From A To Barn Find: 1930 Model A Ford

By Jeff Bennett

Here at Barn Finds, we love Model A Fords.  They are plentiful, simple to work on, easy to get parts for, every model looks good, and they are about the oldest vehicle commonly found that you can drive in modern traffic (after prayer).  From coupes to phaetons to victorias, every Model A looked like it was designed and built by a custom coach builder.  When found today, some of them need a little spit and polish before they return to the beauty of their youth.  This one, found by the relentless Rocco B., who makes my job a lot easier by finding a number of the cool cars I get to write about, will need a lot of spit and polish.  Maybe a lot of Bondo, paint, and clear coat as well!  Found on Craigslist in Kingston, New York, this 1930 Model A coupe is a legitimate barn find.  The price, a not too out of the ball park $7600, can put you in a running and driving Model A for not a lot of money.

When looking at this one, you have to bear in mind a few things.  First, this one has lived in a barn, or so the seller says, for 35 plus years.  Model As were popular as restoration projects then, as many of the people who grew up around them were in their peak earning years.  They were used cars for a very long time, and a lot of old timers have stories about buying them cheap as teenagers and doing what teenagers do to cars.  It is not a coincidence that teenagers are usually the last stop before the junkyard.  This Model A has that last stop before the junkyard look.  The whole thing looks to be coated in grey primer, the running boards look cobbled together, and the roof insert has been replaced with sheet tin and screws.  My guess is that it probably was kept around as a secondary car as long as it ran, and was luckily stashed in a barn rather than being left unceremoniously in a field.  This used car got lucky.

The sad part of this story is that both Model As are on the downward slide in price, and you can get a coupe in much better condition for around $13,000 on EBay.  Most of these EBay Model As are old restorations that are inherited from the original restorer.  Most of the new owners have no idea how to drive or even start a Model A, and don’t have the mechanical abilities to fix them.  So, they are sold off on EBay to an ever shrinking pool of people who know what Babbitt is.  I have tried to sing the praises of prewar cars on these cyber pages, but I often feel that my pleas fall on deaf ears.  A car like this may be used as it is, after I am sure a few mechanical repairs, but it would take a fair amount of money to restore it to perfection.  Sadly, my guess is that if you add the restoration price to the asking price, a first time owner would be better off going the EBay route.

However, my hope is that this is a deceptively solid car, and all the parts are there and useable.  If the owner would give a little on the price, I could see this one going to a Model A enthusiast long on enthusiasm but a little short on cash.  Even if they only tinkered with it, and improved it when they could, this would give the car a caretaker.  Sometimes, that is all we can expect until things improve.

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Comments

  1. Blyndgesser

    At $4,000 this would be a nice buy. At nearly twice that, I would expect a more solid body.

    7+
    • Robert Frasher

      I agree

      2+
  2. Rex Kahrs

    More photos please, they’re free on CL.

    4+
  3. Darrel

    I’m wondering what the passenger side is hiding….

    5+
  4. Rock On

    I don’t see this one being restored back to stock. It will probably get made into a hot rod. All of leftover pieces like the engine, transmission, fenders and frame will be sold off to help fund the project.

    11+
    • Blyndgesser

      That wouldn’t be a terrible fate for a car that’s as compromised as this one appears to be. Engine and transmission could be easily swapped out for a Mercruiser 3.0 with a Saginaw 4-speed for sleeper/banger appeal, or dig up a flathead V8 and the ever-popular-in-period LaSalle gearbox if you’re part of the HAMB crowd. Add hydraulic brakes from a ’39 Ford (or something newer from Wilwood) and you’ve got a neat little machine.

      5+
  5. Will Owen

    I have a copy somewhere of a Popular Mechanix magazine from the ’50s, featuring an article about why a nice Model A (commonly a $200 or so car then) is the perfect city car/commuter. I have noticed since moving here to Pasadena that although all the A’s might not be daily drivers, some do get used as grocery runners/Saturday Farmers Market cars. And after having followed a very crusty Model T, still being used as a work truck, up Orange Grove a few months back, I don’t doubt that there may well be a DD Model A around here somewhere.

    3+
  6. Graywolf

    Cannot find an easier car to work on! Plenty of repro parts and books to help out. Good project for father and son.

    3+
  7. Karguy James

    Too bad they sprayed that rattle can primer all over most of it. It probably would have brought a lot more if they left it alone and didn’t “improve” it.

    1+
  8. Larry K

    I hope to own one before to long. And yes I would hot rod it. Nothing crazy though.

    0
  9. carsofchaos

    This one has been on our local CL for quite some time. Meaning = over priced.

    0
  10. Dan B.

    Sorry, the market for these is tanking. I love the Model A. We had one for forty years in our family. It was our sole car in the 1970s.

    That said – supply is high and demand is low. Breaks my heart, but that’s life. There are a ton of these sitting in garages all across the country. Way overpriced.

    0
  11. YooperMike

    Holy waah, back in the early 60’s we were buying Model A’s for as low as $25.00. Running, poor shape but for a 16 year old,it was the best I could have ever asked for. Bought many and sold thru Hemmings when it was about ten pages long.

    0

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