Posts Tagged ‘Build a hot rod’

The 1931 Ford Model “A” 5 window coupe

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

The 1931 Ford Model “A” 5 window coupe

After spending a considerable amount of time selling off the 1930 Plymouth parts I did not need on eBay, I started working on the old Plymouth.  Planning out the hot rod was interesting.  I bought a 350 cubic inch GM truck engine and automatic transmission for $500 from a friend.  Another friend from the car club I belong to was tearing down a 1988 Lincoln LSC for his hot rod.  He gave me the rear end, the front spindles, and the aluminum rims with tires.  The front spindles and rear end both had disc brakes, something I thought to be necessary in a modern street rod.  The rotors and pads all were relatively new and was an added bonus.  I even started buying a few bits and pieces of eBay for the build.  Things are starting to shape up. 

The internet is a good resource.  I found many hot rod builds similar to what I was planning.  I also continued signing out books from the library.  Magazines started coming home by the cart load.  I spent a considerable amount of time reading and learning anything I could about building a hot rod.  During the summer time, I attended many cruises and swap meets.  I started to asked lots of questions to builders of hot rods.

The Lincoln rear end was a perfect match for the 1930 Plymouth.  It was the right width for the car.  I started to come up with a plan to adapt the Lincoln front rotors and discs brakes to the stock the 1930 Plymouth front spindles.  It looked like all I needed to do was source out new bearings with the correct sizes or make collars for the spindles to match up to the existing Lincoln bearing in the rotors.  This seemed just too easy.

The frame on the 1930 Plymouth is very sturdy and did not need any extra re-enforcing.  It could easily handle a modern V8 engine.  In my opinion, I would say that the 1930 Plymouth was built very well and much better then Fords in the same time period.  I am a bit puzzled why Fords became more popular in the 30’s since to me, the Chryslers’, and Plymouths, were built so much better.  I guess it was all in the marketing game, even then.

I did a compression test and leak down test on the V8 engine I purchased from my friend.  The results were a bit disappointing.  The tests pointed to several leaky values and rings.  I took the engine apart.  It was even more disappointing.  This engine looked like a coal mine inside.  This happens to engines when the oil is not changed.  I started to plan a rebuild for the engine.  An expense I was not counting on.  Here is a bit of a lesson.  Do not buy an engine you cannot hear running.  


1931 Ford 5 window coupe

1931 Ford 5 window coupe

The friend that sold me the engine and transmission also had a 1931 Ford 5 window coupe.  After a bit of time, we came to a bit of an agreement.  I was now the proud owner of the coupe.  It came with a vintage Model “A” frame, a nice Ford flathead V8 engine, and matching 3 speed transmission along with a Jaguar independent rear end.  The 5 window coupe was more in the lines of what I wanted to build.  As it happens, the same friend wanted the 1930 Plymouth so we traded.  Now things are starting to shape up for me.  I have a 1931 Ford 5 window coupe and I was getting very excited about the build.  My life long dream was starting to take shape.

In a few days, I will start talking about the donor car for suspension, drive train, and etc…. along with my reasons for making this selection.  This will be the beginning of the frame / chassis design for the Model “A” Ford.