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Towing the Line

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Home : Scrapbook : Roamin Angel Corner Index : 1930 Ford Wrecker

1930 Ford WreckerWhen it comes to Henry Ford’s Model A, Ray H. is a major fan. So much so that he is known in the Roamin Angels by the sobriquet of “Model A Ray.” Ray especially likes the unusual Model A’s, including the Model AA heavy-duty trucks. Having seen a couple of Model AA tow trucks that he admired, about seven years ago he decided to get one. Looking through eBay and Craig’s List, he found a few. Unfortunately, they all seemed to be in rough condition and were located someplace like, Ray says, “in the middle of a field in Wisconsin”. In light of transportation cost and the extensive rebuilding that would be required, they were not worth the effort. Giving up on finding one ready to go, he decided to get a cab and chassis and build one himself. Ray found a decent two and a half ton cab and chassis locally, but it did not have an engine, trans or interior. When you’re a guy like Ray, that is not a problem. He dropped in an 80's era Ford 351 CID engine that he stroked to 406 CID, mated to a New Process four-speed trans. He added power steering and even put on a vacuum assist unit for the mechanical brakes. When you have as many extra Model A parts as Ray does, finding the required interior components was the easy part. Then came the rig itself. He made the bed from plate steel, first welding it together and then adding carriage bolts to simulate old-style rivets. For the hoist, he was momentarily stumped and even considered building it from scratch. Then he found he already had an old Garwood tow truck hoist under a pile of old parts. It had been converted to a well-drilling unit, but Ray was able to restore it to its original tow truck configuration. Ray did almost everything himself and completed it in about seven months, only having to have the painting done by an outside company. Since completion, Ray’s tow truck has made the tour of a number of NorCal shows as well as a trip to Virginia City, NV. He even towed his own ‘29 Chevy dump truck to a show in Truckee. However, if you are broken down and see Ray cruising around in his Model AA tow truck, don’t try to flag him down. There is a very good reason: he was helped by local tow companies during the restoration of his truck and is not about to step on their tows. Um, make that not about to step on their toes.

For the paint scheme, Ray was inspired by old AAA tow trucks and Shell gasoline stations, since he has created a mock version of a ‘20's Shell station on his property.

1930 Ford Wrecker

While not a stock Model AA four-banger, this modern V-8 has a lot more power to pull the heavy rig. When Ray restores a truck, he drives it all over and needs the power.

Although much of the interior is stock, modern gauges and switches make driving it much easier and safer. A/C is provided by opening the windows.

2010© Ron Cherry

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