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Technical 1930 or 1931 Ford, what are the differences?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by 55Belairretrorod, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. 55Belairretrorod
    Joined: May 2, 2013
    Posts: 97

    55Belairretrorod
    Member
    from Australia

    Hi all,
    I'm tossing around the idea of starting on a 1930/31 Ford RPU build. I've been offered a deal on a cherry cowl and doors as a start. After doing some homework on the HAMB I've found some info on the cosmetic differences in the grille shells but not much more info. Are there any critical differences between these two years that I need to be aware of? eg. Can I for instance use a 1930 cowl with 1931 doors and a 1930 rear cab section? Any help with interchangeability and cosmetic differences would be greatly appreciated as I'll need to continue the search for rear cab section, fenders, running boards, etc.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. khead47
    Joined: Mar 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,748

    khead47
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Look in the "Ford Barn" website!
     
  3. Binger
    Joined: Apr 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,720

    Binger
    Member
    from wyoming

    I don't think there is many differences between 30 and 31. Grill shell for sure and splash aprons were 2 piece on '30 and one piece on '31s. But as khead47 said ask the ford barn.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  4. rusty rocket
    Joined: Oct 30, 2011
    Posts: 4,138

    rusty rocket
    Member

    Im sure there are tiny differences that a model A nut would know of. I know when I built my T modified I found all sorts of small things different from a 26 to a 27. Like binger said above splash aprons and grill are the biggest clue. And being from Australia you might have a different can of worms on your plate.
     

  5. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,581

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Wasn't the steering column drop changed in that timeframe? And the speedo from oval to round? And '31's had the dimple in the firewall for the sediment valve on the outside instead of '30's had it inside.
     
  6. continentaljohn
    Joined: Jul 24, 2002
    Posts: 4,797

    continentaljohn
    Member

    If you're building a hotrod 30 31 body parts work together . So you can use 31 fenders running boards on a 30 body and vice a versa . I cant think of one thing that wouldnt work with each other 1930 1931 . Sounds like a good start for a roadster pickup good luck with the project . [QUE="55Belairretrorod, post: 11245504, member: 219643"]Hi all,
    I'm tossing around the idea of starting on a 1930/31 Ford RPU build. I've been offered a deal on a cherry cowl and doors as a start. After doing some homework on the HAMB I've found some info on the cosmetic differences in the grille shells but not much more info. Are there any critical differences between these two years that I need to be aware of? eg. Can I for instance use a 1930 cowl with 1931 doors and a 1930 rear cab section? Any help with interchangeability and cosmetic differences would be greatly appreciated as I'll need to continue the search for rear cab section, fenders, running boards, etc.
    Thanks in advance.[/QUOTE]
    If yo
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  7. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,724

    flatford39
    Member

    Only late 31's had the indented firewall. All 31's had the round speedometer, be careful of the door hinges. Some early 30's only had two bolt bottom hinges instead of three bolt. Now that doesn't mean you can't mix and match. My 31 roadster has the two bolt hinge cowl section but I installed the indented firewall and the matching gas tank for it. If you don't open the doors you would never know it had an early 30's cowl.
     
  8. continentaljohn
    Joined: Jul 24, 2002
    Posts: 4,797

    continentaljohn
    Member

    The late 31 had the tear drop
     
  9. In US production, cars produced through around June 1930 used the 28-29 style instrument panel (oval speedo). The 'indented' cowl was released in late April 31, and the steering column reinforcement was made beginning in July 1931.

    So if it has the earlier style instrument panel (or relief for the early style panel) it's a 30. If it has an indented firewall or steering column reinforcement, it's a 31. If it has a non indented firewall and round speedo, it's a late 30/early 31.
     
  10. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,610

    bowie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    gwhite: I have my dads early '30 roadster and it does have the oval speedo. It also has '28-'29 forged front fender brackets and the '28-'29 curved end front bumper. He bought it with a known history in 1946, so I feel it was made this way. Do you know of any other early '30 traits?
     
  11. Yeah, I've got a set of those 30 forged fender irons...they're a little different than the 28-9's. The 28-9 fender irons have a tighter radii bend and mount to the frame via 2 3/8" bolts and a 1/2" bolt. The early 30 fender irons have 3/8" holes for mounting, a wider radii bend. Also note in the picture that the 28-9 bracket has a very thick boss around the bottom 'ear' of the mounting flange, so that's a good spotting feature. Here's a pic, glossy bracket is the early-to-mid 30, the other is a 28-9.
    11.jpg
    1.jpg
    111.jpg

    Early 30's also had some fuel tank differences (I think the back of the tanks lacked reinforcement ribs) and did not have embossing to retain the cowl molding (they used clips). If I find or think of any more differences, I'll post 'em here. Been a while since I messed with A's.
     
    -Brent- and bowie like this.
  12. First let me bitch, we are not nor ever have been the HAMB referral agency, yes I also have been guilty but that doesn't change the fact that we also have the information right here as has been proven by this thread.

    Now @gwhite you hammered it again that's twice in two days, the '30/'31 irons even the forged ones are different, the fenders are different. many people me included prefer the '28/'29 fenders. If I had the newer A bone I would be tempted to use the earlier fenders, they are just more shapely in my opinion.

    Minor differences include the use of left over '29 pieces in the very early runs. Mr Ford was known for that. I big sister has a photo of my great uncle ( my granddad's brother in law and cousin :oops: ) standing in front of his brand new '30 A coupe with '29 fenders. I remember as a child there being a large argument about it not being a '30 because the fenders were obviously not being '30s and my uncle who never threw anything out producing the paperwork from the purchase complete with serial number. I have seen the photo since and there are other clues to it being a 30 aside from the paperwork like the later cowl that you can see if you look close enough.

    Another difference in '30s and '31s that I have been told about is the cowl lights which were an option I believe. I would have to see the two side by side to tell the difference but I have been told that the '31s had different cowl lights.

    I got a question for the masses. A little off topic but maybe applicable. I have two tail lights that came with my '29 sedan, the original that is still on the car and a nickel plated one (well worn) that I will probably run. I have made the assumption that the nickel plated light is a '30/'31 as I have not seen a restored '28/'29 in my travels that had a nickel plated tail light and I have seen the later model As with them plated and with painted lights and both winning @ concourse. Do we suppose that is a year thing or an upgrade?
     
    -Brent- likes this.
  13. Beanno, you freaking nailed it right there! Nothing makes me cringe more than an on-topic and relevant question being referred somewhere else. And this isn't a swipe (in the least) at Ford Barn...I love that place, but I think a lot of us would agree that the HAMB could hold its own in the 'body of knowledge' department with any place out there.

    To answer your question about the tail light, I grew up tinkering with A's and hanging with A restorers...can't recall off the top o' my head any differences in tail lights aside from the 28-early 29's using a drum tail light (VE 28's were of brass, IIRC, and had embossed lettering)...been a long time since I've thumbed through my Model A judging standards though. Lemme see if I can dig one out...
     
  14. Well my nickel light is brass and has duolight embossed on it. It also has the little shade dealy that makes it say stop when you hit the brake. I can look at the original but I think it is steel and it is body color.

    Give me a minute and I'll wander to the garage I need to get into garage mode anyway.

    Nope its brass just painted to match the body.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015
  15. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,588

    31Apickup
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Overall, you can combine 30-31 pieces, many of the differences listed wouldn't prevent them being used together. The 28-29 pu was carried into the 1930 model year, I still refer to those as 28-29, although you could see something advertised as a 30 and it is the early style. The roadster & rpu pickup share the same doors. The 30-31 roadster pickup back of cab is the same but are drastically different from the closed cab back. The pickup box from 28- about may 31 are the same, the late 31 widebox uses it's own unique rear fenders. Hoods are the same, the 30 stainless grill shell was carried into the 31 model year. Some (could be all)of the AA grill shells are deeper due to a thick radiator. Late 31 had the indented firewall, and the fuel tank has the shut off recessed and also doesn't have the steering column support, but that only matters if you are actually using the fuel tank or cutting it out. 1930's had the short apron and the running board is part of the longer apron, those are not reproduced, most run the 31 style if you use reproduction parts. Some like the looks of the 28-29 fenders, just use the aprons and other matching parts and they can be used on a 30-31.
     
  16. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,581

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Beaner, do you have a drum taillight? I mean, does the lense insert from the rear, or is there a ring and lense that screw to the bucket?

    I think I've never found an original drum taillight that didn't have a big ol crack in it. Either brass or steel. I bet that's why they changed the design and started making the tapered buckets that everybody is familiar with.

    And, to bring this around to the OP's original question, there should be no original 30 or 31's with drum taillights. They were phased out in 28 or 29.
     
  17. Yes I do (drum), the nickel one is in good shape other then the nickel is wearing off and the original to the car is busted up pretty bad. The plated one seems like it is heavier material.
     
  18. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,581

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    For the masses, here's an example of a drum taillight that never came installed on a 30-31. One-piece housing, no ring to remove.

    drum taillight.jpg
     
  19. I guess I should have snapped a pic. Thanks buddy.
     
  20. 55Belairretrorod
    Joined: May 2, 2013
    Posts: 97

    55Belairretrorod
    Member
    from Australia

    Thanks everyone for your info, it's greatly appreciated. It will be a hotrod so I'm not worried about it being 'concourse correct', just don't want to gather up a bunch of incompatible parts.
     
  21. I agree the grill shell was different. The 1930 had a blue emblem and the '31 had a stainless emblem. Both shells were the same configuration as the 1930 passenger car shell but regular steel (not stainless) and painted black on the stock RPU. For both years the tops were removable but could not be folded down. LeBaron Bonney,
    (800) 221-5408, makes a top that is not correct for a restoration but can be folded down.

    Charlie Stephens
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015
  22. Frank Carey
    Joined: Oct 15, 2009
    Posts: 523

    Frank Carey
    Member

    Nobody has mentioned the Briggs vs. Murray bodies. Both of these companies supplied bodies to Ford and there are differences. Fo example, I don't know if a Briggs door will fit a Murray body. I didn't check the fordbarn site but that's the place to raise this issue. And I don't know how to identify the maker of a particular model-A body.
     
  23. I don't know about Australia but if you were in the US I would say you got lucky on the subcontracted body issue. All of the RPU bodies were made by Ford. All of the roadster body were also made by Ford (the roadster doors fit the RPU). If you could go back to the 1930-31 period all of the subcontracted bodies had body tags saying who made them and those produced by Ford did not have tags. If you need more details on what bodies were subcontracted ask on fordbarn.
    Charlie Stephens
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2015
  24. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 4,593

    sloppy jalopies
    Member

    If yo[/QUOTE]
    .
    Early '30 gastanks had [3] raised reveals, they were about 3/8" long to retain the cowl band...
    the later '30s had them about 1.25" long reveals...
    1931 had the raised reveal run all the way across the tank... held the band in place better...
    some cowls sides had the cowl band retainer reveal run top to bottom [1] piece...
    some had the reveal made in [2] strips... early / late ? ? ?
     
  25. todd burgess
    Joined: Sep 10, 2014
    Posts: 13

    todd burgess

     
  26. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,317

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    The late '31 bed is wider and therefore has narrower fenders. Those narrow fenders are hard to find. Most often, you have to narrow a set of coupe fenders if you want the running boards and splash aprons to match.

    The late, larger bed shown here is easy to distinguish from the common A bed, which has rounded bottom edges on the side. The late bed also has a steel floor instead of wood.

    [​IMG]
     
    Hitchhiker likes this.
  27. I am sure that you know you were there. :rolleyes:
     
  28. .
    Early '30 gastanks had [3] raised reveals, they were about 3/8" long to retain the cowl band...
    the later '30s had them about 1.25" long reveals...
    1931 had the raised reveal run all the way across the tank... held the band in place better...
    some cowls sides had the cowl band retainer reveal run top to bottom [1] piece...
    some had the reveal made in [2] strips... early / late ? ? ?[/QUOTE]
     

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