“DOUGHBOY” THE UNIQUE MODEL A FORD
By Walt and Martha Fuller
Here we go again, whether to restore or build a car that the whole family can enjoy. So I decided to build a touring car capable of being driven anywhere and anytime we traveled. After traveling far and wide with the ’29 Roadster we decided to build a touring car. Let me tell you about this car.
Our touring car is a 1929 Ford Fordor (four-door) Town Sedan. Having looked for many years, we finally found a car worth rebuilding. It had a sound body but was in need of a total mechanical restoration. According to the history we received and documentation it had actual 99,968 miles on the speedometer same as was showing on the door sill oil change stickers “Remember those.” So, the one hundred thousand mile make-over goes like this. We decide to update our car with any and all modern replacement parts as long as they were for a restored Model A Ford. No billet or hot rod stuff.
First of all we removed the drive train and interior. Then the body and all the glass and carried the body to the body shop for a full blown make over. Now comes the good part. The frame has been totally reworked for strength. We boxed the frame and added panhard bars to the suspension for a safe and excellent ride and handling capability. The large hydraulic brakes from an early Lincoln are a real improvement. New springs to the front end and ‘56 Ford truck steering make it drive as if it had power steering. Radial tires are also a big help.
The drive train has been updated. The motor has a high compression head, better camshaft/ valves /pistons and inserts; no more babbit. The Weber carb and header system along with Aires muffler is a big plus. The engine is totally balanced with some parts having been removed and an early V8 clutch installed for better driving performance. The ignition is totally electronic and really improves starting and gas millage. The Borg-Warner overdrive five speed transmission is not a bad improvement either. The radiator and cooling has also received special attention. Well, that’s enough about a strong running little four cylinder Model A Ford engine.
Yes there were some creature comforts considered. The body received a total sound proofing and insulating treatment to include reworking the soft top. Now, are you ready for the good stuff? All of this was accomplished so the air conditioner could operate on all three speeds with no problem. You know mommy does not like to get hot while traveling. There are other thing such as all new tinted safety glass and electric windshield wipers, turn signals and quartz headlights, along with the best upholstery Labron Bonny has to offer for the Fodor Town Sedan. The paint is very special because it looks good and magnetic signs will stick. For our safety seat belts were added. Well enough for our touring Model A Ford. Why is it “UNIQUE” because at the first outing we were told “if there was ever a unique car that is it”.
We just drive and honk while riding in our “unique” Model A. Ford. We are looking forward to trying it out on several tours before this year is out.
Tours and outings are a real treat as everyone wants to see the air conditioner. How did you get it in there and respond well isn’t that nice. Our first real trip to Blakley State Park was a real Model A experience as we actually drove on old country roads just like in the good old days. The trip to Stockton for lunch at the Stage Coach proved just as enjoyable. Cool all the way on the interstate no doubt and drew a large crowd in the parking lot for questions about that pretty blue car. Always glad to show off the UNIQUE MODEL A.
“Mern” is an early 1929 Ford Roadster. She is the car that Henry Ford wanted to build that had a fast getaway. Thus the quail on the radiator cap. It was purchased in Mobile, AL from a long time family friend who was known for restoring Model A era cars. He had known for years that we wanted “that old blue can in the corner”. Finally one day we got the call we had long awaited. “If you want that old car come and get it.” He was not going to be able to finish it and besides he was getting some static from his purist friends for wanting to paint it “red”. He had always known that Martha wanted a little red roadster. We couldn’t get there fast enough. Now the blue car was ours.
When we got the car all the heavy mechanical work had already been completed. We began to methodically disassemble the car in the summer of 1992 and deliver it to the body shop. We prepared the frame and all other parts and reassembled it in 1996. It was given to Martha on Valentine Day as her little red roadster. Thus the name “MERN”, this is the name her grandchildren gave her. “MERN” is sometimes referred to as “That darn red car”.
There is a little history known about the car. We know from the purchase documentation that it came from an estate in Longview, TX. Other records such as tag and license receipts found during teardown reveal it came from Nebraska. It may also have been a municipal car because the left fender has a hole for a siren or large light.
“MERN” is very dependable and we drive everywhere. She has been from east to west coasts and even to Canada touring. We love to go HONKING and WAVING.
Old Mack” A Return to Greatness
The restoration of my 1930 Roadster Pickup is a Model A blessing to be shared. For a long time I had wanted to add a pickup to my small collection of Model A Fords. I had been trying to purchase a pickup from a fellow club member. He had a pickup that was neatly stored in a barn with other vehicles to be restored. Over the years when I attempted to purchase this pickup he would just say “you don’t need that pickup and it is not for sale”. Many fellow Model A’ers wanted that pickup. I am saddened to relate my friend passed away and I hurried to his estate and luckily was the one to get the pickup. I brought it home in April 2013. Now the restoration begins. My pickup truck was stored in my garage. For four months during this time I had knowledgeable pickup restorers come by and give me advice on just how to disassemble it without damaging the body. We all concluded, just be careful not to bend or warp anything and not to lay or stack parts on top of each other. I started at the front bumper and in six weeks the pickup was completely disassembled and prepared for delivery to the media blasting specialist Phil Osterkamp. Phil said he enjoyed stripping the pickup because it had real good metal in the parts. The body was now ready to be painted.
The competed body was delivered to Affordable Paint in pieces. Tim was very determined to smooth every piece and return them to better than original. It was decided to replace the bed, but we did use the original tailgate saving the original FORD name plate. Brookfield Roadster provided a completed pickup bed with beautiful wood flooring. Tim painted the wood and reassembled the bed. As each piece was painted they were returned to me for assembly on the frame. While the body was at Affordable Paint it had been completely cleaned and the frame was painted. It was now a beautiful black and body felting was added. As luck would have it during this time I became unable to continue assembling it. The Affordable team came to my rescue. They did an excellent job preparing the pickup for paint and assembly, but all is not well. The pickup did not go back together as easy as it was taken apart. Something had happened and the doors would not align and close no matter how they tried. The decision was made to transfer it to a professional restoration body shop. Enter Gators Gould’s Model T/A restoration team. These guys are great. As I pulled into their yard, they related “the doors won’t shut huh?” It was observed that something had caused the body to shift and become misaligned. The body was completely taken apart and put back together. It was found that the body had been incorrectly assembled according to the Ford specifications. After two months the body was better than new and the doors closed great. As a bonus the restoration completely rebuilt the braking system. New hubs and an updated mechanical braking system now provides brakes as well as any hydraulic brakes. AutoFleet is an excellent machine shop. Zeno Chaudron and his team of vintage engine restorers performed miracle surgery on the old Model A engine. You see the engine is from the ’28 era and the body is from the ‘30 era. Needless to say the team did an outstanding job of bringing the old motor back to the twentieth century. It has lots of power and performs great. I am sure it will be very dependable for touring, like my other Model A motor that was built by Auto Fleet.
The upholstery was installed by A1 Upholstery. Owner Larry Smith and team member Rick were really challenged during the installation. The bows and wood on this model were to the ’29 year assembly. To make a long story short Brookfield Roadster came to the rescue. Pete and I talked extensively about my problem and he was very knowledgeable of this issue. Tim custom made my top according to the photos I provided. The bows on my pickup are custom made polished stainless steel, with the oak wood header. After many long discussions with LeBaron Bonney and their support, Rick was finally able to custom make a top from numerous shipments of canvas and hardware. This ’30 Model A Roadster now has a beautiful top. Restorations of these older automobiles are not to be taken lightly. We love our pickup and look forward to many trips behind the wheel.