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  • A consideration on restoration

    "If the driveline on the A is properly restored to factory specs (keep in mind I'm not talking Judging Standards but Ford original specs for fit) it is a VERY reliable car."

    This was a comment from a knowledgeable professional restorer, Kevin in NJ, and though I have heard similar comments before, this one caught my attention for the distinction drawn between Judging Standards and Ford specs.

    I think this goes right to the heart of trying to define and determine what "restored" means. I have read more than a few stories about cars that were advertised and sold as complete restorations, and were later discovered to be accurate to the RG&JS, but mechanically not up to original Ford specs. I'm not talking about simply cosmetic restorations, but situations where, for a common example, the engine looked right but was not rebuilt properly, but only adequately, and maybe even never run. Or the shocks were correct, but only had nice paint because the owner never planned to drive the car anyway, only to just win a prize.

    I am unlikely to ever buy another A, but I think this distinction is very important, and a good reminder for anyone who is looking to buy. In essence, it comes down to "don't buy a car for its paint job." If you want a reliable car you can drive all day, carefully consider the accuracy of the mechanics against Ford specs.

    I know you seasoned A'ers know all this. And I know George and Herm and Brent and Tbird and Mitch (and many professional shops) work to this standard. But for those who are just getting into the Model A hobby, maybe this will help you look more closely and get you off to a good start.
    Last edited by Ray Horton; 12-28-2017, 12:22 AM.

  • #2
    Hi Ray,

    Agree.

    Face lifts and make up fooled lots of later disappointed grooms ..... not much different with Model A's except ..... Model A's can be resold on E-bay.

    Comment


    • BILL WILLIAMSON
      BILL WILLIAMSON commented
      Editing a comment
      Many for sale cars are just USED CAR RE-CONS, done by Dealers, for a quick buck!

  • #3
    Interesting conversation. I think some poor restorations are lack of character, while others are simple ignorance. Either way it’s the guy who buys that “restored” Model A’s job to be a wise purchaser. Easier said than done.
    I got lucky. But how many Model A’ers get soured to this hobby buying a car that gives them nothing but trouble. Buyer beware.

    Comment


    • #4
      In 34 years in the hobby I have seen many shoddy things done to the A. One of the managers from a former employer called on me to work on his newly purchsed Model A's. What I found was an electrical nightmare. I recomended he order a complete wiring harness and upon its arrival I installed it and had it running reliabley in short time. Still many things pointed to trouble ahead. But the one thing that drove me nuts was the teacup tail light bolted to a drum tail light licence plate bracket. That was just one of many things that would have made me not to have bid on it when it was on ebay. He sold it about a year later. I do not know where it ended up. Rod
      "Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good." Thomas Sowell

      Comment


      • Ray Horton
        Ray Horton commented
        Editing a comment
        Did it have a nice shiny paint job, Rod?

      • Rowdy
        Rowdy commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, bright red. Rod

    • #5
      When I was in the business of restoration, I had many similar senarios to Brent's. I always tried to steer the customer to what is correct, but in the end, he got what he wanted because he was paying the bill. The exception of this was safety. I would not compromise on safety. I also would not do shoddy work, which might later come back to bite me, even if the customer wanted it because he was cheap. An example is that I had a man come to the shop with a mustang he had bought new which needed floor repair. I told him I would remove all the interior, cut out the floor and weld in a new floor, and then paint it after sealing the seams, followed by re installing the interior. He said he just wanted a patch pop riveted to fix the holes. I sent him away, as that is not the reputation I want. Some of the cars I restored were done 25 years ago, and still look as good as the day they left the shop. If I had done a short cut job to save money, they would not look that good today.
      As for looks verses a properly restored chassis, driving the car will tell a lot. A properly restored model A will drive and ride remarkably different than one that is just dressed up for a parade.
      Bill
      http://www.brauchauto.com/
      Eastern Connecticut

      Comment


      • BILL WILLIAMSON
        BILL WILLIAMSON commented
        Editing a comment
        I've seen later cars, with new floors installed with just SPOT Welds & a HEAVY coat of brush on undercoating!!!!!

    • #6
      Good common sense is worth more than a good credit rating.

      Comment


      • #7
        Buyer BEWARE..
        And yes substandard work to appease a customer on a tight budget will usually take a bite out of that shops rep down the road.

        It's also tough to turn work away. We all need to feed our families and pay our bills. My employees like to get paid every week as well

        CYA cover ya ass
        3 ~ Tudor's
        Henry Ford said
        "It's all nuts and bolts"


        Mitch's Auto Service ctr

        Comment


        • George Miller
          George Miller commented
          Editing a comment
          Things stay the same. It was that way back in the day. If you did it there way, and they had trouble you were the bad guy. My Dad had many years as a buisness guy so he was good at dealing with them. But when it came to engines and transmissions and safety it was done right or they could go some where else.

      • #8
        We have a few 'customers' that we will no longer work for because of these kinds of issues. People on limited budgets should be coaxed into spreading the work out in smaller bites over a longer period of time. Paint the wheels this year and come back next year for the rear end work. Then of course you have a lot of customers who will complain that they cannot afford xyz, but in reality that is NOT the issue...they are just plain cheap, no other way to put it

        Comment


        • #9
          It has been my experience that you spend more of your time and money trying to think your helping a guy save money, Learned it is better to just say up front what you will do and what it costs, I would like a nice car but I do not want to spend a lot. Sounds good but is it doable and later if the guy has a problem even tho you advised against it well then you were the problem just like Mitch says.

          Comment


          • #10
            As I have mentioned before the donor chassis for my delivery was headed in the direction of becoming a real mess. It had been sandblasted without any dis-assembly, then painted over with thick black paint. It had newly installed brake linings with Ford script, but nothing had been done to fix the rear axle seal leaks. So the rears were ruined. The rear wheel studs had been welded in and the welds would catch on the e-brake carriers, which bent them beyond use. The engine ran ok, but there was a very faint knock. Upon dis-assembly of the engine I found no shims left anywhere and #3 rod had .004" clearance. No doubt the faint knock. Beings the chassis had been sandblasted while still assembled there was sand in every conceivable place including places where sand would be harmfull and likely unsafe further down the road. A well meaning, but uneducated restoration was started, but it was headed for disaster covered in shiny paint. Rod
            "Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good." Thomas Sowell

            Comment


            • #11
              Occasionally Model A’s come on the market that have won awards for authenticity at national shows. It’s safe to assume a car like this has been gone over closely by a number of educated eyes. Could one acquire a car like this with confidence that it was done properly or do these awards only focus on cosmetics?

              Comment


              • Ray Horton
                Ray Horton commented
                Editing a comment
                That's a good and fair question. Some shows, like the MAFCA nationals, require that the engine be started, but not that the car be driven. This allows checking of things like generator charging and vacuum wiper working, but not the mechanics of brakes, shocks, steering, clutch and such as that. As a buyer, I think it is always a case of caveat emptor.
                Last edited by Ray Horton; 12-28-2017, 04:01 PM.

            • #12
              I will not tolerate any half-assed work. I strive to insure that everything, that leaves my shop, is fully assed
              Has it ever occurred to you that the sole purpose for your existence might be to serve as a warning to others?

              Comment


              • Ray Horton
                Ray Horton commented
                Editing a comment
                Carl, you're too funny. That's "F-U-N-N-Y".

            • #13
              Originally posted by Curly View Post
              Occasionally Model A’s come on the market that have won awards for authenticity at national shows. It’s safe to assume a car like this has been gone over closely by a number of educated eyes. Could one acquire a car like this with confidence that it was done properly or do these awards only focus on cosmetics?
              I would say no, and there are many variables that come into play. Some are listed above.
              Now i see a lot of AACA senior winner cars go on the market. They are advertised as a national prize winner, but some have won that award many years and miles ago. Shows do concentrate on aesthetics, and that the car was reassembled as originally built. Mechanicals not so much

              So in a nut shell go examine, evaluate and drive the vehicle in person. Badges and trophies usually do not mean squat
              3 ~ Tudor's
              Henry Ford said
              "It's all nuts and bolts"


              Mitch's Auto Service ctr

              Comment


              • #14
                Mitch that is so true. We were at the Amelia Island Concourse about 10 yrs ago, some really nice super top shelf stuff, only Miles will remember the names of all the rare vintage cars. Mechanically, the only requirement was that the car had to be driven to the stage to get the award. No required tour, which I happen to think should be mandatory. Interestingly, many of these cars were pushed by hand onto the show field in the first place.

                There was a super nice rare old something or other that was a cosmetic wonder. He got an award. So started it up and headed to the stage and made it......only one problem....that thing belched blue smoke out the pipe worse than any oil burner I have ever seen in my life, so we were pretty convinced the rest of the mechanicals were trash also. You don't show up at Amelia if you don't have money to burn, so fix the motor already. What a joke. Had that been me, I would have been embarrassed into hiding. Trophies mean more than life itself to some

                Comment


                • Mitch
                  Mitch commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Haha i would have been embrassed as hell too. He could have at least filled the crankcase with a full synthetic oil. That burns clear....

              • #15
                Originally posted by Ray Horton View Post
                "If the driveline on the A is properly restored to factory specs (keep in mind I'm not talking Judging Standards but Ford original specs for fit) it is a VERY reliable car."

                This was a comment from a knowledgeable professional restorer, Kevin in NJ, and though I have heard similar comments before, this one caught my attention for the distinction drawn between Judging Standards and Ford specs.
                Here is how I read this;

                When speaking only of a reliable car. The drive train, chassis, everything under the body should be restored to factory specs. Does that mean you have to use plain steel or raven finished nuts and bolts to do the job? No. To have the most reliable Model A the moving parts should be restored to mechanical specs. It does not have to be done in accordance to cosmetic specs (Restoration Guidelines and Judging Manual) to be reliable.

                Comment


                • #16
                  Our MG club hosts a show each June, and to enter the show, the car must enter the field by it's own power. The only exception is that each year there is a Mark of the year, and they are often rather obscure, so some show up under restoration in that class only. This photo is from the Stowe VT show.
                  You do not have permission to view this gallery.
                  This gallery has 1 photos.
                  Bill
                  http://www.brauchauto.com/
                  Eastern Connecticut

                  Comment


                  • #17
                    Originally posted by BRENT in 10-uh-C
                    Since we are talking about cars that don't meet expectations, -or not truly restored, please allow me to hi-jack this thread a tad and ask this;

                    if a professional restoration shop restores a Model-A, what is a fair expectation for a length of Warranty (days, months, years??) that protects both the car owner AND the shop?
                    Good question Brent. I would ask if the restoration was done with NOS parts, or with repo/new style of parts. ie:babbit vs. insert.

                    IF the owner were looking for "driver" restoration with inserts and KNEW how to drive the car, I would expect that a year 12k mi. wouldn't be too far out of line. BUT, if the owner were looking for a show quality trailer queen, I would expect 6mos to be sufficient. Now IF the trailer queen became a driver, I would void the warranty.
                    You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!

                    Comment


                    • DaWizard
                      DaWizard commented
                      Editing a comment
                      The warranty would be on a trailer queen, but not on a driver. If someone had the trailer queen it would not have been driven, but trailered to where it was shown and only driven off/out of the trailer.

                  • #18
                    Originally posted by BRENT in 10-uh-C
                    Since we are talking about cars that don't meet expectations, -or not truly restored, please allow me to hi-jack this thread a tad and ask this;

                    if a professional restoration shop restores a Model-A, what is a fair expectation for a length of Warranty (days, months, years??) that protects both the car owner AND the shop?
                    Brent, you may have already done this, but if I was in your business, I would first put that question to my attorney, and then to my insurance company.

                    Comment


                    • CM2
                      CM2 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      The key to a successful warranty program is being able to dial in estimated cost to the repair and having a high enough volume of warranties issued to provide some insurance.Equipment manufacturers allocate an amount per machine to offset warranty cost. Bad thing in a restoration shop is having to stay competitive,there isn't much tolerance for a 8% warranty markup..and the volume isnt high enough to build up a warranty reserve if there was.

                  • #19
                    I wouldn’t really expect a warranty to be honest. If it broke in a day or two I guess but it’s not a new car. Once I pay the bill and shake the mans hand it’s mine.

                    Comment


                    • Mitch
                      Mitch commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I think your answer is on the mark

                    • BNCHIEF
                      BNCHIEF commented
                      Editing a comment
                      My feeling is an honest guy like Mitch or Brent or Tbird will do what they feel is right, because they stand behind what they do and have pride in what they do. My engine guy is the same way you have no way of knowing how the car is treated or driven after it leaves your shop, might consider a shakedown ride with the owner and observe his habits best time to correct them. You guys probably do this but a pamphlet of do's,don'ts, and break-in instructions and maintenance schedule, also maybe one free 90 day inspection. What more can or should you do? With honest people the right thing.

                  • #20
                    Originally posted by BRENT in 10-uh-C
                    Since we are talking about cars that don't meet expectations, -or not truly restored, please allow me to hi-jack this thread a tad and ask this;

                    if a professional restoration shop restores a Model-A, what is a fair expectation for a length of Warranty (days, months, years??) that protects both the car owner AND the shop?


                    There are to many variables involved with restoration type work. Any GOOD WILL related issues would have to be on a case by case basis. Picking a reputable shop is very important.
                    3 ~ Tudor's
                    Henry Ford said
                    "It's all nuts and bolts"


                    Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                    Comment


                    • Mitch
                      Mitch commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Another part of it is the vehicle could be 2000 miles away from the restoration shop.

                  • #21
                    No warranty on parts, only that the work was done correctly. It's too old to warranty.

                    Comment


                    • BNCHIEF
                      BNCHIEF commented
                      Editing a comment
                      You are absolutely right on that one Tom, which is another reason to buy from a reputable vendor.

                  • #22
                    Originally posted by Curly View Post
                    Occasionally Model A’s come on the market that have won awards for authenticity at national shows. It’s safe to assume a car like this has been gone over closely by a number of educated eyes. Could one acquire a car like this with confidence that it was done properly or do these awards only focus on cosmetics?
                    Model A Restorers Club

                    "MANDATORY TOUR
                    A prerequisite for an award is a "mandatory tour"
                    which is arranged and supervised by the host club.
                    The purpose of the tour is to demonstrate that each
                    vehicle is not only authentic looking, but operable."

                    Comment


                    • #23
                      Originally posted by Mike V. Florida View Post

                      Model A Restorers Club

                      "MANDATORY TOUR
                      A prerequisite for an award is a "mandatory tour"
                      which is arranged and supervised by the host club.
                      The purpose of the tour is to demonstrate that each
                      vehicle is not only authentic looking, but operable."
                      The fine point mandatory tour is about a mile or a lap in the parking lot.
                      Last edited by Mitch; 12-30-2017, 04:20 AM. Reason: p
                      3 ~ Tudor's
                      Henry Ford said
                      "It's all nuts and bolts"


                      Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                      Comment


                      • #24
                        First I need to comment on my adult industry work. I am very professional and have a large presence in that industry

                        No I am not a professional restorer. I will leave that up to Brent who has built up a reputable business over many years. I would also like to say he has been a wonderful asset to the community.

                        We are trying to restore a piece of history. As such it is our responsibility to understand what it is that we are restoring. This means understanding Ford the man, Ford the factory and Ford the engineering design. I take all this into account in trying to understand how to best get a car back to 'factory'. All this has to be done with the standard limits in life- Time and Money.

                        Over time I have asked a lot of questions. I have received detailed answers from all the major people in the Model A community. From this I have been able to develop a 'picture' of the A which I try to relate to others. Asking questions, getting answers and being able to back up those answers with fact then sharing the information is how we are able to better restore these cars. I am always open to changing my mind when presented with proof.

                        Now I have to take a minute to include my brother. He is extremely knowledgeable across many disciplines. His 31 coupe has been on the road running 60 to 65 MPH since he built it as a 15 year old boy in 1970. I was 5. He is a professional mechanic that dabbles in machining. He hates sending stuff out cause they usually do not do work to his level of accuracy. So he has aquirred a machine shop over the years for hobby purposes.

                        So I am not the average restorer. I am also no genius as most of what I say is stuff learned from those with way more experience than I will ever have.


                        Comment


                        • #25
                          I would think your obligation was to the original owner only. You and he made the deal, not his son. The only one that knows what was said is you. As far as the top leak on a model A, it happens, I bet they had leaks some times from the factory. Plus it was two years ago.

                          Comment


                          • BNCHIEF
                            BNCHIEF commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Brent you answered my question about the moldings and fit and finish, so you have a part failure here, I have not done a top on a model a, however I have done touring and roadster tops on model t fords. On my model T fordor sedan I did what some folks would not like and after my brother rewooded the whole car including the top we put a piece of cabinet formica to cover the whole top since I do drive my cars a lot then covered with cotton and top material so it looks right with the cost and work of upholstery I did not want to take a chance of leakage. I do not use a hose to wash the top of my car for the reason you stated but if it rains and you are driving it this could still happen. The thing about tours there are all kinds of experts there who just love to tear down guys like you because they can not do that level of work nor do they have any clue what is involved with the car they are criticizing, however while pointing out everything wrong to this mans son you can bet none ever point out things they have done wrong. I have been in business building race bikes years ago and some people will not listen and when something goes wrong that they did you will get the blame.

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