessions to modernity like the chromed alternator, all it really needs to complete its mission of appearing like a Thirties dry lakes racer is a good dusting of fine silt, applied at a speed somewhere north of 100 mph. From the seller’s description

Museum quality restoration and build of a Model A hot rod as it might have appeared at the California dry lakes racing scene in the 1930’s. Engine is an H&H rebuilt engine with full pressure oil system, balanced crank, engine sleeved to stock bore.  H&H recommended camshaft with dual Stromberg 97’s on new Thomas intake manifold. Thomas polished aluminum head, Mallory ignition, full length coated headers, electric fuel pump and 12v alternator.  Probably makes about 100hp. Transmission is Mitchel internals with synchros and 1st and 2nd gear ratios about 15% higher (Sort of like Lincoln Zepher gears behind a flathead V8).  The rear end is 3.54:1 for freeway cruising speeds.  Wheels are 16in powder coated 1936 wires with Coker Firestone type “cookie cutter” tires, shaved, balanced and indexed for each axle and position.  Has a cast dummy quick-change cover; looks great but non functional. Brakes are 1940 Ford hydraulics, with alloy air scoops on front wheels. Interior and tonneau cover is Mercedes style Hartz material.  Feels like cloth, lasts like steel.  No top (we don’t need no stinking top). Body is original with some Brookville reproduction pieces.  Paint is hardened, flat black with striping and paint details by “Styles.” No disappointments, unique period hot rod with 1400 mi since built.

The listing is here

It took a no-holds-barred restoration to turn a patched-up 1929 Model A Standard Coupe into a prize winner – Mike McNessor @Hemmings


Photography by Matt Litwin; Restoration Photography by Bruce LeFebvre

The Ford Model A’s good looks and low price of admission attracted millions of buyers before and after World War II. In later postwar years, those same qualities made the A one of the world’s most popular collector cars.

As a restoration project, you can’t beat a Model A: They’re simple, they’re supported by a vast network of specialists, and parts are widely available. That’s why hobbyists fixed ’em up decades ago and why many of those same Model A’s are being restored a second or third time by hobbyists today.

Here’s our feature car, circa-2012, as found on eBay by owner Bruce LeFebvre. The exterior looked solid, but the green paint was concealing a lot of makeshift body repair work.

Bruce LeFebvre, the owner/restorer of this month’s stunning Bonnie Gray and Chelsea Blue 1929 Model A Standard Coupe, is a history buff and had always admired the Model A’s styling. “They look cool,” he says. “And Henry Ford was a fascinating character who really put America on wheels.”

Bruce wasn’t what you would call a Model A expert when he started shopping for one of his own about a decade ago, but over the course of this project, he gained a lot of knowledge.

“I didn’t know my ass from my elbow about Model A’s, but I knew I wanted one,” he says. “I saw one online located in a town called Peculiar, Missouri—so I bought it for $6,500, then my friend Roger Parrott and I spent almost 10 days going out and back to get it.”

The coupe’s four-cylinder was treated to a rebuild and pressed back into service. A breakerless ignition stands in for the points and condenser, inside the stock distributor. Period accessory touches include a mount for the oil can and an Auto Lite heater.

Bruce’s reasonably priced, online auction fi nd was a nice-looking car, though maybe a little worn and in need of attention. It had already been converted to hydraulic brakes —a selling point and something which would’ve been on Bruce’s to-do list anyway. Outside, the car wore aged green paint and inside there was what looked like water stains on the upholstery. Some fresh interior pieces, some paint, and some general sprucing should have brought it back to like-new condition — or so Bruce thought. But once back at his shop in Connecticut, a teardown revealed a lot of hidden rust, wood rot, and some hasty body repairs, too.

“When I first saw the car, it didn’t look bad at all,” Bruce says. “But once we started taking it apart—we took the headliner out, the seats out, and the side panels —you could see it was packed with body filler and there was haphazard fiberglass work that looked like bandages holding it together

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Amazing Garage Find: 1931 Ford Model A – Adam Clarke @BarnFinds

I would be willing to bet that almost every one of our faithful Barn Finds readers dreams of the day when they open the door to a shed or a barn to find some well-preserved classic lurking inside. I can think of something even better, and it is one of those stories that we rarely get to hear. A gentleman purchased a house in Oxford, Massachusetts, and was told that the sale included the car parked under a cover in the garage. Fast forward many years, and the owner has finally peeled back the cover. What was revealed is a 1931 Ford Model A that has undergone a refurbishment at some point. It still presents well after all of these years, and the owner has decided to sell it in an untouched state. He has listed this Ford here on eBay with a BIN of $15,000, but there is the option to submit an offer.

With the cover removed, this old Ford looks pretty stunning. The owner acknowledges that he knows nothing about classic cars, but it seems that he has a good one. The panels appear to be laser straight, while the Dark Blue and Black paint shine beautifully. There is no evidence of rust, while all of the trim and plated pieces are free from visible corrosion. A few hours with a high-quality polish should see them returned to their best. The wheels look like they have accumulated no miles since the previous owner restored them, and the tires also look new. However, this Model A does leave us with one puzzle that the owner is unable to solve. I’m not surprised that there’s no top, as this is a common occurrence. Less common is to find a classic car like this that appears to be so spotless but is missing its doors. There’s no trace of them, and the owner has no idea where they are. The buyer might have to perform a search to find replacements. A brief internet search allowed me to locate an extremely clean pair of secondhand doors. The seller was asking $400 for the pair, so even allowing for preparation and a repaint in the correct color, addressing this rather odd shortfall will not be too expensive.

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The Model A Leafspring Debacle Part 2 – @Astra-Werke


Part 2 of the rear spring video from Astra-Werke

Only while editing Part 1 did I notice that something was odd about my car’s rear leafspring that I had just fixed. And, yes indeed, after comparing it to photos online, I was missing some spring leaves – most likely the cause for the broken leaf in the first place. So, today, it’s all back apart again to get things sorted once and for all – plus a little extra. Enjoy!