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Old 07-12-2019, 01:39 AM   #1
TerryH
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Default Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

For those who might have neither seen or heard of it, here is a good photo I took many years ago of his car, during a Hemmings Model A Calendar photoshoot in Orange County. He trailered it down from the LA area and was really interesting to talk to. I don’t remember the exact details, but I believe it was a very low mileage, original car, and not restored....original paint, interior, etc.....a veritable time machine. Does anyone know what happened to the car after he passed away?
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:53 AM   #2
Steve Plucker
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

I saw the car at the 2004 MAFCA National Meet in Portland, Oregon.

Very impressive...Both David and the car!

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Old 07-12-2019, 10:58 AM   #3
Gary Karr
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

Dave's Fordor is still here in California, owned by his family. It is indeed an original, unrestored 4500 mile Model A. I drove it several months ago during a visit with his widow.
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

Wow Gary, I'm a little jealous of that. I've often wondered what a new car would feel like compared to a rebuilt. I guess properly rebuilt its close to the same.

I love original condition items, whatever they are. The car in your avatar seems to have a similar shine on the paint to the one mentioned. Is yours also original paint car?
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

That has got to be the best example of an original car that I have seen. There have been other pictures of various parts of the car posted in tech threads as a guide.

I have a similar question to history, how does it compare to a well restored car? I’ve heard original ford engines put almost all rebuilds to shame.
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

I heard it run in Portland in 2004. It sounded so different as to what we have all become accustomed to.
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:42 PM   #7
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

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Originally Posted by ryanheacox View Post
That has got to be the best example of an original car that I have seen. There have been other pictures of various parts of the car posted in tech threads as a guide.

I have a similar question to history, how does it compare to a well restored car? Iíve heard original ford engines put almost all rebuilds to shame.


Without hi-jacking this thread too far, you are probably correct in that statement but we also need to remember that most professional rebuilders do not have the budget to be able to replicate the balance and tolerances of an original engine. Matter of fact, most so-called "restorations" do not truly return a vehicle to a mechanical condition as they originally were when manufactured. I have been fortunate to be able to drive and ride in several under 40k mile unrestored examples, and they are indeed smooth, and there is no rattles or squeaks. Restore the engine correctly (matching reciprocating weights and all tolerances) and they will replicate the engine as it originally was.




Now to add a few pictures of Davey's Fordor that I took at the World Meet a decade or so ago. Enjoy...Ö..
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Old 07-15-2019, 05:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

We used to have a 1928 Special Coupe with 13,000 original miles. It was the best driving , quietest, smoothest Model A I have ever driven. Only reason we sold it was we wanted to drive it more and felt guilty putting lots of miles on it.

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Old 07-15-2019, 10:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

Dave Lopes contacted me one time about a '29 Briggs Fordor with 32,000 original miles. He also 'needed something to do' to keep his mind off the cancer that was invading his body. He spent time cleaning the Fordor and putting the correct era parts back on it. The engine was the original and never been tampered with.

When done I showed it at MARC National meet in Merriville, Indiana. It was an amazingly smooth driving "A". A person can rebuild to factory tolerances but there is something different about driving an original "A". Perhaps it's like the difference between a new boot and a nicely worn in boot. Built with the same specs but there truly is a difference.

One year Dave brought his '29 Fordor to the San Diego swap meet. After 5:00pm when the meet was closed he said, 'Get in boys we're going for a ride'. Many might say museum piece, don't touch. Dave said, 'Let's go'. We drove around the swap meet, laughing and ahooga-ing! Enjoying friendships and a very special "A". Dave was not only a good buddy and he was a true Model A hero.
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

I love militaria and manly collect German WW2. ((Anything)) German in original condition is pretty much night and day from something reconditioned. Unless, it was originally reconditioned by the Germans. Sounds similar to an original model A versus a redone. I hope one day to ride in an original MODEL A or would I be better off trying some drug???
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:29 AM   #11
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

The engine and intake manifold do not look ford green. Is that the camera or is there something that I am missing? Jack
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:02 AM   #12
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

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The engine and intake manifold do not look ford green. Is that the camera or is there something that I am missing? Jack


Jack, herein often lies the issue with some folks 'restoration my way' mentality in that it often confuses later generations of what is authentic and not. Another area is older LeBaron Bonney upholstery kits installed from the 60's & 70s are often mistaken as being authentic.

As for your question, the original engines & certain components were cast at the foundry then painted with a light coat of Ford's 'Engine green' paint. Afterward painting, the pieces were then allowed to season before machining processes. The paint was only applied to add a small/thin layer of protection from flash rust. Restorers along the way have tended to 'over-restore' in this area almost to the point of trying to achieve a finish as slick as the exterior of the sheetmetal. I have included a picture below from the archives that shows the thin layer of green paint. The engine paint of Dave's Fordor has likely faded over time but it was definitely green.


.


.
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:25 AM   #13
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

Those are neat pictures of the late Mr. Lopes' car, thanks for posting them. Neat story.

Norm Miller of Davenport, Iowa was very active in the AACA and always was surrounded by antique cars. After he died a few years ago, his estate was selling a '28 Sport Coupe that Norm had owned, all original low mileage, around 26,000 as I recall. A very young Davenport school teacher had bought the car new and left it mostly in the garage, walking back and forth to school, and taking the streetcar downtown to shop. In later years she bought another car but hung onto the '28. Norm got the car many years later from her. He was then the second owner.

If I can find a picture of it I will post it here. It was an utterly amazing car

https://www.mcginnis-chambers.com/notices/Norman-Miller
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Old 07-17-2019, 06:28 AM   #14
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

Here are a boatload of photos.


http://jmodela.coffeecup.com/Fordor.html
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Old 07-17-2019, 07:30 PM   #15
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

Enjoyed viewing photographs of the 1929 Fordor. Thanks for posting them.


I was was always drawn to original cars that maintained most of their their original parts when I was a teenager in the 1970s and owned a 1930 Chevrolet at that time that had its original interior in very good condition and I did nothing more than get it in running condition and drive it regularly.


Many people viewed good solid original Model As as an "easy restoration" and advertised them with that description. Unfortunately many of these cars had their original interior replaced and required no or very little body work for new paint to be applied over the original or second paint job.
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Old 07-17-2019, 08:25 PM   #16
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

Nice thread. Thanks to all who added to the story.

I had to chuckle when I saw the interior door photo with the sagging door pocket. I was at a local show and the guy who was judging my car commented on how my door pockets were sagging, among the dozens of things "wrong" with my car. My car is not a showpiece, but a driver, but I had it judged in the local show just for the heck of it. That was the last time I did that...
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:08 PM   #17
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

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Old 07-26-2019, 01:18 PM   #18
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

To what level would one have to bring back a "A" engine to replicate the original engine characteristics. After reading many posts on how original unmolested engines are much smoother then todays what needs to be done to reach this level.. Std. deck height, Std. crank and rods, Std. "Ford" pistons and rings. Std. cam and cam bearings, Std. lifters and lifter bores etc. Could you skip the cam bearings and other items? I find it hard to believe "Ford" shipped cars that you could not tell the difference between clutch chatter and engine vibration. I realize the I-4 has inherent vibrations but apparently todays engines could be much smoother. My "T" runs like a swiss watch in comparison.
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:39 PM   #19
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

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To what level would one have to bring back a "A" engine to replicate the original engine characteristics. After reading many posts on how original unmolested engines are much smoother then todays what needs to be done to reach this level.. Std. deck height, Std. crank and rods, Std. "Ford" pistons and rings. Std. cam and cam bearings, Std. lifters and lifter bores etc. Could you skip the cam bearings and other items? I find it hard to believe "Ford" shipped cars that you could not tell the difference between clutch chatter and engine vibration. I realize the I-4 has inherent vibrations but apparently todays engines could be much smoother. My "T" runs like a swiss watch in comparison.


Daren, several things factor in on this. The commonly-available pistons that most rebuilders use is heavier than original pistons, ...and even the wrist pins on today's pistons are almost 100 grams heavier than Ford's OE piston pin. That is huge when it comes to slinging a piston upward and then changing it's direction.


Next you must realize when the crankshaft is machined undersized, the offsetting material is babbitt which is not an equal weight transition. Next, most people opt for higher compression ratios which affects the feel of the engine. Each time the piston reaches TDC, the higher compression creates a 'snap' (think back to little Cox airplane engines and how hard they were to prop thru the rotational cycle) that causes a minute amount of crankshaft deflection on each cylinder pulse.


From my experience, most rebuilders of the typical '$2895.00 short-block' do not balance the internal parts of the engine. If they claim they do, are their tolerances & weights equal to what Ford had? If not, there your answer.
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Old 07-26-2019, 03:18 PM   #20
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Default Re: Dave Lopes Fordor Model A

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Originally Posted by BRENT in 10-uh-C View Post
Daren, several things factor in on this. The commonly-available pistons that most rebuilders use is heavier than original pistons, ...and even the wrist pins on today's pistons are almost 100 grams heavier than Ford's OE piston pin. That is huge when it comes to slinging a piston upward and then changing it's direction.
This is interesting, why is that? Thicker walls on modern pistons?
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