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Burnt Barn Rod: 1931 Ford Model A

1931 Ford Model A

I’m not sure why, but I find myself being more and more interested in what I’m calling “Barn Rods”. These aren’t the kind of hot rods that have brand new bodies and paint jobs that cost a small fortune, these are the kind of hot rods that you find in a barn and then build to drive and have fun in. This Model A hot rod’s story actually starts in a barn, which burned down around it and left it severally damaged. From there the previous owner and builder crafted it into the machine of their dreams. They did some serious work to this thing and boy does it look impressive! You can find this 302 powered hot rod here on eBay in Novato, California with a current bid of $10k.

1931 Ford Model A Interior

The builder owns and runs a fabrication shop, so they had the means and know how to build something like this. They didn’t set out to build a trailer queen, they wanted something fun to drive.

1931 Ford Model A Engine

As I’m sure we all know, everything is a little better with a V8! This Model A doesn’t have a flathead, instead it has a more modern 302, but with Hilborn mechanical fuel injection. It sounds fantastic and should keep you grinning at all times! If you’d like to see it in action or hear more about its story, /Drive did a feature on it that you can watch here on YouTube. It might not be a period correct hot rod, but I wouldn’t mind having this one in my driveway! How about you?


  1. MH

    Those are terrible. I hate those Frankensteiners. They wreck good cars!!!

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    • Josh Staff

      This one was already destroyed though MH. There usually isn’t coming back from a fire. The heat changes the metal and makes restoring a fire damaged car very difficult. While I would hate to see a Model A that’s in nice shape turned into a hot rod like this, ones that are super rusty or damaged beyond reasonable repair make great candidates for customization. This car would have probably been crushed, instead it’s on the road and putting a smiles on people’s faces!

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    • jaygryph

      Out of curiosity I’d love to see your build thread and what you’re driving.

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  2. RayT Member

    I know some of these are put together from piles of random leftover parts, and my purist sould doesn’t object to those at all! If the builder had gone around cutting up good cars to make this, I’d agree with MH. But there are so few pieces to this car, I feel pretty certain it was built from yard waste. And built pretty well, too!

    If the one current bid is genuine, someone thinks it’s worth $10K. Don’t know if I’d go that far, but would bet it took some hours to construct.

    Bonus points for a Ford engine in an old Ford! I’m pretty sure the injection system and mag. are worth a few bucks all by themselves.

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  3. Blindmarc

    Mechanical fi is a pain in the butt to adjust correctly.

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  4. Rick

    it still looks “severally” damaged if you ax me!

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  5. Dolphin Member

    Decades ago in the ’50s & ’60s or thereabouts, Hilborn (one ‘l’) F.I. was the hot setup for a naturally aspirated rod, especially for lakers. You used to see Hilborn setups at Bonneville and the dry lakes all the time.

    You can just look at it and tell why. No venturi needed to suck gas into a carb, so the flow of air into the engine was maximized. But reading between the lines it sounds like it’s not the most streetable rod you will find. Maybe that’s why you saw these mainly at Bonneville and the dry lakes.

    The listing has been ended after 2 bids made today of $10K and $13.5K, maybe for a higher offer. Or maybe the seller decided there was too much good stuff on the rod to let it go.

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  6. Rich

    The beauty of cars like these is that you can Enjoy it without fear of chips or dings. No stressing of leaving it at a parking lot or people scratching it at a show. Love it!

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  7. bc Member

    Isn’t this what you call a ratrod?

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  8. JW454

    Nice looking work on the build but, I just don’t get this type of car. I hear “Turns Heads” a lot… Well, people’s heads will turn to see something awful too. Just because people are looking doesn’t mean they like it.

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  9. grant

    Love that he kept it a Ford motor. This is cool.

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  10. ZMad

    Nice. Nothing wrong with rat rods. That’s where most spare and otherwise scrap parts end up. Creativity is key. See some pretty cool back yard engineering here. Love the FI… Here’s my 39 Olds. Body was rotting in a field. Yes those are Super Single semi truck tires and wheels on back. 445/45-22.5 10 lug. Ya know — spare parts… I bring this car and my Kellison X300GT to cruise ins. The 39 gets more attention for sure. I don’t really get it either…

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    • Terry

      You did a good job of explaining rats – and a better job on the ’39. Creativity is indeed key – and you did a fantastic job.

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    • Alan (Michigan)

      What are you using for power, ZMad?

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      • ZMad

        Got a lot of old Chevy parts around. Horsepower per $$ always seems to bring me back to a SBC. This is a 383 SBC. nothing special- Highlights: KB Claimer 150 dome pistons floated, new Blueprint crank, Lunati bootlegger cam, stock GM 882 iron heads, 650 Holley. TH350 with B&M Kit to GM 10 bolt limited slip 3.08 out of an old Trams Am hanging from fab trailing arms and genuine Kenworth air bags fresh off the truck. Got a small compressor in the trunk and a leveling valve off the big truck mounted under the dash. I’m sure the rear end is the weak link here trying to turn the tires, but thats what was lying out back. I had to fab the 10 lug to 5 lug wheel adapters. Pretty cool trick really as both the GM axle and the aluminum truck wheels are hub centric. 3/4″ thick by 14″ diam steel plate. Had to “tweak” the old Trans Am front clip a good bit to get it to drive good, had a bit of a caster issue with the giant tires out back. It actually came out pretty good. Between the big tires and low gears, cruise at 75 MPH pretty smooth @ about 2200 RPM…lol…
        Had many fun times building this one. Rats are fun in my opinion due to tolerances being maybe a little looser, and maybe a few tiny code violations along the way, and the challenge of making unlike parts work somewhat correctly fires me up. Not quite so serious as restoring yet another tri-5 Chevy to pristine condition. And in south GA we can run pretty much anything legally and cheaply…
        “Loosen up, grab a brew, and lets build a car”
        (sorry for rambling)…

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  11. Joe Muzy

    I don’t usually like rat rods but got to admit Zmad yours is a work of art

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  12. Fast Eddie/Old Eddie: take your pick!

    Kinda cute; watched the video, am not a big fan of sucking dirt & dust through into an unfiltered engine. Wonder what the owner thought?

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  13. Doc

    “Rats”are an interesting breed. At first I was turned off by ’em, but the more I see the better I like! The builders are in most cases, very creative. I wanna know, where do they find the stuff they put on these cars? Like the Dash, how cool is that? The gear shift? An old parking brake off of something or another..There is a guy in my town that built an incredibly well engineered Rat that is faster than heck. hooks up and goes in a straight line, and stops! Fast! Most are light weight and make a lot of uncorked noise, which I like! So do’t be to quick to judge..Keep an open mind. I once saw a ford I liked, so there..

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  14. Paul R

    Hilborn makes an EFI conversion for the old mechanical injection systems that is street friendly. The mechanical setup is terrible to run on the street.
    Its a crude design, the injector nozzles are nothing more than an 1/8 inch copper pipe and no idle circuit.
    I ran several drag cars on alcohol with Hilborn injection.

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  15. Chris

    This car is literally around the corner from my work, out in front of a shop called Alfa Guys. There’s a for sale sign stuck to it, asking $22k.

    Looks like a fun way to die.

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  16. Chris

    …and here it sat a couple of weeks ago.

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  17. MikeK

    I feel like I need a shot just from looking at it.

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  18. Kenny York Sr.

    I just finished this…till I get somemore $$!

    Like 0

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