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Old 03-27-2018, 09:57 AM   #1
cederholm
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Default Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Hi guys,

I'm going to look at 1931 Coupe this Sat and can use some advice. This will be my first time looking buy a model A and the first time buying a car of this vintage.

I'm told the body is solid with minimal rust, some small dents, original paint. The motor spins but it hasn't run in a while. Interior and jump seat are there but in poor shape. This car will be a project for me, so i'm mostly interested in a good chassis, body and repairable motor. I expect to put time/money into the car.

What model A specific things should I look for?

All advice welcome.

Thanks,
Carl
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:09 AM   #2
daveymc29
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Get a club member to go with you to look at this car. Know what you may be getting into. Tough for us to give a true evaluation without lots of pictures. Also, what do you intend to do with the car, drive it, fine point show or fix it and sell it?
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:16 AM   #3
jhowes
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Two things;;; The Model A coupe did not have a "jump seat" Second , search this site to find the best way to prepare the car before you turn the motor over much less try to start it. Damage can be done by being in a hurry and trying to start it or even turn it over. Jack
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Considered your post and I think you are talking about the "Rumble seat" and not a jump seat. Sorry, Jack
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:34 AM   #5
cederholm
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Yes Jack, rumble seat, I knew "jump seat" didn't sound right as I typed it.

My inital intentions would be to clean it up and get it safely running/driving to keep.

Thanks,
Carl

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Considered your post and I think you are talking about the "Rumble seat" and not a jump seat. Sorry, Jack
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:46 AM   #6
Charlie Stephens
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Take a lot of pictures of everything and post them here for comments.

Charlie Stephens
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Carl, lots of questions. Where has the ’31 been stored? Does it have coolant in it? Is it water or anti-freeze. I think you know where I’m going with this. If there is any way to check that engine for cracks by putting water in it, you might want to do that. If you’re not concerned, fine, but don’t turn that engine over again until you’ve been able to figure out what is what.

My first A was a ’31 coupe, and I’d appreciate some pictures when you go to see it. Don’t let anyone give you any crap about calling a rumble seat a jump seat. If you get the A, you are in for an learning adventure, and I’m sort of envious.

Remember. Pictures, and lots of them. Everything on that car should be photographed. I mean everything. It will benfit you in the future and start out your model A adventure correctly.

Mike

Last edited by wingski; 03-27-2018 at 10:51 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

As with any used car the major components would need to be inspected to see what kind of shape they are in. Difficult to do if the car is not running so you can drive it. If the body and frame are solid with just maybe surface rust that would be a big plus. The engine will be an unknown quantity if it is not running. You could see if it has cast iron break drums which is a plus and how much play there is in the steering. Also there are ways to check the king pins etc. As previously mentioned it would be good to take someone along who knows the mechanical of a Model A. Good luck.
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Old 03-27-2018, 04:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Great advice all, and Mike thanks for the reminder about the block freezing and cracking.

Are there other things that are known problem spots to observe? Leaking gearbox oil from the trans or rear-end? Anything about the brakes - I know nothing about mechanical brakes. Known body rust spots? Known chassis weak spots?

Thanks again,
Carl

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Carl, lots of questions. Where has the í31 been stored? Does it have coolant in it? Is it water or anti-freeze. I think you know where Iím going with this. If there is any way to check that engine for cracks by putting water in it, you might want to do that. If youíre not concerned, fine, but donít turn that engine over again until youíve been able to figure out what is what.
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:11 PM   #10
JohnLaVoy
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

The Model A is an easy car to work on and almost any part is available either reproduction or used. There are dealers all over the country so finding a local source is easy. I concur with the local club member suggestion, it would also be of benefit to you to join a chapter as they will have suggestions as to where to get things done etc. at the local level. MAFCA.com has chapters all over the country.
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:15 PM   #11
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Taking along one or more folks that have experience with Model A's is one of the best things that you can do. I've helped several people interested in purchasing A's by inspecting the cars for them.
I take a bright flashlight with me and spend a considerable amount of time crawling around and under looking things over.
One of the things that I have found that gives a quick idea as to weather or not a car has been maintained/set up correctly is the position of the brake levers. If you see all 4 of them set to the proper 15 degrees forward it is a good sign.
I'll take along a jack, jack stand and three jaw puller so I can take a look at the brakes and bearings. (Bring cotter keys with to replace the ones you remove)
Of course a compression test will give an idea as to what is going on internally with the engine. Hopefully they have documentation on any engine work. If the engine does not run I tend to err on the side of thinking that the engine probably needs significant work/repair.
If the car has potential I can easily spend 3 or 4 or more hours looking one over.
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:55 PM   #12
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

If it is in fact "original paint" which was applied at the factory, you may want to consider preserving that paint if possible. Don't be too quick to paint over it. The seller may mean that it is "the original color" for that car, or "an original color" for Model A's. The phrase can mean different things to different people. Model A's with original factory paint are becoming more scarce every year.

W. Michael
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Old 03-28-2018, 12:08 AM   #13
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by cederholm View Post
Yes Jack, rumble seat, I knew "jump seat" didn't sound right as I typed it.

My inital intentions would be to clean it up and get it safely running/driving to keep.

Thanks,
Carl
You can use Typex on your screen to delete it
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Old 03-28-2018, 03:18 AM   #14
juke joint johnny
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Verify if it still has the original rod brake system , some of the juice conversions are not done very well and might not work if it has been sitting for many years

See if it has shock absorbers often missing and expensive to buy

Missing titles can be a PIA as well
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:08 AM   #15
ronn
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

If you like it, the price is right-buy it!

Have bought many cars wo looking them over. Every part is replaceable and A's are one of the easiest cars to get started with. If something is bad, it can be fixed. The car you are looking at, being original, there arent that many in that state and yes, it is desirable. Not looking over someone elses bondo or paint.
Dont be afraid to pull the trigger!
That is half of the fun of it for me!
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:24 AM   #16
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Hi Carl,


Here is my 2 cents worth. And I am assuming that you know about old fords due to your avatar (nice set up by the way).


Oil: assuming it has not been run in years whatever oil is in the tranny and diff is probably solid by now.


Exhaust: Look for mice. they love to get into exhaust systems and engines.


Gas: The tank may be dry and probably rusty so it will need to be cleaned out before you start her up.


Rad: Probably rusty and will need a good cleaning along with the block.


Welcome and I home it works out for you,


Mike
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:50 AM   #17
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

" I expect to put time/money into the car." I say you have an understanding of the vintage car hobby, and no preconceived notions of quick and cheap.
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:11 AM   #18
cederholm
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronn View Post
If you like it, the price is right-buy it!

That is half of the fun of it for me!
Thanks Ronn, this is the EXACT kind of thinking that gets me in trouble at home .

And thank you all! This is a very VERY helpful.

A little about me...

I've been messing around with older cars since I was a teen (now 50) but I'm a true hobbyist. I'm good with a wrench and electrical, and fair with body work (welding) and painting, and try my best at upholstery.

My current resume includes;
1972 MGB roadster - full nut and bolt restoration from a dead car
1969 MGB GT - extensive metalwork, home made upholster (not including seats) and the installation of a supercharger
1953 Chevy 210 - mild custom - rebuilt the stock 235, converted to 12v, triple carb and dual exhaust. Installed an interior kit and painted the entire car including a flaked roof.

Currently rebuilding that 8BA with all the machine work done by GOFAST here in FB.

So, I know a little about cars, but I know enough to know that I still have a lot to learn...

Thanks again all,
Carl

PS - not going to change my "jump seat" mistake - I said it, I'll own it and I'll take the heat for it.
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:05 PM   #19
JDupuis
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

You're going to be just fine Carl. You da man! Jeff
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:14 PM   #20
1931 flamingo
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 31 - advice needed

Where's the 8BA going??
Paul in CT
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