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 #391205  by LUNAT1C
Now that I've laid eyes and hands on it, I'd like to present to the group the latest (coming) addition to the fleet. The Runion/Armentrout family heirloom, 1929 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan.

The family history of this car can be traced all the way back to the original owner. It was purchased new by Alimo "Fats" Jones and used by him until 1955. He then sold it to Ivan "Doc" Runion, his niece's, Genevieve Runion's, husband.

Doc drove the car and used it as a farm truck for many years. His daughters grew up with and learned to drive in it. Upon his passing in the 1980s, it was willed to all the daughters. One of them Sara "Mom-mom" Runion-Armentrout, bought her sisters' shares of the car, and had it restored locally by what we're told was an antique Ford specialist. She drove the car very seldom, mainly to local shows and parades, and shipped it up to PA in the 90s to be used in her daughter's wedding.

Mom-mom very sadly passed away March 2021, and had willed the car to her son and daughter. At this point, it lived it's entire life in Virginia and still has the original plates from Doc's ownership, and she had kept Doc's 1955 title.

Her children, Kelly and Natalie, both love the car for what it represents of the family history, and so too do her surviving sister and her grandchildren. However, Mom-mom's youngest grandchild, Nick, has wanted the car since the first he ever saw of it as a child. Knowing no one else realistically has the resources and drive to take on an antique car that's been sitting disused for the better part of 15 years, Kelly and Natalie and the rest of the family made the decision to pass it on to us.

February 2022, the car was trailered from it's storage spot in a garage in Virginia to Nick's parent's house in SE PA, and yesterday was the first time I got to see and touch it.

Our plan is to relocate the car to our home near Detroit sometime next year, and then we will slowly work to mechanically restore it once again to running and driving condition. Then we can turn to cosmetic fixes. Already I've been in touch with the Model A Ford Club of America (MAFCA) for resources on this car and to understand what I can expect for needing to get it running again.

Today I took the first baby step, and cleaned up the 1980s Sears Allstate bias ply white walls, removing over a decade of dirt and grime to get them back to some semblance of white.

Feb '22
Today, halfway through one tire showing my in-laws the power of bleche-white.
All mounted tires done (did not do spare yet).
The list of what it needs I'm sure will be extensive once I get it home and dig into it. The MAFCA Facebook group agrees the car is a great starting point as it sits today and recommended some in depth diagnostic manuals, YouTuber Paul Shinn (whom I already follow and have spoken to), joining the local Model A club, and realistically not going through it here until I've got it home and gotten the rotating assembly moving again. Mom-mom started it monthly until about 2008, however her health declined shortly thereafter and her husband couldn't care less about the car, so it sat. It was last insured in mid 2009, expired mid 2010. Last year I put it on a collector car policy asking with my Special, to ensure it's covered in the event anything happens to it, with an agreed value of $15k.

I know the radiator core desperately needs help, full of crud from absolutely no winterization at all. It will also need a new radiator cap, the very expensive thermometer cap broke from it's mounting on the core a few months ago. I will try to clean it out before getting a new $800 core. I'm hoping the block is still clean.

Steering looks ok, I don't see major rust or wear in the knuckles or kingpins. I see fluid on the diff and trans drain plug, but no puddles where it's been sitting since Feb. Pan looks mostly dry and is full of clean oil. Very good sign. Fuel tank is bone dry with no fuel smell, so I wonder if it was emptied or if it leaked out.

Battery appears to be a 6V, and is crusty. It will be replaced. Fan belt doesn't look bad, but has zero tension.

Currently has a 4 blade fan. Original was a 2 blade unit that was known to rust and fail catastrophically, taking out hoods and radiator cores. There's debate if the aftermarket 4 blade units are much better, I may swap it out for an aluminum 2 blade unit along with a "leakless" water pump after cleaning out the cooling system and replacing the hoses. The tubes have surface rust, so they'll be cleaned up along with everything else that has surface rust under the hood.

All the stainless outside is pitted. I'll try to save what I can, but some will need to be replaced from rust. Metal was flaking from the headlights.

Wheels will need to be repainted. I'm sure the brakes need to be adjusted (all mechanical).

Mods may simply be minor modern conveniences, like an oil filter and air filter. I may not upgrade to 12V, but may replace the generator with an alternator.

Interior is fantastic for an 80's restoration, the car was largely an original restoration. Crawling around under it, I can see where corners were cut and saw a large hole in the floor under the rear seat that was painted over. Some of the blue paint has cracking going on and peeling, but we're not looking into a repaint anytime soon. I want to simply bring it back and show it as a 1980s restoration.
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 #391209  by monte4
That's a great looking ride. As stated you've got lots to do to it to make it 'right' but it's all there so you've got a great car to start with. Congrats on getting it and wanting to finish it.
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 #391212  by First Lady
Awesome!!! I’m so very glad that you both got to see it while in PA and know it’s going to live a wonderful life with its next custodians.
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 #391214  by Sneke_Eyez
Congratulations to you and to Nick on getting a very cool piece of automotive history! I look forward to watching you guys restore it!
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 #391217  by LUNAT1C
The great thing about this particular car is it's been in the family essentially since it was brand new, bought new by great-grand-mom's uncle, with endless history. 1929-1955 (his ownership) is largely unknown, but great-grand-dad's ownership (1955-late 80's) has some tid bits. These cars are known for having lots of overheating problems. Since production ceased in 1931 (replaced by the V8 Model B), "leakless" water pumps were developed, and all manner of tricks to keep the radiator cores going were devised by shadetree mechanics. I'm going to at least try to save the existing radiator, but it may be futile and I'm planning for a new one. Someone in the MAFCA group on Facebook suggested that it seemed like the water pump had leaked, and I should consider switching it out for a leakless unit. Planning to look into it. I also connected with someone in Ohio who has brought a few back from the dead and has worked with the "Model A Medic" in Oklahoma many times, essentially a Model A Bob Day.

In talking with Kelly about the car (my FIL), he remembers as a 10-year-old watching his grandfather replace the headgasket on the car. Kelly just turned 60 last week, so that was 50 years ago.

The whole situation with the car and his recently passed mother, and her husband (no relation, Kelly's father passed in 1979) is very sad. There was a point where we were convinced the husband had pushed the car out of the garage to the street with a for sale sign, to get rid of it like he'd gotten rid of their family home (rental since late 80s) and many other colossal grievances. Shocking that was it still in the garage and under the cover Mom-mom put on it all those years ago. Understandably he has a lot of reservations about the car and wanting to do anything with it, hence giving it to us, but I can tell he still cares deeply about it since it was his mom's prized possession from her father. He seemed to get much more interested in it as I took away the dirt from the tires and went over it, getting more and more interested as I noted this and that. Nick took some Coke and aluminum foil and turned one of the foggy and rusty hub caps into a good shine (with rust, still need to replace it), and I think that rekindled a little something in Kelly. It'll be an exciting day when that 90 year old engine turns over and we can take Wendy and Kelly for a ride in it.
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 #391219  by FIREM
Quite a time capsule you have been entrusted with. Obviously it will be well cared for and treated with the respect it deserves. Good to hear you have found a “medic” to help guide your progress. “Pay Attention to Detail” and you will be fine. Be sure to have a camera on Kelly when it fires up so we all can see his joy.
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 #394492  by LUNAT1C
The day finally came. Part of why we had to miss Myrtle Beach this year is a narrow weather window in which to pick up this car, and very limited ability for Nick to take time off during his internship at Tesla. We had to choose, and this car needed to get out of Wendy and Kelly's garage as they prepare to move into their dream home in the woods in a couple months.

So, we hitched up a uhaul auto transport and made our way from Waterford, to Valley Forge.

Unfortunately, we were not able to leave Michigan without an incident... Somewhere along the way we picked up a nail and some shrapnel in one tire, and gradually found some reduced control and the eventual *thunk thunk thunk*. Factory Pirelli bit the dust. By a stroke of luck, a Belle Tire at the next exit had a new matching Pirelli Scorpion Verde, for a tough price. However they had no availability to change it, so we bought the tire and took it to a Discount Tire near Toledo to have it mounted. What a way to start a road trip.
Our niece, Winter, was beyond excited that we were coming, but crushed when she found out about the breakdown and we wouldn't get to see her that night. She suggested that she and Grammy go and pick us up... Kids... :lol:

Rest of the trip was uneventful other than having a bouncy trailer behind us and getting in close to 10pm.

We spent a few days with the family, saw the current state of the new house, satisfied a *very* excited nearly 5 year old (honestly, where does the time go?!), and spent time with his brother and sister-in-law who built their house next door to where Wendy and Kelly will be.

Sunday night we cleared a path between the trailer and the car, having shifted the trailer and Durango on Friday much more easily than I had anticipated, and used a come-a-long to winch the non-running Ford (typical) into the trailer. In so doing we discovered the mechanical brakes actually still work well, at least enough to hold the car on the trailer ramps while repositioning the come-a-long. Before long it was up, front tires strapped, rear axle strapped, and pizza picked up to spend a few more hours with his brother's little family.
Monday we packed the Durango and bid farewell, taking the fourth generation car with us. We stopped at the first rest stop on the turnpike and checked the straps, getting a few more clicks into the new straps in the back, and set off.

Unfortunately, the trailer we were using was garbage and rode hard by "U and everyone else Haul". Dirty, front ratchets stuck and needed WD-40, broken fender, and a bad vibration at 55-60mph. Unloaded the vibe went away above 60, but we couldn't do more than that since the vinyl roof of the car was moving quite a lot and I wasn't interested in replacing it. So for 12 hours we dealt with an occasional vibration that was in and out. Stopping a dozen times to check the straps as we went, constantly checking in the mirror to be sure the car wasn't moving around on the trailer (or suddenly missing!).

In Michigan, in pitch black, we also hit lots of shifted lanes for construction and lots of self-important drivers blasting by us at 80+ in that tight construction. My eyes constantly flicked from the trailers wide tire stance, to the Ford, to the hoss in his compensator truck blasting by, to the road ahead, and back... Multiple times for at least 50 total miles.

Thankfully, we got home at 9:30, with a car still on the trailer with only a few bugs on the windshield to show for it. Pulled out the Jeep and slowly angled the trailer up to the empty garage spot next to my M (one shot!). Then "unbuckled" the Ford and we rocked it up and over the front tire bumps on the trailer. Bit difficult with the slope of the driveway working against us. Then we just needed one person pushing while the other used the brakes to guide the car down the ramps. A final push and positioning one of my parking pads, a pair of Hobo Freight chocks at the front wheels (rubber padded, no slipping on the coated floor!), and the car was tucked away.

Even better, the new tractor has plenty of space in front for its own storage, though I still plan to fight to change the bylaws for sheds.
First order of business is getting the car ready for winter storage. It's already stored now as it has been for 15+ years in rural western Virginia, and the last two winters in PA, but I don't want to leave it as it is. I'll need to remove the dead battery, and try to drain the coolant. I'll reach out to some Model A experts for advice on how to proceed, but at minimum I want to ensure the cheap step-grandfather who couldn't give a rats-behind about it didn't just dump tapwater into it and call it good, only for the block to crack when even my insulated garage gets down to 15°F.

Then make the list. First get it running and driving and stopping, then start restoring the polished nickel pieces, fix the window mechanisms, update the lights, replace the tires, etc etc. It will be slow going as I learn and do it in spare time, and replace one expensive part at a time.
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 #394496  by FIREM
Sorry we missed you for the Mopars at the Beach event but it appears to have been a worthwhile reason. Sweet piece of automotive and family history relocated and saved.
While not as well versed in Model A’s as I am for M’s I can take detailed pictures as needed of the one in the museum. Can’t vouch for its exact history but pics may help.
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 #394499  by Sneke_Eyez
Beautiful car, and good story of picking it up - flat tire be darned! I am looking forward to seeing you guys restore it bit-by-bit!
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 #394505  by LUNAT1C
FIREM wrote: October 24th, 2023, 4:13 pm Sorry we missed you for the Mopars at the Beach event but it appears to have been a worthwhile reason. Sweet piece of automotive and family history relocated and saved.
While not as well versed in Model A’s as I am for M’s I can take detailed pictures as needed of the one in the museum. Can’t vouch for its exact history but pics may help.
I may take you up on some pictorial evidence of what "probably definitely might be correct". I believe the one in the museum is a '30, which has a different cowl shape. '30/31 blended nicely into the body where '28/29 did not (though they're much nicer than the abrupt "tacked on" look of the T's).

We also thought this car had the wrong headlights on it as they look like Model T lenses. Someone over at the MAFCA group noted that the fluted lenses we have were used for '28 and very early (Jan) '29. No idea what the build date of the car is, so I'll need to find out how to do that.

There were also differences in body construction depending on who made the body for Ford, and differences in who supplied the carburetor depending where the car was screwed together. Either Zenith or Tilletson, maybe a third supplier, and even Zenith had several location-based differences. We have a Zenith-2.

Some cars also had glass bowls on the firewall that the fuel ran through and some didn't. Ours does not, so I'd like to get that in there.

This weekend I'll get the floorboard out (literal "board", wood!) and remove the crusty old 6V, and squeeze myself on the left side of the car with a pan underneath to see if I can open the petcock and drain what I can of the coolant system, vacuum out the crud that is on top of the baffle in the radiator, and maybe see just how bad the cooling system is underneath the hoses. Also try to get the remains of the thermo-cap off the radiator core and look at sourcing a new one so we can get that radiator closed up. Kelly broke it last year when they picked up the car from VA. :roll:
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 #394530  by LUNAT1C
First step... Acquired "the red book". Les Andrews Model A mechanics book Volume 1. Essentially a FSM written instead by enthusiasts. Printed version of our knowledgebase, for the Model A. Volume 2 I think is dedicated to installations and upgrades like 12v conversions, overdrive upgrade, etc. Volume 3 is a diagnostic manual for when s*** hits the fan. I'll likely get volume 3 later on once it's running and driving again.
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 #394531  by Sneke_Eyez
Super cool!
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 #394534  by LUNAT1C
We finally tossed a couple wrenches at it.

While Nick went to town on the brightwork with Nevrdull, I cleaned up the petcock and opened it. There's clearly sediment in the lower water pipe, I had to clear the petcock a few times with a toothpick, but got some water to drain out. Surprisingly clean water, not nearly as much rust as I expected. I'm not sure a whole lot came out, so I'll remove the pipe and see what else I get out.

Also pulled the battery, which necessitated removing the floor mat, floor board, and several pieces attached to it. Terminals came apart pretty easy, and so did the battery hold down. I'll likely remove the tray and wire wheel and Craigslist-rebuild the tray and hold down bracket (Rust-Oleum rebuild!).

I have no idea how old the battery is. Car was restored in 1987, an old Interstate was in it.

Everything removed. Took off the positive ground cable since the insulation was cracked apart and exposing the copper. It should have been red anyway.
Ready for the Flintstones!
I'm surprised it wasn't crustier.
I also opened up the distributer cap just to see inside, I've never worked on a distributer before. The distributer and carb are going to be learning experiences.
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 #394537  by FIREM
"Red Book" will be your guide no doubt. I found one at work in the museum and thought of you immediately. Great that you have it for sure.
"Keep It Simple" that car is as simple as it gets. Distributer system with mechanical points is very basic and logical.
You will have no problems understanding and working on it and the carb.
Make NOTES and take pics. Good catch that that is Positive Earth/Ground. Spotted it as the B+ terminal is slightly lager than the Negative.
It is rumored that Henry Food ordered parts shipped in specific sized crates. Wood was said to be used for floor boards as a cost saving/recycle measure.
Cant wait to hear it run and you two tooling around the community, way cooler than a Golf Cart LOL.
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 #394538  by M-Pressive
I guarantee our golf cart is faster…
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 #394539  by LUNAT1C
But is it as cool as 94 year old 5th generation car... 8)

I was just thinking today it would be neat to show the car's progression from great-great-granduncle Almio Jones in 1929, to great granddaddy Ivan "Doc" Runion in 1955, to Sara "Mom-mom" Armentrout in 1987, to Kelly in 2021, and now to Nick in 2023. Then in the future, to Winter and Reagan. I'll have to remember to look into having a timeline or family tree made and printed. I have a couple small hand-written cards that I assume Mom-mom made when she took the car to a local show in Waynesboro in 1992, describing it as "Originally owned by Almio Jones, Mrs. Wease's (she remarried in the 80s sometime after Kelly's dad passed away) great-uncle."
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 #394545  by In-trepid
Soon you will be going to two Carlisle events per year. You should at least get a premium indoor spot for the Ford!
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 #394563  by Sneke_Eyez
I am amazed at how simple it looks, I've never worked on anything that looked that easy to put together! Good to see you are making progress!
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 #394564  by LUNAT1C
I think progress will be slow as I take my time taking things apart and take pictures of "how it was" to remind myself how it goes together. Especially the lights and horn, with the positive-ground system, the wires going to them are always hot and they activate by closing the ground. If I wire them back up wrong, the lights will blaze to life and the "ooga" will wake the dead as soon I put a new battery in. :lol:

So far I have not run into major issues. One radiator clamp screw was stuck, but since the hoses and clamps are 35 years old I just cut them out and have new ones in my shopping cart at one of the many parts distributers.

Hoses and water pipe are out, no more water came out, but there is a red sludge in the lower rad tank and the water inlet and outlet are rusting inside. I added gaskets to my cart and I'm researching ultrasonic parts cleaners for them.

Once I can figure out getting the crusty base of the broken Motometer off and remove the radiator cover bolts without ruining the hood lacing, I can remove the cover and then the two bolt/spring assemblies holding the radiator to the frame. Already have the hood removed and sitting in the basement until we're done.

I spoke to a guy local to me in a local Model A club and he recommended a radiator shop just up the street from our house that can possibly clean out the rad, or re-core it if necessary. We have a 3-row rad, which is what is recommended. Branding on the rad suggests it was made by the original manufacturer, but is not original to the car. It says "McCord Corporation". Originally it was "McCord Radiator Mfg. Co." 1906-1944. 1944-1980's it was McCord Corporation. Since then it became a subsidiary of another company, from what my Googling efforts revealed. Interesting having so much history in one component of one "old car".

Plan is to either clean or re-core the radiator, whichever is most viable, then rebuild the water pump into a leakless unit, install a 2-blade aluminum fan to avoid the 4-blade exploding and make a very bad day, and replace the hoses and water pipe (water pipe is cheap enough).

Clean and repaint the water inlet and water outlet, replace all gaskets with the appropriate copper gaskets, backflush the engine come springtime or some other warmish day, and reassemble the cooling system.

Then put gas and a battery in it and see what we get. I've put Zenith carb gaskets in my cart in case I need to disassemble it and soak the jets and float valve in carb cleaner, and will replace the copper fuel line with stainless at the recommendation of MAFCA folks (due to known corrosion issues).

Plan to rebuild the car next probably next spring unless I get a warm day to back flush the block and water jacket. I'll take out the radiator in December for Master Radiator to attack at that time.

Once it's running and driving, then we'll turn to the pretty stuff. Headlights and radiator cover need to be refinished (polished nickel is correct for '19, though I think our cover is stainless and needs a date with steel wool to see if it can be saved), needs new exterior door handles because of that same finish problem, a good cleaning, and I may see if I can get the fenders off without much issue and have them repaired and painted. There is a bondo job on the front right fender that has cracked. Back left fender also looks tweaked. Then, replace the bumper mounts since the blue insets are almost completely faded away.

It may be impossible to positively date the car unless the VIN is correctly serialized. Mom-mom said the guy who restored it used parts from a bunch of other cars to rebuild hers and we don't know what was replaced. Engine block serial dates the block to June 1929. The headlight lenses could be November 1927 through February 1929.

Parts removed so far for the radiator - Splash apron, one support rod (other left in to hold the rad up for now), rear hood mount (hood in basement), hoses, clamps, water pipe, horn cover, wiper blade.

Situation before I disconnect the headights and horn last night. Fun fact, left headlight has the original connector. Right headlight was modified with wire nuts up inside the light, so I had to remove the lense and reflector. Adding cork headlight gaskets to the list...

Radiator company stamped into the upper tank.

Nasty. This should all be in the water pipe and lower tank, no evidence in the water inlet or outlet.
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 #394599  by Sneke_Eyez
Cool - and fast - progress! Love the history you're finding just reading date codes and manufacturer names!