Cosworth-Powered? 1929 Ford Model A

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If stock Model A Fords are not your thing, stick around a minute! Henry Ford purists, on the other hand, may wish to move along; your world is about to be rocked by this stock-looking “A”. Not many factory-appearing Model A Fords are featured in Hot Rod Magazine, but this one wears the title of “hot rod” with pleasure. You might call it a sleeper, too, as it certainly hits above its weight with a custom chassis and a high-winding Cosworth racing motor. Cosworth and Ford go way back, so this crazy build stays within the extended family. This one’s not for sale, and you’re unlikely to find another unless you build it yourself, but you can read the story of how this one came to be here on HotRod.

If you remember the days when a Ford Escort Rally car could do 0-60 in four seconds… on gravel… and shared virtually nothing with a road-going version, you’ve probably heard of Cosworth. This rally-spec inline four-cylinder winds to 9,000 RPM while producing 242 HP according to TheDrive. The five-speed gearbox provides a modern experience as well. This amazing project came to life at Mäkelä Auto-Tuning Oy (Ltd) in Finland, where their web site offers 200 pictures of the project’s transformation. Beginning with a stock ’29, MAT fabricated one super-unique ride. Shame on anyone who thinks the donor car’s Henry Ford steel should have become another perfectly stock antique because there are already plenty available for reference. Here’s a vintage Ford with the fire to ignite an upcoming generation’s interest in pre-war classics.

The frame takes elements and inspiration from the original Ford design. Though visually subtle, the upgrades easily surprise drivers who see anything from the 1920s as antiquated technology, i.e. most inhabitants of planet Earth. Before you disregard this funky Ford as an overpowered death trap, remember that MAT works almost exclusively on racing cars including Ferrari. Check out MAT’s video of the Ford in action. The sound of the screaming Cosworth four is definitely worth the visit.

The vintage wool upholstery look contributes additional shock value, and you can bet that delicate throttle pedal wasn’t worn shiny in holiday parades. Carrying the vintage theme throughout the interior makes the perfect approach. Why break the car’s magic spell with an interior looking like a stripped-down modern race car? Brilliant!

The Simpson racing belts make the perfect over-the-top statement on the throw-pillow interior. Years ago I had similar belts in a ’66 Dodge Coronet prepared for the Silver State Classic Challenge. We joked about getting pulled over for speeding:  the trooper walks up and you’re secured by racing belts and wearing a full face helmet. You calmly turn and ask “Is there a problem, officer?”

We can’t say goodbye to this hot rod Ford without commenting on the 19-inch aluminum spoke wheels with hand-painted wood grain. They maintain a truly vintage look, and in fact, 19 and 21-inch wheels were fitted to the Model A as original equipment. Only early car experts will immediately recognize them as unusual. A cornerstone in the foundation of hot-rodding, ’20s and ’30s Fords have been built and rebuilt in every way, but this 21st-Century build puts a truly unique spin on the idea. Whether you call it a hot rod, or a custom, or a resto-mod, this Ford certainly represents a high level of craftsmanship and vision. Would you change anything about this crazy Model A?

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  1. That Guy

    This might be my favorite hot rod build of all time. What a magnificent car.

    Like 41
    • bry593

      Definitely my kind of build!

      Like 7
      • bry593

        Perfect for bootlegging! Bonnie and Clyde would have been all over this one.

        Like 11
  2. Derek

    No. That’s ace. Equally impressive that they’ve managed to arrange a suitable registration!

    As an aside, there are – relatively, for Europe – quite a lot of American cars in Finland. Pre-EU, I think that there was some sort of trade deal whereby there was some sort of tax break. I can’t remember, and it’s too late in the evening to phone my pal in Oulu.

    Like 4
  3. Mitchell GildeaMember

    Someone should take this and do a what-if 1930s RS-version

    Like 3
  4. Frankly

    It’s so ridiculous that I love it. I would assume 242 horsepower vs. three-inch pizza-slicer tires is quite a display of sound and fury until one of them goes pop. Might as well drop a Hellcat Hemi in your mobility scooter.

    Like 5
    • James HGF

      Uh…no. They are 5.00 x 19 5-stud Dunlop Racing tyres or tires if you prefer. “The Size 5.00 x 19 is a pretty common size among vintage racing cars.” Bugatti’s types 51s and 43s used the 5.00 x 19 size tire. They’re not inexpensive.

      Makela Auto Tuning’s drawings show these “model A” one piece alloy wheels were designed with the proper rim width for the 5.00 x 19 tires.×19-5-stud-dunlop-racing.html

      Like 9
    • Mitchell GildeaMember

      Tbh I wouldn’t mind a Hellcat-swapped mobility scooter

      Like 2
  5. Roger Jones

    Very fine looking the period insides, even the dash is correct 1929 oval. Speed-O.. my 1929 Model A has Bcam n chopped n balance flywheel..goes fast enough for Me

    Like 4
  6. Shaun Harris

    Check it out. I believe this is the same vehicle.
    13 years ago…

    Like 2
  7. Charles Sawka

    Pretty much perfect. I’d love to have that engine for my MkI Escort

    Like 1
    • Dickie F.

      I remember reading about this car after it was built for a famous works rally driver.

      They even had the BDA return to a rough put put idle, so it sounded authentic.

      It was not only built for show, driven in anger it could handle very well.

      Like 4

    Why is this on here if it’s not for sale????????

    Like 4
    • David Frank David FrankMember

      …or a barn find or a survivor. It’s fun though to imagine that a Model A that looks a little like mine could be a sleeper like this. But on wooden spokes?
      ERROR: File you upload must be valid file type (jpg, gif), and under 8MB!
      It’s sad I can’t upload a photo of my stock Model A for comparison, even if it is a jpg and less than 2 MB.

      Like 3
    • Phlathead Phil

      Because this site is not named: “Barn Sales?”

      I would imagine the owners of this page reserve certain rights.

      Therefore, they can publish anything they want!

      Like 1
  9. Bruce Hughes

    This would have been a great car to run moonshine with!

    Like 2
  10. Riffraff

    This is NOT stock looking, as the model A never had wood spoked wheels. I like the engine up grade though.

    Like 2
    • z1rider

      You are correct, but accessory wood wheels were available for the Model A back then.

      In this case I approve of the faux wood wheels as it adds to the sleeper status of this cool ride.

      Like 5
  11. z1rider

    The license plate provides a hint at the very un-Model A sound. And what does BDA stand for in Cosworth parlance? Belt Drive Anglia. That engine dates back to the OHV engine (a.k.a. Kent) introduced by Ford in 1959 for the Anglia, which replaced the long serving 1000 CC flathead Ford had used in England since 1933.

    The Kent engine would provide the basis for the Lotus twin cam engine used in the Lotus Cortina and Elan. Also, as stated the BDA, and even the Cosworth DFV, which was essentially a marriage of two 4 cylinder engines into a v-8, running a flat crank no less. The DFV would go on to make history as the winningest F1 engine of all time

    Like 4
  12. PAW

    The car belongs to Juha Kankkunen and resides in his collection at his ranch

    Like 3
  13. BrianT BrianMember

    I love the video. The whole project is very nice. I want one.

    Like 1
  14. Ron

    I remember reading about this and seeing it on an automotive TV show shortly after it was completed. It is for sure a one-of-a-kind build.

    Like 1
  15. Joe Haska

    For Sale or not, I am glad you featured it. I pride myself in thinking, I know just about everything going on in the world, of early Ford Hot Rods. Yet, I have never seen this car. From the 1st look at the picture , I knew something was way different about this supposedly, stock looking Model A. What a surprise, I have never seen an early Ford with anything close to the subtle mods on this build, it is outstanding on every level, engineering, functionality, creativity, craftsmanship or just about any other description, you can come up with. I would love to see this car in person and better yet get a ride in it, I am blown away!

    Like 0
  16. Kenn

    Only thing I would change is the owner. To me!

    Like 0

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