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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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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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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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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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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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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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Old 01-20-2022, 08:36 PM   #21
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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.
Great advice, thank you. I'm pretty set on a roadster right now though there could be a sedan in the future as well, you never know. I think I'll fit fine being just 5 1/2' tall. I think it would be super fun to tool around in and maybe even do some weekend tours with the local Model A club (Sonora, CA). For less then beautiful weather I can cruise my '50 Buick, at least after I fix the cooling issue. I'm a competent hobby mechanic and I think I can probably handle whatever a Model A can throw at me short of rebuilding the motor. It's a pretty simple car so I think wrenching on it would be fun!
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Old 01-21-2022, 09:34 AM   #22
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Hello , I have had a couple of roadsters through the years, they are nice cars but as mentioned in other post can be difficult to get in due to the small doors.Also get some Model A books if you don’t already have them for research.The 1930 31 have two roadster models,a standard and a deluxe.Standard have a top similar to the 28 9 models always black in color and also black interior, and often with a trunk instead of a rumble seat .The 1930 Deluxe has a 1 1/2 inch lower tan top brown interior and rumble seat. Also included was a single driver side mounted spare,cowl lights, and luggage rack.Being introduced mid year all deluxe model will have the round speedometer. Ford reduced the price on the 31 but discontinued the side mounted and luggage rack , still available at extra cost. The reason I wrote this text is because I see so many dealers misrepresented unauthentic”restored “cars “of course they might not even know themselves what is wrong with the car.
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Old 01-21-2022, 11:09 AM   #23
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Hello , I have had a couple of roadsters through the years, they are nice cars but as mentioned in other post can be difficult to get in due to the small doors.Also get some Model A books if you don’t already have them for research.The 1930 31 have two roadster models,a standard and a deluxe.Standard have a top similar to the 28 9 models always black in color and also black interior, and often with a trunk instead of a rumble seat .The 1930 Deluxe has a 1 1/2 inch lower tan top brown interior and rumble seat. Also included was a single driver side mounted spare,cowl lights, and luggage rack.Being introduced mid year all deluxe model will have the round speedometer. Ford reduced the price on the 31 but discontinued the side mounted and luggage rack , still available at extra cost. The reason I wrote this text is because I see so many dealers misrepresented unauthentic”restored “cars “of course they might not even know themselves what is wrong with the car.
Oh, wow, I had no idea about those model year and mid year changes. I've got some Model A restoration books but it looks like I need to do more research. Thank you for the post, that's very interesting info!
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:23 PM   #24
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I plan to sell mine probably this spring. I don't know what I will be asking for sure but I do know for sure I have way too much in it to retrieve at $25,000. It has a brand new Berg's radiator in it as well as the brake drums in the rear are all new from the California guy who post on Fordbarn,Randy Moss. I did throw it out for sale on Facebook Market late last summer at $25,000 in a fishing expedition and was surprised that I had offers with the car unseen and every offer was from a dealer at $18,000,one was from here in Ohio and the rest were all European.All joking aside they were all legitimate buying on the American dollar to sell to a market in France ,Germany Belgium and the Netherlands. All of them advertise for '30-'31 Deluxe Roadsters only,again every offer was at $18,000.
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:34 PM   #25
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I plan to sell mine probably this spring. I don't know what I will be asking for sure but I do know for sure I have way too much in it to retrieve at $25,000. It has a brand new Berg's radiator in it as well as the brake drums in the rear are all new from the California guy who post on Fordbarn,Randy Moss. I did throw it out for sale on Facebook Market late last summer at $25,000 in a fishing expedition and was surprised that I had offers with the car unseen and every offer was from a dealer at $18,000,one was from here in Ohio and the rest were all European.All joking aside they were all legitimate buying on the American dollar to sell to a market in France ,Germany Belgium and the Netherlands. All of them advertise for '30-'31 Deluxe Roadsters only,again every offer was at $18,000.
Hopefully picture will show up this time.
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Old 01-21-2022, 01:07 PM   #26
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Close twin to mine!!
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Old 01-21-2022, 01:21 PM   #27
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Here is the Coupe version.
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Old 01-21-2022, 01:34 PM   #28
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I LOVE my 29 Roadster. REAL barn find (by my beloved Uncle) in WV. I paid 8500 for it and have probably put that much back in over the last 15 years. But it is all original, except for the top and upholstery which the mice had eaten up in the 20+ years in the barn. I love to go riding along the back woods roads here in Florida. Lots of sun and flat roads. Prices are all over the place now, so it comes down to how much you can spend and how bad you want one. Also the biggest question to me is how much work YOU want to put into it. I have loved every minute of working on it and still do. Others just want to buy it and drive it. What ever you decide you can't go wrong because you can always probably sell it for what you have into it at any point. They aren't making them any more and unfortunately they are getting fewer and fewer as many of them end up being sold as parts. Hope this helps a little. Jim
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Old 01-21-2022, 01:36 PM   #29
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Hopefully picture will show up this time.
That's a gorgeous car! At $18k those dealers must be factoring in shipping costs and markup for profit. I don't know what cars sell for in Europe but it must be pretty high. $18k seems like a great deal on such a beautiful car.
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Old 01-21-2022, 01:37 PM   #30
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Close twin to mine!!
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Here is the Coupe version.


Even more beauties!

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Old 01-21-2022, 01:42 PM   #31
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I LOVE my 29 Roadster. REAL barn find (by my beloved Uncle) in WV. I paid 8500 for it and have probably put that much back in over the last 15 years. But it is all original, except for the top and upholstery which the mice had eaten up in the 20+ years in the barn. I love to go riding along the back woods roads here in Florida. Lots of sun and flat roads. Prices are all over the place now, so it comes down to how much you can spend and how bad you want one. Also the biggest question to me is how much work YOU want to put into it. I have loved every minute of working on it and still do. Others just want to buy it and drive it. What ever you decide you can't go wrong because you can always probably sell it for what you have into it at any point. They aren't making them any more and unfortunately they are getting fewer and fewer as many of them end up being sold as parts. Hope this helps a little. Jim
If that's the car in your avatar it is a beauty! I love to tinker which is part of what appeals to me about the Model A. Pretty accessible for working on and great styling and from everything I've read if they are well maintained they are very reliable. Great cars, I love them. Hopefully I'll love them even more after I have one that's on the road.
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Old 01-21-2022, 03:22 PM   #32
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This seems like a good deal:


https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=308996


A T roadster could be fun. What do you guys think?
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Old 01-21-2022, 03:55 PM   #33
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

I have a '28 Roadster and while I love the car, I actually prefer the '30-'31's. Not only are they a little bigger inside, the windshield stantions are a bit nicer. Overall just a bit more "elegant" car. IMHO.
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Old 01-21-2022, 06:15 PM   #34
101Scout
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteCruz2715 View Post
I have a '28 Roadster and while I love the car, I actually prefer the '30-'31's. Not only are they a little bigger inside, the windshield stantions are a bit nicer. Overall just a bit more "elegant" car. IMHO.
That's definitely something to keep in mind. Thanks for the input!
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Old 01-21-2022, 07:25 PM   #35
Conaway2
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

I’ve had my ‘31 Deluxe Roadster since 1988 and enjoy it quite a bit.

As has been pointed out, they are small cars, so sit in one before you buy. Also, check the door jambs for scraped paint and other signs of mis-aligned doors. Almost every roadster I’ve seen has door alignment issues. Model A frames tended to sag after 90+ years at the rear motor mounts…

Also, be prepared for little to no storage space for tools and spare parts, as well as extra coolant and oil. I installed a luggage rack and trunk on my car since I tour a lot with our local club.

Even though I live in a fairly temperate part of the country, it’s too cold for me to drive the car more than just a few miles in December and January. I have side curtains, visibility is odor with them installed, so it’s always breezy.

Good luck in your search - JIm
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:14 PM   #36
CWPASADENA
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

I am 5'8" and have a '31 Deluxe Roadster that I fit just fine. I also have small feet which helps with getting in and out of it. I think a 30-31 Roadster is one of the best looking of all the Model A's but understand, this is just my opinion.

I also have a 30 Tudor I use for long distance touring and a Vicky that is my "around the town" Model A.

Large people have a tougher time with a roadster.

Recently, I have seen for sale several, what appears to me to be, very nice roadsters that are ready to drive in the 20-25K price range. You can eat up a lot of money in a big hurry with a car that needs a lot of work.

Keep looking, one will crop up in your area that will be the right car for you.

My opinion,

Chris W.
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Old 01-21-2022, 11:55 PM   #37
daveymc29
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

I used to be just short of 6 feet tall but with short legs and a long body. A friend was moving close to me and lived a couple of hours distance away. I drove her car, a very nicely restored 31 Roadster to her new home and swore I would never own a De Luxe 31 as my back and neck were killing me. I had to duck to not be staring at the top bar of the windshield all the way home, with top up. I have a 29 that is just right and a pleasure to drive. I prefer to keep the top up unless it's a short drive or parade as the heat is bad in the daytime (summer) and wind and noise seem less with the top up. Just more reasons to take your time and buy a car that fits your body, don't make your body fit the car, especially if you plan to drive over a few hours per day. Also, if you plan on touring get a car with an overdrive, Mitchell is probably the best though I prefer the Laycock. One switch and no levers to shift it. You can hide the switch and most will never know. Mine has a Mitchell and it has never failed me in twenty some years. I do also have a Borg Warner and have in the past had a couple of the Laycock (Volvo) and find they all work well if constructed right and installed carefully. No problems with any really, some had a drip leak at the banjo. I also use a Ford pickup steering box with a short pitman arm, made that way, not shortened original. Steers like power steering and comes back to atraight ahead after a turn. Cast iron Brake drums are a plus, as are Hydraulic brakes, but don't argue this with a purist.

Dave Mc Arthur, jmho
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Old 01-22-2022, 11:29 AM   #38
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

Thanks for all the great advice guys! It will likely take me a while to find the right car but I'll keep looking. I like the idea of the overdrive, I'm going to look into the Laycock one.
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Old 01-22-2022, 05:10 PM   #39
daveymc29
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

Check out the guy in or near Bakersfield. I bought two from him and they worked out great. Rick Little may be his name. Does good work, been years ago but I believe he.s still at it. Also does the Brog Warner, I believe.
Dave
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Old 02-15-2022, 07:34 PM   #40
Gil Sissons
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

Scout I have sent you a PM

Gil. NoCal
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Old 02-15-2022, 07:49 PM   #41
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

Go to the Hemmings auction site for Model A's on the internet. Lot's of examples of prices and availability there.
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Old 02-15-2022, 07:59 PM   #42
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Default Re: Advice needed for buying my roadster

Here's my '31 Deluxe. I paid $16250 for it, but it needed engine work and a lot of small but time-consuming fixes, including painting the cowl, hood, etc. I do all my own work, and have about 120 hours in it so far. Just took it for a nice ride today! It is in great shape now with a good-running model B block.

I'm 5'10" and getting into the car requires me to pull up my left leg for easiest access, but that's no big deal. Once in the car there's no problem at all. The stock seat design is pretty good for support too.



afterthefixes.jpg
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