Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Last Oats: Custom 1929 Ford Model T


Update 2/21/208 – Oats’ wild custom has shown back up 3 years after we originally featured it. It’s been relisted here on eBay as a no reserve auction. Bidding is currently at just $1,525 with six days to go. Thanks to everyone that messaged us to let us know it popped back up!

From 6/16/2015 – Custom car builder Graham Oats worked with some of the finest customizers out there, such as George Barris. This last project car of his was to be his car, but unfortunately he died before completing it. Available here on eBay, the unfinished project is located in Torrance, California, where Mr. Oats taught auto body work at El Camino College. Proceeds from the no-reserve auction will go towards establishing a scholarship for students interested in auto customization and fabrication. Starting with a 1929 Ford frame, the body is obviously a custom creation from scratch, with many unique features. The powerplant is from a Fiero, but turned North-South rather than East-West. There are notebooks with detailed information as to how Mr. Oats planned on finishing the car. I realize this find may not be to everyone’s taste, but I’m hoping you can see the greater purpose here. There are directions in the auction for contributing directly to the scholarship fund if you would like to do so. And if you want a truly custom car where you’ll never see another one like it, I’m thinking this is it!


  1. fred

    Reminds me of those outrageous Hot Wheels toys I had as a kid. I actually like parts of the styling, with the exception of that funky area above the pipes.

    Like 0
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @Fred — the notes in the auction say that he was looking to add Testarossa-style strakes in those areas.

      Like 0
  2. Dave H

    A 1929 Model T? Boy that would be REALLY rare since the last “T” ws made in 1927!

    Like 1
  3. Cory

    If this is what he taught kid’s to build maybe a scholarship is a bad idea. Yikes

    Like 0
  4. SoCal Car Guy

    “Hideous” is the kindest thing i can say about this, er, thing. What a terrible waste of an innocent Model A Ford frame.

    Like 0
  5. Rick

    It looks like something that Ed Roth would have built rather than George Barris.

    Like 1
    • RayT Member

      Have to disagree with Rick. Strip away the flames and occasional extraneous trim, and Roth’s creations were almost always well-balanced, sculptural designs. Over-the-top, for sure, but with a solid foundation of good taste and fine detailing.

      This car, not so much. I’m sure it would have been/will be an eye-catcher if ever completed, but I’m also sure the builder would have had second thoughts about some of his design elements. Almost every designer/builder I’ve known — and that’s a fair number of stylists and fabricators — would have found things they wanted to do over, even before their finished works were unveiled.

      Like 0
      • Rick

        I was thinking back to the old Beatnik Bandit around 1960, it had a bubble top but the general lines to my eye are very similar. But then I am getting long in the tooth and my memory is not what it was.

        Like 0
    • Rodney

      Rick, I’m with you on this. Much more Roth than Barris.
      But, not very good in any case.

      Like 0
  6. Rich

    You can really see the 1960’s George Barris influence in this. Not my cup of tea, but I respect the work that had to go into this.

    Like 0
  7. Bobsmyuncle

    Lose the top and the box behind the seats. Craft the exhaust to follow the lines of the running boards hide that engine and add some decent wheels.

    Like 0
  8. Keruth

    Ok, I like the idea of this. But,,,,, a drivable vehicle it will not be like this. Not without some major engineering on that TUBE frame! (no T or A I ever saw had square tubes for rails folks, but, you can box them in)! Think Lotus Seven or Factory Five, K or X members at least. Wind it up once and even that Six banger will twist it to a noodle shape of your choice, LOL! But I digress.
    The shape and layout are right I think, and I could see adding some more points to those coves. and like @BMU wrote a lower exhaust would help the lines running along the lower body. Front fenders are great, suspension choice not so much, Ensuring leg room better than a glass T-Bucket would be my first thought, and yada, yada,,,
    I’m just glad it’s so far away. GLWTS. Ok, I’ll go to bed now.

    Like 0
  9. Vegaman_Dan

    It is a work of art. It is not a work of car. Best to put it in a museum where most people will never have to look at it.

    I appreciate that this was the last custom work by a builder, but I’m sorry, this thing is hideous. I honestly believe a running Yugo has more value than this.

    Like 0
  10. Derek

    “Hey man, that’s a nice car man. Better get eet back to the circus before somebody notices eet’s mees-sing”. (Thanks and with apologies to Cheech and Chong).

    Like 0
  11. Bill

    OK, put the welder down and call Acme Scrap Metal for a pick-up. And please don’t touch that 911!!!!

    Like 0
  12. Madmatt

    That sure is wild..!!, so wild,, I don’t know how
    someone gets in it..??Could be really fun,price sure is
    attractive,even if some of the car is not….LOL..

    Like 0
  13. Metoo

    Finish it with a 70’s style paint job and accents and you really have something. Let’s face it, it would be a trailer queen and going from show to show anyway, so a lack of title/bin is not a real big deal. It is a piece of custom car history and needs to be finished. Only a fool would want to be driving it on the street. Such a low bid this far and no reserve seems very surprising.

    Like 0
  14. PatrickM

    I’ve only seen these in car shows. Never had a desire to own one. $1200.00, I pull power train, sell a bunch, trash the glass and look for a car to install the mill.

    Like 0
  15. S.S.McDonald

    Ford turned out their LAST Model T in September 1927

    Like 0
  16. Michael

    Paint it black, add Cragers, a red velvet interior, some gold highlights and let Eddie Munster drive it.

    Like 0
  17. Ikey Heyman Member

    Too bad the sidepipes have been stolen, those are the only thing on this car that I like.

    Like 0
  18. DayDreamBeliever Alan (Michigan)

    Headlights similar to “Ala Kart”

    Like 0
  19. Classic Steel

    I am thinking sadly at $1525. this could of been used for his final apparatus to rest in for Graham Oats

    Like 0
  20. Canadian Mark S. Eh!

    There are parts I like and parts I don’t like about this car. Because the builder died before it could be completed we’ll never know what the finish product would have looked like. I know from my own projects that they don’t look that great half way done. Who knows if there were planned changes in the mind of the creator. I think that the build quality is there but it’s clear that this car has fallen into disrepair and neglect. Maybe you naysayers should take that into consideration. There is still potential here if you have an open mind.

    Like 0
  21. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    There is no tragedy in the fact that this car was never completed.

    Like 0

    Well no one else would have one at your local car shows or anywhere else on this planet. Might take a while to get there with that motor. Would have been interesting to see how it was to be painted. You would definitely have a crowd around it and the conversations would be very interesting. I think it is art and was not meant to be anything else, but his vision whatever that may have been. RIP.

    Like 0
  23. Joe Haska

    This is very interesting , I have to admit I had never heard of Mr. Oats, and I worked in the Car Show Industry for over 30 years, knew Ed Roth, George Barris, and worked for World of Wheels when some of these creations were the stars and the draw for the shows.
    There is a gentleman from New Mexico, that is still building these crazy creations, and he always brought them to my Show in Denver. If he would, he would be the perfect person to take on this project, and finish it. His cars “Show Cars”, were very creative, and certainly always show stoppers. The spectators really enjoyed them, and I believe, liked them for what they were , Automotive Art and, always a conversation starter. I may just have to contact him and see if he knows about this project, and would have interest in finishing it.

    Like 1
  24. Stink-A-Trailer

    So, the guy taught autobody. Who knows, if he had lived, it might very well have turned out to be a “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” I hope the next owner does it proud!

    Like 0
  25. chad

    buy it, finish it, donate it as yard art on THAT school’s property as a testament to The Man

    Like 0
  26. grant

    So did it ever sell during its last no reserve auction? Probably a reason for that.

    Like 0
  27. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended: Jun 22, 2015 , 7:30PM
    Winning bid:US $2,176.00
    [ 23 bids ]

    Like 0
  28. Bo West

    I knew Graham and worked with him at a shop in Pomona, and this car doesn’t strike me as his work. He may have owned it, but I see no signs of his workmanship. He used a lot of round tubing to frame with, then cover it over. It’s
    Hard to say for sure, but it doesn’t appear to have round tubing, except possibly in the sides. Even the bent running boards don’t appear to be framed with tubing. I also never knew him to keep notes on what he was going to do, he just did it. If you look back in the late seventies he was showing his own van called Gladiator, and he had a 49’s Merc with a serious chopped top and too many other mods to list. He also built a kowasaki chopper, including the frame. I worked with Graham at Custom World in approximately 1978, then helped him move to his own place on Garry, and I opened a Corvette shop on Holt. We used to chat on a regular basis, and I have mayor doubts about this car.
    I am surprised to hear he was teaching autobody because he wasn’t really a collision guy, but he was a good fabricater/customizer.

    Like 2

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.