View Full Version : GTDrifter's 1929 Ford Model A

10-15-2014, 09:54 PM
Yes this is old news. Yes this is a Subaru forum. But there’s always room in everyone’s life for a classic car, no matter the make.

A little backstory:
It started its life as a 1929 Ford Model A Coupe. I don’t know what happened between ’29 and the 1960’s but eventually a farmer in South Carolina bought the car in the 60’s. Some years passed and he decided that he needed a hunting truck more than he needed a coupe. After cutting off the back of the body and using wood to create the bed and the back of the cab he now had a truck. He painted everything blue, when I say everything I mean everything: spark plugs, battery, engine, body, wood, everything and kept it in his barn. Unfortunately he passed away and the family removed the truck from the barn, placing it under a small carport. It sadly sat there for over 20 years, developing some nasty rust.

About a year and a half ago the farmer’s niece and her husband get the truck and tow it up here to Michigan with the intention of restoring it. Although some parts were removed the project was abandoned so they decided to sell it as a “parts car”.

My fiancé and I went to Greenfield Village’s Old Car Festival this year (2014) which allows people to drive their classic, pre 1934 cars through the 19th century based village. We enjoyed the festival so much we decided to buy a Model A and build it in time for next year’s festival. That night we hopped on Craigslist and found the ad for the Model A. At that point there were no pictures posted but for the price we were definitely interested. A quick phone call later and we were on our way to go look at it. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty rough. Mother Nature has definitely been busy rusting this thing to pieces. We told them that we would think it over and get back to him. By the time we got home we decided to go for it and called the owners once we got home. A few days later we trailored it home. Everything seems to be there except the exhaust and the doors.
I have been working on it every so often, usually only one day a week but I must say, it’s coming along quickly. Plans are to restore the truck back to its former glory. The plywood backing of the cab is getting replaced with sheet metal from a Model A pickup, All the rust is getting repaired, the engine will be stripped down, painted, inspected, and new gaskets will get installed. The body will have all the rust repaired; panels that are too rusted to repair will be replaced. Almost all the wood for the body will be getting replaced. The bed will be sanded down, stained, and clear coated. The interior will be completely redone with a stained wood floor, new paint, and custom built doors. All the work will be done by my fiancé and myself with only minor engine help by our friend that owns an auto shop.


Day One: September 10, 2014
Initial teardown started. Removed the passenger fender, side board, radiator, radiator support rods.

Day Two: September 14, 2014
Removed driver’s fender, windshield wiper motor, dash, front floorboard, and disconnected all the wiring.

Day Three: September 20 2014
Removed fuel tank, cowl, broken windshield, and got the cab ready to be lifted off. Lug nuts seem seized, may have to snap the lugs to remove the wheels.

Day Four: September 27, 2014
Removed the engine, transmission, and cab.

Day Four and a half: September 28, 2014
Put the engine on an engine stand, removed the passenger side apron, steering wheel, and extra leaf springs the farmer added.

October 13, 2014
Got 6 wheels with tires for really cheap. Tires should be replaced but will work for the time being.

Day Five: October 17, 2014
Got the front end down to the frame, removed the passenger side splash apron, and removed the emergency brake control bar. Started cleaning and organizing the garage in anticipation of pulling the rear end once I get a spring spreader. Also took more pics of all the parts. Definitely need to get a front crossmember and I’ll be replacing the spring u-bolts as I have to cut the front ones off.

Day Six: October 18, 2014
Removed the truck bed which all will need to be replaced. Just waiting on a spring spreader and the frame will be by itself and restoration can begin.

Day Seven: October 25, 2014
Removed the wheels and hubs together (since 2 lugnuts on one wheel won't come off and I can't easily access any lugnuts on the other wheel), removed all 4 front wheel bearings, both front brake assemblies, and all the steering components. Got the rear spring spreader in place. Cut off the u bolts holding the front spring. Saw the extent of the front crossmember damage and found a broken leaf on the front spring. Luckily the nice gentlemen I bought the rear spring spreader from also has front and rear springs.

Day Eight: October 27, 2014
Began repairing the front crossmember. Removed most of the loose rust on the frame with a wire wheel and ordered the rust converter (Ospho). Just have to finish removing the rear end, rear bumper, and fender brackets; then I just have to flip the frame over, remove the loose rust on the bottom of the frame, rinse the frame off, and apply the ospho...then I can paint the frame.

Day Nine: October 31, 2014
Removed the rear end and the rear spring. Not much left until the frame is ready for the Ospho treatment.

Day Ten: November 1, 2014
Finished removing the fender brackets, running board brackets, front crossmember, and brake crossbar. Sanded the frame and rinsed it off in preparation for the Ospho treatment.

Day Eleven: November 3, 2014
Applied Ospho to the frame. Ospho converts iron oxide to iron phosphate (an inert metal, it doesn't react to anything). This helps get rid of the surface rust and prevent future rust from appearing. The black areas on the frame are where the Ospho has done its conversion.

Day Twelve: November 4, 2014
The Ospho on the frame is still curing and it worked very well. I got some parts sorted into two piles, there's the Ospho pile and the sandblast pile. Began teardown on the engine. Removed the intake manifold, carburetor, exhaust manifold, distributer, water pump, starter, generator, Oil line, and fan blade. I ran into a snag while attempting to remove the head, it doesn't seem like it wants to come off. Also found out that some little critters (most likely mice) were living in the exhaust manifold and cooling system (in the head itself). Doesn't look to have caused any damage to anything, just a stock pile of seeds and nuts.

Day Thirteen: November 9, 2014
The Ospho ended up producing a lot of white residue on the frame. Went over the entire frame with a wire wheel and cleaned the frame again. The frame has been primed with a self-etching primer and painted with chassis black paint.

Day Fourteen: March 10, 13, and 14, 2015
Yes I grouped 3 days into one; reason being I only spent about 2 hours in the garage each of these days instead of being out all day. Couldn't do much work the past few months since the Ospho only works above 32 degrees.

Finally got the head off the engine block. The cylinders need to be honed, new gaskets, the block and head need to be resurfaced and cleaned, and one of the rods have excessive play so it's safe to say the engine needs to be completely rebuilt. I don't have the funds for that at the moment so it'll be put off til later on in the project. Did the Ospho treatment to the new front crossmember and front axle/wishbone. Tried to remove the rear bumper by cutting the old bolts off to find that the farmer also welded it to his makeshift tow hitch.

10-16-2014, 12:25 AM
Oh wow cool! Looks like it's going to be a lot of work though, but there's something fascinating about a car that's that old. So much history...
I love the exposed spark plugs! It shows just how close together the cylinders are.

Can you believe I've driven a Model A? I can't remember what year exactly, but I only drove it on a dirt road at my friend's grandpa's farm. It wasn't restored, only maintained. It even had a couple bullet holes in the front window. I remember being amazed in how much slack there was in the steering wheel.

Now I'm looking at pictures I took of it, and the wheels you just bought are the same that were on the one I drove.

10-17-2014, 12:14 AM
That is really freaking cool. is it going to be a true restoration, or are you going restomod?

10-17-2014, 08:02 AM
That is really freaking cool. is it going to be a true restoration, or are you going restomod?
It was already modded being that it started as a coupe lol. I guess like a restomod, I'll be adding things I want like doors and mirrors but it'll pretty much look almost exactly how it was after the truck conversion

10-18-2014, 07:22 PM
Day 5 added.

10-18-2014, 09:40 PM
Day 6 added

10-18-2014, 10:02 PM
Fantastic. You've going to get really good at dealing with rust, really fast.

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10-18-2014, 11:19 PM
Fantastic. You've going to get really good at dealing with rust, really fast.

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Rust converter, sandblasting, wire wheels, flap discs, cutoffee wheels and welder. I'll manage lol

Once I get the rear drive train out I'll start the frame. I'm hoping to have the frame, axles, and drive shaft finished by thanksgiving

10-18-2014, 11:25 PM
A lot of the rust converters out there use Oxalic Acid. The main active ingredient in Bar Keepers Friend is Oxalic Acid, so if you are looking for something to try out that is cheap pick some up next time your in the cleaning aisle. Mix it with a little water to make a paste and go to town.

Worth a shot, I like it for removing rust or oxidation from aluminum myself. Use gloves of course.

10-19-2014, 07:17 PM
Please follow through on this, you have my attention, looking forward to your continuing progress..
I know people have their loyalties to one car or another, but this is an exceptional exception. If it wasn't for these, where would we be?
Good luck with the work!

10-19-2014, 08:57 PM
Thanks man. I pLan to follow through to the end. It has been nothing but an absolute blast to work on. I haven't gotten frustrated other than when I removed the entire cab by myself...it's heavy as hell.

I'm just waiting on a spring spreader so I can safely remove the rear end and start work on repairing the rust, painting, and reassembly. I'm hoping to have the frame, springs, rear axle, and drive shaft all repainted and assembled by thanksgiving. I'm off work for over a week in December so I plan to be working on it during that time as well. I may have to transport a lot of parts to my buddy's shop for paint since my heaters don't heat my garage enough for paint.

10-19-2014, 09:00 PM
Nepbug, I plan to use corroseal from home depot. It converts iron oxide to magnetite and also doesn't require primer

10-27-2014, 09:14 PM
Days 7 and 8 added. 4 weeks left til Thanksgiving. this weekend might be too cold to use the rust converter (45 degrees) so we'll see what next week's temps bring. really hoping to have the frame, springs, front and rear axles, and driveshaft finished and put back on by thanksgiving.

10-28-2014, 03:55 PM
have you looked into electrolysis for rust removal, especially on parts that can wait, electricity will do work for you during the week and you have a nice clean part on the weekend to work with. Cool project by the way

10-28-2014, 10:59 PM
have you looked into electrolysis for rust removal, especially on parts that can wait, electricity will do work for you during the week and you have a nice clean part on the weekend to work with. Cool project by the way

I have looked into it but I'm not interested. Much easier to apply a rust converter, wait 24 hours, rinse it off and not have to worry about it rusting ever again. Plus the smaller parts will just get blasted with aluminum oxide. Again, a lot easier and quicker.

Sorry, I just think there's much better options than electrolysis

11-04-2014, 12:12 AM
This is a great story and a great project. Can't wait to see it finished.

11-04-2014, 09:41 PM
Sorry, been doing a lot of work on the Model A and not updating.

Days 9, 10, 11, and 12 have been added to the first post. Frames almost ready for paint.

Unfortunately I can't meet my goal of having the front and rear ends installed before thanksgiving. With needing a new crossmember and front wishbone (which pretty much requires the whole front end), new spring shackles, and new spring u-bolts I just won't be able to have it together in time. Good news is I might have found a replacement crossmember and I'm looking at getting a new frame, rear end, front end, engine, and trans from the other side of Michigan. I would like to build one more Model A, we'll have the stakebed and I strive to build a Model A wrecker (hopefully sooner rather than later).

See, once this truck is finished there'll be one space available in the garage and it needs to be filled.

11-09-2014, 09:14 PM
day 13 added

11-09-2014, 09:33 PM
Nice progress!

12-23-2014, 01:34 PM
not much of an update. Picked up rebuilt front and rear springs since my front spring was broken and the rear had to be rebuilt anyway. also just ordered a front crossmember which just got shipped today. The future mrs. says I'm not allowed in the garage until after christmas.

12-23-2014, 01:34 PM
not much of an update. Picked up rebuilt front and rear springs since my front spring was broken and the rear had to be rebuilt anyway. also just ordered a front crossmember which just got shipped today. The future mrs. says I'm not allowed in the garage until after christmas.

03-14-2015, 09:47 PM

It's finally above freezing overnight so I can continue applying OSPHO to the truck. Day 14 added!