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October 10, 2004

Model A Ignition Work

You can read about my gripes with Henry Ford's little Model A in the October 2004 issue of "Spinning My Tires" so I thought I'd just show you a few pictures of the car in question. Yes, I did get it running eventually. The problem? Something (what, I'm not exactly sure) was shorting to ground inside the distributor. The fix? Taking it apart and putting it back together. After that it fired right up and drove like a champ. I motored it around my neighborhood, trying to get whatever had been loose to work itself loose once again, but it never did. The Model A has always been a willing runner, eager to fire, and once the basic necessities for life are met, it does just that. It makes me grin like a mental patient every time I hear that distinctive Model A sound.

The culprit. Simple, rugged and surprisingly torquey.

As I've said before, everybody is your friend when you drive an old car. I was driving down the road and at a red light, a fellow in a pickup truck rolls up next to me, indicates the hood ornament (the infamous Model A quail) and asks, "What is that, some kind of grouse?"  Life is never dull when you drive an old car. Little kids wave, mothers point it out to their children, older people grin and have a happy memory.

Here are some more Model A photos. The colors are officially called Chicle and Copra Drab, a kind of military-looking combination that is fairly uncommon among Model As. And while the paint is tired and flaking in places, we're reluctant to repaint the car because of the original-style pin stripe. When we acquired the car in 1974 (when I was 4 years old), it had no striping at all. My father found one of the guys who applied the pinstripes on the original assembly line and had him stripe the car. I distinctly remember the guy--ancient, wearing paint-stained overalls, smoking a cigarette and carrying a wooden box full of paint. He'd dab his brush, take a big belt of  bourbon from his flask, and lay down a perfect stripe, exactly like they did in 1930. That's a cool piece of history for this car, and I'm reluctant to just repaint it for cosmetic reasons.

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Last modified on 02/06/2005

Thanks, Fidget!