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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Event Marketing
7/1/13 7:59 p.m.

Long story short, I'm putting a new engine in my Trooper, which is also my daily driver. I expect the swap will take about a month, so I need to find a different daily driver for a while. My 350Z needs new suspension bushings pretty desperately, so it's out of the picture.

Naturally, this isn't a problem. After all, my dad has 20-something cars I can use. I thought over which one I'd like, and asked him...

"Sure thing," he said, "you're welcome to drive the Model A!"

So, that's where it stands. I ordered seat belts and a gas gauge, and I get home day-after-tomorrow to start the adventure. Any tips or tricks?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Event Marketing
7/1/13 8:15 p.m.

Oh, and it's a 1929 Ford Model A Business Coupe, in fact my great grandfather, H.A Suddard, sold this very car new in 1929.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/1/13 8:16 p.m.

Got a cell phone?

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/1/13 8:19 p.m.
Tom Suddard wrote: Oh, and it's a 1929 Ford Model A Business Coupe, in fact my great grandfather, H.A Suddard, sold this very car new in 1929.

That's cool. I imagine that it has a non folding black canvas top, right? And it's July down there in Florida, right? Aside from that, you need to do this for the good of the magazine.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/1/13 8:22 p.m.

You may not want the seatbelts. The steering column is a spear and the fuel tank is a few inches above your junk. You might just want to cross your fingers and hope to be thrown clear.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/1/13 8:23 p.m.

For inspiration, look at the "365 days with a model A" blog.

Mind you, the author is up in Michigan, it's probably not quite as hot up there as it is in FL.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/1/13 8:25 p.m.

Peter Egan (surprise!) has a great story about a long trip in a Model A in one of his books. It's probably in the one with the Model A on the cover.

JoeyM
JoeyM MegaDork
7/1/13 8:25 p.m.
Tom Suddard wrote: Oh, and it's a 1929 Ford Model A Business Coupe, in fact my great grandfather, H.A Suddard, sold this very car new in 1929.

The one that was in the showroom out front for a while? (It was the one on display the last time that I made it out there.) I really like that car.

BoxheadTim wrote: For inspiration, look at the "365 days with a model A" blog. Mind you, the author is up in Michigan, it's probably not quite as hot up there as it is in FL.

Yeah, but winter.....

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Event Marketing
7/1/13 8:27 p.m.

Actually, what sparked this idea was the tour of the Hagerty shop a few days ago. In it was Jonathan Klinger's A, and I figured if he could do it then so could I.

I really think seat belts are a good idea, especially since I plan to go autocrossing.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Event Marketing
7/1/13 8:30 p.m.

Yep, the same one. I'd post a picture, but I don't have one with me. Hopefully I can get one from the mothership by tomorrow morning.

I'd also like to mention that at the moment, the car is absolutely bone stock. 1 taillight, poor headlights, Zenith carb, the whole nine yards. I'll probably update a few things as I go, but I'm curious just how much it will really need.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Event Marketing
7/1/13 8:33 p.m.
Woody wrote:
Tom Suddard wrote: Oh, and it's a 1929 Ford Model A Business Coupe, in fact my great grandfather, H.A Suddard, sold this very car new in 1929.
That's cool. I imagine that it has a non folding black canvas top, right? And it's July down there in Florida, right? Aside from that, you need to do this for the good of the magazine.

Correct. But the windshield opens, so it's actually quite comfortable.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/1/13 8:34 p.m.
Tom Suddard wrote: I'll probably update a few things as I go, but I'm curious just how much it will really need.

Juice brakes.

JoeyM
JoeyM MegaDork
7/1/13 8:52 p.m.

I like the single taillight. Klinger updated his to LED's. I'd say the most important thing would be decent headlights.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic Dork
7/1/13 9:47 p.m.

I think the lack of any HVAC, and the sliding gear trans are your biggest adjustments. I've always kinda thought of the A as the oldest/mechanically simplest car you could feasibly DD, highway use aside anyhow. I'd also keep it seat belt free, I'd rather be thrown from a car like that, and I doubt its capable of pulling enough Gs in an emergency maneuver to slide you across the seat. Update the lighting a bit, and call it good.

In reply to Woody:

I've always wondered, why are hydraulic brakes stressed so much with old Fords? VW, Rolls Royce, and a few others used them well into the 60s. Do the Ford mechanical brakes really suck even when "right", or are they just a pain to keep adjusted properly?

TRoglodyte
TRoglodyte Dork
7/1/13 9:52 p.m.

Goggles, and a slow moving vehicle triangle like they put on carriages in Amish country.

JoeyM
JoeyM MegaDork
7/2/13 8:32 a.m.

Definitely post pics of you commuting with it. A write up would be cool, too.

jleez
jleez None
7/2/13 9:09 a.m.

If you're crazy, then that means that I'm crazy too.

I've been looking for a Model A for the past month. I followed the 365 Days of A blog very closely back when Klinger was doing his yearlong experiment, and is one of the reasons I'm so interested in the cars. Then there's the Model A speedster build here on the forums that I'm following as well.

Also, I'm a swing dancer, and it has always been a fantasy of mine to drive to a dance in a 30's outfit with a car from the period...

I think seat belts are a good idea. I've seen modern-day accident photos with Model As over the course of my online research, and it seems to me that it's still a better idea to be buckled in the car, hard dash and straight steering column and all, than to be thrown out. If my Model A doesn't have seat belts, I will install some myself.

There was a Model A in Champaign, Illinois, that I really wanted but couldn't get to in time -- an early roadster with a top and complete set of side curtains, a different rear end ratio, a trailer hitch, and an electric brake controller. Car was used to tow around an awesome little vintage wood-sided trailer out and about, and I saved the Craigslist ad photos on my computer before the ad was taken down. I wonder who managed to snag that awesome little car...

So I'm still looking. My dream Model A would be a 1928-1929 Fordor sedan with a hotter engine and a Mitchell overdrive. Then I'd load the car up with friends and we'd go off to a dance hall where we'd dance the night away to Count Basie or Fats Waller...

(P.S. Nice meeting you at the Dearborn Inn! )

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/2/13 9:54 a.m.
Kenny_McCormic wrote: In reply to Woody: I've always wondered, why are hydraulic brakes stressed so much with old Fords? VW, Rolls Royce, and a few others used them well into the 60s. Do the Ford mechanical brakes really suck even when "right", or are they just a pain to keep adjusted properly?

The rods stretch, and not all at the same rate, so each wheel can begin braking at a different time. Plus, they are not self energizing. People started retrofitting Model A's with hydraulic brakes in the forties.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Event Marketing
7/2/13 11:00 a.m.

We found a few old pictures of the office with the Model A in them; I can post some better ones once I get home.

pres589
pres589 SuperDork
7/2/13 11:09 a.m.

I guess it could be interesting and make for a few fun stories but I can't imagine looking forward to this. I look at the above collection of vehicles around the A and all of them look better for "normal use".

That's just me, I figured you were asking for anyone/everyone's honest opinion. Dealing with the A brakes in traffic alone makes me uninterested.

JoeyM
JoeyM MegaDork
7/2/13 11:32 a.m.
Tom Suddard wrote:

Pretty car, I really like the cowl in the 1928-1929. Good color, too.

The showroom looked similar to that the last time I was out there.....which was probably around 2011. (I don't remember the showroom being as crowded as your first photo.)

stuart in mn
stuart in mn PowerDork
7/2/13 12:23 p.m.
Woody wrote: I've always wondered, why are hydraulic brakes stressed so much with old Fords? VW, Rolls Royce, and a few others used them well into the 60s. Do the Ford mechanical brakes really suck even when "right", or are they just a pain to keep adjusted properly?

Don't forget Bugatti as well. :)

Kenny_McCormic wrote: The rods stretch, and not all at the same rate, so each wheel can begin braking at a different time. Plus, they are not self energizing. People started retrofitting Model A's with hydraulic brakes in the forties.

They do have to be kept in adjustment to work properly. They started putting juice brakes in them when the hot rod movement came along and people were driving them faster; a stock model A could maybe do 60 or 65mph, but most of them probably never saw the high side of 45.

Toyman01
Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/2/13 12:39 p.m.

Yep, you're crazy. But it's a good kind of crazy. Looks like fun to me.

If my dad had a Model A and was willing to loan it out, I'd blow up everything I own just so I could drive it to work for while. That would be a hoot.

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe Dork
7/2/13 1:01 p.m.

I I used to DD mine a good bit.

HEADLIGHTS come first. Then really BRIGHT stoplights Then Juice brakes.

other then that they are dead reliable in mostly stock form.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Event Marketing
7/2/13 6:16 p.m.

Awesome, thanks for the advice.

One other thing: I plan to carry my bike with it. Hopefully I can figure out a way to do that.

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