Rumble Seat Restoration: 1931 Ford Model A

For Ford, the Model T was always a tough act to follow. Its enormous sales success had led Henry Ford to believe that the “T” could last forever. However, the public had moved on and demanded vehicles with more sophistication and refinement. Ford delivered on that front, and the Model A was another sale success. This 1931 Model A is a generally solid classic that would make a satisfying restoration project. For those who like their classics with a touch of fun, it comes equipped with a rumble seat. It is essentially complete and has limited rust issues. The owner has decided that it needs to go to somebody who can return it to its former glory, so he has listed it for sale here on eBay. It is located in Buffalo, New York, and subdued bidding has pushed the price beyond the reserve to $6,100.

First impressions with this Model A are pretty positive. The panels are relatively straight, with only a few minor bruises and marks. The black paint shows its age, but it still looks reasonable when you consider that this car has nine decades under its belt. The owner says that the timber is in good order, while the top has nothing but a few stains and marks. Some careful work with a high-quality cleaning product should return the top to its former glory. The exterior trim is restorable, while the glass is excellent. The wheels that are fitted to the car aren’t original, but the owner does have a set of the correct spoked wheels included in the sale. This Ford features a rumble seat, and it is also in a restorable state. Overall, this looks like it could be a reasonably straightforward project.

I have avoided the subject of rust to this point, but the buyer will have some to address. It is not extensive, but it will require attention sooner rather than later. It has afflicted some of the lower extremities of the car, including the rear valance and the running boards. It seems that the frame is sound, so this is another aspect of the restoration that shouldn’t pose any problems.

The 200ci flathead four-cylinder engine that found its way under the hood of the Model A didn’t represent a major step forward from its predecessor, but it still offered the buyer 40hp at their disposal. The significant change revolved around the transmission, with the Model T’s planetary unit making way for a three-speed manual. This was more in keeping with what the competition was offering at the time and made the Model A more user-friendly than its predecessor. It appears that this Ford’s drivetrain is original, but the vehicle does not run. The owner says that the engine turns freely, and given the robust nature of these motors, it may not take a lot of work to breathe new life into it. The rest of the drivetrain features sound but basic engineering, making it an ideal candidate for restoration in a home workshop.

As with the panels and paint, this Ford’s interior will require a total restoration. However, it does appear to be essentially complete. The seat base is upholstered, but the back has no padding or cover. The paint on the dash has seen better days and will need to be stripped and repainted. Adding to the charm of this classic is the fact that it features a rumble seat. I have had the opportunity to experience some pretty amazing cars throughout my life, but I’ve never had the joy of traveling in a rumble seat. That is on my Bucket List, and it is something that I would love to achieve soon. Interior trim kits for the Model A are easy to find and pretty affordable. This is another aspect of the restoration that would be satisfying for the buyer to perform in their home workshop.

Some restoration projects can be pretty daunting due to the complicated nature of the car involved. That is where this 1931 Ford Model A stands out above the rest. It features elegant but simple engineering, making it a prime candidate for a DIY restoration. The bidding has been subdued to this point, but it has passed the reserve. If an older classic is on your radar, this has the potential to be an affordable buy. This auction might be worth monitoring closely.


WANTED 1958 Buick Limited 2 Door Hard Top Looking for a 1958 Buick limited coupe hard top, survivor or restored. Contact

WANTED 1976-1980 Plymouth volare Looking for Dodge Aspen / Plymouth Volare donor car with good sheet metal for parts for my project Contact

WANTED 1958 Buick Special Wanted ‘58 Buick Coupe Special or Super Contact

Submit Your Want Ad


  1. Johnny C.

    Nice Cabriolet! These aren’t that common, it’d be a great car to restore to factory stock!

    Like 1
    • Martin M

      This looks more like a Sport Coupe, not a Cabriolet. The pull down rear window is one clue.

      Like 1
  2. C P Murray

    Looks like a 30 radiator shell

    Like 3
  3. Joe Haska

    Yeah, restore it to factory stock and enjoy driving in parades.

  4. SDJames

    My granpa (b.1919 – d. 2018), used to tell me how much fun these rumble seats were with his favorite girl by him and his buddy driving down a bumpy old road. ;)

    Like 2
  5. Terry

    It is a sport coupe. Giveaway is the door frames around the windows. Cabriolet only had metal framing up the A pillar because the top could fold down. Sport coupe fabric roof is fixed in place.

  6. RMac

    Since the engine is a non runner drop a early 50’s 100 hp flathead v8 in it and disc brakes then restore the rest to original SWEET

  7. Johnny

    I was suppose to have worked out a 29 Ford with the little back window behind the door. The guy told me if I would help him his the one in his basement. He,d give me the one in woods. The next week. The man died of a heart attack. I even tried to buy the one in the woods off of his daughter. She wouldn,t sale it. I was thinking about buying a ford truck with a 460 in it and make the truck,.To where I could put the 29 Ford on it,but restore the 29 and be able to switch over anytime. I bet it would have made a nice hot rod on the side. I like these old cars and old trucks. Alot easier to fix .

    Like 1
  8. dogwater

    Days gone by

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.