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Old 01-11-2018, 10:26 PM   #1
Brad1929
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Default Yard sale "A" project

I found this at a local yard sale recently and I have questions.

This was represented as a 1931 Ford Town Sedan. I think the previous owner had it since the 1980's as a project that never happened. He said he had planned to build it with a steel inner structure as a street rod. At the sale It was all piled on a trailer minus axles, engine and cowl section. I paid $500 for it.

I already have multiple axles, an engine and etc. My biggest concern is the cowl section and building the wood inner structure. I think the Town sedan cowl is a totally different "Animal" than a standard coupe or sedan cowl...is that right ? Could a standard cowl section be modified to work as a replacement ? It seems like it would be very difficult to find a T.S. cowl. I love the stock Model A look, but I don't mind minor mechanical deviations from stock to get a car working and on the road.

Any guidance or advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

P.S. Is it a Murray or a Briggs ?
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

I felt sorry I had no shoes,till I saw the man with no feet..
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

It isn't a Murry body. I think wood kits are available.
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:39 PM   #4
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I think you did OK
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:35 AM   #5
Dave Mellor NJ
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

You need to find a 4door cowl. The coupe cowl is close but the doors are different,I don't think yours would mount properly. You have a Briggs body and I think either a murray or briggs 4door cowl would work
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Old 01-12-2018, 06:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

Hey Brad , I paid $1500 here in Canada for a Fordor 29 Murray , complete but completely shot. check out my picture Album and see what I did to mine. wood in these beasts is expensive.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

Brad, what you have is a Briggs body. The clue is the door windows are straight at the top. The Murray has a slight curve. My understanding is that the difference in a standard fordor sedan and a Town sedan is the level of trim inside. The town sedan has upscale interior.
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Old 01-12-2018, 10:02 AM   #8
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

Hi Brad,

The issue you will have is finding the right cowl section. You have either a early 30 body or early 31. The late 30 had a slightly different set of front fenders and splash aprons. If you have a lot of wood in the body the kits are available but that will indicate that it is not a slant window late 31.

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Old 01-12-2018, 11:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

$2300 worth of wood and you'll be good to go.
Forgot about subrails and doors $2880.

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Old 01-12-2018, 11:55 AM   #10
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

Brad, Check out http://www.fordwood.com in Utah. They list all the wood needed, but it ain't cheap. For a Briggs 155/165, all the wood including the door with fasteners is $5,410.00, plus shipping. Maybe you can find cheaper.
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:22 PM   #11
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

I forgot to post up the serial number from the frame.

*A37903379*

The frame is very nice so the numbers are very legible. The 03 in the middle, between the 379's, are over stamped...3 over 0 or vice versa...what is that about ?
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

just some info
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:42 PM   #13
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Hey Brad , I paid $1500 here in Canada for a Fordor 29 Murray , complete but completely shot. check out my picture Album and see what I did to mine. wood in these beasts is expensive.
How do I access this "Album" ?
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:52 PM   #14
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How do I access this "Album" ?
See the link https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/album.php?albumid=4633
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Old 01-12-2018, 01:37 PM   #15
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

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Originally Posted by Brad1929 View Post
I forgot to post up the serial number from the frame.

*A37903379*

The frame is very nice so the numbers are very legible. The 03 in the middle, between the 379's, are over stamped...3 over 0 or vice versa...what is that about ?
August 1930
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:01 PM   #16
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you will be upside down on this quick. make sure you want to go forward, before you do.

sorry to sound discouraging, but I always look for the path of least resistance.
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:07 PM   #17
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

Is that a drop top dodge truck back there? picture please! I would say get a table saw some other wood working tools and cut down a good tree. thats a solid starter kit. I like it and that dodge gives me faith that you are the guy to pull it off!


How far ar you willing to go for a cowl. I have seen them come up. if you got everyone looking for one they will surface.

briggs. the number has an extra digit. the over stamp is probably a tired worker making a mistake.

I took a look around a nationwide craiglist searcher found 3 29 cowls. you should put up a want add on the swap meet page of the barn and on craigslists around your area. some of the best deals come from people who dont want to deal with listing something

i dont know how different the cowls are in 30 and 31 I have a briggs but have never inspected a different model in respect to the cowls.

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Old 01-12-2018, 02:16 PM   #18
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Sounds like a great project. The way I look at it you can take your time with the restoration. Purchase items as you can. The pleasure is in the adventure, gathering parts, meeting new people, fellowship with others and the pride when you finish. I am currently restoring a 1930 Station Wagon. Started with a chassis. Do not get discouraged, The adventure continues...
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:28 PM   #19
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just some info
Is there a larger version of this picture somewhere?
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:25 PM   #20
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

Find a cowl before you invest any money into the restoration of this body. You may be able to get a complete body easier than a cowl for a Briggs sedan. You don't want to start a project you can't finish.
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:22 AM   #21
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you will be upside down on this quick. make sure you want to go forward, before you do.

sorry to sound discouraging, but I always look for the path of least resistance.
I completely agree !

You have at least $500.00 in parts in the doors, rear fenders, hood, radiator shell, and frame. Before spending a lot of money on parts for this project, you may want to consult with Brent Terry Restorations about assembling and fitting the wood kits that will be required to restore this. Brent has installed many wood components for Model A’s. He would be a great person to provide a little insight into the details of restoring this car.

While anything can be restored, I personally would never start a restoration on a project like this. Many parts are missing besides the cowl. Door garnish moldings, front seat frame, seat springs, door hinges, door latches and handles, visor, running boards,running board aprons, and headlights, just to name a few. The cost of missing parts along with the cost of the wood kits, Upholstery, top material, glass, and restoration of drive train components will far exceed the value of the completed vehicle.

I am also not trying to discourage you, but I hope you thoroughly estimate the cost of doing a restoration with this project before you commit to doing this. ( my experience has shown that whatever dollar amount you come up with for your estimate, double it)
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Old 01-13-2018, 05:20 AM   #22
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

Those rear fenders look like ones that fit Coupe ,Roadster and pickups .
You might be able to trade them for parts you need
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Old 01-13-2018, 05:44 AM   #23
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Best as garden art.
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Old 01-13-2018, 08:29 AM   #24
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

Brad, Henri's 31 says it best "Sounds like a great project. The way I look at it you can take your time with the restoration. Purchase items as you can. The pleasure is in the adventure, gathering parts, meeting new people, fellowship with others and the pride when you finish."
Locating a cowl should not be a problem as it is not TS specific. A 30 or 31 cowl will work and be correct. Good success with your TS and keep asking questions that's part of the fun.
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:08 AM   #25
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If you decide to tackle this project be sure to take a lot of photos of your progress over the next few years . If you are going to build it back to original I think it would be easier than what some of the Hot Rod folks start with . I did a early 1930 Briggs 4 door that started in 1978 but it was missing all the roof wood , no hood , no fenders , no seat springs , no upholstery Ect . The car turned out to be excellent . Sorry that I had to sell it as I had 2 kids in college and 2 more to go . I was a lot younger then and I finished it in a little over 2 1/2 years . Norm
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:17 AM   #26
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It would make a good 5 window pickup cab with some modifications.
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Old 01-14-2018, 08:49 PM   #27
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Best as garden art.
Ouch ! ...but I think it already has been "Garden Art" for awhile.
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Old 01-14-2018, 09:02 PM   #28
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I completely agree !

You have at least $500.00 in parts in the doors, rear fenders, hood, radiator shell, and frame. Before spending a lot of money on parts for this project, you may want to consult with Brent Terry Restorations about assembling and fitting the wood kits that will be required to restore this. Brent has installed many wood components for Model As. He would be a great person to provide a little insight into the details of restoring this car.

While anything can be restored, I personally would never start a restoration on a project like this. Many parts are missing besides the cowl. Door garnish moldings, front seat frame, seat springs, door hinges, door latches and handles, visor, running boards,running board aprons, and headlights, just to name a few. The cost of missing parts along with the cost of the wood kits, Upholstery, top material, glass, and restoration of drive train components will far exceed the value of the completed vehicle.

I am also not trying to discourage you, but I hope you thoroughly estimate the cost of doing a restoration with this project before you commit to doing this. ( my experience has shown that whatever dollar amount you come up with for your estimate, double it)

I see how a restoration would cost more than the finished project would be worth.

There is a decent looking 4 door near me that has been looking for a new owner for a long time now...I'd have less money in it and be driving sooner.

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Old 01-14-2018, 09:45 PM   #29
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Is there a larger version of this picture somewhere?
A lot of people don't care for MAC's but their online catalog has more good info than most Vendors if you know where to look.

https://www.macsautoparts.com/ford_m...model-a-specs/
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Old 01-15-2018, 12:47 AM   #30
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Brad, I think you will find that a restored car can be purchased for thousands less than the seller has in it. I bought my 29 for less than half the total of receipts the seller gave me for the work done. Granted, I will probably have another 4K in before its finished to my satisfaction, but I'll be thousands ahead. Even with my limited time to work on it, I should be able to complete it in 8 or 9 months. It was driveable when I picked it up, with all the body and paint work finished, and the mechanicals rebuilt. The biggest part of the project is finishing the interior.
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Old 01-15-2018, 09:22 AM   #31
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I would sell what you have at a profit and put that money to a good car.
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:18 AM   #32
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Berts in Colorado has an early 1930 Murray on there website for $6000.00. It is complete! Runs and drives, and you would still have a lot of fun doing a restoration while still being able to use the car.
www.modelastore.com
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:41 AM   #33
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I have been reading all the posts on this for the last few days.

I think you are asking for members ideas on your purchase. There have been a lot of great comments so far.

My take away from all the reply’s is that unless you see this as a labor of love or just want to show yourself and the rest of us that you can do it. It probably would not be a good idea to move forward with restoration in mind.

There comes a time when antiques just become to far gone or not complete enough to restore. Houses, furniture, cars, whatever.

This body might be a good candidate to become a street rod.

My advice. Take what ever money you were going to spend on this body. Buy a complete car that is in need of work. Than do your thing. Enjoy.
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Old 01-15-2018, 12:16 PM   #34
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Best scenario: complete car with much or most of the work done. Second scenario: mostly complete, need to replace or restore most components. Third scenario: a car from scenario 2 with an identical parts car for $500. As you go through the process you often have the luxury of choosing the best component to invest time and money. Scenario 4: Basket case ( basket 1/4 full) need to find the rest.
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Old 01-15-2018, 05:22 PM   #35
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The Fordor at Berts would be your best bet in my opinion. You could probably sell some of the 500 dollar parts collection that you have . I agree with Juke joint Johnny , those rear fenders are coupe , roadster and pickup fenders . If the fenders and frame are in good shape you could maybe recover most of your money there . The front fenders also look pretty good . Lots of possibilities . Good luck .
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Old 01-15-2018, 07:59 PM   #36
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.... I agree with Juke joint Johnny , those rear fenders are coupe , roadster and pickup fenders .... .
So, the rear fenders I have fit the coupe, roadster, pickup AND 4 door ? ...or do they not go with the parts I have... that is, they don't fit the "car" I have ?

How about the front fenders...are they unique to the 4 door or are they interchangeable with some of the other model A body styles ? I don't have skirts and running boards...are they unique to the 4 door also ?
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:14 PM   #37
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The rear fenders that fit the coupe, roadster and pick up are wider than the fenders that fit the sedans .The rear fenders in your picture don't appear to be correct for the fordor. The front fenders appear correct for the 31 cars including the fordor. The splash aprons and running boards are the same for all the 31 cars .
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:51 PM   #38
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The rear fenders in your picture don't appear to be correct for the fordor.
In the side view of the car, the rear fenders in the photos have the inner skirt that is typical on sedan fenders, but not on coupe fenders. The way that the rear fenders are leaning against the body, it is difficult to see the width of the top of the fenders. The photo from the rear of the body gives a misleading image of the fenders, making them look wider, like a coupe fender. With a better photo of the rear fenders, away from the body, I expect that we would see that they are sedan fenders. I can't imagine why anyone would attach the inner skirt to a coupe fender, except for a modified car, such as a speedster.
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:58 PM   #39
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The rear fenders that fit the coupe, roadster and pick up are wider than the fenders that fit the sedans .The rear fenders in your picture don't appear to be correct for the fordor. The front fenders appear correct for the 31 cars including the fordor. The splash aprons and running boards are the same for all the 31 cars .
OK. Thanks, that helps clarify the situation. So, now I have to decide where to go from here. Thanks to everyone for all the info and comments so far. You guys know your stuff and most of you(ha!) seem very helpful. Model A's are awesome and the Ford Barn forum is too !
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:31 PM   #40
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Hey Brad- You seem like one of the good guys. Whatever you do or end up with, I wish you all the best and lots of fun...and of course, hope to see you on the road soon.
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Old 01-16-2018, 11:23 AM   #41
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OK. Thanks, that helps clarify the situation. So, now I have to decide where to go from here. Thanks to everyone for all the info and comments so far. You guys know your stuff and most of you(ha!) seem very helpful. Model A's are awesome and the Ford Barn forum is too !
I was wrong!!! Don Turley is correct in post # 38. The rear fenders are indeed sedan fenders . After reading Dons post, I looked close at the third pic and saw the skirt . Sorry , I hope my post didn't cause any problem . Insert smiley face .
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:35 PM   #42
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I was wrong!!! Don Turley is correct in post # 38. The rear fenders are indeed sedan fenders . After reading Dons post, I looked close at the third pic and saw the skirt . Sorry , I hope my post didn't cause any problem . Insert smiley face .
No problem. So, the rear fenders I have are most likely original to this car...or at least they fit a 4 door sedan...is that correct ? I think I test fitted one of them to the rear body panel by holding it in place and it seemed OK...but I could try that again to be sure. Are the 2 and 4 door sedan fenders all interchangeable ?
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:13 PM   #43
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Yes, the fordor , tudor and station wagon fenders are all the same for 31
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Old 01-17-2018, 01:16 AM   #44
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Look at all these negative comments.
I've fixed worse, and reputedly have no skill or brains.
If you think you can fix it, you might just be right.

Nay sayers gonna say nay.
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Old 01-17-2018, 06:42 AM   #45
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Re: Yard sale "A" project
Look at all these negative comments.
I've fixed worse, and reputedly have no skill or brains.
If you think you can fix it, you might just be right.

Nay sayers gonna say nay.
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Old 01-17-2018, 07:36 PM   #46
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Look at all these negative comments.
I've fixed worse, and reputedly have no skill or brains.
If you think you can fix it, you might just be right.

Nay sayers gonna say nay.
I like your positive attitude.

I guess we all are at different skill levels when it comes to restoring a car. Some of us may have more tools,more free time,more money, a better shop and more experience. Some of us may enjoy the building process and others may prefer to spend more time driving and enjoying a car. It would be a boring world if we were all the same.
A lot more could be said about the "ethics" of the "hobby', but one thing I've noticed over time is that Model A guys tend to be good guys.
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Old 01-17-2018, 08:13 PM   #47
Terry, NJ
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

Brad, I started with one not much better. I had to replace 90% of the wood, and yes. I will be "Upside down" in it when it's done. You can see most of the work I did in my album "My A" I tried to put the pictures in such way that it would be helpful to someone else doing one of these.
The Wood! The wood is probably the most daunting of the steps, stages, and or assemblies that are involved, But it's not insurmountable! I did buy my top wood and the sills. Pretty much the rest of it, I made. If you should try this (And I would suggest that you do, if possible) You must duplicate the sizes and curves exactly! And there is hardly a square angle on any of it.
The seats! The seats are basically a simple wooden frame with a spring on it. The seat spring (F) is relatively easy to make from a mattress spring with some modification and welding. That brings me to another necessity, You're going to need a small MIG (wire feed) or TIG welding machine. The thing you'll need the most is the ability to hang in there. Some of it will go quickly and you'll be happy, some of it won't. You will have learned a lot by the time you're done!
Terry
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Old 01-17-2018, 08:18 PM   #48
slammin
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

Brad, There's an old saying in the tool & die business. Given enough time and enough money, anything is possible. Good luck, what ever your decision. FYI Brent in 10-Uh-C posted pictures elsewhere of a novice's attempt to assemble a wood "kit" for a Fordor.

Last edited by slammin; 01-18-2018 at 12:58 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:07 AM   #49
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Brad, I started with one not much better. I had to replace 90% of the wood, and yes. I will be "Upside down" in it when it's done. You can see most of the work I did in my album "My A" I tried to put the pictures in such way that it would be helpful to someone else doing one of these.
The Wood! The wood is probably the most daunting of the steps, stages, and or assemblies that are involved, But it's not insurmountable! I did buy my top wood and the sills. Pretty much the rest of it, I made. If you should try this (And I would suggest that you do, if possible) You must duplicate the sizes and curves exactly! And there is hardly a square angle on any of it.
The seats! The seats are basically a simple wooden frame with a spring on it. The seat spring (F) is relatively easy to make from a mattress spring with some modification and welding. That brings me to another necessity, You're going to need a small MIG (wire feed) or TIG welding machine. The thing you'll need the most is the ability to hang in there. Some of it will go quickly and you'll be happy, some of it won't. You will have learned a lot by the time you're done!
Terry
Terry, I've had some of your pics on my computer for quite a while now. I like the one with you sitting in the car when it was red primer, blue paint and a little rust. I look forward to seeing pics of it when it's done.
Yes, the wood is a daunting task because of the the lack of pieces in my car and apparently no plans readily available.
As for the MIG welder...I have 5 of them... and two TIG welders, plasma cutter etc. Metal is easy...curved wood is harder. I do home remodeling, so most wood I work with is straight dimensional lumber.
Hanging in there...that can be a problem because I'm not retired yet. Thanks for the advice and inspiration.
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:27 PM   #50
Terry, NJ
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Thanks! I'm flattered! Really, it is flattering when some one says you're an inspiration! Ohhh Kay, 5 MIGs huh? You're halfway there, MIG ? TIG , it's your preference. The curved and angled cuts/surfaces are not hard when you know that they were intentional. I have my 'Road side saw" which I have done some pretty damn good work on. When I found along the side of the road it did not have a Rip fence so I had to improvise. Getting it parallel to the blade is the most difficult thing do and must set it up with a a vernier and a chunk of lead known by it's technical term as a "wonker". Now and then I've had to shim parts as I shaped them in the saw. I have some of the wooden parts which I would be happy to give to someone for patterns. I saved what I could. It's better when you take your own trees (Ash) because you can get the grain patterns out of areas where branches come off the trunk and the grain follows the curve around the bend. I'm thinking of the two curved "struts" (?) that are part of the body wood that form the rounded corners at the rear. You can't get them out of cut planks! There's more I want to say but I'd be here the rest of the day. I just wanted to give you some thing to think about!
Good Luck and if I can help you, let me know!
Terry
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:50 PM   #51
Terry, NJ
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That's my Town Sedan, 1930, Briggs. I was originally Kewaunee and Elkpoint green. Some one spray canned it blue. When I got it ($1500) it was rusty on those areas so I "stabilized" it by retarding the rust development with Rustoleum. Since then, I've taken it to bare metal, Pickling it with Phosphoric acid, priming it with PPG primer, and finishing it with PPG. Enjoy the pics! It's been painted last year, The hood is done just not installed yet. I've had the car moving under it's own power so it's getting there!
Terry





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Terry, I've had some of your pics on my computer for quite a while now. I like the one with you sitting in the car when it was red primer, blue paint and a little rust. I look forward to seeing pics of it when it's done..
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Old 01-18-2018, 01:28 PM   #52
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Look at all these negative comments.
I've fixed worse, and reputedly have no skill or brains.
If you think you can fix it, you might just be right.

Nay sayers gonna say nay.

I really don't think that anybody meant any harm. Its really Brads choice . The straight windshield fordor and town sedans are among the most difficult and expensive models to restore . On the other hand most of my model A's were built from junk pile cars that most others wouldn't want . I got them cheap and could take my time while spending a little along as I progressed .

Last edited by Purdy Swoft; 01-18-2018 at 02:57 PM. Reason: Corrected mistakes .
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Old 01-18-2018, 03:34 PM   #53
Terry, NJ
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Purdy, my T.S. was a "Junkpile" car and if truth be told, I really didn't know what I was getting into. I was that it was my 2nd or 3rd restoration and I had more experience under my belt when I started. I was even advised to make a "Rat Rod" out of it, some thing I'd hate to do. Looking at the pictures, you can't really see how bad it was. When I got the cowl sandblasted, the paint was filling in the rust holes, but they look solid in the pictures. I felt that I had to replace all four fenders, the rear valance/apron, The windshield frame and the "sun screen". The F, RH door bottom, three patches on the cowl, the gutters, all the glass and most of the wood, and assorted little welding jobs here and there. As I said, I wish this were my third or fourth restoration instead of my first.
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:28 PM   #54
Purdy Swoft
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It sounds like you got a lot of good hands on experience with that one . Apparently you had a lot more talent than most for a first restoration . The wood work alone is enough to scare off most. I had an August 1930 Briggs town sedan back in 1963 . The fact that I ruined it still haunts me till this day . I was just a kid at the time .
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Old 01-18-2018, 11:36 PM   #55
Terry, NJ
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

When I was 15 Y.O., I was facing a year flat on my back due to my severe scoliosis. To lessen the impact, my folks let me buy a 1917 30/06 Enfield rifle. I disparately wanted a big bore rifle and this was cheap way to get one, I got it and proceeded to phuk it up by filing off the ears on the receiver. But I fitted a stock off the end of the bed they set up for me, and it looked pretty good and it was a good shooter. But today? I rather have it in stock condition. I kick myself for ever changing it. It seemed like a good idea at the time!
As for my first restoration, I had done a couple tractors but there's a big difference between restoring a tractor and a car. And I had done a little body (bondo) work, but not much.
Terry


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It sounds like you got a lot of good hands on experience with that one . Apparently you had a lot more talent than most for a first restoration . The wood work alone is enough to scare off most. I had an August 1930 Briggs town sedan back in 1963 . The fact that I ruined it still haunts me till this day . I was just a kid at the time .
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Old 01-19-2018, 10:21 AM   #56
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Default Re: Yard sale "A" project

I grew up on a farm with several brothers and sisters. One day I came home and my older brother and a friend of his had two tractors chained to a 40's Ford convertible. One around each side at the door area. They proceeded to make instant junk out of a car they later came to regret. We had a late 50's Plymouth two door station wagon in the grove. A neighbor and I decided to get it running. While pulling it to get it started we discovered a Skunk in the headliner. We drove about three miles to a gravel pit and stood on the roof with an ax and proceeded to chop a hole in the roof. The Skunk escaped as we were chasing it around the gravel pit. Oh to be young again.
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