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Projects Help with 31 model A chassis

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Robert Fairhall, Sep 11, 2020.

  1. Robert Fairhall
    Joined: Sep 11, 2020
    Posts: 6

    Robert Fairhall
    Member

    good day,

    Would like to get a better confirmation on this frame I have to confirm exactly what I have because I am unable to find any serial numbers on it. Was told it was a 31 coupe, I do know that it has been modified but other than looking for numbers on the frame, is there anyway that I can i can identify it for sure exactly what it is before I start working on it. New to hot rods so looking for a bit of help on this. Cheers! 15998646285683412238597643223230.jpg 15998646896476488161862885644467.jpg 15998647144323363906404890262043.jpg 15998647369113273110991365846936.jpg
     
  2. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 952

    ClarkH
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Your front crossmember is '30-31 (you can tell by the raised mountings for the radiator). There isn't much in the way of significant difference in the rest of the frame, '28-31. As to which model, I believe all Model A passenger cars used the same frame. There wasn't a coupe-specific frame.
     
  3. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,676

    flatford39
    Member

    Front cross member appears to be a 28 29 as the radiator supports are flush with the frame making it a 28 29 frame. Interesting place where the put the kick up.
     
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  4. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,676

    flatford39
    Member

    LOL.... two opinions and no help for the OP. I'll have to go look in the shop tomorrow.
     
    Robert Fairhall likes this.

  5. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 952

    ClarkH
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I stand corrected. @flatford39 has it right, I believe. I will wear my readers next time. :confused:
     
  6. irishsteve
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 837

    irishsteve

    Frame number would be on the left rail on top between the steering box,and the firewall.A frames are interchangeable for the most part.The 28-29 front crossmember is different than the 30-31 as far as radiator mounting.You could shim the 30-31 frame to take a 28-29 radiator,but the 30-31 radiator on a 28-29 crossmember would be too tall.If you are running hoodless it wont matter.Yours looks like a later front cross member.
     
    Lil32 likes this.
  7. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,783

    rusty valley
    Member

    i believe the numbers on an A are farther back. actually under the body behind the firewall, drivers side.
     
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  8. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,162

    51504bat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    What he said.
     
  9. Robert Fairhall
    Joined: Sep 11, 2020
    Posts: 6

    Robert Fairhall
    Member

    I have looked all over that area, it looks like its had a lot of work to it and has also been boxed in. I have been told by a few people about the rad support being a 31 as well as a few of the local old boys where I live but need to make sure. I don't want to start buying parts for a different year frame
     
  10. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,678

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The serial number on the frame would only tell you when the original engine was made. Everything not a big truck got the same frame.

    Engines got the serial number when they were made at the River Rouge plant. They were then shipped to assembly plants around the country and globe. When the engine was set in the chassis, that number was transferred to the frame rail.

    Even if you had the number, it would only tell you what position in the sequence the original engine was made, nothing else.

    The location of the number on the frame did vary, as this was done quickly, by hand, on a moving assembly line.

    As has been mentioned, about only the radiator mounting would be of concern, and that is two shims, or a little cutting and welding to correct.

    The bigger problem that we are looking at here is: how do you plan to register this, with no serial number?
     
    Robert Fairhall likes this.
  11. That and we don't know the OP's intentions.
    The back 3/4 of the frame has been hacked/modified a lot (kickup, reverse of kickup, rear crossmember, odd outrigger brackets etc. etc.)
    So whatever the intentions are Robert, it's more about what has already been done to the frame rather than specific year Model A that will affect what you do or order.
     
  12. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,676

    flatford39
    Member

    What year car are building??? 28 29 or 30 31?? If you are building a 30 31 then you are going to have issues with the hood lining up if you don't change the cross member. The 30 31 radiator will be to high. If your not running a hood then you probably don't need to worry about it. As far as buying parts for the frame I am not sure what you are buying. Just about everything will interchange. The front fender mounts are different between 28 29 and 30 31 but you don't have any on it now. What parts are you looking to buy??
     
  13. Robert Fairhall
    Joined: Sep 11, 2020
    Posts: 6

    Robert Fairhall
    Member

    This frame is a donor frame, i have a body and frame with ownership, just the old frame is not worth saving and completely rotten. That was great information about the A, thank you!
     
  14. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 4,189

    sloppy jalopies
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    get a good straight edge and check the frame top for straight...
    they tend to sag at the rear motor mount...
    grill to hood and hood to cowl gaps will not line up...
    if the crossmember is the only problem, if you have the short one and need tall, shim it...
    if you have the tall and need short, buy a chopped radiator...
    don't try and run a '30-'31 shell on a '28-'29 radiator...the rad is too wide... $0.02.
     
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  15. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,783

    rusty valley
    Member

    good advice^^^ i pull a string to check for straightness. they are easy to fix with a bottle jack, a beam, and some chain
     
    Robert Fairhall likes this.
  16. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,207

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    Put your location so someone maybe close enough to help with a hand, info or parts . :)
     
  17. Robert Fairhall
    Joined: Sep 11, 2020
    Posts: 6

    Robert Fairhall
    Member

    I am building a 31 with no engine hood. I get what everyone is saying. As I mentioned I'm new to hot rodding and have only restored muscle cars, this is my first so I am used to buying the correct parts for the correct year model etc. As I was jjst talking to my neighbour about this today, he is saying everything you all are. So I'm just gonna dive in (slowly) and build it how I want it to look. I'll have to start a build thread. Thank you everyone for your patience and education!!
     
    tb33anda3rd likes this.
  18. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,678

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The only thing you may end up doing is either trimming, or shimming for the radiator.

    Everything else not year-specific.

    The rest is up to your imagination.
     
  19. Robert Fairhall
    Joined: Sep 11, 2020
    Posts: 6

    Robert Fairhall
    Member

    I love that reply! Thank you!!
     
  20. dsiddons
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,432

    dsiddons
    Member
    from Indiana

    Dig the F1shick/headlight mounts


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  21. Robert Fairhall
    Joined: Sep 11, 2020
    Posts: 6

    Robert Fairhall
    Member

    I've beennlookingbfor info on those too, F1 Schick? Could you tell me a bit about these? Cheers!
     
  22. badshifter
    Joined: Apr 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,232

    badshifter
    Member

    He means F1 (as in Ford Truck) SHOCK mounts doubling as headlight mounts. They are already on your frame. They were modified from stock F1 shock mounts to do double duty as headlight mounts. Popular and common mod.
     
    Robert Fairhall likes this.
  23. F1 shock bracket/A headlight bar combo.
     
    Robert Fairhall likes this.
  24. I read an article a few years ago that mentioned that the serial numbers were sometimes stamped in different places on the frame not just under the cowl. The article also stated that some or many of the Canadian built cars did not have the serial number stamped on the frame at all. I searched my own frame on my 1930 Ford and was unable to come up with a number anywhere. That could be a problem getting registration. Fortunately for me, my car was still registered from before so I didn't have to prove it. When I apply for Collector Car Insurance though, I may not be able to get a VIN number assigned if they can't find the serial number on the car anywhere. I will cross that bridge later. It could be that some of the Canadian cars only had the number on the engine and in most cases that is long gone. Even you guys in the US would have difficulty showing your reg. no. unless you lifted the body up off the frame.
     
    Robert Fairhall likes this.
  25. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,678

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Our laws in the US are not set at the national level. They are set at the state level, so we have 50 different sets of laws.

    In my state, if a serial number on an A needs to be verified, the body would need to be lifted off of the frame, and the splash apron, if so equipped, would need to be removed.
     
    Robert Fairhall likes this.
  26. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,162

    51504bat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    @gimpyshotrods, not to hijack this thread but if the engine number on a Model A matches the pink can you get a DMV assigned vin so you can do an engine swap or will it remain titled with the frame number? Since the frame numbers are not readily visible I foresee possible registration issues down the road unless the car gets an assigned vin. Any info you can provide is appreciated.
     
  27. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,678

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    This is an often misunderstood area. If you have an original Model A (and I have inspected several now), the engine and frame numbers match. If you do not, you have trouble.

    CA DMV says that the frame number is the final word. If there is a question about that number, they will require that the body be pulled. That is not negotiable.

    If you have a Model A that is currently registered to just the engine number, it is improperly titled. If there is a question about the identity of your vehicle, and the body gets pulled to check the frame, you'd better hope that number does not come back as stolen.

    Since a Model A in CA is to be titled to the frame number, you can swap engines every two weeks, if you want to.

    CA will not assign a VIN unless you can prove that it does not have a number, and to do that, off comes the body.
     
    51504bat likes this.
  28. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,162

    51504bat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    So if the the original 4 banger with the engine number that matches the frame number is replaced by say a small block Chevy there is no way to verify ownership except with the frame number which is hidden by the body? The reason I ask is that I've seen Model A's with non original engines with DMV assigned vin number plates attached to the body. Seems to me having a valid vin number that was readily available to law enforcement would make sense.
     
    Robert Fairhall likes this.
  29. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,678

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Correct. In the case of a Model A, there is no way to identify it, without lifting the body. This is why every single A that I build has an access panel over the serial number, with quarter-turn fasteners.

    If the DMV assigns a VIN, it will be on the body, because current law requires it to be accessible, as applied.

    It is not illegal to copy and re-stamp the number in a visible location; however, you must show the original, on-demand, or your vehicle can be impounded, so CHP can verify it.

    This is an unlikely scenario, but it is better that you are prepared, and fully within compliance of the law.
     
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  30. Almostdone
    Joined: Dec 19, 2019
    Posts: 318

    Almostdone
    Member

    Ok, I’ll ask it....... what happens when a build has an aftermarket frame and engine, but the original body?

    And here’s a photo of the location (chalked area) of the number on the frame of a Model A coupe.

    D24E1C7B-7563-42A6-BF12-30C0B435B508.jpeg
     

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