Original Family Owner: 1930 Ford Dump Truck

Ford Model AA

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The best thing about this truck, for sale in Tucson, Arizona here on craigslist and located in Picture Rocks, Arizona, is that it has apparently been in the same family for almost all its life. It is listed as a 1930 Model A (Hydraulic), but I think it is actually a Model AA, which was the truck version of Ford’s Model A car. Another interesting part of its story – according to the seller, this truck was used by the Works Project Administration (WPA), the Federal government public works program implemented by the Roosevelt administration to provide jobs for major infrastructure projects during the depths of the Depression. The current owners used it on their family ranch in New Mexico for many years. Since it has not been licensed since 1965, maybe the old beast was not driven for the past 50 years?

1930 Ford Model AA

The truck does not run, and having been abandoned for so long, it clearly needs a complete restoration. The sellers say they do have the wheels and headlights that are missing in the pictures, but no title.

Ford Truck grille

This AA does come from dry desert country, so maybe the rust shown in the pictures could be surface only. The owners are asking what seems to me to be a very steep $8,000, but are requesting offers. Even though it appears that commercial Ford vehicles of this era are somewhat rare, there are plenty of them available for sale in restored or refurbished, and the going prices seem to be well under $30K.

Ford Truck Side

I have no idea what the cost of restoration for this example will be, but it looks like a challenging project, and will have to be done for love of the vehicle and the enjoyment of the work, not for profit. There is a very active Model A owner’s club (MAFCA), and doubtless many sources of parts for Model AA trucks. There’s a fun post on Hemmings about the variety of Model AA commercial vehicles, well worth a visit, here. Is this truck’s story interesting enough to attract a buyer or is it a lost cause?

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  1. Rovinman

    Would make a fine vehicle collection truck, with the sliding bed attached.
    It would go well with the Resto shop !

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  2. Craig Bothwell

    This truck is not so much “rare” as it is WRONG. Pictures are poor and show too little in the way of detail to make a fair assessment as to whether or not this is worth pursuing. Probably not.

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  3. skloon

    Dumped more like it

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  4. Turretman1st

    Actually the photo,s show it is in pretty good shape for one of these.
    What the photos do not show is the shape of the lift bed.
    Having done a couple of these, but not a dump.
    It appears to be complete, some of the truck parts are a little hard to comeby.
    But the engine and body cab are the same as standard model a.
    One of the most hard to get parts are drive shaft u joints, it has an I closed driveshaft.
    This one is one of the short wheelbase models and what is nice by the photo’s is the frame has not been cut/ shortened in the rear.
    Wish I had them money to get this one, and the physical health to get it back on the road.

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  5. ChasMember

    Is it just me, or has Barn Finds morphed into Rusty Junk Finds? The majority of cars and trucks featured recently are beyond worth saving and would cost more than they are worth to restore.
    I realize that a lot of readers dream about saving these wrecks, but I would venture to guess that the majority of these rusty wrecks will not even be bought by your readers, never mind being restored by them.
    I have been buying, saving and restoring cars for forty years and I wouldn’t buy any of these wrecks. Can you please try to concentrate on (or at least include more) cars that are really worth restoring or able to be enjoyed in their current state.
    Not meant to be a rant, just an honest preference for articles featuring barn finds actually worth dragging home. You seem to have lost your focus here, unless the worthwhile finds are being siphoned off to preferential customers.

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    • HoA Howard AMember

      Hi Chas, I don’t think BF’s has “lost it’s way”. If anything, I think it’s gotten better. Take this AA Ford truck, for example. Found in a barn, this is exactly the kind of vehicle one would normally find. And yes, it’s going to be a rusty hulk. Personally, I couldn’t buy a restored truck for 30g’s, so this, if I really want one, is the only alternative, and BF’s seem to make that possible.( and I don’t even look at the price, as the actual sale price may be a fraction of what they wanted) Also, the condition of the cars isn’t really that important to me, as I probably won’t buy it anyway, but it’s the memories it may trigger from someone’s past, and I think that’s really cool.

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  6. ChasMember

    Or possibly, your previously excellent listing are being diluted by paid featured ads. If this is the case, please consider qualifying the cars in the ads you accept, or include a seperate “for sale” section but keep the featured cars of a higher quality, so that the viewer can choose to view or ignore the lesser cars, but can still count on a quality featured car each day. Again, not to criticize, but rather intended as helpful suggestions only.

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  7. HoA Howard AMember

    A friend’s dad had a AA Ford dump truck like this on their farm. It sat in a field for many years, and apparently still worked, but most of the body was gone. I was disappointed to find they scrapped it a few years ago. If it worked on the WPA, it is a historical truck, and should be saved. There just CAN’T be many of these left.

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  8. L.M.K.

    It would benefit the sellers to put the headlights & wheels back on and then take photographs of it….And better photographs too.

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  9. Brakeservo

    This has been on and off Craigslist here for sometime. I never thought of submitting it because it’s a worthless pile of junk not worth restoring and the seller’s $8,000 ask isn’t anywhere near reality. If one did restore it, it wouldn’t really be drivable anywhere but a parade, and not worth much when done either – the market for this is just too thin and getting thinner by the day. Can’t believe anyone under 50 could have any interest in it. Sorry to sound so negative, so now one of you guys that disagree with me – do something real like actually buy and restore it, don’t just go on and on about how great it is!!

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  10. piper62j

    Another owner who wants his junk removed from the back yard and get paid for it..

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  11. Brakeservo

    This has been on and off Craigslist here for sometime. I never thought of submitting it because it’s a worthless pile of junk not worth restoring and the seller’s $8,000 ask isn’t anywhere near reality. If one did restore it, it wouldn’t really be drivable anywhere but a parade, and not worth much when done either – the market for this is just too thin and getting thinner by the day. Can’t believe anyone under 50 could have any interest in it. Sorry to sound so negative, so now one of you guys that disagrees with me – do something real like actually but and restore it, don’t just go on and on about how great it is!!

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  12. Ronniecarlo

    Chas.This is “BARNFINDS”!!! not Hemmings.Idk. maybe you’re a ’69 Z/28 guy.You know that car? The ones that seem to be in larger numbers than GM ever made. Hemmings or good old blue collar ” BARNFINDS “…just sayin’…..

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    • ChasMember

      I find lots of drivable, usable, and presentable cars for well under $10K each and every year, and I have purchased many of these for under $5K, and many times, I have even driven them home and used them without any major repairs or restoration.
      I am NOT a $30K restored car kind of guy. On the contrary, I love the strange and unusual cars that enthusiast can actually afford. The trick is not to chase what everyone else is chasing. So, I stay away from Jaguars, Corvettes, Camaros, Chevelle SS, and Harley Davidsons, which are so overpriced that it is absolutely ridiculous.
      It is just after chasing, finding and buying (and sometimes selling) old cars for over forty years now, I know that it is impossible to restore a hulk like this one for anywhere near what it will be worth when you are finished with the restoration.
      Even repairing it just well enough to drive and enjoy will set you back $10K or more, and once you add that to the acquisition cost, you are already upside down.
      I appreciate seeing the rusted hulk barnfind as much as the next guy. I just don’t think that the majority of cars featured on the site should fall into that catagory, and lately it seems that more and more of them have done that.
      In my earlier post, I was willing to bet that this car would not be bought and restored within one year, and it has taken a buyer almost five months to buy it (at $6,500 less than asking price), so let’s see if it can be restored before January of 2017.
      I am happy that someone has taken on this project, and I wish him well in completeing the project, but he sure has his work cut out for him.

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  13. geomechs geomechsMember

    This is all fixable. One big obstacle would be to find a set of correct wheels. Obviously they were needed for something and pulled off. Strange that the spare is still there. I wouldn’t give up on a project like this because it has a lot of potential. As far as an investment goes, it wouldn’t be, but then, most restorations aren’t either. It’s the passion; the journey from start to finish, that makes it worthwhile.

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  14. randy

    The best thing about this truck………. is that it’s in his yard, and not mine!!

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  15. junrai

    that would be a badass rat rod truck or just a cool cruiser if you put a one ton truck suspension under it and clear coated it. lets say someone bought it for $8k and spent another $8k swapping it to a modern chassis thats $16k theres no place in the country you can find this truck done for $16k and yes theres people willing to pay $25k for something like that cleaned up and drive able on a modern chassis like a duramax chassis or especially a cummins setup.

    oh and by the way barn finds keep up the great work. this is what barn finds is supposed to be NOT SOME SHINY NEW CORVETTE CLAIMING TO BE IN STORAGE FOR 30 YEARS

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  16. Horse Radish

    The whole “one-family-owned” thing REALLY only matters if the vehicle is in decent condition, to back up the history….

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  17. ChasMember

    Just to clarify my position, I am not advocating that Barn Finds feature shiny, restored, Hemmings type of listings, just cars that are closer to being actual do-able projects or presentable and usable as they sit.
    Seriousy, I would be happy to bet anyone on this list that this truck does not get purchased and completed as a project within one year of today. There are plenty of dreamers with great ideas but these are not realistic projects.
    @junai, The idea of putting this on a modern chassis is a great one, but why would you pay 8K for a rusted shell to do that with, when you could purchase a Model AA shell for several hundred dollars or a much nicer shell for a couple of thousand dolars. If you are discarding the underpinnings, what are you paying for except the Model AA truck cab and the dump bed, and I highly doubt that anyone could complete that project for another 8K.
    I get it that many people are looking for inexpensive projects, but to complete a project of this nature would be far more expensive than buying a much nicer runner or even a restored truck.
    It would be interesting to revist some of the rustier projects that have been featured here to see if they ever actually sold or were completed as projects. I would be willing to bet that very few, if any actually got sold or completed.
    I am just suggesting that Barn Finds up its game slightly to be more like it used to be before they started to drift to these rusted hulks. I even enjoy these type of listings once in a while, but lately the majority of listings have been rough projects that are not really worth purchasing in my opinion. I undertsand that others may disagree, as this is just my opinion.

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    • geomechs geomechsMember

      Hi Chas. I guess it’s all in how you look at a potential project, and how determined you are to make it new again. There’s a couple of truck collector/restorers not too far from me who have taken projects far worse than this and turned them into highly desirable show-winners. At a collector’s open-house I met a guy (in his 70s) who is restoring a 1915 Redcliff (no, I hadn’t heard of them either). He started with a frame (that had once been modified into a 2-wheeled trailer), the front axle, the modified rear axle, a battered radiator shell and an even more battered cowl. Over the years he sourced out an engine, a transmission/final sprocket unit, and several other parts. He had to build many of his own parts from patterns or blueprints he was able to obtain from a museum. He’s been at it for almost 10 years and was hoping to have it running last summer but he had to take some time out for a hip replacement. I’ll tell you this guy is amazing. His quiet determination has never slowed. He plans to unveil it this summer and I’ll be there with the camera.

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  18. ChasMember

    Agreed, but a rare Redcliff or other unusual truck may justify that expense and effort. A Model AA dump, not so much so.
    I agree and recognize that these CAN be restored and that they may be worth it to someone, but this is a huge project, and is not for the faint of heart.

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    • geomechs geomechsMember

      Not for the faint of heart. You nailed it. This kind of project requires absolute dedication. Otherwise, best leave it to someone who does.

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  19. Little_Cars Alexander

    Might I add that the name of the site is Barn Finds, and like it’s brethren Bring A Trailer many times I have shaken my head and wondered how the sites have lost focus– showing expensive toys/projects that simply pass between hands over the years and decades. Or are just a scouring of Craigslist or eBay. If the goal is to promote the right person for the right vehicle lets hone in on stuff one of us might actually take home with us. My 2 cents.

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  20. brian

    I just bought this truck today got it for 1,500 it is in bad shape but complete. wish me luck it’s my first model A truck . wish me luck haha .

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    • Jamie Palmer JamieStaff

      Be sure and fill us in, Brian!

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    • L.M.K.

      Good Luck Brian,

      Send in pictures and any updates to this saga…..

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  21. ChasMember

    Good luck Brian. I hope that you can save and rescue this old girl. The price that you paid is much more in line with the value of this project than the asking price was, and you have a great project on your hands. I wish you well, but as stated, this one is not for the faint of heart.

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  22. brian

    thanks everyone, so he had the tires and wheels in the shed , new tires on the rims and he also had the headlights , booth king Bs the pics are bad on hear . but it really is a complete truck nothing has been taken off or misplaced . I turned the motor over and it spun so I think I will just start going threw and lube everything and just run threw the basics and see if it will spark , the only bad thing is he never got the key for the ignition so I will have to deal with that . once I get in to it I’ll post some pics .

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  23. ChasMember

    That’s fantastic news Brian! I bet this old girl will fire right up. Great that you found the wheels, new tires and lights. That will save you a grand or more.
    And if the engine is free, that’s a huge plus. Looks like you will prove me wrong, and believe it or not, that actually makes me happy. I stand corrected and I wish you the best on this project. Hot wiring the ignition should be easy and any good locksmith can make you a key or the ignition could be easily replaced. So happy for you. Glad that you will save this old girl.

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    • brian

      thanks again for all your support, like you said it will still be a huge project. I just have always wanted an AA truck .

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  24. brian

    running and driving, 40 bucks at macs oil change filled the radiator and cleaned the carb . she fired rite up . drove it around a little the breaks even work haha .

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  25. L.M.K.

    That’s great to hear Brian…..Sometimes you win , sometimes you lose….

    Can you post up new pictures of it with its wheels on….?

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  26. ChasMember

    Wonderful news Brian. So happy for you!
    Very exciting.

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  27. Brian

    Up to date pic

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    • ChasgouldMember

      Wow. That looks great! Congratulations.

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