Forest Find? 1931 Ford Model A Pickup

There’s no denying the popularity of both the Ford Model A and older pickup trucks, both are a hot ticket right now. What happens when you combine the two? You end up with a Model A, closed cab pickup like this example which is located in New Lebanon, Ohio. It is advertised as a “barn find” but it looks more like an out-in-the-woods find so we’ll have to look this truck over and see what’s revealed. This 1931 Ford is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $4,950, reserve not yet met.

Ford offered an array of trucks built on the Model A chassis in 1931 and the pickup version was available in both open and closed cab arrangements. The Model A based truck started out with strong production volumes in 1928 but by 1931, the volume had dropped substantially as a result of the deepening economic recession. Nevertheless, 1931 saw about 500K copies roll off of the assembly line – a respectable number.

There are few to no details regarding this truck via the listing. The seller claims that the 201 CI, in-line, 40 HP four-cylinder engine is “not locked up” so that probably means this Model A is a non-runner. The engine looks mostly intact but obviously, it will warrant further investigation.

The body of the truck actually shows pretty well, the “barn find” aspect of its hibernation is not detailed so wherever it has been slumbering doesn’t appear to have caused it any great deterioration though the bottom edge of the driver’s door has something starting to cook. It is, well worn, so the weather has played a role in this A’s appearance but the fenders, body panels and cargo bedsides are still in a reasonable condition. That said, it has had an “overall” paint job, the Palomar red covering the trim, headlight bar, horn and pretty much everything. Brush applied, perhaps? From what can be spied outback, the cargo bed would seem to have planks in place over the original bed. They are loosely placed which makes one think that they are unattached and just resting place. The surprise find is the radiator shell, it is in uncharacteristically, nice shape, belying the rest of this truck’s appearance.

Inside has its shortcomings. Besides the obvious destruction of the seat, the floorboard is gone but seeing how it was probably a board in the first place, it should be easily replaceable. The firewall, however, in the area surrounding the steering column, looks jagged and shows some metal deterioration present there. The interior in trucks of this vintage were simple, spartan affairs so a complete refurbishment, fortunately, isn’t on par with having to redo a Lincoln or a Cadillac.

The bidding for the Model A truck is surprising, it’s pretty healthy considering its condition. The seller describes it as “original as it gets”. I would agree with that sentiment but then he goes on to say, “what a beauty.” Well beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I agree there is nascent beauty here waiting to pour forth. There are a lot of directions that one could take this truck, what are your suggestions?


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  1. Francisco

    That doesn’t look like a ’31 dash.

    Like 1
    • steve smith

      Yep it is a 31 dash, round speedo and cross ridges.

      Like 2
  2. KKW

    Think I would do the bare minimum, make it run, make the interior livable, make it road worthy, and enjoy it pretty much as is. This is one rare find.

    Like 16
  3. Barney

    This truck is a late 31 with the indented firewall. It also has the larger late 31 cab with the solid roof. I wish I could get this one

    Like 5
  4. piston poney

    fix any frame rot if there is any, make it run (pumps, radiator, hoses, brakes, all that good stuff) put in a new floor bored and drive it.

    Like 4
  5. Kenneth Carney

    Balance and blueprint the engine, set it
    up for full pressure lubrication, add some juice brakes, fix the rust in the cab
    and bed, and drive it while you get ready
    to restore the rest of it. And if you just
    have to have a more modern powerplant, then consider a four banger
    from an ’80s or ’90s Ford Ranger. These
    engines and trannies should bolt right in
    provided you do all the due diligence and measure everything before you spin
    the first wrench. Swaps like these were
    popular from the ’70s to the ’90s when
    gas was still on the expensive side.
    Nice truck and a DeLuxe model too!

    Like 6
    • PeterfronOZ

      Kenneth. Is there an aftermarket full-pressure lubrication system available?

  6. Tinkertoy Member

    It is a late 31 widebed also like mentioned solid steel roof The bed is about 1 3/4 inches wider note no extra flange where finders meet the bed. Had one in the 80 s. Wish I still did

    Like 1
  7. wcshook

    If I could afford it, I would buy it, repair the rust, repair other items, and put a nice paint job on it. Then drive it! Many folks like to keep them looking like they found them, but this truck is just to nice to do that with, IMHO.

    Like 5
  8. Maestro1 Member

    What a sweetheart. Someone jump on this and read Kenneth Carney’s remarks. And join the Owner’s Club immediately after purchase. You’ll get lots
    of help and support.

  9. Mike

    The Model “A” & “T” lasted because they had chrome vanadium steel frames, axle and transmission case and axle housings. In the early days Henry was sued by a lawyer in New York who had patented the term automobile. He sued Henry Ford and the Panhard Lavaseur company who had show rooms on Broadway in NY City. Henry learned that the CV Steel would make his cars last longer and they certainly have. even today if you find a “T” in the woods, the frame is still good.

    Like 4
  10. Kenneth Carney

    Thanks Maestro! I just called it like I saw it. That’s what I’d do with it if I
    bought it. Not every one of these needs
    a honkin’ LS motor to move them along.
    I’ve always believed in taking the way less travelled when it comes to updating
    a great old car like this. Since I can’t see
    well enough to drive myself, I have to build a car to suit my sister in law or my
    neice who drive them for me. Besides,
    it’s a practical way for guys like us to get
    into the hobby without going broke.

    Like 1
  11. Bill Hall

    Into the early seventies my Dad had a customer a neighborhood painter who drove a Model A PU for his only transportation. I got no clue what happened to it. Just like so many neat old cars I recall that disappeared into the woodwork.

    Like 1
  12. Harry G Allen

    Fix it up bring it back since these are such rare finds the extent of deterioration becomes a little less relevant. I had a 31 some 30 years ago and had no running gear so I put in a Pinto motor and transmission which sat well and made a rather nice compromise.

    Like 3
  13. Kenneth Carney

    The 2300 cc Pinto mill and the Model A
    were made for each other. Anyone with
    an average skill set could put the two
    together in a weekend. That’s when
    building a car was fun. Every member
    of the family could participate by lending their talents and coming up with
    some really nice rides. When we were
    selling used cars, Dad and I did the mechanics while Mom and Sis did the
    interiors. Boy those times were great.
    Too bad we’ll never see them again.

    Like 1
  14. Roger Petrey

    What is the reserve?

    Like 2

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