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'29 Ford Model A Coupe and '29 Ford Model A Pickup

3/19/2013 4:02:31 PM

'29 Ford Model A Coupe

I first met Brian in 2003 at the Bonneville Speedweek event when he showed up in a ’49 Ford Business Coupe that was all hot rod. I photographed it and Ric White’s ’40 for my second book, but really just because I liked both cars. I could see a builder’s talent in both of these cars. Brian talked about an appreciation for the traditional and period related parts, along with lumpy cams and a go-fast hot rod attitude.

Description: 1929 Ford Model A Coupe

1929 Ford Model A Coupe

I ran into him again at Bonneville a couple of years ago, driving a bare metal coupe, which at first glance looked like a chopped ’32 five-window, but quickly turned into a ’29 Model A coupe as my eyes swept over the body. He had been on a long 5,000-mile shakedown run that went from Dallas, through Montana, over to Tacoma, Washington, for the HotRod-A-Rama Event before heading back over to Wendover, Nevada, and the Bonneville Salt Flats.

I actually heard the car before seeing it. An 11:1-compression 331 (bored 0.060 over) Chrysler Hemi filled with a big Isky cam and solid lifters has a beautiful and noticeable sound to it, especially when it’s coming out through owner-built custom headers with 2-inch primaries and 3.5-inch collectors, with baffles and removable 2.5-inch stainless turnouts. The ’54 Hemi has high-port heads with stainless valves, shot-peened rods, Ross forged pistons, Hastings moly rings, Schneider valve springs, Smith Bros. adjustable push rods, 340 balancer modified by Bod Wilson, big-block Chevy pulleys, a Cragar dual-point distributor converted to HEI, and a Cragar 4x2 manifold with Stromberg 97s and owner-built linkage. The long-block was machined, balanced, and assembled by Eric Carter in Azle, Texas. The ’67 Muncie M-20 four-speed transmission was rebuilt by Brian and it hooks to the engine through a Speed Gems bell housing containing an AFT billet steel flywheel, a McLeod Racing clutch, pressure plate, and hydraulic throw-out bearing before going back through a Stan Hoskins – built driveshaft to a ’66 Ford Bronco 9-inch rear end with Moser 31-spline axles and a 3.50:1 Ford Trac-Loc Posi also by Stan Hopkins.

Description: 1929 Ford Model A Coupe

Brian found the body with 157 bullet holes in it. He collected parts for almost four years and in 2005, when he found the 331 Chrysler Hemi, he started to build the car around it. His goal was to build an era-correct car with nothing showing newer than 1958. He built the chassis first, starting with boxed American Stamping ‘rails, a Model A front cross member, and a tubular rear cross member. A ’40 Ford X-member was cut down to fit between the ‘rails. The ladder bars are owner built, while the rear spring is a ’39 Ford with ’36 Ford radius rod ends used as spring hangers. The rear brakes use Lincoln backing plates by Wilson Welding with ’58 Buick drums, which were also used on the front with owner-modified F-3 truck 12-inch backing plates. The original Mor-Drop Model axle was drilled out by Bob Wilson and is held in place with owner-modified Model A wishbones, a Model A reverse eye spring, and Armstrong lever arm shocks. The motor and transmission mounts are owner made, and Brian handled all the line work, which goes through a Holley fuel pump and regulator from an 18-gallon Tanks Inc. fuel tank. There is an Optima battery in the car and the fuse panel is by Painless, but the rest of the wiring is by Brian. All chrome is by Catalino in Dallas.

Description: 1929 Ford Model A Coupe

That windshield certainly makes this coupe stand out. The top has been chopped 6 inches with a ’32 windshield header and matching chopped windshield frame installed, with the A-pillars leaned back about 10 degrees. This required reshaping the upper cowl around the windshield and welding the top seams together. A ’59 Chevy four-door roof was used to fabricate the top insert, upholstered by the owner. The cowl was widened slightly at the bottom to fit the ’32 frame and new firewall feet were fabricated. At the rear, the sub-rail cross-member was moved up to clear the rear frame horns, the deck-lid was shortened approximately 3 inches, and it was louvered by Kenneth Reierson with a roadster rear tail panel installed. A ’46 Buick gave up its taillights and a late ‘50s Renault Dauphine lost its license plate light. The front lights are KD Lamp headlights on a Brian0fabbed headlight bar.

Inside, a cut-down ’40 Mercury dash is filled with a ’56 Studebaker speedometer, Stewart-Warner 2 5/8-inch gauges, and a Sun tach. The clock and dash knobs were lifted from a ’51 Ford. The seat frame is from a ’30-31 Model A and the cushions and upholstery are by David Devers from Waco, Texas.

The car performed flawlessly on the 5,000-mile trip, other than a blown inner tube, one steering box adjustment, having to grease one front axle bearing, and rebuild the clutch master cylinder. It has been in bare metal for four years, though Brian plans to paint it to match the already-painted engine and dash. That’ll make it a whole different car, and a little more impervious to salt!

'29 Ford Model A Pickup

Interest in the history behind old hot rods, tales of barn finds, and the preservation and restoration of historic rods is undeniably at an all-time high, but a hot rod doesn’t have to have been built 30, 40, 50, or even 60 years ago to have an interesting history. The ’29 Model A pickup you see here was built into a hot rod just 10 years ago, yet was rolled end-over-end and subsequently rebuilt not long after its debut. If that’s not interesting history, we don’t know what is!

1929 Ford Model A Pickup

Thunder Road Rod & Custom, in Mansfield, Ohio, originally built the truck for longtime Rodder Rick Bales of St. Louis, coupling an original cab with Brookville fenders and other sheet metal. This was all mounted to a Thunder Road-built chassis, which uses a flat front cross member to get it down low, and a square tube steel structure in the rear rather than the stock bed supports. Up front, a 4.3L Chevy V-6 was installed in front of the stock firewall, allowing the limited legroom in the cab to be uncompromised, and also providing space under the cowl for the air-conditioning unit. The gas tank located in the rear of the bed, with a filler under the bed cover and the roll pan were fabricated at Thunder Road, though Bales louvered the latter himself.

Bales supplied the wood for the roof before Dave Cochran at Unlimited Upholstery trimmed the seat, roof, and bed cover. Brian Stitt at BS Creations then painted it semi-gloss black, and the Thunder Road guys delivered the completed truck to Bales at the Goodguys Indy show. Not six months later, Bales hit a culvert, flipping the pickup end-over-end. The truck suffered a broken axle, bent roof pillars, and other sheet metal damage, with Bales coming out of it with a cracked collarbone.

Description: 1929 Ford Model A Pickup

Bales’ friend Bod Perreault took on the rebuilt, so much so that you’d never know it had been damaged, before it changed hands once again, to current owner Tom Lischke. He took it completely apart, rebuilt the engine, added cruise control, and changed a few details, such as the steering wheel. He also redid the bodywork before Larry Henderson shot it in a custom0mixed high sheen semi-gloss black again. Tom had previously owned a similar truck, “but not nearly as nice as this one,” he told us, which people kept bugging him to sell. Then he spied this truck for sale. At 6 feet 6 inches, the legroom afforded by having the stock firewall was a major factor in his decision to buy. Weighing just 2,400 pounds, the truck “runs good with the V-6, is fun to drive, and returns 20 mph when driven at the speed limit”. Six-hour road trips from Ohio to Tennessee to visit his daughter are regular occurrences, and that’s not something you’d want to undertake if the interior were any smaller than it is stock!

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