Basic Hauler: 1930 Ford Model A Pickup

The second mass-produced car from Ford Motor Company, the Model A was a great success and became the car of choice for the average driver in the late 20s and early 30s. Much like the Model T, the Model A was both an affordable and reliable vehicle that was popular even after production ceased, and still is today among collectors. Available in many configurations, the Model A truck was the smart choice for most working men. This particular Model A was parked in the seller’s barn for several years, but there is no mention of where it was previously. Find it here on eBay in Minnesota with bidding at $5,140 and no reserve.

For power, the Model A came equipped with a 201 cubic inch Ford inline four cylinder engine. That is precisely what is in place under the hood of this truck. Compared to the 20 horsepower 177 cubic inch engine of the Model T, this 40 horsepower engine made for much more practical use. The Model A is capable of closer to 65MPH, while the Model T was only capable of 35-40MPH. This engine is hooked up to a three speed manual transmission that is much more like the manuals we are used to seeing today, while the Model T had a completely unique system.

The interior of this truck isn’t too bad, but it has certainly seen better days. According to the ad, the side and back glass is all missing so it is just as well it has been kept indoors. Henry Ford was known for no-frills designs and preferring functionality over vanity. This interior is no exception, as it does nothing but function. All this Model A has for gauges is a fuel gauge, speedometer, and an amp meter. There is no radio, air conditioning (or heat!), or anything that doesn’t serve a good and functional purpose.

The seller includes two rear fenders to be used as patch or replacement panels, and has already replaced the front fenders as evidently the originals were not too nice. There are some other rust issues, but the seller has addressed the front fenders, running boards, and bed sills. From the ad, “The drivers door does not want to stay latched all the time and the radiator has a drip coming out of the bottom of the top tank.” This truck is also missing the lighting harness and the horn. This truck will need some love, and in my opinion it would be a great candidate for a full restoration though the seller thinks the paint and patina have good character. Would you fix what is needed and drive it as it is? Or use it as a solid starting point for that perfect Model A truck you’ve been wanting to build?


  1. ronebee

    i like it!

    Like 1
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    Great project! They don’t come much better than this. Full restoration for sure. If you want a little more speed, use a B-motor with full pressure lube. The latest version of that has a counterweighted crankshaft. There’s a guy in our club who started with a frame, a cab, doors and an engine. It took him three or four years, plus lots of scrounging and swap meets but he ended up with a real sweet ride, and on a pretty good budget. I think before I quit I’m going to have to get a Model A pickup to play with….

  3. Joe Haska

    The biggest drawback to these little pick-ups, I have seen many times over the years, is the owner discovers, usually after buying or building It, is “How small it really is”.
    The cab is so small and cramped, that even if it could, or you wanted to take a long drive, its extremely un-comfortable, even for an average sized person. All early Fords are all small, but with the pick-ups are they are the worst, there is just no adjustment to the rear!

    Like 1

      1/4 mile at a time

  4. Matt

    Yes please, I’ve got a Home for it

  5. steve

    I would leave the exterior as is but take care of mechanical and interior and drive it.

  6. Terry J

    The gas gauge was just a float that was in the cowl fuel tank which was connected to the gauge. Didn’t need a fuel pump, just gravity flow. As with the Model T the A was very basic so there was a HUGE aftermarket for it. One popular addition was a “Manifold” heater. The bell shaped end was forward, and fan driven hot air would be ducted into the cab, along with noise and fumes. HOT air though. :-) Terry J

    Like 1
  7. Fred W.

    Very important not to have a leak in your manifold gaskets with this type heater, or you’ll soon be six feet under. Early Corvairs had an equally dangerous heater that, unlike VW, had no heat exchanger.

  8. Mark S

    Not a fan of rustina, rust is the slow oxidation of metal. When you cut with an oxy/acc torch what is occurring is rapid oxidation. Paint’s first and most important job is to protect the metal from slow oxidation, the fact that it comes in different colours is a side benefit. So patina covered cars are as far as I’m concerned are still on the fast track to the bone yard and ultimately the cruncher. So when you leave ahistorical old truck like this in bare metal your doing it no favours.

    Like 1

    I see a gasser sitting there

  10. Larry G. Bishop

    I’d like to park it out front at my grandfather’s farm in rural Kentucky. I’d sit on the porch and watch people try to drive by without staring at it. A couple whiskey barrels in the bed and I’d be done.

  11. Mike Mayhew

    I would start and make it a daily driver new engine disc breaks air and power steering and paint it a deep Marin and have all the chrome brass plated

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