EXCLUSIVE: 1928 Ford Model A Hot Rod

Update – A deposit has been received from Barn Finds reader Ted. He plans to pick it up this weekend. If priced right, BF Exclusives sell quick!

This Model A has been hanging around our shop for a while now. It’s just so cool to look at that it’s been really hard to let go. We bought another car that we just couldn’t pass up though and now our shop is bursting at the seams! Anyway, we have sourced a very nice flathead V8 that goes with the car so the next owner can decide if they want to go the banger or hot rod route. Either way, the depression era wooden pickup bed should stay because it adds a ton of character!

This jalopy came from Eastern Idaho farm country. The previous owner claimed that they found it in a barn where it had been stored for a couple of decades. Before that, an old farmer had removed the trunk lid and installed a wooden pickup bed. At first, we thought the bed needed to go, but the more we looked at it, the more we loved it. The tailgate appears to have come from an old wagon! As strange as this setup may seem today, this was actually a common mod during the great depression when people couldn’t buy new trucks.

Someone had obviously tried to get the engine running again at some point because it had a new coil and ignition installed. The car also had some loose vinyl on the roof and some upholstery fabric and foam installed on the seats. We ripped all that off and started cleaning things up. There is some rust along the bottom sides of the car, but the inner rails are surprisingly solid. We treated all the exposed metal with rust converter to hopefully stop any further corrosion. After throwing some brown vinyl on the original bench seat, the interior looked much better!

The old tires were toast, so we hunted around for some Model B ’35 rims. They weren’t easy to find, but these rims are smaller and wider than the A’s so this was a common hot rodder trick. We painted them black and wrapped them up in some classic looking rubber from Coker tire. That helped the stance and gave the car a much meaner look! We figured this is what a traditional hot rod would look like it if was built in Eastern Idaho. Haul hay during the week. Haul ass on the weekend!

After changing the oil, we added some fuel to the gravity feed fuel tank. It didn’t fill the filter bowl with debris so we went ahead and fired her up. Someone had removed the choke so some careful finger adjusting produced a nice idle. We were even able to put it into gear and get it to move forward and back. The mechanical brakes seem to work fine, but we didn’t have enough courage to take her out on the open road. Well, that and there’s a large gash in the radiator where a previous start attempt must have caused some damage.

We didn’t worry much about all that though because we have this sitting in the corner! It’s a ’39 flathead with the desireable double detent transmission and swan shifter. This is the hot setup for traditional hot rod builds and ours came out of a running vehicle so we figured it wouldn’t take much to get it going again. One would just need to bolt in a new k-member, pedal assembly, and radiator. We will probably regret not trying, but we just scored another type of hot rod that needs our full attention.

The car is located in Boise, Idaho and we’d like to get $5,000. The car has a clear title and the flathead and a set of original rims are included in the sale. Shipping will be the responsibility of the buyer and we prefer wire transfer for payment. Please feel free to contact me via email here with any questions or if you’d like to commit. This one is hard to let go, but we know it will make a good project for the next owner!


WANTED 1976-1980 Plymouth volare Looking for Dodge Aspen / Plymouth Volare donor car with good sheet metal for parts for my project Contact

WANTED 1986 – 1987 Chevrolet El Camino SS or Choo Choo Mint low mileage car , prefer white Contact

WANTED 66-72 Chevrolet chevelle no 4dr Contact

WANTED 1970 Dodge Super Bee 4 speed, coupe preferred but nego., 383 or 440. Willing to pick up in lower 48. Contact

WANTED 1970-1978 Datsun 240z 260z 280z Hello, I’m looking to buy a datsun z car from 1970-1978, project condition or nicer car considered Contact

Submit Your Want Ad


  1. Dusty Stalz

    I’d take this over a Rolls Royce every day of the week lol. The first thing I’d change after the engine is I’d get rid of that ugly (IMO) bed.

    Like 11
    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      I think if you saw it in person, you’d change your mind about the bed. It needs new wood on the floor of the bed, but honestly, it looks awesome in there. Go to any car show and you’ll see tons of shiny Model As, but I guarantee you wouldn’t find another one there with a 100+ year old bed in the back!

      But hey, we all have different tastes! It’s easier to take the bed out than it would be to recreate it.

      Like 3
    • tompepper

      I’m old enough to remember these conversions. All the iron looks to be there. I would rebuild it with new wood and varnish it.

      Like 2
  2. ghalperin Glenn Halperin Member

    I like the ugly bed. It makes it different, which is cool. Installing the Flathead isn’t quite as simple as the article makes it appear. If the banger isn’t making weird noises, I’d go through all the mechanicals and run it.

    Like 6
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      The AV8 was a common swap back in the day and is well documented. You can buy new k-members and pedal assemblies. It needs a new radiator anyway, so that would get upgraded too. Please explain why you think it wouldn’t be a simple job.

      Like 2
      • ghalperin Glenn Halperin Member

        I have a 29 Roadster that I built as a pre-war hot rod. It has a diamond block banger motor, 6 volt positive ground and mechanical brakes, but I also have a flat head and a 39 tranny sitting in my shop and I’m on the fence on turning it into an AV8. To install it, I’d need: 32 style K member either modified original or aftermarket (remove the body for that install). A 32 wishbone or split the stock one and make mounts for the frame. Modify the radiator for dual outlets and inlets. Front motor mounts bolted to the frame. A pedal assembly to either keep the mechanical brakes or a different setup to allow conversion to juice brakes (another can of worms altogether). The drive shaft and housing both will need to be shortened in order to move the engine back, to keep the fan out of the radiator. Maybe swap the rear end for a stronger V8 model banjo that has the extra pinion bearing carrier. The steering box either needs to be modified with a different flange or replaced with one to allow room for the exhaust manifold. Ford F1 and F100 steering boxes are common mods, that will allow the headlight switch and horn button to remain original, if not, those need to be accounted for, along with wiring. It’ll need an ignition switch and/or a started button and wiring. The gas pedal will also need replacement for one that mounts on the firewall. Another question is; keep the stock gas tank or use something else. I have a rumble seat and use it, so I’d keep the stock tank. Then there’s the exhaust, it’s a hot rod so it needs headers and something out the back. It’s definitely doable, just not so simple, if you do it so that its safe and period correct.

        Like 9
  3. ghalperin Glenn Member

    Those 16” wheels are from 1935. Model B wheels are 18” from 1932.

    Like 2
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Thanks for catching that Glenn.

  4. Chris Fischer

    Very cool! I have an old coupe conversion bed. Was actually something someone could order. It should remain as is, speaks to the era and practical farm use.

    Like 5
  5. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    I think it should come to Alabama

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Sounds good to me Dave! Send me an email.

      • Dave at OldSchool Restorations


        Like 1
  6. Eric B.

    I think it was in the mid to late ’30s, Chevrolet offered as optional equipment, a steel slip-in pick up bed for business coupe’s and two seaters. So long as they didn’t have a rumble seat.

    Like 1
  7. scott

    Not sure why it’s called a hot rod, doesn’t seem to have any “hop” ups, just an old conversion without fenders. I do like the bed though, might do that to my Miata!

    Like 2
    • stillrunners Stillrunners Member

      Pretty sure you got more gas during the gas ration days with the truck bed…

      Like 1
  8. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    Well, it has the correct wheels and the engine needed to finish the job is included.

  9. canadainmarkseh Member

    Does it come with fenders and a trunk lid. This old “a’s“ are fugly without fenders and running boards. The box needs to go maybe it can be made into a period trailer to pull behind.

    Like 5
  10. bobhess bobhess Member

    Like the way canadainmarkseh thinks. Neat old car.

    Like 1
  11. TimM

    I like them better with the fenders and running boards too!! Great looking cab too!!!

  12. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    A deposit has been made and the car is scheduled to be picked up this weekend. That was quick! Thanks to everyone who showed interest. We hope Ted has fun with it!

    Like 1
    • Dusty Stalz

      Hopefully we can get an update in the future.

      Like 2

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.