Courtesy of Worldwide Auctioneers
  • Enduring older restoration of Ford’s iconic Model A Roadster pickup
  • Well-preserved, attractive and ready to be enjoyed or put to work
  • Accessories include a side-mounted spare and Atlas auxiliary water bag
  • 200.5-ci L-Head 40-hp inline 4-cylinder engine
  • 3-speed manual transmission
  • Solid front axle with transverse leaf spring; live rear axle with cantilevered, semi-elliptical leaf spring.
  • Four-wheel mechanical drum brakes

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1929 Ford Model A Roadster Pickup
Years Produced:1928–31
Number Produced:77,917 (open and closed-cab models in 1929)
Original List Price:$445 (revised to $430 by mid-year)
SCM Valuation:$18,500
Tune Up Cost:$200
Distributor Caps:$15
Chassis Number Location:None (the serial number is the engine number).
Engine Number Location:Boss on top center of the driver’s side of engine block (this was the official serial number for title and registration)
Club Info:Model A Ford Club of America
Alternatives:1929 Chevrolet AC International, 1930 DC Universal pickup, 1928–31 Dodge Brothers pickup, 1929 International Six Speed Special
Investment Grade:C

This truck, Lot 27, sold for $9,350, including buyer’s premium, at Worldwide Auctioneers’ sale in Auburn, IN, on September 2, 2017.

When Henry Ford turned the Lizzie into a Lady with the all-new 1928 Model A, the new pickup truck wasn’t all new.

The cabin was nearly identical to the previous Model T version. All Model A pickups built through August 1928 had open roadster cabs, as the Ford AA truck production line used all the new closed cabs on hand. Both types of cabs were available for pickups in 1929.

All Model A trucks got a new cab for 1930. The closed cab became less boxy and closely followed closed-car styling. The open-cab roadster pickup also shared more with roadster cars. In addition to the same rounded beltline molding, the roadster pickup got outside door handles for the first time.

The closed cab rapidly became the cab of choice for Ford Model A pickups.

By 1930, the closed cab was the standard production cab, and the roadster cab became an extra-cost option. As such, only 2,730 roadster cab pickups were made that year.

It’s surprising that the open-cab option was continued into 1931, but there were still fleet customers who preferred the easier access of the open cab. By the end of Model A production, roadster pickup production had dwindled to 2,637 out of all 98,116 Model A pickups made for 1931.

Open it back up

In subsequent decades since, the roadster pickup veered from being out of favor to being in fashion. Regardless of condition in stock, modified, or street-rod form, the roadster pickup is now more desirable — and worth more.

For the 1928–29 Model A pickups, the value difference slightly favors the open cab versus the closed cab. For 1930 and 1931 models, open-cab values are markedly higher.

Year for year, roadster pickups are usually worth more than Model A roadster cars.

Pickups got pounded more than cars, so by World War II (especially during wartime scrap-metal drives), Model A pickups started getting scarce.

The laws of supply and demand kicked in, and they’re still working when it comes to value difference between Model A cars and Model A Roadster pickups. There are fewer pickups, and they’re generally worth more than the cars.

Not just your grandfather’s Model A

Interest in Ford Model As is making a modest comeback.

Why? So many of them are in today’s marketplace. Enthusiasts from the 1960s and 1970s — the people who made the Model A collectible — are now downsizing or have gone off to the Concours in the Sky, and their heirs are moving the cars out.

With so many Model As out there, a few younger collectors have noticed the reasonable prices and have picked them up. Couple that with the still-insatiable interest in all vintage pickups, and the open-cab Model A Pickup is a winner.

A few little quirks

While no stock Model A is up to speed as a freeway car (just by gearing, 55 mph is the limit), they are relatively easy to drive.

Model A cars and pickups have straight-cut gears, but it’s not like shifting a 13-speed Roadranger. With even the most rudimentary attempt at double-clutching, gear changes are quick and easy for anyone with any previous clutch-and-stick experience.

Two things give many gearheads pause about driving a Model A on modern secondary roads: the mechanical brakes and the gas tank in the cowl.

Model A hydraulic brake-conversion kits are available in the restoration and street-rod world — and you can keep the stock wire wheels.

There are options for relocating the fuel tank and supplying the engine with an electric fuel pump — and the truck still comes off looking fairly original.

The Model A is a rather fun little runner if you know and understand its limits.

A ready supply for parts

For more than 50 years, a strong network of restoration parts at multiple price points — from NOS to re-pop junk — have kept Model As on the road.

In fact, you’ll have a harder time finding parts for a 1995 Ford Probe than parts to restore or maintain a Model A. They are one of about a dozen vintage vehicles on which you can do a credit-card restoration. You can start with chassis, engine and a title — and buy everything else reproduction or modified.

Our subject Model A pickup

In the case of our subject truck, that huge network of easy-to-find parts could be very helpful.

This truck may have been restored years ago (some tasteful person resisted the temptation to replace the black-painted grille shell with a repro chrome one from a car), but it was done on the cheap.

The combination of sitting for long periods of time and some questionable repairs has done this truck no favors.

It may not be time to hit the reset button and restore it from scratch, but it’ll be a labor-intensive ownership experience for a while. That isn’t a bad thing, especially if you go in knowing the work is needed and are willing to do it to learn the vehicle.

Okay, I’ll say it: Bond with the Model A.

I’ve said this many times about Model Ts: Any serious collector has to have one for a while just for the experience of owning, maintaining and driving a machine from the early days of cars. This also applies to a Model A — perhaps even more.

As there is plenty of work on the horizon, the price paid for our subject truck may seem a bit strong. However, at the worst, this is the standard cost of admission for a roadster pickup. Making it your own and enjoying it can make it a well-bought new old friend.

(Introductory description courtesy of Worldwide Auctioneers.)

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