Tag: 1931

1931 Miller V16 Speedster – @supercars.net

1931 Miller V16 Speedster – @supercars.net


Raced at Indy in 1931 by Shorty Cantlon. Raced at Indy in 1932 by Brian Saulpaugh as the #27 car. Restored by Chuck Davis and Jim Ettner. Retains the original chassis from the firewall back. This is an original 1931 body from the sister car of its era. Engine restored and built using 1/2 of the original engine.

In 1973, collector Bob McConnell discovered the Miller, minus its V16 engine, in the small wood garage in Indianapolis that had housed it since 1950. McConnell’s research soon confirmed it was the sister car to the Hepburn-Shaw-Myer car he also owned, and he was soon persuaded by Chuck Davis of Chicago to sell him the old machine. Davis and noted restorer Dave Hentschel began the painstaking process of dismantling and cataloging the car in its entirety, and were elated to eventually confirm its provenance and history as the one and only V16 Miller race car.

Luck intervened then in the form of racecar historian Jim Etter, who had discovered what he thought was a Miller V-8 engine but soon realized was one half of the original V16, which had been cut in two to make a Sprint car engine. Etter was astounded to find that not only had almost all the severed components been saved, but a new spare crankshaft and webbings were also there for the taking. Etter bought the whole inventory and resold it to Speedway Motors owner and vintage racing engine collector Bill Smith. Ever the dealmaker, Chuck Davis eventually managed to buy the entire lot from Smith, who was notorious for resisting any and all efforts to part with even the most insignificant items in his vast inventory.

Chuck Davis had discovered that foundry expert George Parker of Monrovia, CA possessed a large group of Miller’s original wood foundry patterns and drawings, including those for the V16’s crank case, cam boxes and covers. Parker loaned the patterns to Davis, who sent them to patternmaker Art Bergstrom of Beecher, IL for reconditioning, after which they were used to pour new castings. The Bridgeview Machine Company performed the finishing work, while Dave Hentschel machined other new parts using the original Miller drawings. The completed components were then sent to Joe Gemsa of El Monte, CA, who assembled them into the brand new Miller V16.

The body panels represent yet another serendipitous chapter in the Miller V16 story. They were purchased in the 1950s by Louisville saloon owner Jack Richmond, who planned to use them in building a hot rod. Richmond never realized that particular ambition and the panels remained untouched and intact until the ever-fortunate Davis got word of their existence, tracked them to a Cincinnati collector, bought them and trucked them back to Chicago. All the pieces were there: the radiator shell, hood, cowl former and cowl panel, tail, gas tank, belly pan and rear axle tray. When Dave Hentschel affixed them to the chassis, they proved a perfect fit.

Junior Dreyer massaged the body panels back to proper form, after which Hentschel skillfully reapplied its Silver and Black 1932 livery. Dreyer also made a new gas tank and repaired the oil cooling tubes that also served a cosmetic function as the grill bars, one of the last items checked off, and not a moment too soon: the car’s astonishing journey from revolutionary race car to dismembered, scattered hulk to glorious, historical showpiece was literally completed with no time left on the clock before its reintroduction to the world at the 1993 Monterey Historic Races, where Harry Miller’s cars were honored for the very first time as the event’s annual theme.

Read on

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.

Read on

The Glen Smith Special – Kustomrama


Sweep Panel Dual-Cowl Phaeton

Built during the Great Depression, Glen’s race car was constructed using various Ford-components. It ran a Model T chassis, and Model T front and rear axles with hairpin split front radius rods. Power came from a Ford Model A engine. The design of the car was heavily inspired by the exclusive Model J Duesenberg‘s, and it featured a custom made aluminum phaeton body. Just like the LeBaron bodied Duesenberg’s, Glen’s Special featured dual-cowls and sweep panel design. A V’ed grille, similar to the Duesenberg was installed on the car as well. It was further dressed up with chromed Model A headlamps and a windshield with wind-wings mounted on a rise. It ran 19 inch rims.

Muroc Roadster Races 1931

Another photo of Glen with the car. This photo was taken after he won the Main Event at the Muroc Roadster Races June 14, 1931, and the Gilmore Oil Company Trophy can be seen on the cowl of the car. Photo courtesy of Shayne Cleaveland.

March 25, 1931, one of the first known organized amateur speed trials was held at Muroc Dry Lake. It was sponsored by Gilmore Oil Company, and George Wright, the owner of Bell Auto Parts, was one of the driving forces behind the event. June 14, 1931, at the age of 20, Glen attended the race with his Special. Classes had been established according to engine type, and the speed trials were open to all cars within the designated class. A pace car would start up a dozen racers at a time. At around 50 mph the pace car would drop back and the racers would continue to accelerate to the finish line. No “wildcat warmups” were allowed, and any car that jumped the start would be given a penalty of a hundred foot handicap when the race was restarted. The cars ran as a group, and the two fastest cars from each class were eligible to run in the open competition from which a single winner would emerge.[2] Glen won the Main Event in June with his homemade special. A great achievement for the young racer.

Source – Kustomrama

Twofer deal includes a gowjob racer and a 1931 Ford Model AA crewcab to carry it – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


Heavy-duty underneath, stock-looking inside

The incredible thing about this 1931 Ford Model AA listed for sale on Hemmings.com isn’t so much the fact that it was built as a crewcab with a tilting flatbed to haul around the included Model A speedster, rather that it hasn’t been given the typical tweed-and-small-block street-rod treatment. Instead, it features an interior that looks like it largely came from the LeBaron-Bonney catalog and a built Model A four-cylinder engine. True, the engine grunts the truck and the speedster along with the help of a modern transmission and updated chassis, but this certainly wasn’t the easy solution to building a hauler. The dually tires on the speedster in some of the pictures in the listing point to the same out-of-the-box thinking that created the hauler, making it a suitable passenger along for the ride. From the seller’s description:

Truck, Speedster, and both Engines built by Ron Kelley (RK Designs)

1931 Super AA Ford Truck. Long wheelbase with addition 36” added to length. Stock rear axle with highway gears 5.17 to 1. Late model new process 5 speed transmission. 5th is 20 percent overdrive. Stock mechanical brakes with mustang brake booster. Front axle stock. Steering box 1956 Ford truck. “Fordor” truck cab build with truck cab parts. Truck bed built with tilt and rollback feature similar to late model wrecker. Lots of storage for spare tire and parts under bed. 12 volt electrical system. A/C with R134 Freon. Model A block with billet girdle and billet 5 main crankshaft and billet rods. Steve Serr cylinder head. Custom intake and exhaust. 2 BBL Rochester carburetor. GM HEI Ignition system. Engine is full pressure with filter. Too many small details to list. Must see to appreciate.

1929 Model A Ford Speedster. Custom Body. Custom Ignition System. Flathead – Custom Valve Seat Design. Stroked Crankshaft. 2 Carbs. Stock Chassis

See the listing here

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.

Read on

A 1931 Ford Model A pickup is the perfect short-distance hauler – Matt Litwin @Hemmings


Enjoying retirement at a lakeside “camp” nestled in the mountains of northern New England can’t possibly be any more idyllic, right? Imagine: Tranquil sunrises with a cup of coffee, hours of boating and fishing, long colorful sunsets while on the dock with early evening libations and, at times, a group of friends.

Still, one needs to get to town to restock supplies, and haul the refuse to the local waste transfer station from time to time, so why not do that in a vintage vehicle? That was the logic behind Jamie Longtin’s decision to purchase the 1931 Ford Model A pickup featured here.

The story begins on the calming shores of the aptly named Sunset Lake in Benson, Vermont, where Jamie has long maintained a cozy summer cabin away from the hustle and bustle of his winter home in Arizona. Having already purchased and become acquainted with a 1929 Ford Model A Fordor and a 1930 Ford Model A roadster—the latter of which remains at his Arizona residence for “enjoyable winter use”—a Model A pickup seemed the perfect choice as a vehicle he could, “bang around camp in.”

“Something I could run into town with, and haul the trash to the dump in,” Jamie says. “I didn’t want another show car, just a mechanically sound, fun vehicle that, if it got scratched, wouldn’t cause heartache. Basically, a turn-key-and-go, yet easy-to-maintain truck.”

Read on

A 29-year-old aerospace engineer on using obsolete machines as a relief from high technology – David Conwill @Hemmings


Technology is great. I’m writing this on a computer—you’re reading it there. If you need parts for your old car, or simply a new old car, the links are at the top of the page. Still, the technology of the present sometimes ties us a little too tightly to the negative aspects of today. Something simpler can be a welcome escape.Nobody can accuse Dustin “The Flying Fiddler” Mosher, of Mojave, California, of being a technophobe.

By day, he creates flight simulators for the Virgin Galactic space program. In his own time, Dustin relaxes with the still-usable relics of a bygone era: his turn of the century (that’s 1890s, not 1990s) fiddle, a 1931 Ford Model AA truck, a World War II-vintage Boeing Stearman biplane, and a 1947 Cessna 120.The fiddle he uses to entertain himself and friends, playing bluegrass and old time fiddle tunes, and he’s been at it for a decade now.

The planes and the truck are how he gets to those gatherings. The common thread through all of these items is that they were never intended as fundamentally disposable. Instead, they were essentially designed to be infinitely rebuildable and easily maintained. Properly cared for, they will still do everything they were designed for.”It’s amazing what they’re capable of for such simple machines,” Dustin says. “You can self-manage all your problems if you know the fundamentals of mechanics. And they’re actually fun to work on–they have a complexity you can grasp.”Contrast that with the sealed, maintenance-free devices of today. Some can be repaired, of course, but it involves delving into areas you were never intended to go. Some manufacturers even go so far as to hinder disassembly by the user, to say nothing of the proprietary information they refuse to share with the public. There’s none of that with anything built 70 years ago or more

Read on

Pick of the Day: 1931 Packard 833 phaeton ready to drive – Tom Stahler @ClassicCars.com


“Ask the man who owns one,” rang the famous advertising slogan for Packard, in testament to their value and reliability.  Cherished by many collectors today, Packard reminds us of simpler times and automotive amenities for those who truly appreciated them.

The Pick of the Day is a 1931 Packard 833 phaeton advertised by a dealer in Macedonia, Ohio, on ClassicCars.com. The car appears to be a lovely tourer, and as the seller declares, “this is a car to drive, not to show.” I have always believed cars were meant to be driven, and this ancient example from Detroit’s golden age would be quite fun.

In the 2000s, when I still lived in the northern suburbs of Chicago, I was privileged to meet and get to know a local guy who had amassed quite a car collection. Packard people know him well. His name is Paul TerHorst. He inspired my appreciation for Packard and other prewar cars. He too liked to drive and he gave me the opportunity to drive some of his fabulous cars, including a completely original (patina and all) 1957 Corvette, an unrestored 1932 Auburn phaeton and numerous Packards.

Read on

Why the Ford Model A is the best American car ever made – Paul Shinn @YouTube


One of Paul’s Excellent Model A Videos, this one is in the style of Doug DeMuro

The Ford Model A is considered by many to be the best American car ever made. Today, I review a 1931 Ford Model A Sport Coupe. I’m going to share some of the Ford Model A’s unique details and features, then take it on the road and tell you what it’s like to drive a Ford Model A. It’s no wonder the Ford Model A is the most thoroughly documented collector car ever. If you subscribe to this YouTube channel right now, your Model A won’t break down on the next tour. Looking for a Ford Model A parts supplier to partner with in future videos.

What level of involvement did Allegheny have with the stainless-bodied Ford Model A’s? Daniel Strohl @Hemmings



Let’s be direct for a moment: Some readers last week questioned my use of the term “full set” when describing the stainless-bodied Ford Motor Company products that Allegheny Technologies will put up for auction this fall. As they noted, a trio of stainless-bodied Ford Model A’s preceded the better-known 1936 Ford, 1960 Thunderbird, and 1966/1967 Lincoln Continental. On first blush, it does appear that Allegheny had something to do with the creation of the Model A’s too. Yet after some digging, we find that may not be the case.
To begin with, Allegheny did indeed have a business relationship with Ford Motor Company dating back at least to 1930, when Ford introduced a number of stainless steel items on the Model A. A Ford brochure from the time touted the “greater value” of “rustless steel” as used in the Model A’s headlamps, radiator shell, hub caps, cowl finish strip, gasoline tank cap, radiator cap, taillamp, and other exposed metal parts. “It never requires polishing,” the brochure states. “You merely clean it with a damp cloth as you would a windshield.”