We celebrated our 42th anniversary on
March 27, 2007.
Donna & I have a 1928 Model A Ford Open Cab Roadster (convertible) Pickup
It is a Type 76A with a Type 78A bed. The serial number is A120955A and was produced
in May of 1928. It is 1 of 24,000 produced in 1928. I believe that only about 100 of
these "Open Cab's" are still in existence. That includes all 4 years, 1928 thru 1931.
It has a top speed of 65 mph.
I've only had it up to 55 mph - that's enough - no sense in taking any chances.
I don't want it to put it under any undo stress.
Tare weight is 2073#. Wheelbase is 103.5". Compression ratio is 4.22:1.
3.875" bore X 4.25" stroke = 200.5 cubic inches and develops
40 brake horsepower @ 2200 rpm.
Original list price was $445.00.
I purchased this truck in June of 1998 from a man in
An interesting note: as Secretary of the
local Meat Cutters
Although not 100% authentic, my pickup is close enough to fool all but the purist. I consider it "customized" and nothing has been changed that can't be returned to authentic. For instance, the original truck did NOT have a top that folded down - mine does. The original top could be removed - but not folded. The original truck was painted "Rock Moss Green" lacquer body with black enamel fenders. My truck is 2002 Ford black basecoat/clear coat. The original truck did NOT have a chrome radiator shell or horn. They were both black. Wheels on the original truck were 21" and painted black. I have the 30 - 31 Model A 19" wheels and they are powder coated and clear coated to match the interior and top color. The original top was, also, black. The original truck had no outside door handles. The '29 door handles have been added to mine. My truck has rear bumpers - not so on the original. So, you see - my truck, though not 100% original - is just "customized".
I've entered several shows resulting in
three 1st, a 2nd, a 3rd and the oldest car trophies. My proudest
trophy is the
Because of a minor traffic accident on
Attending Car Shows with a driver tends to be a real chore. It is necessary to continually load up spare parts (in case of break down), tools and detailing supplies. When you get to the show location, everything must be unloaded and after the show load it all up again and, again, unload it all when you get home. Well, seeing some of the street rodders and motorcycle guys having a small utility trailer to carry all of that stuff, I got to thinking how convenient it would be to have one.
That was the simple part - thinking of what to do. Where to find a small trailer light enough for the Model A to pull - yet big enough to handle the necessities - that was the real problem.
I looked and looked. The closest thing I found was a car top carrier with wheels offered by J.C. Whitney for $600. It just did not look sturdy nor large enough. I checked out some of the street rodders. The really nice ones were a cut down version of their car. I looked at a few trailers made from modern pickup beds. They were too heavy. But, that got me thinking. Why not a trailer made from a Model A Pickup bed? Well, again, that was the easy part. Have you looked for a Model A pickup bed lately? Hen’s teeth would be an easier find.
Since the local Model A Club (50th
Anniversary Chapter) offered free want ads in the newsletter I decided I'd
give it a try. Several months passed after my ad was
published. Finally a Club member from
Time passed for another month or so. Then one evening I got a call from another fellow about 50 miles from me. He said that he had a frame that at one time had a Model A pickup bed mounted on it. He said it was complete with rusty wheels & bad tires. To keep it light, the builder had used 1" square tubing and a Model A front axle and welded the spindles to run straight. That was a real novel idea - and it works. Again, I told the seller that the frame was mine and would retrieve it soon.
I started recruiting friends with pickups that were willing to assist my voyage to retrieve the purchases. Within a couple of weeks I had everything back at home with the assistance of my friend Earl Cloud.
Wouldn't you know it - they belonged together. The original builder, Doug Zhan, told me that it was fabricated in 1985 and pulled 25 miles one time behind a Bronco just to get it home. The original owner made the weather proof top, covered it with Model A Sedan Vinyl material and used a Model A door handle as a latch. The color was a dark brown that matched the Coupe of Club member, George Millar, the original owner. I needed it to be black to match my pickup. I found a local painter that picked up all the pieces, put them together and painted it 2002 Ford Explorer Black basecoat/clear coat. We powder coated the wheels to match the pickup and installed new, matching Firestone tires. I had a local welder custom fabricate a draw bar on the pickup so I could use a standard 2" bar & ball and interchange with my Explorer.
Now, you ain't never seen anything better. This thing is great and does exactly what I wanted. The center of gravity is forward and has 0 tongue weight so I use a 6" drop down hitch. It does get a little loose above 50 m.p.h. - but I don't drive the Model A any faster than that anyway. I would really hate to see more of these since I like to have things no one else has, but if you have similar needs - this is it!!
As if my pickup alone didn't draw a crowd, now with the trailer it's awesome!!
My 1928 Model A Open Cab, Roadster, Pickup, Type 76A is a daily driver. The motor gradually developed a knocking sound with volume increasing with mileage. After several attempts at adjusting the shims, the mains were checked and found to have the babbitts literally "falling out" in chunks. The motor had been rebuilt by the previous owner about 15 years ago but had very low miles since. The lead was obviously of poor quality. It was determined that new babbitts MUST be poured. Since the motor had to be pulled, it was decided to do a complete restoration.
In October, 2002, the Pickup was completely disassembled.
The motor was found to be in
excellent shape, except for the babbitts. The cylinders had been
sleeved to .000 and the crank was at -.010. The valves needed only a
slight grind to seat perfectly. New rings were installed and new babbitts
poured. Each mechanical part, including nuts, bolts &
washers, was either repaired or replaced and all the body
parts were repaired of all defects and individually primed with black
epoxy primer and painted 2002 Ford Explorer Black basecoat/clear
coat. The fenders had rubberized undercoating sprayed onto the underside
to absorb rock impacts. The bright metal was either polished or
replaced. Imported from
New rear motor mounts and a front "Float-a-motor" were installed. The 6 volt starter, generator, distributor, plugs and coil used were the same ones removed before rebuilding the motor, which was running excellent except for loose babbitts. New plug wires, distributor upper plate, lower plate, body, shaft, condenser & points were installed. The oil pump was rebuilt. The water pump was rebuilt with leak less nut & stainless steel shaft. The radiator was boiled out. Rebuilt Houdalle shocks & links were installed. New seals were installed on the rear axles and 1 brake lining was replaced due to grease leakage. New brake rods, cross shaft, clevis pins and stop light switch were installed. Modern, threaded grease zerks were installed. The intake and exhaust manifolds are the same ones removed from the motor before it was rebuilt and were NOT surfaced but were checked with a straight edge. A new "one piece" gasket was installed. The throw out bearing & clutch assembly were not worn and only the linkage was tightened up. A new wiring harness, battery cut-off switch, ammeter and ignition switch was installed. The steering was all new and no adjustment or replacement was necessary.
Well, after its total
restoration, the pickup was ready for a test drive on
Ready for the final test drive, when attempting to start it - a gun shot backfire occurred. Then, pressing the starter button again, it started just fine. Everything was great on the test drive for about 30 minutes until stopping to get 5 gallons of gas. When restarted, it sounded like it was running on 2 cylinders and had a clanking noise (like a loose valve or lifter). It had barely enough power to pull away from the pump to get out of the way. The distributor cap was pulled; the points, rotor, body, etc. were checked. Seeing nothing strange, it was re-assembled. Starting again, it was better than before - but still not right. A one mile trip back to the shop was made with a top speed of about 25 mph (and several unhappy motorists). The original timing and point settings were perfect, however, after getting back to the shop - it appeared that the timing had changed and was very far off. Again, after resetting the timing and points, it ran good again.
This was the first diagnosis: (by Bill Barlow)
What has happened is a valve, probably an intake, has stuck open. This will cause the gas to explode back through the carburetor causing the backfire you heard when starting. The valve then freed up until the engine was warm and caused the valve to stick again. This would account for running at least one cylinder short. It would probably still start but with an open valve that particular cylinder would not produce any power.
Take out the spark plugs
so you can look in onto the top of the valves and see if you have more than two
open at the same time. If so tap with a wooden dowel until you find the one
that is stuck in the open position. You may have to disassemble the engine to
get it working freely.
One other thing, it could be is a blown head gasket if you didn't re-torque the head nuts after the first warm up.
FIRST MAINTENANCE PROCEDURE
The plugs were
removed and visual analysis could not see a valve staying
up. "Marvel Mystery Oil" was squirted on each
stem. Another 5 gallons of gas and 1/2 qt of Marvel Mystery Oil were
poured into the gas tank for additional lubrication. The car drove
about 15 miles with no problem. In fact, it really ran excellent up to
about 45 mph for short increments.
/smaller>/fontfamily>The next day it idled about an hour - no problem.
/smaller>/fontfamily>The next day, the original problem reoccurred - running on (sounds like) 2 cylinders. It ran only about 2 minutes.
/smaller>/fontfamily>The next day, again the same thing - 2 cylinders. Again, running only about 2 minutes.
/smaller>/fontfamily>The next day - same thing. All the plugs were removed and, again, each valve could be seen moving up and down. The plugs had some carbon - not lots - but some. The distributor housing and rotor (new parts) were cleaned. The plug wires (new) look good. The timing has been checked and reset many times and it has always looked good. Some blow by could be seen around the muffler clamp but none anywhere else.
/smaller>/fontfamily>3 different rebuilt carburetors were installed with no improvement.
SECOND DIAGNOSIS: (by Bill Barlow)
I know the distributor body is new but it may have a defect causing two cylinders to short out. If you have another body I would give it a try. I think we already tried the grounding of the plugs while the engine is running to find which plug or plugs are not firing. If all four plugs are firing when they are supposed to and it is still running on two, it has to be in the valve train.
Compression checked 60# on each cylinder. Therefore, no leaks and no sticking valve.
Each plug was getting at least 1/8" spark jump.
The plugs were shorted one at a time and found that #1, #3 & #4 made no difference in performance while shorting #2 killed the motor. It was running on 1 cylinder! No wonder there was no power.
Again, 3 different carburetors were installed with no difference.
So, just to be certain that everything was eliminated one part at a time, "TDC" was found using the timing gear indention; another new set of points & condenser were installed as was the spring under the upper plate; the coil voltage was checked as was the coil wire. The new brass plug wires were cleaned. Timing was set using the procedure shown in the "Technical Questions" section of the M.A.F.C.A. web site http://www.mafca.com.
Still no difference.
THIRD DIAGNOSIS: (by Doug Zahn)
The local "Technical Expert" and my Model A engine rebuilder was contacted for advice. He said it sounded like it was trying to run on air. He thought it may be a leaking manifold gasket or cracked intake manifold and suggested replacement of the manifold gasket.
So, the manifold gasket was replaced. Trying to make it easy and save time, the manifolds were not completely REMOVED , just loosened up enough to get the old gasket out and install a new one (without sealant). Well, that was a lot of wasted time and ruined the new gasket. The motor was still running on 1 cylinder. However, that did tell what was wrong - the manifold gaskets were leaking. So this time, it was done correctly by completely removing the manifolds. The new gasket was starting to be burned after only 2 minutes of run time. This time the manifold was checked completely for cracks, flatness & straightness at a machine shop. Both manifolds were both ok. The manifolds were cleaned of all old burned gasket material & sealant and polished with some 400 emery. The block surface was cleaned really good. "Red", high temp, gasket sealant was applied to the manifolds assuring that it would provide a complete, nice and smooth seal. The new gasket was installed onto the manifolds. After letting it set up for a few minutes, sealant was applied to the engine side of the gasket and allowed to set up for a few minutes.
Fearing that the manifold nuts were bottoming out before actually tightening up the manifolds against the gasket and giving a false torque reading, flat washers were added between the nut and the cast iron washer. Since the cast washers are NOT FLAT, care must be taken to make certain that they are installed properly - the high side goes toward the nut. The nuts must be torqued from the inside out at 55 lbs. and rechecked after getting hot and cooled off.
The final solution??????
Well, guess what - still no change. The motor was still running on 1 cylinder.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS: (by Doug Zahn)
Being told that if that doing everything above did not fix it, replace the plugs. And if that did not get it running ...................
All the plugs were pulled and only #2 showed any sign of firing. The other 3 were only wet. Wet???? That means they are now getting gas and just not firing. Well, it just so happened that a set of new plugs were in the tool box and in they went.
It fired up so fast I
almost wet my pants!!! What a sound. Nothing else sounds
like a Model A. Success at last. A
75 mile cruise was taken the next day,
Evidently the manifold nuts did not pull the manifolds tight causing the gaskets to leak and fouled the plugs. These photos show the gasket that was blown after running less than an hour.
You just have to take your time and eliminate one part at a time. The Model A motor is so simple that everything MUST be right.
I want to thank each and
every person that offered advice, personal experiences and sympathy during
this exercise and especially Robert Wade that did almost all the mechanical
work, Martin Brown in assisting Robert, Jon Haydon for his technical
advice, Doug Zahn that did an excellent rebuild of the motor and offered his
superb technical advice, and Bill Barlow, MAFCA Technical Director. The paint was done by Tim Goyne, Goyne’s Body
I hope you enjoy my story and photos.
I bought a 1928 Tudor
This car is all original. NO
Dents, only one small rust spot AND IT RUNS!!!! I drove it onto
the trailer to bring it to
This photo will give you an idea of what it looks like now.
That's the "Original" 1928
Donna bowling. She has 26 700 series & 2 300 games. Only 2 other females in
She is always busy attending tournaments in
With a team score of 3,208, Donna’s team, “G. G. Girls”, won 3rd place in the 2003 55th Annual Arkansas Women’s State Tournament held in Jonesboro. Her team mates were Cindy Covert, Debbie Ueckman, Felicia Burlison & Peggy Cromwell. Donna finished 5th in “All Events Scratch” with 1,761. Team mate Felicia finished 1st in “All Events Scratch” with an 1,865 score.
Most of Donna's family is in
Donna enjoys riding in the Model A's, however, will not drive one. Maybe when the Tudor is finished I can get her to drive the Tudor while I drive the Pickup. What a caravan!!!!
Our oldest son, Gary lives in
Gary & Londa and their bikes.
Grant, our youngest son, a cook, is an E6, Staff Sergeant in
the HHC Company of the 82nd Airborne in
Previously he was in the 1st Battalion, 30th Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd
Infantry Division, Mechanized stationed at
Grant has 2 daughters, Jacquline is 13 & Katelynn is 11.
The newest addition to Grant’s family is Garrett Lantz.
He was born
We really miss seeing them.
We smoke brisket, ribs, turkey & pork butt. You can't get better "Q" anywhere in the world.
We always have some good eats!
I have an Oklahoma Joe "Chuck wagon" smoker. I use only "
Here's Katelynn knawing on a rib bone.
We live in
Click here to go to the GEORGE BEYERS COMPANY web page.
George & Donna Beyers Telephone 501.776.1399
1500 Sharon Road Fax 501.776.3986
Benton, AR (Arkansas) 72019-6122 Cellular 501.776.5155 or 501.840.2000
or Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Come back and visit, often.
I'll have more photos posted later.