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Old 05-28-2014, 07:53 PM   #1
30ccpickup
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Default Purchasing an A...red flags

When looking to purchase a Model A in the "drive anywhere condition", what are some of the red flags that would cause you to walk away? For example, one of mine is a leak in the gas tank where it connects to the steering.

Paul
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Rot in the wood kit in a Fordor sedan. I got lucky with mine, solid as a rock but wow would that be a big job to replace!
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Blue smoke
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Most would not say this. But there is a guy in town that tells everyone his Shay is a model a.
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

One that is a 1928/29/30/31 in parts !!.. But its all ORIGINAL !!
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

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It's complicated, too complicated for a one- or two-sentence answer. First, you look at the vehicle and see if it looks good, that is, is it stock, does it sit right, not all banged up and relatively complete, all the same size wheels (I once bought a '67 GTO with 4 different wheel sizes, which I didn't notice until I got home), etc. Then a closer look, any missing (or additional optional) parts, major obvious oil leaks, rust or rot, broken or missing glass, fenders metal or glass, shocks, hydraulic brakes, tires good or rotten, has an stock or hot rodded interior, etc. Then will it start, shift gears, stop. Lights work?
For me rot or bad body damage is a show stopper along with having all the original parts, unless its an A400 then maybe SOME missing but not much (ha, ha).
Use your judgment., a rare trait these days. And just to be clear, I've bought a few "dogs" in my time.
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Be sure to get a compression test.
While the plugs are out for this, take a look at them and see if they are a mess.
Check to see if oil is milky at all
Look closely at the left hand side of the cyls. Especially #3 & #4. See if the paint there is darkened. If so, it either has overheated because of too tight a clearance or is running too hot/too lean.
Use a temp gun and read the temps on those 4 cyl walls once warmed up and check for wildly higher temps on 3&4. Usually you get a 20-30 degree increase on the back two.
Using the temp gun check the outlet of the radiator vs the inlet. The rad. should drop the water temp 30 degrees
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

FWIW: One opinion & four (4) thoughts:

1. First, bring you wife .... if she does not like it, you'll never hear the end.

2. Second, if you have no experience with the particular body style, or with drive trains or any other features ....... please get a well "experienced" & "knowledgeable" Model A person who can assist in evaluating what you are looking at.

3. Third, search MAFCA ads, ebay, Google, to get a "feel" for what these Models are selling for ....... remember, it is only worth today what you can sell it for tomorrow.

4. Fourth, remember No, 1 is the most important -- life can be Hell with no romance ....... with or without a newly bought Model A.
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Old 05-28-2014, 09:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Some other things to consider:

First - Make sure there is a clear title, not a bill of sale.

Then - Check the body, fenders and running boards for damage or rust through. A bent frame can cause many problems. I would take a magnet with me to make sure that it has good metal especially around the bottom of the quarter panels and doors. Like Ned said, "bad body damage is a show stopper."

Body work can be very expensive, unless you can do it yourself. Rebuilding an engine and transmission is far less expensive than fixing major body damage.

Bill

Last edited by Bill in SoCal; 05-28-2014 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 05-28-2014, 10:02 PM   #10
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Quote:
Originally Posted by H. L. Chauvin View Post
1. First, bring you wife .... if she does not like it, you'll never hear the end.
Best. Advice. EVER!

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Old 05-28-2014, 10:25 PM   #11
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

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Best. Advice. EVER!

Happy wife,happy life.
Or,do you wanna be right? Or you wanna be happily married?
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:48 AM   #12
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Don't be fooled by new paint. A lot of owners throw on a paint job and call the car restored. I always prefer to buy a car with original paint, no matter how bad it looks.

This afternoon I went to look at a Studebaker I thought I'd like to buy. The car was "restored" about 20 years ago according to the owner. The interior was very nice, the paint job was very amatuer, and who knows what was under it. When I layed on my back to look under the car, the first thing I saw was the main leaf on the rear leaf spring was so rust pitted that it was ready to snap off next to the mounting eye. I might go back for a second look, but I have a feeling this car led a rough life before it was restored. BTW, the leaf springs are wraped in a metal cover with grease zerks, and these springs look like they never saw a grease gun. The chrome was nice, except for one or two pieces, so the car made a good first appearance, and I'll bet it sells, especially if someone doesn't know what to look for.

Look for similar signs on a Model A, or any other car. Mechanicals don't bother me too much, as long as the price is commensurate with the condition. My 29 Tudor needed a complete engine rebuild, a good paint job and interior, but the metal was so nice in the body and fenders, so it was well worth the low price I paid for it.

You have to inspect the car carefully to see what it needs and what you feel comfortable doing for repairs. I often ask myself, will I loose money if I need to sell it right away. You know Murphy's law, as soon as you buy a car, you find the one you really want.
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Old 05-29-2014, 06:03 AM   #13
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

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Originally Posted by Tom Wesenberg View Post
Don't be fooled by new paint. A lot of owners throw on a paint job and call the car restored. I always prefer to buy a car with original paint, no matter how bad it looks.

This afternoon I went to look at a Studebaker I thought I'd like to buy. The car was "restored" about 20 years ago according to the owner. The interior was very nice, the paint job was very amatuer, and who knows what was under it. When I layed on my back to look under the car, the first thing I saw was the main leaf on the rear leaf spring was so rust pitted that it was ready to snap off next to the mounting eye. I might go back for a second look, but I have a feeling this car led a rough life before it was restored. BTW, the leaf springs are wraped in a metal cover with grease zerks, and these springs look like they never saw a grease gun. The chrome was nice, except for one or two pieces, so the car made a good first appearance, and I'll bet it sells, especially if someone doesn't know what to look for.

Look for similar signs on a Model A, or any other car. Mechanicals don't bother me too much, as long as the price is commensurate with the condition. My 29 Tudor needed a complete engine rebuild, a good paint job and interior, but the metal was so nice in the body and fenders, so it was well worth the low price I paid for it.

You have to inspect the car carefully to see what it needs and what you feel comfortable doing for repairs. I often ask myself, will I loose money if I need to sell it right away. You know Murphy's law, as soon as you buy a car, you find the one you really want.
I thought the law was "You find a car you really want only when your really broke."
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Old 05-29-2014, 06:13 AM   #14
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Beware of fiberglas fenders and a cheap interior job to those that are called "restored" and check the condition and the brand of tires, tires are a big expense these days.
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Old 05-29-2014, 06:23 AM   #15
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Crap in the gas tank

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Old 05-29-2014, 07:11 AM   #16
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Does it run 60 MPH and feel comfortable?

From that factory that was not a problem. A properly restored car will also do it.

Anything less means the car needs upwards of $10,000 worth of work to make the driveline run 60 and come to a complete stop.

Keep in mind most cars you find will not be able to do the above.

FWIW, I know of 2 guys that bought cars from 'reputable' A rebuilders. Both guys spent from $8000 to $10000 to get a reliable car that has brakes.

You also really need to know what is correct for the body and know when the car is loaded with repro parts. Cars that are not built right or have repro parts tend to have expensive surprises. Like any placement of that kind of money it is wise to learn a lot about the car.
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:00 AM   #17
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Quote:
Originally Posted by 30ccpickup View Post
When looking to purchase a Model A in the "drive anywhere condition", what are some of the red flags that would cause you to walk away? For example, one of mine is a leak in the gas tank where it connects to the steering.

Paul
A vehicle with a gas leak of any sort is not in drive away condition.

Chet
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:07 AM   #18
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill in SoCal View Post
Some other things to consider:

First - Make sure there is a clear title, not a bill of sale.

Then - Check the body, fenders and running boards for damage or rust through. A bent frame can cause many problems. I would take a magnet with me to make sure that it has good metal especially around the bottom of the quarter panels and doors. Like Ned said, "bad body damage is a show stopper."

Body work can be very expensive, unless you can do it yourself. Rebuilding an engine and transmission is far less expensive than fixing major body damage.

Bill
Yes, make sure of clear title first. There are many horror stories out there covering that subject. One of them is mine.
Good luck,

Chet

Last edited by Growley bear; 05-29-2014 at 08:08 AM. Reason: change text
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:13 AM   #19
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

To add to what Barry B said about tires I find that restored cars wearing the lowest buck tires sold are often not a quality restoration and deserve very close inspection.
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:16 AM   #20
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allanw View Post
Best. Advice. EVER!


When my Mrs. took one look at the Model A I now own, she ran over and hugged it and said, "She's so cute!" I kid you not.... 20 mins later was my car... Very happy with my Model A after 3 months of ownership.

The advice the experts on this forum is solid... As they have said on other similar posts, join a Model A club and see if a member can join you on prospective Model A evaluation.

Also, keep in mind these are 83+ year old machines and just because they run fine one day does not mean they will the next day or next hour... Like anyone of that age they have good and bad days, but they are well worth it

Good luck with your search,
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