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Old 01-20-2022, 12:52 PM   #1
101Scout
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Default Advice needed for buying my roadster

Hey everyone!


Firstly, I apologize for asking newbie questions that have probably been asked too many times before. If there is a thread for this please point me in that direction.



I'm looking to purchase a Model A roadster, hopefully sometime this year. I'm fairly new to Model A's though I've been into cars and bikes my whole life. I'd like to get into a cool original(ish) A roadster. I really like the 28/29 body style but the 30/31 is pretty cool too and I've been told they are better than the earlier A's. So I'm wondering what I should look out for? What's a good price?


I'm currently looking at a few online. One is a 28 Canadian AR roadster that is complete, original and driveable. It looks pretty sweet and the asking price is $12k. It would have to be shipped to me.


Another one I like is a 29 roadster, all original driver asking $14k. Apparently good mechanical condition and titled. Also would need to be shipped.


There is a 31 project nearby which apparently runs and is complete but described as a jalopy and no title. I would have to go see it to assess the actual condition. Asking $12.5k.



Any pointers or critiques would be very welcome. Thanks everyone and have a great day!


Dave
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Old 01-20-2022, 01:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

Depends on what those people are referring to original. Those prices seem high for unrestored cars, especially the 29 and the 31 project. You would probably want a 29 or later car simply because they are more reliable and easier to work on.
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Old 01-20-2022, 01:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

well if you dont care either way on the yr, the 28-29 are cheaper. rodders prefer the 30-31 and they also have a little bit more room. I would guess the differential to be in the 10-15% range.
I would try to find one closer, then having it shipped in, unless you are getting an absolute bargain. The shipping costs will eat up the "bargain" you are getting from Canada or anywhere else that is a great distance. Makes far more sense to buy one that is around 500 miles or less away. a days drive. You should examine what you are buying, or pay someone to examine it for you. start out with the best you can afford, as projects tend to languish and interest becomes lost.
I bought a 29 roadster about 4 months ago. It was 2 1/2 hours away. A real solid car. Sat on the Mafca site for awhile, as no picture was shown. I did very well. A non running car that was incredibly solid. very little rot.
good luck with whatever direction you take. take your time in finding what you really want.
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Old 01-20-2022, 01:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

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Originally Posted by chrs1961815 View Post
Depends on what those people are referring to original. Those prices seem high for unrestored cars, especially the 29 and the 31 project. You would probably want a 29 or later car simply because they are more reliable and easier to work on.



I thought they seemed a bit on the high side. The 29 looks really nice but it would wind up being in the $17k range by the time I had it shipped so it's probably a no go for me:
I'm planning to go to the Turlock swap meet next weekend to see if there are any interesting cars there. I love the roadster in your avatar! Thanks for the advice!
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Old 01-20-2022, 01:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

It would help if you would at least a general area of where you're located. That way someone fairly close might have just what you're looking for. IMO I'd pass on no title. Don't know what the process is in your state but it could be a nightmare to get it titled in your name. Model A's had an engine number and a frame number (located under the body) that matched when the car was new. That is the number on the title. Unfortunately over the years engines get changed so the number on the title won't match the new engine. In that case the only real way to verify the title is to lift the body. In CA the DMV can assign an official vin plate usually on the body door pillar. However there are some sellers that buy a vin type plate off the internet and stamp the title numbers on it to make it look legit. Or they will stamp the frame using correct (or incorrect) stamps including the stars on the frame in front of the cowl on the driver's side in an effort to show the vin. Again not legit.


Here is a Craigslist posting for a roadster in inland SoCal
1931 Model A Ford Roadster - cars & trucks - by owner - vehicle... (craigslist.org)
1931 Model A Ford Roadster - $12,500



The posting says it has a clear title but?
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Old 01-20-2022, 01:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronn View Post
well if you dont care either way on the yr, the 28-29 are cheaper. rodders prefer the 30-31 and they also have a little bit more room. I would guess the differential to be in the 10-15% range.
I would try to find one closer, then having it shipped in, unless you are getting an absolute bargain. The shipping costs will eat up the "bargain" you are getting from Canada or anywhere else that is a great distance. Makes far more sense to buy one that is around 500 miles or less away. a days drive. You should examine what you are buying, or pay someone to examine it for you. start out with the best you can afford, as projects tend to languish and interest becomes lost.
I bought a 29 roadster about 4 months ago. It was 2 1/2 hours away. A real solid car. Sat on the Mafca site for awhile, as no picture was shown. I did very well. A non running car that was incredibly solid. very little rot.
good luck with whatever direction you take. take your time in finding what you really want.

Thanks for the solid advice! I missed out on a good abandoned project for a great price a few months ago that was within driving distance. It looked like it would have been perfect for me but I was too late. I'm sure others will likely surface. Patience is not my strong suit, but I'm better than I was 30 years ago! This one has been tempting me to hold off on the roadster for awhile:


https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=307943
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Old 01-20-2022, 01:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

well I listed that for my buddy Mike and I can tell you he is flexible and wants to see his car go to a good home. He is only selling because he is getting younger and needs to thin the herd.
Make the call. his pricing is more then fair..........
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Old 01-20-2022, 01:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

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Originally Posted by 51504bat View Post
It would help if you would at least a general area of where you're located. That way someone fairly close might have just what you're looking for. IMO I'd pass on no title. Don't know what the process is in your state but it could be a nightmare to get it titled in your name. Model A's had an engine number and a frame number (located under the body) that matched when the car was new. That is the number on the title. Unfortunately over the years engines get changed so the number on the title won't match the new engine. In that case the only real way to verify the title is to lift the body. In CA the DMV can assign an official vin plate usually on the body door pillar. However there are some sellers that buy a vin type plate off the internet and stamp the title numbers on it to make it look legit. Or they will stamp the frame using correct (or incorrect) stamps including the stars on the frame in front of the cowl on the driver's side in an effort to show the vin. Again not legit.

Here is a Craigslist posting for a roadster in inland SoCal
1931 Model A Ford Roadster - cars & trucks - by owner - vehicle... (craigslist.org)
1931 Model A Ford Roadster - $12,500



The posting says it has a clear title but?

Thanks for the advice! I updated my profile; I didn't realize I hadn't put a location. I'm in California right next door to Yosemite. I haven't checked Craigslist in a few days so I hadn't seen it yet. That car looks awesome! I think that's about a 5 hour drive for me. I might have to give them a call. Thanks again!

Last edited by 101Scout; 01-20-2022 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 01-20-2022, 01:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

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well I listed that for my buddy Mike and I can tell you he is flexible and wants to see his car go to a good home. He is only selling because he is getting younger and needs to thin the herd.
Make the call. his pricing is more then fair..........
I probably will give him a call, or an email. I'd like to see more pics. If it was close by I'd go have a look and I probably will be out that way later this summer but it will have sold by then I'm sure. Thanks again!
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Old 01-20-2022, 03:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

IMO, it's better to pay more up front for something in better condition. You might find something for $12,000, but you're going to spend that much and probably more to get it where you want it.
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Old 01-20-2022, 05:14 PM   #11
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IMO, it's better to pay more up front for something in better condition. You might find something for $12,000, but you're going to spend that much and probably more to get it where you want it.
That's all true. I'll be shopping for the right one. I know with parts and everything it can really add up even doing all the work myself. Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2022, 05:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

When you see one you like take a lot of pictures and post them for comments. Never buy a car without seeing it in person. My next vacation will be in Yosemite.

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Old 01-20-2022, 05:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

Bought my '31 slant window sedan for $3500 (2014), it was a project car, put another 3K into and have been driving it thousands of miles every year since.
The prices you stated seem way to high
My advice...money talks...bring cash
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Old 01-20-2022, 05:56 PM   #14
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When you see one you like take a lot of pictures and post them for comments. Never buy a car without seeing it in person. My next vacation will be in Yosemite.

Charlie Stephens
That's great advice, thank you. Will you be driving your A up here?
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Old 01-20-2022, 05:58 PM   #15
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Bought my '31 slant window sedan for $3500 (2014), it was a project car, put another 3K into and have been driving it thousands of miles every year since.
The prices you stated seem way to high
My advice...money talks...bring cash
Definitely! Your car sounds pretty cool. Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2022, 06:04 PM   #16
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

Model A's are easy to restore because of the availability of parts but it still costs a lot of money and labor. If you count your labor you may never get the money back out when you sell the car. The more economical car will be the one where most of the work is done. That said, if you enjoy working on cars and take pride in the completed beauty, then a project may be the right choice for you, especially if you do not have any plans to sell it.
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Old 01-20-2022, 06:36 PM   #17
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The black roadster you have pictured above, to me would be worth approx 12k in nice running condition. I sold a rpu in October on ebay for 12k. It was in similar condition and ran well. all original. It could be argued that trucks are slightly hotter right now then roadsters, but I would call that car equal to my truck.
just to give you a current value point..........
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:26 PM   #18
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

I would also recommend looking closely at the roadsters…..and be sure that is what you want. They are very fun cars, and look great, but they are also a tight fit for many of us if you’re 6’ or taller. They are also basically open cars, so weather may be a concern, and, of course, you can’t really lock them up. I would try to ride in one and drive it first….just to be sure it’s right for you. We also don’t know your ability to work on one, and have tools. Some guys prefer to pay more and get a nice running car…..for others it is a great hobby and they really enjoy working on a project. Whatever you decide, best of luck, and for sure visit and drive, and if you are unfamiliar with Model A’s, try to bring along someone who knows what to look for.
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Old 01-20-2022, 08:28 PM   #19
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Model A's are easy to restore because of the availability of parts but it still costs a lot of money and labor. If you count your labor you may never get the money back out when you sell the car. The more economical car will be the one where most of the work is done. That said, if you enjoy working on cars and take pride in the completed beauty, then a project may be the right choice for you, especially if you do not have any plans to sell it.
I really enjoy fixing up old cars, I just don't always have the time. But a project car doesn't put me off as long as it's the right car.
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Old 01-20-2022, 08:30 PM   #20
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The black roadster you have pictured above, to me would be worth approx 12k in nice running condition. I sold a rpu in October on ebay for 12k. It was in similar condition and ran well. all original. It could be argued that trucks are slightly hotter right now then roadsters, but I would call that car equal to my truck.
just to give you a current value point..........
Good info, thank you. I'm sure the seller would come down to 12k but I would still have to ship it from the east coast which I think would be at least 3 grand. Wish it was closer, but there will be others.
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