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The Original 4WD: 1930 Ford Model A Mail Truck

A few years ago, we featured a Ford Model A that was fashioned into a sort of off-road mail truck back in the 1940s to deliver mail in the rural regions of Montana. The seller of that unusual and awesome Model A has another one up for sale, which unfortunately was hacked up by a buyer from Australia and now looks as you see it here on eBay. The price is $8,495 and that includes delivery to the lower 48 states. 

The seller sounds downright annoyed at what happened to this cool Model A, and I don’t blame him. It sounds like the previous buyer simply wanted a good coupe body and didn’t realize how historically significant these snow-ready Model A’s were to the western U.S.A. Like the convertible version the seller previously listed, this Model A relied up on some custom fabrication and extra large tires to get through the heaviest of snowfall.

The seller apparently still owns the convertible that was listed with a fairly lofty asking price, if I recall correctly. This example shows evidence of prior modifications, and the seller discloses some of the actual damage including a crack near where the right front body bolt hole is located. Other modifications include the use of the center section of a Model TT Ford truck Ruckstell 2 speed rear axle adapted it to the outer ends of a 1928 Ford Model AA truck rear axle assembly.

Big tires and wheels are hallmarks of these mail truck conversions, but the modified wheels are more than just some upsized rollers: “The rear wire wheels are actually much of the 1928 Model AA truck wire wheels. All of the rim except for the very center of the rim where the spokes are welded was removed. That remaining wheel assembly was then slipped inside the center of a 24″ tractor tire drop center rim and welded in place.” How cool is that? This Model A mail truck may not belong in the Smithsonian, but it definitely deserves restoration.

Comments

  1. mikethetractorguy

    Looking at what’s left, I think the seller needs to move the decimal point at least one space to the left. More likely two…

  2. Steve R

    This is the same guy that is selling the bullet riddled DeSoto wagon and Buick Roadmaster wagon shown being pulled from a ravine which were both featured on this site.

    He finds interesting stuff, but is unrealistically high on his asking prices.

    Steve R

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    Where do you go from here? That would be a great question with numerous answers. If a person had a bunch of photos of what it used to be, you could get another coupe body and attempt to rebuild what was once there. Personally I’d ditch the John Deere tractor fenders and either do without fenders or fabricate something a little less frumpy. Besides, I could use those fenders on my own John Deere D. You’ve got to admit though, this was part of the first series of ATVs that ever came out. But for traversing wide expanses of snow, there were some enterprising individuals that built ski planes; some powered by Model A, Model T, and flathead V-8 engines. And there were some that were a lot more sophisticated….

    • PAW

      @geomechs – WOW. That is a cool picture. For sale somewhere?

      And nope – for the record, I am not from Australia

    • vince

      Hi Geomechs Love your ski plane if it’s for sale or trade??? I have a 1933 Dodge humpback panel that needs restoring, can go take photos and send if interested ? or have a solid old 14ft.1934 Covered-wagon travel trailer or a very nice old wooden race boat with history or other cool stuff ! I would trade you call 530 305 6979

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi there. The machine actually belongs to a museum (Coyote Flats) in Canada, about 60 miles north of the border. All I know about it is that it was donated by a local farmer. It was built in the 40s by an outfit in either Minnesota or Manitoba. The engine is similar to that from a Tiger Moth airplane. I understand that they get numerous inquiries (myself included) every year about selling it but the plans are to restore it. It wouldn’t be an easy touch as far as the engine is concerned; you’re dealing with aircraft-spec materials. The prop alone can cost upwards of $8K. But it would sure be a blast to own one; something to ‘fly’ around in the winter.

  4. Jay E.

    It does make you wonder how someone could buy the complete one in the first photo for the premium price and then not bring it back to its former running self. There are so many model A bodies out there, why this one? Possibly time and funds wiped out intentions?
    It was perfect as it was, especially painted in JD green. Light weight and large footprint, an original bigfoot. Love the fog lights. It would be hard to recreate, but Gravedigger should be looking at this one.
    Both this one and the propeller one are perfect, hate to see them go to waste.

  5. redwagon

    more i think of it the more i realize that the fat tire bike craze is nothing new. our ancestors realized what was needed to get around in deep snow, we are just getting back to that idea now — with a few refinements.

  6. Mountainwoodie

    Jeeze Im with geomechs who knows a whole lot more about this stuff than I do.

    Where DO you go with this? Without the original body as this was built you have a bunch of disparate parts welded together back in the day with no relationship to the original build.
    The seller appears to have obtained it after the “Aussie fool ” chopped off the body…I wonder why? And who besides some Hollywood part timer in Montana needing yard art would buy this?.

  7. Ron

    Curious as to the 4WD reference in the title, there doesn’t appear to be any drive mechanism for the front wheels…

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