What we have right here is a perfect example of the often talked about but seldom seen "barn car". You know the one; we've all heard the stories. It was found in perfect condition in a barn after decades of abandonment and was spirited away by some fast-talking, butter-and-egg man from parts unknown to places we can't imagine. The story always comes to you via a friend of a friend of a friend of the guy who is the cousin of a guy who knows the sister of the second-cousin of the guy who once saw the car somewhere in what can only be described as a hallucination or a parallel universe. Well that's not the story this time. This time we have pictures and the straight-up information from the guy who bought the car.
So here's roughly (the abridged version) of how it went down. Sonny Rogers got a call from an acquaintance who claimed to have knowledge of a (here it comes) "barn car". As you might expect, Sonny had heard this one before but thought, "What the hell, it's only a phone call so why not take the chance?" As it turned out, the car did exist; the barn was a nicely finished, conditioned garage, and Sonny really did buy it on the spot. When he got it home he went through it, replacing the brake cylinders and a few other parts that had failed while the car sat unattended for 20-plus years. Funny side story-the night he got it running; several friends showed up to witness the event. Sonny climbed in the little coupe, gave the throttle a couple of blips, and cranked the switch. The old Ford caught almost immediately. A couple more blips of the throttle and Sonny was smiling. His audience, however, was shouting a loud chorus of emotion-packed, arm-waving, foot-stomping "Please shut it off!". Being concerned that there was something wrong mechanically and he might damage the engine, he cut the switch immediately, got out, and asked about the problem. It seems that some resourceful squirrels had loaded the exhaust pipes with their entire winter stash of acorns and when Sonny lit the little Buick engine and blipped the throttle, the guys standing behind the car were soundly pelted with the entire winter bounty. Rather than move to the side of the car, they got into a foot-stompin', arm-wavin' shouting contest to get Sonny's attention.
After the car was up and running, Sonny put some new tires on it, cleaned it just enough to show off its good looks while leaving its patina intact, and took it out for its first outing in many years.
Now that you've heard the barn car story, its only fair that we give you a bit of information about the car and its original builder. The first owner/builders were Joe and Jan Reding of Independence, Missouri, in 1961. Joe's passion was restoring Model As back to pristine condition. He enjoyed the size and shape of these neat little cars so much that he just had to have one as a daily driver. Of course, if it was going to be a driver it would need modern amenities, like an up-to-date drivetrain, some cool upholstery, a heated cabin for winter use, nice instrumentation, and a few custom touches to the exterior. Starting with a stock '30 A coupe, Joe added new crossmembers to the front and rear of the frame, a 215ci aluminum Buick engine, an automatic transmission, and several other updates. Because he really liked the shape of the Model A, he made very few changes to the body-then again there are those windshield wiper assemblies built into the cowl and Buick port holes in the solid hood sides. The interior was updated with white pearl vinyl, a floor shifter, a custom wheel, and some new Stewart-Warner instruments. As you can see it's really quite a simple car by today's standards, but because Joe was a restorer, his attention to detail was more sharply focused on the function of the overall product rather than just the drivetrain like most hot rodders of the time. Little things like windows that roll up effortlessly, doors that close with a gentle touch rather than a slam, a heater, and those windshield wipers all indicate that a craftsman was involved in this build-and it all works as well today as it did when Joe parked it in the '80s.
After the car was completed, it was driven frequently and even appeared at some Ray Farhner car shows in 1964 and 1965, but mostly it was just a pleasure car. Joe had a few health problems in the early '80s, so the car was parked until he could get things straightened out. Unfortunately, the car stayed right there until Sonny pulled it out in 2006 and got it rolling again. So to all you skeptics out there, yeah there really are "barn cars", but they're damned few and far between. So keep searching-and in the meantime, enjoy looking at this one.
Rod & Custom Feature Car
1930 Ford Coupe
The original '30 Ford chassis was upgraded with new crossmembers at the front and rear for strength, a '40 Ford front suspension, plus a '50 Mercury rearend and the better brakes that came with them. The pervious owner, Joe, also used the '40 steering box and steering column in the buildup. The pedal assemblies were owner-fabricated and the master cylinder came from an early Ford.
Joe acquired a 215-cid aluminum Buick V-8 for the buildup and left it just as he found it. The little V-8 made only 155 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque, but because it only weighed 324 pounds, the reduced frontend weight kept the car well balanced and easy to handle. The lightweight engine was backed by an equally light (95 pounds) Dual Path automatic transmission. By today's standards, the combination is a bit light on power but the compensation is the light, well-balanced feel of the car.
Wheels & Tires
The wheel and tire combination that came on the car consisted of a set of rally wheels and wide oval tires, fashionable in the '80s but just not the right look for this car. After considering all the options, Sonny settled on some 15-inch steel wheels, spinner caps with small bullet centers, and a full set of BFGoodrich Silvertown wide whites (5.90x15 up front and 8.20x15 under the rear fenders). There were some old photos that showed the car in similar dress and Sonny thought this was the right look for the car. We think he hit it just right.
Body & Paint
All of Joe's other Model A projects had been of the restoration nature so when it came to this project he decided to have a little fun. He used a sectioned '32 Ford grille shell, filled it with a handmade grille, and built a non-louvered hood for the car. Then he added a Continental kit to the rear and some custom fabricated running boards to the sides. Other little custom touches consist of Buick port holes in the hood, a pair of '49 Lincoln taillights, those unusual cowl-mounted windshield wipers, and a coat of Twilight Turquoise paint. Joe also added green-tinted safety glass all the way around the car to complement the body color and to add a bit of protection.
The interior is just what you would expect from the period. The Mother of Pearl White expanded vinyl and Turquoise carpet were the handiwork of Clyde Lewis of Sugar Creek, Missouri. The padded dashboard was fabricated by the owner, as was the instrument panel. The steering column came from a '40 Ford. The steering wheel and the floor mounted shifter are of unknown origins but the whole thing blends together nicely.