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
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 Hemmings.com 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 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.
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.”
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
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.
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!
Part of the no car show side effect of the pandemic is that you are kind of forced into doing the stuff you have been putting off for years, last year and earlier this year it was interior trim, this time it’s painting!
The rear end of the chassis, ancillaries, lamps are all freshly painted.
Also added is the new to me 1929 Penna licence plate along with the strengthening of the original number plate and fitting reflector bolts.
This is one of those things that nobody knew they needed to know – so I went ahead and did it. Today, we’ll find out how good (or bad) a performer a bone-stock Ford Flat Four really is. The Company stated 40 Horsepower, nobody ever stated torque figures, and the course of their values over the rpm range remains a secret, too. To this day, that is – enjoy!
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