Traditional Hot Rod: 1929 Ford Model A

If you’re like me, you will find a journey down “Nostalgia Lane” to be an enjoyable experience. It offers a glimpse into past eras, and more often than not, into less complicated times. That is what is on offer with this 1929 Ford Model A Hot Rod. You won’t find a big-block, fuel injection, or an electronic engine management system here. What you will find is a car that pays homage to the vehicles that spawned the custom car scene during the 1940s and 1950s. You can now live that experience because the owner has listed the Model A for sale here on eBay. It is located in Hanover, Pennsylvania, and while the bidding has reached $24,600, the reserve hasn’t been met.

The key to the original hot rods was ingenuity. The people who built those classics usually didn’t have a lot of money to spare, so they tended to lay their hands on whatever they could and then engineer those parts to fit their purpose. This Ford demonstrates that perfectly because the 1929 Model A body sits on a ’29 frame but features 1928 doors. The radiator shell is a later reproduction 1932 item and is one of the few nods to modern technology. The black wheels are from a 1940 Ford, and they wear period-correct hubcaps and trim rings. The beautiful ’29 body has been coated with 1940 Ford Coach Maroon paint, and apart from a few minor chips and a small ding on the radiator shell, it is close to perfect. It shines beautifully, while the same is true of the minimal chrome trim that the car wears. In keeping with its character, the owner chose to forget about fitting fenders. This was a common feature of these early rods, and it helped to give them a tough appearance in the days before wide wheels were available to the general public.

It is no surprise to look inside this Ford and find that it isn’t loaded with luxury appointments. Builders generally poured what little money they had into the engineering and external appearance of their creation. Very few thought about fitting a heater, and even fewer gave components like a radio a second thought. This car recreates that feel perfect, but it still presents well. The painted surfaces shine nicely, the upholstered surfaces are flawless, and there is no apparent wear on the mat. If you wanted entertainment, you either listened to the engine or if there was no other choice, you listened to your passenger.

There’s no big-block, no fuel injection, but what this Ford features is a drivetrain that should be robust and entertaining. The 24-stud flathead V8 is from a 1948 truck and has been fitted with a Mercury crank. This work has pushed the capacity out to 286ci and should provide considerably more than the 40hp that moved the Model A originally. Boosting performance further are a set of vintage Edelbrock heads, along with a pair of Stromberg 97 carburetors on a reproduction Edelbrock Slingshot intake. The owner doesn’t indicate what sort of transmission is bolted to the back of the V8, but we know that it is a manual unit. It sends the power to a 1940 Ford 3.78 rear end while stopping power is provided by juice brakes. The owner says that the Model A is a turn-key proposition that is ready to be driven and enjoyed.

The only drawback of writing for Barn Finds is that I keep seeing cars that I would love to buy. If I had the resources to buy these cars, I would need a garage about the size of a small state. I also know that I’m not the only writer who feels this way. If I could have one car, this 1929 Ford Model A Hot Rod would be a serious contender. This makes no pretenses of being a high-performance classic, but it is a car that graphically demonstrates the very roots of the classic car culture. I would love to think that one of our Barn Finds readers will buy this classic because you are all passionate individuals who would treat this car with the respect it deserves. If you do buy it, I am potentially available if you happen to need a chauffeur. I would even do the job for free if it means slipping behind the wheel of this fantastic car.

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Comments

  1. Rixx56 Member

    Beautifully executed craftsmanship!
    Even have a place to park this…
    Just abit uncertain of $25k+ !?

    Like 2
  2. Curt Lemay

    Not much of a road car, but fun around town at low speeds.

    Like 4
  3. Joe Machado

    If you like these, we have about 10 that drive into our show here all year around.
    Every Saturday at 7 am, Aspen Mills Bakery on Washington St, South of Hwy 111, in La Quinta, California. I live 3 miles from show in Palm Desert.
    Picked up my 2015 Xfinity Challenger Nascar race car after having an MSD issue and engine oil tank heater short.
    These hotrod Roadster’s are built at shop 5 miles away.
    Weather here is such we drive all year long.
    This Saturday, I will trailer the Nascar stock car to a show in Oro Grande, North of Victorville. I am easy to find. It’s old Route 66.
    White number 22. Get outta that house.
    Film at 11

    Like 7
  4. Steve R

    This is a really nice looking car. Not your typical “retro style“ car with a bunch of new Chinese made finned parts thrown into the mix. This puts the vast majority of “rat rods” to shame. There is good reason for the amount of interest this car is receiving from bidders.

    Steve R

    Like 12
  5. Howard A Member

    As corny as that twin engine was, this is all bizness. Back in the day, hot rods generally didn’t look this nice, they were still a conglomeration of spare parts made in a backyard somewhere. Today, the new owner of this will be spoiled by the modern materials, but Hot Rod 101, here you go. I still say, a trooper would have a field day with vehicle violations, fenders, turn signals, wipers(?), loud exhaust, to name a few, but driving this, you couldn’t help feel what they did back in ’62, when out running a ’61 Ford police car with a Motorola radio was no sweat. Very nice,,

    Like 7
  6. David Scully

    Nice piece – done as a great example of an east coast hot rod, i.e., no dropped axle, minimum lowering/re-arching of front/rear springs to lower the stance. There has to be more inside engine work done to get to 286 cu. in. Just the use of a Merc crank (1/4″ stroke) on a stock 239 cu. in. Ford gives you 256 cu.in. It would take a rebore out to 3 5/16″ from the stock 3 3/16 bore to get out to 286 cu. in.(sorry to nit pick, but lets stay on course with the numbers). Also, I would guess that the gas tank now resides in the trunk as there is an auxiliary fuel pump in place. P.S., California laws required front/rear wheel fenders – unless you’ve been there, you can’t believe how much road crap gets thrown back at you with totally uncovered tires (and the clen-up required once you’re back home…

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      The law, CVC 27600, exempts vehicles first registered prior to January 1, 1971. This car would not need fenders.

      Steve R

      Like 3
  7. ACZ

    It’s really refreshing to see one of these now and then, especially one done this nicely. It takes you back to the roots of this hobby.

    Like 2
  8. bobH Member

    Nice looking car. Looks like a good starting point to build a hot rod. As it is, it totally missed the ‘stance’, unless you happen to like ‘high-boys’. Me, being born in Pasadena, and around the local car culture for more than 80 years, would have to re-do it, as a minimum to get the stance. SoCal’s Pete Chapouris (rip), and Jake (both founders of Pete & Jake’s), as well as many other rod-builders, set the tone for what a rod should look like. This one just needs a little help. If it was a Ca/Wa car, as the seller says, I don’t know how he missed this. Another minor nit-pik, the engine. Seller says 48 truck. That needs a little explanation. The 48 truck came with an 8BA, and those block-letter heads are for an earlier engine. So, it’s possible that a modification was done to make those heads fit an 8BA, or, the seller is incorrect about it being a 48 truck block. Either way, only a minor nit-pik. I’d gladly take it on, and make it right. (Obviously, my opinion.)

    Like 2
  9. Joe Haska

    Very nice period correct roadster, the time frame for this style of build would be mid forties post post WWll to early fifties pre OHV V-8’s. I am not sur e where Howard was in 1962 , bu t it wasn’t looking at a cat like this. David S. math is dead nuts on. If it is a Merc, Crank and slight Bore , with a quarter Stroke and bigger Bore you can reach 286 to 296, it gets pretty scary that big, I have seen 300 plus but only for racing or minimum life expectancy. None the less a nice car and build to show some correct history. I prefer a 29 on Duece.Rails but that is. a step up and a more expensive build.

  10. Joe Haska

    Bob, I think you are missing the point of this build ,I agree with your comments, but this car is exactly period correct for a post WWll Hot Rod , built in the mid to late 1940’s. You can’t compare it to something Pete and Jake started in the 1970’s . I have been friends with both Pete and Jake, and I am of the same generation they are ,or were in Pete case. Jake is an icon and his Hot Rod knowledge is indisputable and his description of people cars and Hot Rods, is dead on if you get it. I think he would agree with what I am trying to say , you are comparing apples and oranges. The reason this 29 is cool is ,it was built to a specific period of Hot Rod History ,not to be compared to later trends and builds.
    I also think your analogy about the Edelbrock heads is mis leading the Block letters were first used before they changed to the traditional script they changed to and still use today.

  11. geomechs geomechs Member

    My kind of hot rod. A Deuce Hi-Boy really appeals to me. Could have a lot of fun with this although I’m not a real big fan of Stromberg 97s. Oh they worked very well but they had a tendency to seep.

  12. Wayne from oz

    Not like Stromberg 97’s? O my goodness, isn’t that sacrilege?

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Don’t get me wrong here. The beloved Stromberg 97 will always be a legend. Ford started using it in 1937, the same year it brought out center-outlet heads, domed pistons and moved the water pumps down to the block. The performance capabilities were immediately realized by the hot rod crowd. The 97, and its predecessor, the 48, were reliable carburetors but they were still a sweaty thing. You could often smell gas in the engine bay but never saw the source. When I was a kid there were still a lot of prewar farm trucks still in operation. I drove some to take grain away from the combine and smelling gas always gave me “the willies.”

      • David Scully

        I seem to remember that some of my pre- and post-war Fords had Stromberg 94 carbs – We called them ‘sparrow-throat’ carbs because of the smaller orifices, and for some reason, the rebuild kits were much cheaper. I tried to check out the back of the motor for a bell-housing sighting (the major difference between blocks – the earlier bells were cast with the block – the 8BA used a bolt-on) but the pics gave me no clue. Also, IIRC, in SoCal lakes racing/street talk, a high-boy was any unchanneled coupe or roadster.

  13. bobhess bobhess Member

    Agree bobH. Being a Oregon hot rodder with a ’32 Merc powered 5 window and a ’33 pickup, stance was everything in those days. Closer to the ground (not under it) and that famous California rake. As for fenders, always been a fan, especially after a few runs in T Buckets and cars like this one.

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