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Old School” Model A Roadster Hot Rod

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Home : Scrapbook : Roamin Angel Corner Index : 1929 Ford Model A Roadster Hot Rod

1929 Ford Model A RoadsterAs a life-long car enthusiast, I’ve always wanted to build a traditional “real steel” 1929 Model A roadster hot rod. During my annual trip to the L.A. Roadster Show and Swap Meet in 2008, I found a Model A roadster that had been sitting, incomplete, for 20 years. The owner said that it had been a father/son project that was stopped due to the father’s poor health. He had purchased the car from the son with intentions of finishing it himself. We’ve all heard the old adage about the best laid plans and the unfinished car was again up for sale.  Though I wasn’t really looking for a whole car, I quickly realized that I was looking at a 1960’s time capsule and had better grab it before someone else did.

The roadster had a solid 1929 “Henry steel” Ford Model A body that was 90% rust free, sitting on an original ‘32 frame that had a VIN number and a good title. Other desirable ‘32 Ford parts included an original steel dash, a complete, uncut grill with 60’s-style pin striping, and a 4” dropped front axle with split wishbone. The engine was a 225 HP ‘56 Olds 324 CID that was carbureted with four, original Stromberg 97's on an Edelbrock aluminum intake manifold and it’s transmission was a ‘55 Olds Hydromatic. The rear end was a rare 1960’s-era Halibrand Culver City quick-change rear end with ‘52 Ford axles and juice brakes.  The roadster was sitting on 16” steel wheels and old, cracked, whitewall tires.  While it was not perfect, I hastily negotiated a price and wrote “SOLD” in big letters across the “For Sale” sign.

When I got it home, I took a really good look at the roadster. I realized that, while the car had a lot of great, nostalgic parts, it also had some very poor workmanship that would have to be repaired and a long list of missing parts that I would need in order to put this car on the road. There was no glass, no gauges, no electrical system or plug wires, no brake shoes or brake lines, no pedal assembly or transmission shifter, no gas tank, no radiator, no fuel lines or fuel pump, no hoses or belts, no exhaust system, no shocks, and no lights. The list seemed to be endless.

Fast forward to 2009. With a parts list in hand, a new shop to work in and a vision of what I wanted, I took the car to fellow Roamin Angels’ member and Buzzards Racing Team fabricator Jack E. We took the car totally apart in order to make necessary chassis repairs and modifications. Then it was back to my shop for reassembly and completion. In the tradition of hot rodding, I scrounged up most of the parts I needed that I did not already have at swap meets. It's taken me 18 months to complete this car and has been a great joy every step of the way. Is it finished? Never! Ask any hot rodder this question and he will tell you the same thing: there’s always something more that needs to be done. But the best part of this whole exercise is how much my wife, Patti, enjoys the car and supports my hobby. It doesn’t get much better that this!

1929 Ford Model A RoadsterThis Ford roaster hot rod is what is known as a “highboy,” which means that the body sits completely on top of the frame rails like those built “back in the day.” While some areas of future work are obvious, such as rust repair and paint, no doubt other issues will arise as Dick logs miles and miles of enjoyment behind the wheel of his "real steel" ‘29 Model A hot rod.

By Dick E with editing by Ron C.

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