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Preserve Or Hot Rod? 1930 Ford Model A Tudor

1930 Ford Model A Tudor

For the past few months, I’ve been tossing the idea of building a Model T or A hot rod around in my head. I think it would be an absolute blast, but I can’t ever decide which model I would want to start with or which body style I like best. Lately, I’ve been leaning toward the Model A Tudor. Sure a Roadster would be a hoot, but there is just something about the styling of the Tudor that I really like. This Model A Tudor has a great look to it and could be preserved as is or turned into one sweet hot rod, but which way would you go with it? Find it here on eBay in Marianna, Florida.

Ford Model A Tudor

It appears that this A is still wearing it’s original paint, although some of it has fallen off to reveal some rust. It doesn’t look too serious at this point, but will definitely need to be addressed. With all the interest in survivors and preservation, I can understand if the next owner decides to keep it as is! Personally, I think the current look of the body would give way to one astounding custom!

1930 Ford Model A Tudor Interior

The seller has already gone through this car and it now runs and drives great! The interior was clearly replaced at some point, but is older. It was put into barn storage in 1979, so we would assume that means the interior was redone sometime before that. Given the fact that everything works, it would be hard to hot rod this one, but at the same time it sure would be awesome with a flathead V8 under the bonnet and a lower ride height! So what would you do with this A if it were yours? Would you restore it, preserve it or turn it into a period style hot rod?


  1. Avatar photo RayT

    I have one word for you, Josh: fiberglass!

    Perhaps I haven’t looked around enough, but in my experience As like this one aren’t exactly common as Toyotas, and no one is building new ones. Thus, those that have survived relatively intact and solid deserve preservation, not rodding.

    If one wants to build a rod with a Flattie — or SBC — repro parts are plentiful. I put quite a few miles on just such a ride, built by So-Cal Speed Shop entirely from new parts (the carbureted SBC was a crate motor, I believe) and it was a wonderful machine. If only I could have afforded one…!

    I suppose from the standpoint of budget a car like this one has more appeal, though I’d guess the buy-it-now is somewhere in the five-figure range anyway. Not matter how you do it, you’d tie up some money.

    I’m just a sucker for old rides, I guess, though I love wild and wooly engine swaps. Hope whoever ends up with this car enjoys it in any event.

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    • Avatar photo Mark S

      There is a third option, it is possible with careful planning to do a hot rod without ruining this (A) just do the mod in such a way that you could put all the old components back at a later date. Then catalog and store all your original parts in a manner that preserves them. You would want to keep the hot rod modest as there would be no cutting in my plan.

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      • Avatar photo Josh Staff

        Mark, I like the way you think! I would hate to see this body chopped up and your plan would give you the best of both worlds, as long as your alright with a modest amount of customization.

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  2. Avatar photo Charles

    This car should either be maintained in its as current state or restored to factory specs. I agree with RayT. If you want to build a hot rod aftermarket parts are readily available and one does not have to destroy an original car to build your dream car.

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  3. Avatar photo JW

    IMHO I have to say restore to original condition, then throw on your Clyde Barrow suit grab a lady named Bonnie lay your BAR next to you as you ride off in to the sunset.

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  4. Avatar photo Barzini

    I love the way it looks now, which took years to get that way. I hope it gets preserved.

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  5. Avatar photo Glen

    This looks too good to butcher into a rod.

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  6. Avatar photo DREW V.

    A new top, fix the worst of the rust and try to match the paint as best as possible,, give her a good cleaning and enjoy her just the way she is, No need for an engine swap or upgrade, this car is only original once…

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  7. Avatar photo Jason Houston

    I must agree, since you asked: if you can make a rubbish truck out of repro parts and fiberglass, do it. And some stupid idiot (like those of us who appreciates stuff kept in its factory state) can enjoy the way it was designed without destroying it permanently.

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  8. Avatar photo Olaf E

    I think make it safe to drive and preserve as is (like others above), but why not turn it into a hot rod?

    I believe that in some 20 or 30 years the demand for cars like this Model A will be decreased dramatically. Every coming generation will have his own memories of or favorite era of cars (and of course not only cars). Cars like this Model A wlll be left a future as museum ‘pieces’ or will be turned into hot rods or what ever rods. The same will happen with later cars, also with the muscle cars, the Spiders or the Healey’s.

    It’s 1 am overhere, so I will not continue with my next argument: that environmental issue which will be of greater influence for the future of the cars from the past and ‘now’ that we love so much, than any other aspect. Sorry, not my ideas!

    I hope all of you have had a great Thanksgiving. Glad that, as far I know, things went peacefully.

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  9. Avatar photo Chris in WNC


    few things equal the pleasure of long -distance touring in a stock model A .

    no mention in the auction of brake or steering repairs = almost 100% certainty that both will need some work.

    Flathead V8 would be a forgivable modification as long as stock wheels and mechanical brakes remain…..


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  10. Avatar photo Matt Tritt

    90% for restoration/preservation! Add my voice to the throng and save it, not thrash it. With every passing year A-Bones get scarcer and scarcer and will never be worth less and less….. but who cares? Keeping automotive history alive is really important and you can never go back after a bosy alteration.

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  11. Avatar photo The Walrus

    It’s neither rare nor well preserved. I agree with the general sentiment above that many of the old timers should be kept original… in cases where something is unique, rare or pristine. But A’s are plentiful. Tear it apart and cut it up all you want. Plenty of ’em already restored as original or abandoned projects attempting such. I can’t imagine any thinking enthusiast would lose any sleep over the fate of this one. Any car where you see a dozen examples, often identical, at a local car show is plentiful IMO. And these you’ll see that many or more. Their history is already preserved for future generations to totally ignore.

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  12. Avatar photo Mark S

    The problem with a car like this is if it can’t be made into something functional that can be used and enjoyed. than it gets put back in the barn to continue to disintegrate, the next generation isn’t even going to hot rod them there going to scrap them. I would hazard to guess that after the the 40 and older crowd is gone these things will (almost) all get scrapped including the nice ones. The trend of disinterest is already happening, grandpa dies and the family sells off his car collection often for a fraction of grandpa’s investment. If you think I’m wrong go to any high school class room and ask how many kids would like to spend time working on one of these old cars, if you get one Saturday out of them you’ll be doing good. Then they’ll spend half of it on there I phones. So what’s the answer, put them all in museums? How many thousands of museums that no one goes to do we really need. I apologize for sounding so negative but I can’t see how in 20 years it’s not going to go this way. End of rant I hope I’m wrong as I have an old car too.

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  13. Avatar photo erikj

    Well to Walrus,, I totally disagree with your thoughts. Ya they built a lot of these,but I don’t think Theres a lot left that are still original to the point of this one. Please make it safe tto drive and leave it alone after that. As many car shows that I have attended,when I see something like this ,not nice but original,I love it. Not to often you get to see that.Just put yourself in the seat and imagine all the others that have sat there and enjoyed that time. That’s special. If you want to rod one get the kits or find a shell of a real one and dissect into what you want. don’t mess with something as orig. as this.

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  14. Avatar photo Marty Member

    My two cents worth is that there are thousands of these that are already taken apart, half-finished, cut up or incomplete, that it seems unnecessary to do that to this one, a good street rod or rat rod build could be just as successful without destroying what’s original about this one.

    What’s not original about it, in addition to the seat covers, are what appears to be it’s Chevy headlights. The small hubcaps are supposed to be bright stainless steel, not painted black. It has a couple of optional items visible on it, the cowl lights, and the passenger side tail light.

    The Model A and Model T hopefully will always be among America’s favorites, but the Model A was really kind of outdated compared to the Chevrolet and other cars of the year, which had more upscale trim, better and larger overhead valve six cylinder engines with counterbalanced crankshafts, and more.

    I agree with the earlier comment that Generation Playstation has less than zero interest in this car, and I think that’s in either original or streetrod configuration, but still, my vote on this particular example, would be to preserve.

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  15. Avatar photo francisco

    There is a “Circle of Hell” in Dante’s Inferno for people who take vintage, running Model A’s and chop them up; and convert them into vile, disgusting, ugly, (and dangerous) pieces of crap. There is beauty, form, and utilitarian function in the original A. If I ever did anything to my ’30 pickup, I might shoehorn a period flat 8, and upgrade the brakes to hydraulic assist. But I’d keep and catalog all the original parts should I ever decide to make it original again.

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    • Avatar photo Mark S

      When I speek of restomods or any other customization I’m usually speaking in general terms and not necessarily a specific car I’ve always believed that there are some if possible that should be save as original. This little (A) is a good candidate. But that might not save it over the long haul. Remember the fact of the matter is the car was always considered by the manufacturers to be nothing more than a consumable. Metal, wood, glass, plastic, and rubber.

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  16. Avatar photo john

    I think an “oily rag” restoration and preservation would be the order of the day. Keep its rusty patina look. Give it the mechanical love it will need.

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  17. Avatar photo bcavileer

    Enough rodded crap already. Fiberglass is for boats… it is heavy and looks like s*&t.If you have metal skill, i will give you a pass. Otherwise it is always the same old story, ugly mods in glass hanging tenaciously onto an underestored chassis. Yuck. Ohh, it a big motor with chrome though. Please…

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    • Avatar photo Jeff DeWitt

      Fiberglass is fine for cars that were built that way, such as Avanti’s and lesser cars like the Corvette.

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