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1929 Ford
Model A

Highway Service Truck

My Oldest Vehicle Yet goes to the
TP Tools Museum
in Ohio!

April 3, 2009 - The Model A has fancy new digs - she is officially moved into TP Car Collection (click here to go to the site).  The new owners polished her up and added a spare tire cover, and also painted the Ford lettering on the tailgate.  They already have a replacement toolboc and are ordering Firestone lettering for it.  Couldn't ask for a better home!  I am hoping to see her at the museum someday.
March 27, 2009 -  The truck was picked up yesterday (in the rain) for the trip to her new home - the TP Tools Auto Museum in Canfield, Ohio.  I took her for one last spin around the block, the pulled her up in the trailer.  There may have been an inch to spare, but all that matters is that she cleared the door.  I got an email from the new owner tonight - they were very happy with the truck, and would be setting her up in their gas station display in place of the rod that currently sits by the pumps.  All of the Firestone memorabilia I collected will be put to good use - Firestone was a big presence there, and the new owner actually lives on land that was part of the Firestone estate!   So she'll get lots of attention in a nice atmosphere.  I'm still finding bits that I forgot about - looks like there will be a care package going to Ohio once I finish scrounging through all the boxes and corners in the house and garage!
March 24, 2009 -  Selling a vehicle can be painful - not so much seeing it go away, but realizing how much you spent on it over the years.  I got the truck ready to go today, removing the main tool box and gathering up all the tools, literature, and memorabilia.  Sure, most of the stuff was under $20, but when you have a box full of the items, it represents a sizeable investment!  On the plus side, it will make for a great display at the TP Tools museum, if they are so inclined.  And I found a cheap replacement tool box available from WalMart.  The deposit check came today - they may pick her up Friday, otherwise, it may be next week.
March 22, 2009 -  Looks like the Model A has a new home - all the way in Ohio!  Better yet, she'll be on display in a private museum operated by the TP Tool folks (  They called and we struck a deal on the phone - details will get sorted out, but I guess I can start looking for a 28-29 Tudor.   I am keeping the main tool box, as it is the toy box my grandfather made for me when I was born.  However, all the road service tools go with it, as well as the Firestone literature.  I think they'll be happy with the truck - and I'll be glad to get a Model A where I don't have to crane my neck to look out the windshield!
March 20, 2009 -  Rain forced rescheduling of the Square Car Tour to today, but it turned out to be a great move.  76 degrees and sunny, and we had a bunch of Model As on the tour.  The truck did great - over 100 miles with nary a hiccup, and the brakes are great.  When I was getting her ready again, I discovered a broken return spring for the brake pedal  and replaced it.  Now the pedal pulls back properly, no more fade after long drives.  I took a bunch of photos of her today after I realized I didn't have any recent one of the engine or interior.
March 12, 2009 -  Tomorrow is the Square Car Tour for my antique car club - the Model A fired right up and ran well.  Unfortunately, it looks like rain is going to cancel the event.  In any case, the truck is ready to roll.  I'm thinking I will put her up for sale.  The 5-speed conversion is great for driving, but it really bugs me.  More importantly, I can't drive it comfortably because I sit too tall in the saddle.  The Sedans have adjustable seats and taller windshields, so I'll look for one of those instead. 
February 12, 2009 -  The Model A has been sitting for a couple of months - cold weather and busy schedule has kept all the cars quiet this winter.  I cranked the truck over and she fired right up - the battery was a little low from sitting, so I threw a quick charge on her.
October 1, 2009 -  The Model A has been sitting again, so I rolled her out tonight for the local Model A Ford Club dinner meeting.  She was the only Model A there despite very mild weather.  I took a roundabout route that included a stop-off to pick up hardware and visit a friend just out of the hospital, so she had a good variety of in town and highway use. 
August 17, 2009 -  Went back through the brakes again, and FINALLY got them right!  I can't figure out what I had done wrong before, but they will lock up the tires now and provide strong, smooth stopping.  Phew!  It's about time.
August 8, 2009 -  We had a good turnout at the Geico show, with about 25 cars from my local AACA region.  A 1925 Franklin took 'Oldest' honors, but it was trailered.  The Model A was next and it was driven to the show.  The truck ran well today, no issues or concerns.  Even the brakes held up well for the long Interstate run.  I'll eventually order a new coil and put the used one she's running on now in the back box as a spare. 
August 7, 2009 -  The truck started fine on Monday, then began popping and backfiring again.  I readjusted everything according to the book, and she ran fine until the engine warmed up and then she started dying and backfiring again.  A friend was having the same problem with HIS Model A truck, and suggested the fuel tank.  I checked mine at the valve and had a steady flow of clean gas.  The distributor is new, along with everything inside.  That left the coil.  I dug up a good 6 volt coil today and installed it.  No more troubles!  Guess the old coil was breaking down and heat made it lose power. 

The brakes still aren't correct, but they are stopping the truck well enough after some more adjustment.  I tried the brakes on Model A buddy Dave Curl's huckster wagon and they are solid after just a couple of inches of travel.  Mine will go almost to the floor.  Something is flexing, but neither of us could see what it was.  This is the kind of thing that really makes me hate car modifications - the brake system was rigged to accommodate the 5-speed transmission conversion.  Oh, well.  I'll eventually figure it out, and the truck is safe to drive.  Got her all cleaned up and ready for tomorrow's show at the new Geico office. 

August 3, 2009 -  The new brake rods did nothing to improve the brakes, so this weekend I got out the Model A handbook and started from scratch on adjustments.   I don't know what I did wrong last time, but after the last cotter pin was back in place i had brakes that would lock up the wheels!  However, the engine started popping and dying again - seems that the points had closed up, though I can't figure out how that would happen given the design.  In any case, I got everything timed and adjusted and she seems to be doing well. I'll give her a shakedown Friday, as I am hoping to take her to a car show on Saturday.
July 19, 2009 -  The new brake rods came in the next day, as usual, but I have not had time or tools to cut them down.  Bob Parrish, a friend in the local AACA region, had a nice tap and die set that we used to day to extend threads of the oversized AA rods down so we could then hacksaw them to the correct length.  I get them cleaned up and painted tomorrow, and probably install them Tuesday.  The jury-rigged rods that were on it may not be the culprit for the soft pedal, but they can't have been helping.
July 7, 2009 -  Playing with the brakes hasn't provided any solid solutions - I suspect that the front brake rods are the culprits.  They were pieced together and may be flexing too much.  I ordered oversized AA truck rods from Bratton's tonight and will cut them down to fit.  Hopefully, that will solve the braking issues.
July 3, 2009 -  After sitting for a few more months while the TC got her AACA National Senior, the Model A finally got pulled out of the garage today.  However, this time she was not as happy to go as last.  The engine was popping and backfiring and she felt weird.  Turns out that the distributor was loose and the points were closed up.  A few adjustments and she was running great again, but when I took her around again I noted the brakes felt weak.  As in, going to the floor and not stopping the truck.  This is bad enough in a car with hydraulic brakes - the Model A is all mechanical, so it shouldn't be able to go to the floor.  Looks like some serious tightening and adjusting is in store before I put her back on the road.
April 11, 2009 -  The Model A has been waiting patiently in the garage while I played with the MG TC, not even being started in the past two months.  She fired up the first try yesterday, eager for today's Square Car Tour with my local AACA region.  I picked up longtime friend and car buddy Merritt Horne and we rolled 23 miles out to Chesapeake, 60+ miles along back roads for the tour, and 23 miles back without so much as a hiccup.  That included long stretches of Interstate at 55 mph, and chugging along with 36 other antique vehicles.  The majority of the old cars were Model As, of course, mostly form the Cape Henry Model A Club to which I also belong.  A group of us in Model As drove home together in a light rain, but the windshield wiper and lights both worked fine.  I was well stocked for the tour, with water, gas, oil, tubes and a full complement of tools.  Naturally, no one needed anything!
January 5, 2009 -  I went to Florida for a week to meet up with friends from England - Matthew presented me with this incredible model of my truck as a rail vehicle.  It has scratch-built sides, tool boxes and all of the lettering - even the license plates!  Remember this is O scale -  the truck is only 3 inches long.  He contacted the local Model A club and former owner Dewey Milligan to get the details - an international conspiracy!
November 16, 2008 -  The Model A has been sitting in the garage a couple of weeks -we had the TRAACA Fall Tour last weekend which I drove the Studebaker on.  However, I'd made arrangements for a special outing today.  I was able to track down Dennis West, the man who sold the truck to Ron Pack back in the early 1970s.  He is also the person who restored the truck about 1968, and most everything he did is still working and looking great 40 years later!  Now 82, Mr. West still has a couple of antique cars.  He remembered the truck, and also talked about mutual friends in the antique car club.  Unfortunately, he doesn't remember anything about the truck before he got it, so it looks like my research will end with him.  I promised to bring the truck back for a visit again.  She got a good workout today - about 70 miles, with a lot of Interstate driving.  I noticed that the emergency brake feels weak.  I'll see if it can be adjusted.  Other than that, she did super.  It still amazes me that an 80 year-old car can be so roadable.
November 3, 2008 -  Hilton Head was quite an experience - a lot of fun and a lot of work. I left Friday morning and ended up meeting two other couples on the way - including Ron Pack, a previous owner of the truck!  He and his wife were heading for Hilton Head in his 1947 Chevy woody wagon resto-rod.  The tow dolly worked great, with the truck rolling easily at 65-70 most of the 1000 miles up and back. We missed the entrance to the actual show field, and poor Ron got rear-ended before he got there (no injuries and minor damage - whew!).  I was ushered directly to the show field when I arrived and the truck stayed there until I left Sunday afternoon.  The repair display turned out to be quite popular, and the truck got plenty of attention despite the abundance of fancy machinery.   There were about 300 cars total in the show, including a 1908 EMF race car, a custom-bodied 1936 Rolls, unrestored brass-era cars, and even a 2008 Edsel!  (Take my word for it.).  Still it was a long drive, a little pricey, and they left all of the special display vehicles out of the program - so once is enough.
October 26, 2008 -  With the Hilton head show less than a week away, i got busy doing some last-minute fix-ups on the truck.  One quick and easy one is a spark plug 'disguise' kit that provide brass sleeves and knurled nuts for the modern Autolite spark plugs to make them look like the original Champions.  I also got in a new fuse setup, and cleaned up the starter switch while I was installing the fuse holder.  One accessory I have been wanting is a radiator stone guard, so I also put one of those on.  And finally the spare time needed replacement.  Everyone had thought there was a matching new Firestone whitewall under the cover - WRONG!  A worn-out, cracking Denman was hiding there, so I ordered a correct Firestone tire and metal-stem tube.  The wheel was pretty beat up, so I cleaned and painted it while I had everything apart. Note that I actually used my period tire tools, including the bead breaker, to do the tire swap!  The new tire looks good enough to leave off the cover, and the old tire fit nicely in the back as a 'prop' for the Firestone road service setup.  I was even able to get a period gas can that fits the running board rack.  We're ready to roll on Friday!
September 20, 2008 -  The Model A proved to be quite ready for the road trip to our local AACA Wings and Wheels car show, rolling along on I-64 at 55 mph without fuss.  The new speedometer worked well, though I just got the last part I needed the night before the show!  However, the truck died just as I was pulling away from the registration desk and wouldn't start.  naturally, the most embarrassing spot possible with all my car friends watching.  On the other hand, I'd just driven 35 miles on the Interstate, so breaking down at my destination wasn't so bad after all.  It turned out not to be the truck's fault - the after-market safety fuse setup had broken due to metal fatigue.  When I hooked things up the way they had come from the factory, the truck fired up instantly and ran perfectly.  The road service setup got a lot of attention, but she was up against some beautifully restored cars and trucks and didn't take home any prizes this time.  That's OK - she'll be holding he head high at Hilton Head Concours in just a few weeks!
August 24, 2008 -  Finished the tool box installation with the hold-downs and got the new distributor in and timed.  Even following the directions in the book, I had a bit of trouble setting the timing - the process is different from any other car I have worked on.  I could feel the difference when I installed the new distributor.  The old one had some play in the distributor cam, and the new one is rock-solid.  Once I got the timing right, the truck fired up instantly and ran smooth.  Not a huge difference, but the old parts weren't bad, just a bit worn.  I used Model A hood hold-downs to lock the toolbox in place - they were cheap, period-correct, and ideally suited for the task.  I just turned them around and used the the finger hooks for the toolbox handles (see inset photo).  All the big stuff is done now.  Just have to start working the details.
August 23, 2008 -  Got the splash pans on August 12th and drove the truck around some more - seems to be fine, with no leaks.  Then things got busy for a while, and I was unable to do much on the truck again until this week.  Part of the reason was a side trip last Sunday down to Norlina NC to drop off the spare engine to Fred Mulchi.  He has a great reputation in the Model A club, and I decided that I wanted to go ahead and get the engine done.  He does the whole job and is also close for personal delivery and pickup.  I may end up not needing the engine for a year or two, but he may not be doing them then.  TRAACA and Model A club co-member James Woodall asked to join me for the trek, which made the drive a lot nicer.  Mr. Mulchi was great, taking tie to show us his shop and his personal collection, which included a 1916 Overland, a beautiful 1930 Hupmobile coupe, and a 1923 Model T Ford speedster that he built when he was 16!  (He is 75 now).  Work eased up this week, and I got a lot done - the equipment chest got installed and braced, and I also installed the rear work light and set up the repair equipment station for patching tubes.  Friend Stanley Sims donated a period brass fire extinguisher complete with mounting bracket that is now mounted, and the cradle for the removable toolbox is done.  Today the new carburetor was bolted up and tested - the truck idles better and smoother with it, and I also cleaned up the air baffle assembly.  I may try to replace the distributor tomorrow.  I'll be out of town next weekend, and one of the big local shows is the following Saturday, so I'll need to get her finished up as much as possible.


August 12, 2008 -  Rather ironically, it turned out that the front main bearing was the culprit - the only one I DID check with Plastigage.  However, while the repair manual didn't say anything about the bearing caps being directional, flipping the cap around got everything turning again.  I checked all of the bearings with Plastigage this time - the rear main was too tight, so only the center and front needed shims removed.  I got her all back together tonight, and after a quick booster charge for the battery, got her fired up with no trouble.  She does sound better, and even after running a while there were no signs of drips or leaks.  I have to put the splash pans on, but that will be a quick job tomorrow.  Whew!  I think we both survived my first foray into serious Model A mechanicing!
August 10, 2008 -  Yep, I learned how to use Plastigage earlier this week - I also learned that you should  FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.  Unfortunately, I did not learn either of those things in a way that stuck more than a few days, so when I finished up the Model A this weekend I (a.) Did NOT use Plastigage, and (b.) did NOT follow directions.  When I tried to crank the engine to pump oil through before starting it, the motor just jerked once.  A quick check with the hand crank confirmed that the motor was so tight it would barely turn.  Something I would have caught had I followed one of the OTHER instructions - use the hand crank to check the engine after each bearing adjustment.  I suspect that the rear main had proper clearance after all, and when I pulled the shims without checking I ended up locking things up.  So now I get to pull the pan and drop the rear main cap - AGAIN.  Sometimes I wonder about the wisdom of reporting all of my activities - this one is downright embarrassing.  But part of the purpose of this site is to let other folks learn from my mistakes, and this one was a whopper.  Still, I think it's just a matter of dropping the oil pan again and replacing the shims in the rear main - but I will CHECK it this time.
August 4, 2008 -  Learned how to use Plastigage tonight - you put a piece of it in, crank down the bearing cap, and then pull the cap and compare the examples printed on the package to the result stuck to the crankshaft .  You do NOT scrape the Plastigage off to compare it, dropping it in the process.  Not that -I- would do that.  Uh-uh.  Anyway, the good news is that the crank mains do have shims, and when I pulled the front shim i ended up with about .002 clearance.  Not the .0015 I am supposed to have, but it should help.  I will try getting the center and rear bearings done tomorrow night - I had to order a side plate gasket from Bratton's because one of the center main top bolts is inside.  Also ordered some other small stuff, plus a speedometer cable that I hope will work. 
August 3, 2008 -  Fellow Model A Club member Dave Curl was kind enough to lend me his 8-sided 9/16 socket, which turned out to be just what I needed to get the bear cap bolts out.  Almost.  I got the bolts to turn.  And turn.  And turn.  They were still tight, and the bearing cap hadn't shown any sign of looseness.  My gut clenched - stripped bolts?  I checked out the Bratton's catalog to figure out bolt length, but they did not list anything.  So I finally called Dave and explained the problem.  "Sounds like you aren't holding the top bolts."  Ummmmm.  Top bolts?  Sure enough, the square-head bolts go through the block and have nuts topside!  Well, DUH!  I am feeling a WHOLE lot better now.  Gonna stop off and pick up an 8-sided socket if I can find one, and continue the bearing saga tomorrow.  Oh, and a side note - when you buy a repair manual for an old car - READ IT!  I checked the nice, expensive Model A Restorer's Handbook, and sure enough, they tell you about the top nuts.  Double DUH!
August 2, 2008 -  I finally got under the Model A today to adjust the shims.  The rods don't have any, so they will have to stay as they are.  I think there are some shims under the mains, but can't figure out how to the square-head bolts off.  I thought a 6-sided socket would work, but it just slips.  Even open-end wrenches don't work - the size is between a 9/16 and 5/8.  Must be special to the Ford.  I am checking around now hoping to find one of the local Model A club members with the right tool. In any case, I am going to get the spare engine rebuilt so I can drop it in whenever I have the time.  Looks like about a month and $2500 for a good-quality total rebuild including a crank that has been built up and machined to standard size.  I'll try to get the engine down to the guy in NC next weekend, if he is available.
July 19, 2008 -  I got brave today and dropped the oil pan to adjust the bearings.  Took some maneuvering to get the front pan bolts out - the engine mount is in the way.  It's pretty simple inside there - looks like it will not be too bad getting to most of the bearing bolts, although the rear main cap could be tricky.  The rods definitely feel a little loose - not bad, but enough they can wiggle a little.  I won't know about the mains until I use the Plastigage.  The speedometer came in - looks great.  I found out that the ammeter gage doesn't have a bracket of any kind - it is a press fit, and the newer gauges just don't fit as well.  The fella at Bratton's suggested glue, so I positioned the gauge and used some Gorilla glue.  Oh, the confirmation paperwork came in for Hilton Head - November seems like a long way off, but it's already in the later half of July. 
July 6, 2008 - I decided to try tracking down the problem with the Model A's speedometer.  It looks like the head got stiff and stripped both its own driven socket and the driveshaft end of the cable.  I used my $200 bonus coupon from eBay to get a fully restored speedometer yesterday - once I figure out the cable ends I need, I'll order a new cable and all should be working.  I also started restoring the tire equipment.  Bead blasting the tube repair station knocked off decades of dirt to reveal a lot of the original deep red paint, which I was able to match.  Even better, once it was cleaned up, the springs and levers started working perfectly.  Ditto for the balloon tire stretcher, which was originally black.  The Snap-On bead breaker looks like it was dark green with a black handle..  Oh, and the tool box is cleaned, sanded, and painted orange to match the lettering of the doors and the Firestone sign.  I got it all back together with the Firestone lettering and I am very pleased with the results.  The wooden box is a period mechanic's box that will be held in place by a wood retainer frame and a pair of Model A hood latches.  It will lift out for easy access to the hand tools. 
June 25, 2008 - I picked up the engine Sunday - the fellow even loaded it into my truck with a forklift!  Plus, he gave me a full set of good rods and pistons he'd bought on eBay to use when he got around to rebuilding the engine.  However, he decided that he doesn't want to get into working on engines any more, and already had a spare rebuilt engine plus the one in his car.  I'll eventually get it on an engine stand and see what the bearings look like.  If they can be adjusted out, I can put it back together as-is.  If not, it certainly looks like a good basis to build up from.  Got in a great item today - a period folding Firestone tire pump that actually works!  Another items for the tower of Model A parts taking over my dinging room.  Also got in a full set of spare brake shoes with good lining - for all 4 wheels!
June 22, 2008 - I went to the Richmond AACA show and swap meet yesterday and added quite a bit to the already groaning dining room table.  You see, the dining room has become the Model A repository - all the tools, equipment, parts, and literature I have bought for the truck has ended up on the table or floor.  The swap meet garnered a rebuilt starter for only $40, a set of period red rubber fan belts for $5, a decent water pump for $5, and a few other goodies.  Today I am picking up a spare engine from a fellow Cape Henry Model A Club member who heard I was looking for one and GAVE it to me!  It's supposed to have been running well, just leaking out badly from the back.  Probably needs rebabbiting at least, but I'm way ahead with a free engine to start working on!
June 8, 2008 - Now that I have all the equipment gathered, I needed a storage box that fit the pickup bed, was big enough to have extra space for cameras and an overnight bag, had a flat lid that would open with the box against the forward wall, and looked period.  Sounds like a tall order, right?  My Mom's father built a toy box for me when I was a baby.  After I outgrew it, she used it for storage, and it ended its days covered with floral contact paper and filled with garden supplies.  Being a sentimental pack-rat, I stuck it up in the garage rafters when she decided to get rid of it nearly fifteen years ago.  I pulled it back down today and measured - 30.5 inches wide.  Then I measured the wood bed of the truck - 30.5 inches.  Grandpa Tucker was a craftsman whose first daughter was born in 1916, so the construction techniques and materials were spot on, as was the size.  I pulled off the handles and ^&%$#@! floral contact paper, and will get it sanded, painted and bolted in.  Thanks, Grandpa Tucker!  Bet he didn't think it would still be holding my toys this long after he built it!
May 24, 2008 - Lots of Model A goodies arrived this week, including the second spotlight (with an original bulb!) and the formal registration package for Hilton Head.  The second spotlight didn't have the mounting arm, but that turned out to be no issue at all.  I was able to build a bracket that worked with the existing correct bolt-on mirror bracket that looks good and holds firm.  The one with the bracket will be perfect as a work-area light for the pickup bed.  The materials for the Road Service setup are also arriving - Firestone repair tins, a crank-operated balloon tire mounter/dismounter, and Firestone literature.  Speaking of Firestone, special thanks go to Elizabeth Dodson of their PR department - she sent me a really nice hardcover history of Firestone and made up a CD of scanned period logos and advertisements for me!  I'm looking for the right supply cabinet for the back now - I want one with a mesh front so you can see the supplies inside.  Practical to make sure you have everything, and also nice to show off the period supplies and tools.
May 19, 2008 - A friend of mine likes to say 'It's a small world - until you have to paint it.'  However, the 'small world' aspect seems to keep popping up in connection with this Model A.  I was out visiting a friend today who has a mare expecting to foal (any moment) and remembered that the restaurant was in the area.  When I asked my friend about it, she not only knew the restaurant (Smithfield Station), but is a friend of the owner!  Ron Park sold the truck to Bill Jolly about 30 years ago, but still remembers it well.  "The truck was black with yellow wheels - it didn't need anything."  The fellow he bought the truck from was very active in the antique car hobby, but suffers from poor health now. I plan to take the truck over for a visit some time in the near future. 
May 18, 2008 - I've been going a little crazy on stuff for the Model A - the past few days have turned up a lot of great Firestone and period tire repair tools on eBay, and I am $10- and $20-dollaring myself into the poor house.  Happily, friend Richard Hall came up with two items I have been looking for - free!  A correct Model A jack and one of the Ford script tools (spark plug and head bolt wrench).  He has a bunch of other tools for me to sort through as well, so I won't have to look for them at auction.  Not that I have quit bidding - I just got a Schrader tire repair tool and another Firestone tin, and a set of period wood-handled tire repair tools.  I'll be cutting back for a while after this to let everything get delivered and start planning out the back of the truck.  I'm working things out in my head based on what I have won so far, and I think it will end up looking really good.
May 17, 2008 - Lots of Model A goodies showing up now.  I got five items today - a letter from Harvey Firestone dated 1926 (nice letterhead), a rebuilt distributor, a Firestone awl and Tire Patch tin, and an original correct spotlight.  Had some good luck on getting period tools - picked up a crank-operated tire demounter and another patch tin.  The truck is going to be pretty neat! 

Other eBay goodies so far include a running board luggage rack that will hold gas/water cans, some 1929 letters from Norfolk businesses, a book with maps, and a 1929 Virginia visitor's guide.  I am planning to have appropriate papers in the cab, as well as correct tools and supplies in the back.  Letters from customers, something 'official' from Firestone.  Not real provenance, but fun to set up for people to look at.

May 13, 2008 - I dug up a bit more history on the truck this weekend - another friend in the antique car club remembered that Det Whitlow, the fellow who did the original restoration on the truck 15 years ago, had bought it from a man named Bill Jolly who lives close to me - and a man I have known for almost 30 years!  Bill Jolly was very happy when I pulled up in his driveway tonight to show him an old friend.  The truck had been all black when he owned it, and it came to him in an unusual manner.  He got a call one day from a man who had heard Bill was interested in Model A Fords and had a truck he needed to sell.  Bill went on over and ended up buying the Model A for $5,000.  The man opened a restaurant in Suffolk, which did very well, and a few years later Bill happened to stop by when the owner was being interviewed by the local newspaper.  He had Bill come over and told the reporter that Bill had given him the last $5000 he needed to make the down payment on the restaurant!  I'm going to try tracking down the restaurant owner to see where HE got the truck. 
May 10, 2008 - The truck did fine on the long ride out to the Old Dominion Meet car show, and got quite a few 'thumbs-up' from cars passing me on the Interstate.  Happily, I was able to go fast enough that I didn't get any 'middle-finger-up' gestures.  I was able to make good on the "Firestone Road Service" logos by delivering a new water pump to a fellow who drove a 1962 Studebaker flatbed truck 200 miles to the show.  His pump went out on the way, and it's the same as the one on my 1951 Studebaker.  I had a couple of new spares courtesy of friend Ken Talley, so I shared the wealth.  I am planning to equip the truck as a working road service vehicle, with period tools and as much Firestone supplies as I can find or fabricate.  Besides being fun, it will be pretty useful on tours with other old cars.  I already have a nice period wooden toolbox for the bed, and Dewey offered a bead breaker.  Ah, but all of that is not really important right now.  For those of you who might have noticed the Hilton Head Concours d' Elegance page below, yeah, it's a fake.  Sort of.  I stuck a photo of my truck at the show today onto the Hilton Head web page.  BUT...  at the show, I was approached by a representative of the Hilton Head Concours - he wants me to bring my Model A down and display it with a selection of pre-World War II trucks.  Yeah, that's right!  ME, at Hilton Head!  Along with some other folks from my antique car club who were also invited.  Guess I better get busy fixing the truck up right!  Though I guess she looks good enough as-is to warrant an invitation.  Woo-Hoo!  And I was just hoping to get a second-place trophy for my class when I entered the truck in the show.
May 9, 2008 - The wood in the pickup bed was peeling and rough, so I pulled it all out.  I sanded the boards smooth and wire brushed the metal rails, then painted everything black.  New hardware came from Bratton's Antique Auto Parts (GREAT place to deal with) on Wednesday, and with rain predicted for Thursday and Friday night before tomorrow's Old Dominion Car Show, I was up until midnight getting the truck bed back together.  I also got in almost everything I needed to install a right-side taillight - almost meaning I got everything installed on Thursday night (another midnight mechanic project) only to find I needed bullet-type plugs to connect the taillight harness and light wires.  Where do you find bullet connectors for a 1929 Model A at midnight?  In my garage, of course.  Actually, they are MGB bullet connectors, but they look and work just like the Ford parts holding the left side together.  A Ford with Lucas electrical parts?  There's gotta be a joke in there somewhere, but I'll leave that to the Chevy guys. 
The new taillight had a correct red/amber lens, while the existing left light had an all red lens.  Bratton's had just the glass lens, so I was able to get everything matching.  I also decided to disguise the shifter better, and added a correct shift knob, boot and and retainer ring.  The shift knob threads were too small for the S-10 shift lever, so it ended up drilled out and stuck on with Gorilla Glue.  It's still not a correct shifter, but that 5-speed shift pattern knob was a red flag.  On the mechanical side, I changed oil in the engine and transmission, cleaned the points, installed new Autolite plugs (Advance had them on the shelf!), new distributor cap, body, rotor, and brass leads to the plugs, and checked air pressure in the tires.  They were all fine except for the spare, which had leaked down to less than 10 psi.  I was up until after midnight again tonight washing and towel-drying the old girl.  She's ready to go for the show tomorrow - should be a fun day. 
April 27, 2008 - A month with the A has turned up a few more warts, but I am pretty happy with the old girl.  The trip to Charlotte was fruitful - I picked up a new window regulator for the driver's door to replace the original that was letting the glass slide down on its own, as well as a rubber floor mat, some original-style Champion plugs, and an original starter crank/lug wrench tool.  I had some more brake trouble the night before before I was supposed to take her on her first real drive - the TRAACA Square Car Tour.  I had to pull the emergency brake because the main brake pedal went to the floor again!  When I made a check of the connections, I discovered that the right rear clevis pin had fallen out!  Happily, a Model A club owner less than a mile from me had a new spare which he gave me.  After replacing the clevis and ALL of the cotter pins, the brakes are firm and solid and will lock up the rear tires.  I refinished the wood bed extenders, got a new Quail hood ornament with the built-in thermometer, gave her a tune up, and installed a rubber floor mat I got at Charlotte. Then I took her on the Square Car Tour - about 40 miles for the tour and another 60 round-trip to the starting point.  The truck did fine, though she got sorta loud on the way home.  Turns out the back exhaust bracket bolt had fallen off, the the tailpipe was riding on the rear axle!   A quick trip to the hardware store and everything was snugged up and quiet again.  Her next big run is the Old Dominion Meet in Newport News - about 30 miles one-way.
April 2, 2008 - You know, I really didn't want to get another car.  The Packard is still covered with dust, the Crosley, TD, Jeepster, and Studebaker all have things to be worked on, and I keep harping on how I need to focus.  So I didn't buy another car.  I bought another truck.  Yeah, I know.  It's a sad addiction, but I suppose it beats lying in a gutter somewhere with a bottle of booze.  In any case, my newest acquisition is a 1929 Model A Ford Closed Cab Pickup done up as a period Firestone road service truck.  It was fully restored by Det Whitlow, a local AACA member, when he retired from operating one of the biggest Firestone stores in the area.  When he died, the truck went to good friend Bob Eddy, who converted it to a Chevy S-10 5-speed transmission and a 6-volt alternator for touring.  Sadly, Bob fell ill before he could enjoy it, and sold it to mutual friend Dewey Milligan not long before passing on himself.  Dewey already had a lot of projects, and being wiser than me, decided to sell it.  He had it at our club swap meet in early March with a 'For Sale' note posted in the window (you can just make it out in the picture above).  I'd liked the truck back when Bob had it, and after some soul (and wallet) searching I bought it Sunday.  The restoration is now probably ten years old, and is showing some minor cosmetic wear.  However, the truck is in great overall condition, and I am really happy to keep it in the club.  The brakes were terrible, but Dewey and I pulled the system completely apart (they are mechanical) and discovered that everything was brand new inside: shoes, linkages, hardware.  Just needed to be re-adjusted.  So we started from scratch and got it all working great in a few hours.  I got the truck titles and licensed Monday, with the personalized Antique tag 'BOBS 29'.  And I am off to Charlotte tomorrow for the big Auto Fair and antique car show this weekend, where there are at least 200 vendors selling Model A stuff!


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