Engine Choice? 1930 Ford Model A Coupe

It’s hard to believe how successful Ford Motor Company was in the early-1900s. The Model T was such a runaway success that it was truly life-changing for a few million people who bought their first gas-powered car. This 1930 Ford Model A Coupe is one that represented the next car in line for Ford, the Model A, or A-Model. This one is listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $6,250, or you can make an offer. It’s located in beautiful Tucson, Arizona, where I should have moved after high school (not bitter).

Every time I see a car like this I think of (fake) TV reality shows. It’s a rare, rare person these days who would buy this car and restore it back to original specs. With almost five-million Model A Fords sold between 1927 and early-1932 it seems like there would be more than enough of them left to mess with, but they’re still rare, especially this model.

The body on this car looks very good for being almost nine decades old. The seller says that it was owned by one family for 60 years! They say that there “is one spot of rust on the drivers side, lower quarter panel.  The rest of the body, is virtually rust free.”

Does this car have an engine?! They don’t mention one at all in the ad and it sure doesn’t look like it in this photo, maybe that’s how the price is staying semi-low and it isn’t sold yet? Hmm.. interesting development. There should have been a 201 cubic-inch inline-four with around 40 hp. The only hint at there not being an engine, other than the next photo of the interior, is when the seller says, “I’ve been around hot rods all my life, & you don’t find bodies this nice.”

And, this interior photo confirms it: no engine! That’s unfortunate, but we all know that there’ll be a V8 in there in this car’s next life. Hopefully a Ford V8, but who knows. Prices are all over the map for these cars, from a few thousand for an engineless project Coupe like this one to double this price for a nice tudor sedan to ten times or more this price for a restomod with a modern drivetrain, vintage AC, a custom interior, and all the goodies. Is this one reasonably priced given its body style, condition, and not having an engine?

Fast Finds


  1. Joe Haska

    Its too bad but I don’t see 6K plus here, its also sad that the demand for model A’s is also not very high, thus you can buy allot of nice cars between 5& 10 grand. Its not uncommon to see someone buy a nice complete running stock model A, and make a nice Hot Rod, Its cheaper than starting out with pieces or an incomplete car. Paint, body work, interior its all done, and everything you want can be ordered out of catalogs. Not a bad way to go depending on your talent and size of your checkbook.

    • Jason

      Very true… i paid 9k for my running driving 31′ clean start for my hot rod project.

      • Doc

        It’s absolutely criminal that you would destroy such a nice, 86 year old car to make a hot rod. Shameful.

        The rusty POS in the ad is a different matter entirely.

    • Carl

      Yeah, not that complete for a 6 grand tag. The transmission seems to be there.

      The wheels are Ford, but clearly not the 19″” wires that should be there.

      Oh, the bumpers seem to have departed….
      2500 perhaps??

      I still might have an a part or two that survived my “hot rod”

  2. Rock On Member

    Definitely needs a Chevrolet 409 or a Buick nailhead in it.

  3. Don

    A rat rod with a Detroit diesel , well maybe not , I hate them things 🔧

    • Jerry HW Brentnell

      better idea! get a pair of harley v twins hook them together and you got a real head turner to power this!

  4. Blyndgesser

    A Mercruiser four cylinder would look period enough, and still provide 3x the stock hp.

    • grant

      Why would you put a boat motor in it?

  5. Royal Ricci

    I would drop a rotary motor from an RX7 and manual gearbox and make it look stock for the most part except for the wheels and brakes of course.

  6. DAN
    • Scotty Staff

      Oh oh, what’d I do, Dan?
      “Model A production ended in March, 1932..” according to that page.

  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    I used to see a lot of these hot-rodded. The order of the day was to drop in a flathead V8 or an SBC. My idea of resto-mod is to get a ‘B’ motor, install a balanced crankshaft, add a few goodies, 16 inch wheels, and do a driver restoration. Above all, have a good time with it.

  8. Ed P

    Nice restorable body. A modern 4 would provide more power and allow for a few modern comforts. The big question is the existing drive train. It was built for a 40 hp motor, not the power of a modern engine.

  9. Jimbot

    Does it have an engine? That’s a dumb question.. you can see very clearly it does not right through the front radiator and side panels.. neat car tho, it’ll sell at close to this price. Needs a flathead.

  10. Drew V

    The logical choice for an engine swap would be a Lincoln V-12 then paint the body red and cruise the strip with the stereo blasting Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen singing “Hot Rod Lincoln”…

    • Sign Guy

      “it’s got 8 cylinders, uses ’em all….”

      • Jim

        Got overdrive and just won’t stall

  11. Tim M

    For me it would be 100 % all Ford. 302 or 351 sitting on a modern chassis.

  12. Mike Williams

    Build it period and race at the beach with TROG beach racing

    • Jug

      Yours is the only comment that makes sense…..also too many things wrong with this supposedly stock Model A—-won’t bore you with all the details–would take too long. Just look at gearshift lever, headlights, ’36 Ford rims on rear, God knows what on front……etc. Somebody has played with this over the years,which is fine….just don’t claim it’s original.

  13. Jeffro

    Eco-boost 4 cylinder with a 5 spd.

  14. RJ

    I saw this interesting power plant in a T bucket at a car show a few years back.

    • JW454


      That 3.8 S/C motor in a “T” bucket would be a screamer. I had the same motor in a ’90’s Gran Prix. It was extremely fast car and it was pulling about 2.5 times the weight as this is. All I can say is WOW!

  15. Marshall

    Any way you cut it, this piece of work is a projectmobile,… Big-time!
    If I were to spend six grand plus on an ancientmobile, it would not be this.

  16. Joe Backer

    Smaller size Tesla motor. Should fly…

  17. Chris A.

    A period hot rod with a modern 4/5 speed behind a Charlie Yap 5 bearing block and Riley head. See Secrets of Speed, the”A” hop up quarterly.

    • Carl

      Cummins 12 valve for men only !!! or that is what some You tube guy professes.

  18. Jug

    One of the only comments I agree with. A few years ago my uncle put one of Charlie Yap’s ‘Lizard Head’ on the Model T speedster he was building. He put a Riley conversion in his Model A Speedster in addition to fabricating dual exhausts be combining two original Model A exhaust manifolds.

    • Carl Hutchins

      Way back when I read Charlie yapp’s stuff SOS!!!!

      he got irked when I switched from building my car with ah ot B to ahot V8!!!

      “lost my way” according to Charlie!!!

  19. Jug

    As Charlie says. ‘Fourtiude.yyy


    Can you say Gasser

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