Argentinian Import: 1931 Ford Model A Phaeton Convertible

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While it was initially listed as a 1931 model, the owner of this Model A Phaeton has gone to some considerable trouble to explain that it is actually a 1930 model, but has been titled as a 1931 model. Originally sold in Argentina, this car found its way back to the USA in the early 1980s. It has been sitting in a shed ever since and is now looking for a new home. Located in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, it is listed for sale here on eBay.

This Phaeton is a solid car, and there is no reason why the car couldn’t be revived, and be driven with the panels and paint exactly as they are. The paint isn’t original, as the car has undergone a repaint at some point in its life. The top looks to be in fair condition, but as it hasn’t been down for several decades, it may not take kindly to that if it were lowered now. The rest of the car looks to be complete, and there are no signs of any major rust issues.

The interior is complete, but it does look both dusty and crusty. Having said that, the seat upholstery doesn’t look like it has deteriorated beyond salvage, although there are some repairs that will need to be made. Repair these areas and give the seats a good clean and condition, and I think that they’d look pretty good. The same goes for the rest of the interior, and if the new owner just wanted to revive the car and not take on a full restoration, then this might be the path to follow. One thing that some people may find difficult to adapt to is the fact that the Ford is right-hand drive. Don’t be put off by this, because having driven both left and right-hand drive vehicles myself, adapting isn’t actually that hard.

The news isn’t quite so good under the hood. The car still has its original engine and transmission, but all isn’t well under there. The engine turns freely, but the owner says that it only has compression on one cylinder, so it sounds like a rebuild is on the cards. The engine also doesn’t wear its original carburetor, as this was replaced at some point in the car’s life. The manifold has been plugged where the original up-draft carburetor mounted, and a down-draft has been installed. If the new owner wanted to this could be changed, as intake manifolds and correct carburetors are not hard to source.

If you were to buy this Model A, would you restore it, or would you revive it and drive it as it is? The current owner had intended to follow the latter path, but other projects have gotten in the way, which is why he has chosen to sell it. I admire people who make this sort of decision, as it would be so easy to let the car sit and decay for another few decades, and that would be a shame. At the time of writing, bidding has reached $7,600, but the reserve has not been met. It will be interesting to see what this finally sells for.

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  1. Fred W

    Compression problem could be as simple as stuck valves. Converting to LHD might not be that big of a deal- dash is symmetrical and gauges, speedo are in center. Move column to left side and change linkage. Looks like an easy fix up to me!

    Like 3
    • Al

      Or you can leave it the way it is so that you can use it on a newspaper or private mail route.

      Like 6
  2. luke arnott

    Argentina used to drive on the left,hence RHD.A lot of the stuff coming out of South America has been messed about,so beware!

    Like 0
  3. Kenneth Carney

    Last time I saw one of these was 10 years ago or more at a doctors office in
    Winter Haven. That one was wearing a
    coat of black primer but looked good
    from what I saw. The top and seats
    looked to be in good shape and the body
    had no signs of rust. I wanted to stick
    around to hear it run, but Mom was
    finished there and it was time for us to
    go. I’ve always wondered about that car
    As I haven’t seen it since. This one is
    very nice for an 88 year old car and won’t
    take much to get it driving again. Wonder
    If this could be the same one I saw on
    YouTube a few years back. If it is, then
    it’s gone downhill since then.

    Like 2
  4. JerryDeeWrench

    Your right about the stuck valves remove valve cover spray valve stems with WD 40 use screw driver to pop caves down. Fill cylinders with Atf let set for a couple of days than turn engine over while watching valve action.

    Like 1
  5. Brakeservo

    Right Hand Drive is NO BIG DEAL – whenever someone sees my car and exclaims “Oh, I could NEVER drive a car like that!” I think silently,”Well, then you shouldn’t drive a LHD either as there’s no difference. Simply stop when the light turns red, go when it’s green and keep within 10 mph of the speed limit and you should be ok!”

    Like 2
    • luke arnott

      Agree! I’ve driven LHD vehicles on the left for 40 years no problem,

      Like 1
  6. Mitch RossMember

    There’s an old Italian guy in Buenos Aires that just retired from testing 1930s Ford’s. He has a 2 floor shop full of parts and a couple of cars. He wanted to get rid of everything when I was there last year. Don’t Know if he did but if someone is interested, I’m sure it would be worth filling a container.

    Like 1

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