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Subtle Differences: 1930 Ford Model A Murray Body

For years the Ford Model A found itself overlooked as a project car, with many people gravitating towards the Model T. That trend has now changed, and the Model A has started to really come into its own. This 1930 Model A is a largely complete and solid car that is just crying out for someone to come along and restore it. The Ford is located in Annandale, Minnesota, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The BIN price for the car has been set at a very reasonable $4,450, but there is also the option available to submit an offer.

This Model A is a bit of a mystery machine. It is apparently titled as a 1931 model, but there is no doubt that the body is a 1930 Murray body. By 1931 it didn’t matter whether a body was supplied to Ford by Briggs or Murray, both featured the slant windshield. This car doesn’t have that feature, which indicates that it should be a 1930 model, at the latest. Of course, it is also possible that at some stage a 1930 body has been grafted onto a 1931 chassis due to accident damage or deterioration, so it is a mystery. Given the fact that bodies were supplied to Ford by both companies off Ford blueprints, there were subtle differences across the suppliers, and many body parts aren’t actually interchangeable. One of the design features that I really like on the Murray bodies of this era is the arched side glass, which wasn’t featured on the Briggs examples. I think that they add a slight air of class to the cars. The owner says that while this Model A has no real rust issues, there is some deterioration in the wood and that this will require repair or replacement. This can be a time-consuming task, but in all honesty, it shouldn’t be beyond the skills of a home handyman (or handywoman) if the original items can be used as templates. The rest of the car appears to be complete, and a lot of the trim items look to be in good condition.

As you can tell from this photo, the roof insert is no longer present, which means that the interior of the Model A is now exposed to the elements. This has done the interior trim no favors, and complete restoration, including the replacement of the seat padding and stuffing, is going to be on the cards. Having said that, apart from a missing winder handle for the window on the driver’s side rear door, it looks like everything is present. This means that the new owner will at least have a solid base from which to start the restoration.

The news on the mechanical front for this Model A is both good and bad. While the car is mechanically complete, the 201ci 4-cylinder engine is said to be locked. It isn’t clear whether the owner has made any attempt to free it, so that will be a task that the new owner will have to face. The good news is that parts are readily available for these engines, and if the motor can be made to turn freely, then undertaking a rebuild (if necessary) shouldn’t be too difficult. One interesting feature of this engine is that it has been fitted with an exhaust manifold with a heat exchanger for the heater. This isn’t a genuine unit but is an Auto-Lite manifold. It is missing the cover that helps direct the warm air into the car’s interior, but these can often be found for sale on eBay.

This 1930 Model A looks like quite a promising project, but I have to admit that I find the question surrounding the year on the title to be an interesting one. It needs a lot of work, but the majority of this could be completed in a home workshop. I have to admit that I really like this car, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I live so far away from it, I’d be sorely tempted to grab it myself. Hopefully, someone will buy it and save me from having to do a lot of explaining to my wife.


  1. TimM

    In my humble opinion it’s to nice to chop,channel or both!! It could make a really nice hiboy with the body totally untouched!! That to me would be the best for this particular car!!

    Like 2
  2. Ken Carney

    Or, how ’bout a 4-banger from a ’90’s
    Ranger pickup? That way, you’d have a
    great family car or daily driver. As for the
    wood, 3-D print the body wood and never
    have to replace it ever again. Used to see
    the 4 swap done a lot in the ’70’s using a
    Pinto 2300 engine and mostly 4-speed
    trannies. Was a pretty slick way of giving
    a Model A more power. Very easy to build too. You could build this car in less
    than 6 months– and that includes working a regular job too!. And if your wife starts objecting, tell her it’s hers!

    Like 2
    • TouringFordor

      In the ’30s cars were titled to the year in which they were sold. I have a ’31 roadster that was purchased in February 1932, so it is titled as a 1932 Model A.

      Like 3
  3. Randy Certain

    Yup, I have a 1930 Briggs bodied Fordor but it sits on a ’31 frame. Since the bodies only had a body number, the VIN number was stamped on the frame under the cowl on the drivers side. So I’m registered as a ’31, but mine, as this one is a ’30 as also evidenced by the grill.

    Like 1
  4. Ross Blankert

    It is possible to purchase ANY part for a Model A Ford. The parts are readily available from Snyder’s Antique Auto or many other places. The largest car club in the USA is the Model A Car Club. Much information is available to learn all there is to learn about Model A’s. To go original with this particular car may be difficult and expensive but actually possible to make it new. I am on my second Model A now. Folks respond to these cars just like any old car but the purists want more exotic cars which are rare. Model A owners know you can actually get everything but the Frame on the internet. Good luck and have fun restoring this one, really.

    Like 3
  5. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Interesting facts about these cars. I was almost tempted to buy one a couple years back until a model A expert convinced me the car was made up of several different models. It had parts from 28 all the way through 33. It takes someone who really knows these cars to make true identification as to the originality of said car. Good luck to the new owner.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  6. Rodney Barrett

    Would make a cool hot rod

    Like 1
  7. Chris in Clover

    wood framed body makes these a daunting job if the wood is bad…..

    2-piece splash apron confirms it is a 1930.

    some early ’31s had the straight windshield…..

    Like 0

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