Parked For 30 Years: 1931 Running Ford Model A

Ford Model A’s are a staple of the old car hobby and they turn up in every imaginable condition and state of modification. They are still so ubiquitous that they can easily go unnoticed. This 1931 Model A example is a bit different however, it is so unblemished and original that it stopped me dead in my review tracks – I had to take a closer look. Located in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, this beauty is available here on craigslist for $15,000. Thanks to Ikey H. for this tip!

First up, there is little to no detail and a few scant pictures surrounding this Model A. In two of the five accompanying images, the front of the car is obscured courtesy of a prominently featured Mercruiser lower unit. The seller states that this Model A has been stored inside for 30 years and the original body is rust free. Other than some dust, the two-tone black and tan finish still looks fresh. There is no visual evidence of crash damage, rot, modifications or missing trim. The wire wheels and period-correct tires appear as one would expect for this vintage Ford as well. The unmolested nature of this Ford is remarkable.

As for operational capability, the seller claims this Model A, “Starts Runs And Drives”. The engine is a 201 CI, four-cylinder, in-line, flathead engine rated at 40 HP, one of 4+ million produced. Other than perhaps a new coil and bracket, the engine looks untouched so basic servicing will be needed at least. With 30 years of slumber under its belt, it may require more hands-on, like a fuel system flush as well as hose, belt and sparkplug replacement, perhaps a carburetor rebuild too, things of that nature. The only transmission available in ’31 was a three-speed, unsynchronized, manual unit and that’s accounted for here. And of course, mechanical brakes are the province of a Model A, so those should be carefully checked for actuator and cable condition.

It would be nice to wax on about the interior, which hopefully matches the exterior from a condition perspective, but mum’s the word; no description, details or images other than this peek inside the rumble seat. It’s unfortunate as this Model A appears to have a lot going for it but the paucity of detail, a seemingly common trait of many craigslist auto listings, just doesn’t help the cause. It would be good to know some backstory around this Ford. You cannot get to the ripe old age of 89 without experiencing something of interest along that journey.

This is as original and pure a Model A Ford as I have discovered on Barn Finds. There’s no question as to what to do with it, get it serviced, running and maintain its fantastic originality or at least that’s my two cents. Let’s hear from Model A owners, current or former, and please share your insights on the Model A and what you think of this notable find.


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  1. Rodney - GSM

    How great is this? So nice to see a ’31 “the way God made it”. Unmolested.
    Please, let’s keep that way.

    Like 13
  2. Dave

    Which would be more challenging, driving this up Wolf Creek Pass or driving it back down?

    Like 8
    • Gaspumpchas

      Ahhh Dave glad to see somebody got it-
      “Earl put down his bottle and mashed his foot down on the throttle-
      400 hundred head of Rhode island red and a couple of burned out roosters came to life…..”
      RIP Jim Fries AKA CW McCall.

      Like 5
  3. Mike

    These brakes had steel linkage, no cables

    Like 4
  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    Greatest Model A in the world…. looks like crap and shares any good pictures with a boat motor. Hope this guy/gal isn’t in sales for a living.

    Like 5
  5. JW454

    That grill shell looks like a 1930 to me. I had a 1931 and they’re a different design than this. Also I don’t see the assist steps to allow a passenger to enter the rear seat. It leaves me with too many questions to the money.

    Like 4
    • mike

      Early 31 had the 30 shell this isn’t the late 31 it doesn’t have the indented firewall it is correct as I understand them. My first car was a 31 couple in 1962 it was like this one. I now have a 30 like this but has 2 piece slash aprons

    • YooperMike

      I don’t know much but I do know Model A’s. Sure looks like a 30 grille. Used to buy these in the early 60’s. Drag them home and take them apart and sell thru Hemmings. Cars like this if running were 25 to 50 dollar cars. Not running could be bought for $25.00. Had to ship Railway Express.

      Like 1
  6. Ken Carney

    Almost looks like the car Richard Thomas
    drive on The Walton’s. I could do a real nice portrait of this car providing I can see enough of it to make a good rendering of it. As for C.W. McCall, he got his start doing ads for Hinkel Bread
    out of Des Moines, Iowa in the early ’70s,
    ’72, ’73 or thereabouts. His first song
    The Old Home Fill ‘Er And Keep On Truckin’ Cafe was nothing more than a
    group of Hinkel Bread commercials that
    were strung together. However they did it, that was his first hit record. Used to hear it quite a bit while on the road doing
    one-nighters throughout the Midwest in
    those days. And yes, I’ve been on Wolf
    Creek Pass too. We played a one-nighter
    in Pagosa Springs on our way to a theater date in a town called Dinosaur.
    It was there that I met a girl named Martie, and boy, what a time we had
    had together! Had lots of fun back then,
    but as long as I see places like this, the
    memories of my life on the road are still
    alive. Great post Jim.

    Like 6
  7. PLE

    $15000 for a model A? Am I missing something?

    Like 1
    • Douglas Malinowski

      My thoughts exactly,$15k and they made how many???

  8. moosie moosie

    Nice Model A, when I saw it it reminded me of the car John Boy had in the Waltons too, only his was all a tan sorta beige, fenders and all. This one looks like it has newer style headlights. Which year Model A’s had cowl lights or was it an option ? Even tho there are a million of them out there I’d like to have one.

  9. C P Murray

    Definitely a 30 grill shell

    Like 3
  10. Mike

    John Boy drove a 1929 coupe. I wrote the note on the engine and frame number but forgot to sign it. Sorry.

    Like 1
  11. BigDoc

    Good looking car would love to have it in my garage

  12. Willowen Member

    Well, gee whiz, I guess the era of the $50 Model A has up and left us.

    Which is exactly why a basically clean and unmolested one is cheap at $15,000. No, we don’t know what lurks inside all those parts you can’t see through, but one of the best things about an old car like this is how few of those parts there are, and how easy it is to get to them with simple hand tools. Just gotta watch yer knuckles …

    I would love to be in a position to tackle something like this, especially with the strong back-up of shops in my part of L.A. County. Having and resurrecting a car 10 (or maybe 11) years older than me is an appealing notion. I just need more garage or fewer cars!

    Like 1
  13. Bob Mck Member

    Since there are no pictures of the interior a buyer better assume that it needs to be replaced. You can buy a really nice one for less that the asking price. These are not going up in value.

  14. Bill

    Definite 1930 Grill shell, 31 had a body colored insert on top, and is missing the steps for a rumble seat car, Nice piece could easily be corrected,price is a little high, not bad.

  15. Barney

    This is an eight thousand dollar car in my opinion.

  16. FastEddie/OldEddie: pick one

    Martie’s hubby is gonna come acallin’. ;>))

  17. grant

    That’s not a mercruiser, looks to be the bottom end of a Force outboard.

  18. Kenn

    My rumble-seat coupe has the steps to the rumble seat. I can’t believe they would have been an option, but it is strange that there are no steps on this vehicle. Perhaps the fender has been replaced?

  19. Robert

    Hardly a very original example. Based on the radiator shell and running board splash aprons, she was builtin the first half of 1930, not 1931. It’s had a repaint in a non-original color and the headlights and horn have been changed. Who knows what else has been changed? Model A’s have mechanical brakes but they are actuated with rods, not cables.

  20. Barney

    I think it was converted to a rumble seat which isn’t a big deal. If it were factory it would have one step on the bumper brace and one on the fender

  21. Mike

    That may be a 1931 and have a 1930 shell as Ford used up all parts even with a year model change. Check the engine number and the number on the frame which should match. There may be a date stamped into the fire wall in the engine compartment on the drivers side.

    • Robert

      There’s no date on the firewall for ’30 or ’31. The radiator shell is easily changed but changing the two piece 1930 running board aprons to one piece would be much more involved as the front fenders would have to come off and the body lifted, if not removed.

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