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Built In The 80’s: 1929 Model A Hot Rod

Model A Hot Rod

Some of you may be wondering what a modern looking custom like this is doing on the site, but hear me out. This Model A was built in the eighties and is basically what hot rods looked like when I was a kid! Hot rodding trends change over the years and personally I’m glad we have gone away from a few of the things found here. Still, this thing took me right back to little car show held in my hometown every summer and I’m sure it will make more than a few of you feel nostalgic. It’s in Thousand Oaks, California and is listed for sale here on eBay where bidding started at $1,500.

Upgraded Interior

Just checkout that interior! The steering wheel and dash came from a late model car. This really takes me back because the hot rod I drove to high school everyday had a similar setup. We are still not sure what car it came from, but the tilt column was really nice to have. The upholstery job here is classic. It may have been done by an upholstery shop or the owner’s wife… We will never know. The stained wood accents are a nice touch too! This was built back when people still fabricated things are home instead of ordering new stuff from catalogs.

Ford 302

Power is provided by a Ford 302 V8 and is feed to the 9 ” rear end through an automatic transmission. The Corvair front suspension is an interesting choice, but that is how things were done in the eighties. You could still go to a junkyard and pull things off whatever you found and fit it to the your hot rod. I have many fond memories walking those lanes looking for random bits for my machine. You could still attempt it today, but last time we went through the scrapyard all the rear ends and transmissions that you would want for a project like this were already gone – presumably pulled by someone who immediately listed them on eBay.

Lots of Chrome

The orange may not be for everyone, but it sure stands out in the crowd at that hometown car show! The chrome sided tire cover looks like something off a cruiser van and very well may be, but it looks good with the chrome smoothies and white letter tires. As much as I’d prefer something a bit more subtle, I hope that this one stays exactly how it is right now. People don’t build them like this anymore. Well, maybe some people do, but still…


  1. Gnrdude

    Definitely a Dated RIDE, but I’d Take it!!!

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  2. Dave Wright

    This one looks pretty civilized, tilt wheel, comfortable seats. Automatic transmission. I am a bit older but I remember A buckets with blown 500 HP small blocks, Hurst shifters, racing slicks, all built on original model A frames and no front brakes, ……..those were scary.

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  3. Rich

    Maybe I’d update the interior but I’d leave the rest as is. Nice car!!

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  4. Blueprint

    Tilt wheel and instrument panel taken from a Fox body Mustang or Capri. Me likes!

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  5. PackardMike

    Actually this is a 1930 model A. Had one for several years before going to a 40 Packard. It was fun for two people and some luggage.

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    • JW454

      Beware. PMike is correct. This is a 1930 model A. I had a 1931 in the 1980s. Once you’ve owned one, it’s easy to spot the small differences. If the title says 1929 there’s something wrong.

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  6. Mark S

    I think these old hot rods were cool I to would upgrade the interior grey leather seats and maybe rework they door panels. On the outside I’d redo the fenders in gloss black while leaving the body orange. The black would help tone it down a bit. Under the hood I’d replace the carberator with an aftermarket throttle body fuel injection complete with o2 sensor I believe Holley makes them. Next I’d change out the transmission for an overdrive auto trans. Finally I’d upgrade the steering, front suspension, and front brakes. Nice to see a survivor hot rod from the 80’s.

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  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    Some hot rods from years gone by have become icons. I think of the L’il Coffin, the Outlaw, and my favorite of all time: the Ala Kart. They have become as desirable as a restored original. Back then, there were lots of old cars to choose from and no one thought about running out of them. Today it’s almost to the point where a hot rodder has to sneak around lest he get accosted by a bunch of fanatical purists.

    I like this car especially because he kept the body lines original and went to the trouble of installing a Ford motor. I have always viewed an SBC, as adaptable as it is, as a belly button; everybody has one.

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  8. Francisco

    I usually hate hot rods with a passion. For some reason I’m strangely attracted to this one. Maybe it’s because the builder kept the original lines. I’d paint it black and try to source some spoked wire wheels.

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  9. JW

    I like this car and would leave as is to a tribute to early hot rodders, I especially like it’s powered by a Ford motor instead of the common SBC.

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  10. Bill

    Yes, it’s a 1930 Model A. An early 1930 because of the two piece splash aprons. I built a 1937 Oldsmobile in much the same way. Wrecking yard parts were used for the steering column, front seat and A/C components. No “cookie cutter” cars then! The Olds ended up in Rod And Custom magazine in March 1973 because it was different!

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  11. wildthang

    Obviously, this is not an original car. The body may be 1930 but the year goes by the frame number. It was built with the parts the builder had at the time. It should not an issue at this stage in the car’s life. Besides, the 1930 is much better looking body and I believe a little more roomy in the front floor area.

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  12. Mark Brechel

    Here’s a pic of my 31 Tudor. 1969 350 out of a 350 hp Corvette, ’69 Corvette IRS rear end, Mustang 2 front, 4 wheel discs, all steel, TCI custom chassis. Paint is a custom mix. Built in 1982 and I still take it to shows. This pic was taken about a month ago. I am 75 now and still have fun with it. Oh, I did put a front bumper on a couple of weeks ago just like the one in the article. Got it from Mikes Model A parts.

    Like 0

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