They don't get much more classic than this...
Dick Brooks’ hot rod heritage has roots going back to the 1960’s. His first one was a flathead powered 1940 Ford coupe, followed by a bunch of Model A’s. Oh yeah, there’s also a 1914 Dodge Brothers Touring Car thrown in there for a bit of balance. Dick happened upon the 1929 Ford Model A Station Wagon that’s the subject of this project. Resources say that there were only 3,510 Station Wagons built by Ford in 1929 out of a total vehicle production run of over 1.5 million cars. He’s only the third owner of this gem, and the second owner had the car in dry storage for over 50 years. Dick resurrected it and quickly realized that this bone stocker was a long way from the sort of driveable car he had in mind.
Being limited to highway speeds of 40 to 45 miles per hour wasn’t in his plan. His vision included a comfortable fully independent suspension both front and rear. The stock 40 horsepower four banger was going to have to go as well. Mechanical brakes and buggy springs were less than ideal as well. The original body though, both wood and sheet metal, would remain as found. The Model A had received a very nice restoration sometime in the past, but had suffered the abuses of bicycles and lawnmowers being bumped into it, probably a big box of Encyclopedia Brittanicas being rested on the running boards. Such is the fate of cars being stored in a family garage.
The bumps and scratches gained over these 50 years of storage all go to adding to the car’s character today, and Dick has no intention of erasing these scars. The term “classic” car is often overused but this piece offers a rare glimpse into our American automotive history. Ah, but here’s the twist: let’s add a touch of hot rod attitude!!
To address the chassis, suspension and brake upgrades, Kugel Komponents fully independent front and rear suspension packages were brought in. New Model A frame rails and crossmembers will form the backbone of the new chassis and give it rigidity that the original couldn’t come close to providing. The body will be lifted off of the original chassis and relocated to the newly fabricated version. This, combined with the replacement of the stock 4.10 x 21-inch tires will give the Wagon a new, lowered stance. Brakes are vastly improved from the 1929 vintage mechanical versions with power discs at all four corners. Steering also benefits from a power rack and pinion unit. The Ford engineers of the 1920’s couldn’t even dream of this stuff. This would truly have been “rocket science” for them.
The engine and transmission aren’t being neglected on this project either. Dick wanted no “belly button” Chevy small block in his Ford. Nope. His wagon would remain all Ford. He has put hundreds of thousands of miles on the Ford Rangers in his construction business fleet and swears by the little four cylinder engine’s reliability. OK, he won’t pull a wheelstand with the modern version of the Ford 4-banger but this 2300 cc workhorse will pull this wagon just fine, thank you, and get decent fuel economy to boot. The 2010 vintage four-banger will be coupled to a modern Ford 5-speed manual transmission, again of Ranger heritage.