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Features On the Hunt for a Model A

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by J.Ukrop, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,308

    Staff Member

    J.Ukrop submitted a new blog post:

    On the Hunt for a Model A


    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
  2. I think asking prices are high, who knows real selling prices.
    The market is in the tank, fewer people what our old junk, and the ones selling are hoping to get what they have in them,,, sorry aint gonna happen..
    You have time, low ball him and then wait for the call cause you are the only one looking at it, or wait two weeks and give another call,,, don't show your hand, take a friend that will show you the bumps and bruises and rust that you young Hot Rod eyes are missing.. (Hope the seller is not reading this lol)
  3. 66gmc
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 553


    Best of luck to you on your quest for a model A. I'm 28 so I understand the struggle of being able to afford this hobby. I think the key is being willing to work with other peoples leftover and junk parts...sure it takes longer to weld a bunch of rusty scraps together, but the new skills you learn in the process are well worth the effort. I had my first model A hot rod on the road when I was 23, when it was finished I had around 12,000 usd invested, and that number could have been even lower had I not gotten impatient and purchased a brookville frame and pete and jakes front suspension.
    The 26 T gow job I've been tinkering with should have under 7,000 usd invested (including the original purchase price)
    I know everyone always says to buy the best parts you can afford, and to some extent that is true, but if you want something bad enough you'd be suprized what you can accomplish.
  4. modified
    Joined: Sep 21, 2006
    Posts: 326


    I agree! 100%!
    Sent from my SM-A515U1 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    chryslerfan55 and J.Ukrop like this.

  5. Healeykid
    Joined: Aug 30, 2013
    Posts: 20


    Hope it turns out great Joey! I recently purchased another project car and totally understand the anxiety part about wondering if it will be good or not. Really enjoyed your Spaghetti Western project and look forward to this one! As another young guy in the hobby, it is tough but not insurmountable to find a good project. We just have to get a little more creative and work a little extra to clean up old parts, but that is part of the fun right? Thanks for giving us someone to look up to and keep up the good work.
    chryslerfan55 and J.Ukrop like this.
  6. Mikko_
    Joined: Aug 3, 2018
    Posts: 193

    from Sweden

    I'm 28 years and got started in the traditional hot rod-world just last year.
    Was thinking that a tudor would be all that I could afford but then everything changed over night,
    found an ad on Facebook by a guy who was selling a big part of his Model A stash, both parts and cars.
    Gave him a call and he said "come have a look at what I have to sell".
    Said and done, I went to visit him and he had this '28 Phaeton in pieces that I got really interested in even if it was to big of a project for me to tackle on my own.

    Suddenly he said, "If you want to buy it I can help you put it together, I've been doing this for 30 years so I have already done all the mistakes one can make and know how to bring this thing back to life."

    I accepted his offer and we made a deal and we've been working on this thing together since then.
    Really happy about having an open top hot rod project of my own and a good mentor as well.

    Guess what I want to say is, just go for it. You want regret it, this hobby is so much fun.
  7. jailhousebob
    Joined: Jun 18, 2009
    Posts: 682

    from Illinois

    There are plenty of people that continue to be interested in the early Ford/vintage hot rod hobby. Desirable cars and projects trade hands every day so i wouldn't assume that you will be the only person showing interest and a "low ball" offer will sometimes result in the seller sending you packing with no hope of negotiating for the car. Instead, know the market. I've been buying, building and selling old Fords for 50 years and the market tends to ebb and flow but in general continues to rise,again based on the desirability of the car ( or project). Have the ability to asses the particular car (or project) or take somebody with you who does.Have a price range in mind that you are willing to pay and don't get overwhelmed by desire. While it is true that some guys are asking crazy prices for what they have there are many out there who are being realistic and are willing to negotiate.
    chryslerfan55, bobkatrods and J.Ukrop like this.
  8. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,199

    from Oregon

    I am thinking you need a 1927 Model T Tudor :D. Hint hint
  9. I can't help but think that an easier, cheaper, ready-to-go car that you can drive and make changes to might be the way to go.
    J.Ukrop likes this.
  10. For me, it is finding the right combination of parts and price. Everything can be changed, but having more Hard to find pieces that I will keep is worth a lot. Some parts take a longtime to find, and if they are what you really want in your build, they can really bump up the desirablity of a car.
    chryslerfan55 and J.Ukrop like this.
  11. over pay for a really good car that you want? not a problem.
    over pay for a turd? problem.
    look it over well, then look it over again. something not exactly right, plan on it being worse and taking longer to fix then you think. any part of unknown condition, consider it bad.
    there are clues I look at that say a lot about the condition of the car. if the exhaust, door jambs, wiring and trunk are a mess, I think everything else was done bad also.
    chryslerfan55 and J.Ukrop like this.
  12. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,712


    I wish you the best in your search Joey
  13. Joey...I'm really pumped you want an A-bone roadster. Hope the one you're lookin at is a good car and you end up buying it.I also hope you will drive it to the HAMB drags for some good, clean fun. Here is the photo you took of my car at the drags last year, or was it 2018? 34rodders Journal photo.jpg
  14. 327-365hp
    Joined: Feb 5, 2006
    Posts: 5,348

    from Mass

    Ritchie Willet's roadster in your lead photo. I hope you find one and make it that cool!
  15. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,892




    On your hunt for a nice roadster, if the roadster you have seen falls through, here is one that you might have seen in the HAMB classifieds. I am sure the price is low enough for a complete car, but there is always room for any negotiation. The body and overall roadster looks fairly nice. So that is a good starting point. But, it still falls under starting with something, then making your mark on the road to finishing or getting it driving to your tastes until the finish product finally appears.

    The thread: “RESTORED VERSES HOT ROD” Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER. has running comments about starting from scratch versus getting one that is nice and in good shape as a starting point. There is never a scale that shows how much is spent or how many hours is completed doing what needs to be done to getting a running hot rod. But, if the primary roadster is straight, the body is in great shape and everything is where it should be, then the battle is at least ½ over.

    For some, any price is not going to be right unless it is relatively free. But, those aside, if most of the work is done well, then the cost is negligible and you have more time to do other things. Sometimes it is a wonder to watch someone work miracles on an old rusted out hot rod. Other times and personal skill prevent that. For most, time is important, so, if the project is well done in the first place, your hot rod is now open to doing other things that fit your skill level. Getting things organized, style, and being able to do something on the hot rod will fall into place. Build up the motor, select a transmission stick or auto and then start with the things necessary for mobility.

    When we used to go to those Model T events in Long Beach as teens, we saw plenty of stock, well restored cars and trucks. They were nice, but immediately, we could envision an SBC with dual quads, a LaSalle trans in place and a nice set of wheels for it. That was all we could do with our limited budgets and thin wallets. We like the look of the older wire wheels and a modern braking system, but here is a fine point about changing the stock look and mechanics versus updating the old system. That is the point of the thread.

    Whether or not you can easily be swayed by others, definitely listen, but you have to make the decision in the long run. It is your idea and build. If not, spend another 30 thousand a have one of the local, respected, hot rod builders take the body off and supply a new chassis, suspension, and drive line for today’s highway speeds and traffic. Then you will have something to build on as the major things were taken care of for you. There is nothing wrong with that scenario. It is what most would like, but time and money prevent most from doing that. And there is the idea that money will be spent, it will take longer, but it was my doing the whole 100%... scene that is similar but takes a while.


    Also, sitting in an open roadster with your height might be a challenge. Most roadsters were a little cramped as the generations grew in our society. Even back in 1960, my brother and I had thoughts of a Model A roadster pick up for another project, but realized two brothers would not fit without altering/extending the seating area back into the shortened bed. There is only so much room modifying the seats and pedals without compromising driving comfort. Extended arm driving versus cramped bent elbows and the steering wheel intruding on comfort, is no one’s idea of cool cruising. Or safety for that matter… here is an orange Model A drawing I have been tossing around for ideas.
    There is even a nicely finished, red Model A RPU, extended, here on the HAMB built for more room in the cab… check it out...YRMV
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
    chryslerfan55, J.Ukrop and AHotRod like this.
  16. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 998


    It looks like you've been doing your preliminary research. With that information you are now ready to do your empirical research. Be absolutely mercenary. There is no car you 'have to have'. You have lived this long without one and the sun is still going to come up tomorrow. Once you buy it you get to live with it. The more you look, the better a feel you will have for what's a deal and which one expects you to bring your own vaseline.
    Advice I used to give my students was to go looking six or so months before they were ready to pull the trigger. That way that would have a feel for prices vs. condition. (I know that sucks for the sellers.)
    chryslerfan55 and J.Ukrop like this.
  17. If I would have read this earlier- I would've offered another set of eyes for you.......
    I guess we're all waiting for the news!
    J.Ukrop likes this.
  18. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,532


    Buy the best car you can. The better car you start with, the less money and time you will wind up spending. Good luck.
    Just Gary, J.Ukrop and dirty old man like this.
  19. guy1unico
    Joined: Aug 30, 2006
    Posts: 906


    I know where this one is and he may sell.
    PM me if you want to discuss.

    rdstr 4.jpg
  20. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 4,397


    Well...........? C'mon, Joey. Inquiring minds want to Know!
  21. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,308

    Staff Member

    I'm hard at work on the next issue of Rodder's Journal, but here's the scoop.

    Saturday was one of the most fun days I've had in a long time. Me, my girlfriend, my good pal Yama and his dog hit the road around 10 a.m. Although it was foggy in San Francisco, we drove the winding roads south and ended up near Santa Cruz by noon. We made arrangements to meet the owner at a park.

    When we finally pulled into the right lot, we spotted the roadster and our jaws collectively dropped. Seeing pictures and videos is one thing, but being in the presence of such a neat old car is hard to explain. You guys know the feeling. After introducing ourselves, I asked if I could start tapping and magnet-ing. The owner said go right ahead. So we did.

    It wasn't long before I discovered that this car was rougher than anticipated. My tapping made me realize that there was a fair amount of bondo, and the passenger side quarter panel was the worst of it. The car was leaking fuel, leaking oil and Yama and I realized that the two bolts attaching the wishbone were barely finger-tight. Not a good sign.

    We took it for a test drive and although it brought us down the road just fine, there was some unsettling clattering coming from the engine compartment. The owner told me that he thought it may have been normal. Yama and I were skeptical. When I drove it, the starter motor wouldn't disengage, which wasn't a good sign either.

    When it was all said and done, I respectfully declined and thanked the owner for letting me check it out. For the price he was asking, it would have to have been a pretty nice car. This could be a good project for the right person, but not for me at this time.

    Thank you for everyone who helped! I'm excited that even though this one didn't work out, the search is on. And now for some pics...
    IMG_3660.jpg IMG_3678.jpg IMG_9060.jpg IMG_9061.jpg IMG_9062.jpg
  22. I see a LOT of sins in that Qtr panel!
  23. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,317


    That right quarter is sketchy as mentioned previously, that photo really confirms it. Looks like there are some other roadsters being offered up, the right one will come along.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    chryslerfan55, HEMI32 and J.Ukrop like this.
  24. Yeah, lots of them out there, no reason for him to rush it.
  25. Willywash
    Joined: Sep 18, 2019
    Posts: 64


    Take your time, but don't let a really nice body get away. I payed 5500 last fall for a 31 coupe. No drive train, just chassis and body. Car was pretty much all there and in good shape as far as rust goes. I looked about two years and found quite a few but they where long distances away. Found one forty miles from my house. That is worth $1000 or $2000 if your wife feels the need to go with you to pick it up at a long distance.
    indyjps and chryslerfan55 like this.
  26. Keep your eyes open. They are out there! I had this one just basically drop in my lap. Phone call from a friend selling for a friend reviled a near perfect (absolutely no rust or bondo) basket case '30 Roadster that had been in a garage for 46 years. Picked it up, bolted it together and I'm driving it less than two months after the fact. Pretty happy. Doesn't happen every day but it does happen. Stay at it and find the right one. ;)

    as found.jpg 1931 ford.jpg
    Bonus with the basket case is you can inspect it closely.
    -Brent-, warbird1, ClarkH and 5 others like this.
  27. chryslerfan55 likes this.
  28. I hadn't thought about it, was more of a bolt together than a build. lol
  29. Snapped together.
  30. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 4,184

    sloppy jalopies

    I know it could not be further away,
    but a buddy has a '30 roadster pick up cab, doors, floors, dashrail, w/s upper and lower stanchions and glass in the piece - $2500, he is a hamber but I don't know his #... phone if needed...
    chryslerfan55 likes this.

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