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Old 05-13-2010, 12:09 PM   #1
dan
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Default Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

All,

I'm just about ready to start seriously looking for my first A. As is often the case in life, the more research I've done, the more I realize what I don't know. I've talked to a couple of local Model A folks about things to look for, but I feel like I need something more concrete than that.

Basically, I'm looking to figure out what types of things to look for so that I can avoid major repairs (at least at first). So I want to be sure the frame doesn't sag (check the doors, right), that the motor doesn't need a complete overhaul, etc. I'm qualified to do a bit of wrenching, but I don't want to have an avoidable major job/expense up front to make the car drivable/safe.

Does anyone know of a list of things to look for when buying an A? I'm going to be buying a driver, not a points a car so I don't think the judging standards would be much help. Has someone already compiledd such a list, or is this something I'm going to have to make up myself? And if the later, what things would you suggest?

While I hope to enlist someone more knowledgeable for a "final" inspection before money changes hands, I'm hoping that I can learn enough not to waste their time with cars that clearly have serious issues.

Thanks
Dan
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

The only thing I would say is buy the best one you can afford. Look to a guy in an organized club. Or find a club guy and invite him/her to go with you for a look~see.
Read this Ford Barn, ask questions. Decide what is important to you...mechanical or body? But not both. If running bring your stethoscope. Listen to it start up cold, listen to it run hot. See if it runs hot. Interior? All the body insides are held together by wood. Are you a wood chuck? Or more a tin knocker?

It's a big responsibility and your just going to have experience before you buy. Your either purchasing a car or a project.
A good runner or a hot rod. A good driver or a tinkering heap of rust in the driveway. Go to IOLA, Wisconsin if you can this summer. Remember: You never pay too much. Just buy too soon.

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Old 05-13-2010, 12:30 PM   #3
SGT in Ont.
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

Like Skip said, take someone from a local club with you to look at the car. They won't be mezmorized and will help you look for problem areas. Can't beat a nutral party.
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:31 PM   #4
Tom Wesenberg
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

Is this first car going to be drivable when purchased? If so, then you can get a good feel for the condition of the engine, tranny, rear end, and the brakes. Are you already familur with Model A's? You may want to find a Model A owner nearby and hang out with him and spend some time going over his car and ask him questions so you have a better feel for what to check on the car you want to buy.

Just being a member of a Model A club is a big help even without owning an A yet.

Do you have a budget in mind? Both for the most you can spend to buy the car, and what you can afford to pay for repairs the car might need.
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

even if you are buying a driver make sure you have a good foundation for the future. make sure your not buying a rust bucket or a molested car all bondo up.
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

Sure is good to see that some are interested in doing it right the first time. Recommendations as indicated above are excellent. I would like to express a little bit stronger on the rust portion. Look at the paing at the bottom portion of doors and panels for bubbles, cracks, etc. Crawl under the car and look at the sub-rails and that area as well as the underside of the pans for rust.
Your local Model A Club is a must as the members are helpful in this area. I just drove 80 miles to look at a car for an individual who lived over 800 miles away and was interested in purchasing it. I checked it out for him and provided him with a complete list of good and bad things found. Best of luck to you and welcome to our hobby world. Dick B.
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Old 05-13-2010, 01:08 PM   #7
Charlie Stephens
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

Dan,

This doesn't answer you direct question but you might find it interesting as a first time buyer: http://www.jmodela.com/wherestart.html

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Old 05-13-2010, 01:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

For sedans, lift up the rear seat cushion and see what evil lurks beneath. The floorpans of these cars can rust from the inside out, because rainwater that leaks in through a bad roof or windows can collect on the floorpan with no place to go.

Same with the storage compartment under the front seat.

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Old 05-13-2010, 01:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

I think the words "Reasonable Expectations" apply here for both the buyer and seller. Take for instance my Deluxe Delivery and the story behind it. I purchased the body along with a really rough 26 tudor body for $450. At the time I was torn between selling the body and keeping it as I was offered some real good money for it. I decided to keep it and sell the 26 body and my rdstr pu. About a year Dad got a phone call that someone was lookiing to sell a rather complete, but dissassembled 29 fordor for $1000. We went and looked and it had a complete chassis with a dissassembled 60-B body that we could not tell what was missing and what was there, but he had a title and said the engine ran. This car had been in his family since it was new and he and a friend had started to restore it. His defination of restore is different than mine, but not going into any details here other than the fact the chassis had been sandblasted and painted without anything taken apart. We decided to purchase it and he signed the title and we loaded the car up on the trailer and took it home. After we got it home we noticed that it was titled using the Briggs body tag not the engine or frame #'s that were matching. Dad and I are neither one interested in restoring a fordor anyway and we bought this hoping to make somewhat of a profit. Just for fun I ran the engine # through the state title records and we found they were never registered. After some discussion we decided that I could use the chassis for the delivery and Dad could sell the sheetmetal, title (which he still has) and other parts for his sharre of the profits.

Now for the fun about expectations, when I went to do the title bond the bonding company wanted to use the Blue Book value which was $12,500. I prefered to use the purchase price which was $450 which is one of the options in the DMV guidelines. Likely the true value lies somewhere in the middle, based on the condition and missing parts. So who's value was most reasonable? Likely theirs was closer, but mine was the cheapest and fit the guidelines so we went that way. I know I bought it all cheap. But not likely it is worth the Blue Book. Now if you were talking about a Blue Ribbon car the Blue Book is likely alittle low. So try to be reasonable. Rod
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Old 05-13-2010, 03:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

Dan,
I have an excel speadsheet with info on it, nothing fancy, but might help. It is compiled from different websites, so I am unsure if I should post it. Send me an email and I will forward it to you. modlinp@mishawaka.k12.in.us.

In addition I have a web page that has some search tips of my own to locate a Model A. Once again nothing fancy, but may help.

http://sites.google.com/site/modelap...ocate-purchase
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

You didn't metion it, but you also need to consider just what type of Model A that you want...be it a coupe, roadster, pickup truck, or sedan. If you want to drive it much with the wife, so may like some of the creature comforts and space you get in a sedan...also can bring along friends or grandchildren. Or a couple or roadster may be just fine. Some are tighter fitting then others, so best to try some out first,
You might also want to consider if you want either a 1928-1929 or a 1930-1931 version....they are quite different in some ways....may not make any difference to you, but something to add to your list while looking!
A good way to see the many types is to join or visit a club and check them out close hand....some clubs also have Model A's for sale by members, which might be a good starting point. Good luck!!
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

I would definitely spend the money if you can and get a car that is DONE and proven. It will cost a lot more to have it restored then buying a great driver.
Good Luck
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Old 05-13-2010, 08:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

Best advice I ever got(I didn't follow it but should have) was from my older brother. He restored a 30 Tudor, 37 tudor, and 34 Victoria in the 1970s. Buy the car from the person who restored it. They should be able to describe everything that has been done to the car, mechanical and cosmetic, parts used new or original, body work required, rust restored, shocks, steering, interior, tires, wheels,gas tank, top, wood restored, glass, engine, transmission, differential, frame, wiring, drivetrain, patch panels installed, etc. This discussion should take some time as well, like hours.
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:38 PM   #14
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

First I would join a club and make some new friends, then take one with you to look at the cars.
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:47 PM   #15
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Default Re: Car pre-puchase inspection checklist

I joined a club first, went to events, sat in a few even drove one to an event. When the time was right the one I drove came up for sale and I bought it with no regrets.
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