This Impressive Model A Ford Restoration Took 40 Years to Complete

Rebuilding, sanding, grinding and upholstering… Breathing new life into a classic is never easy, but in the case of this 1931 Model A Ford restoration, the 40-year effort was definitely worth it.

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Model A Ford in 1965Courtesy: Audrey Parker

New Life For an Old Truck: Our 1931 Model A Ford Restoration

While living in Fort St. John, B.C., in 1965, my husband Jim purchased a 1931 Model A Ford truck—for $10 and a fishing rod. After overhauling the motor and hearing it run for the first time, Jim had to put the whole project on hold and place the truck into storage, as the whole family moved farther north for five years. In 1976, after a subsequent move to Dawson Creek, B.C., Jim brought the old truck home, but a lack of time, work space and funds prohibited Jim from resuming the restoration project. In 1981, the Model A was hauled to our new family acreage in South Dawson and “tarped in” to keep it safe from the elements over the long term. Finally, after retiring in 1999 and building a double garage, Jim had a place to work and sufficient funds and time to spend on his long-delayed project.

I was advised early on in the project that, according to the restorer’s manual Jim kept handy, “It’s sometimes wise not to keep track of the cost of parts and materials” and that “the interest and involvement of your family is important.” Thus, from time to time, I was called upon to hold, help or just admire the work being done.

Many happy and sometimes frustrating hours were spent rebuilding the engine, grinding and sanding various parts, stretching roof material, upholstering the interior, and aligning doors and trim—not to mention finding and ordering parts from George Moir’s Antique Auto Parts and fitting everything back together again.

Don't miss this gallery of vintage trucks that never went out of style!

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Model A Ford in 2006Courtesy: Audrey Parker

Our Model A Ford, Fully Restored!

Early in 2005, the truck was ready for its paint job. After much discussion about colours and trims, “Hunt Club” red with black fenders was decided upon. Bob Pratt of RSS Auto did fine body work and a masterful paint job.

In May 2005, 40 years after purchase, the old Model A pickup was restored to its original shape and was ready to be licenced. At the 2005 Dawson Creek Summer Cruise, the Mayor’s Choice Award went to Jim and his Model A Ford. At one point, Jim had promised me that someday we would ride in style in the Fall Fair parade and on August 21, 2005, that day did indeed arrive. Taking the ribbon for “Best Vehicle in Show” was so rewarding for Jim. (Here's expert advice on how to organize a classic car cruise.)

Among the accolades that followed are being named winner of the Antique and Classic Car category at 2012 Tumbler Ridge Show and Shine, and being honoured with the Mayor’s Choice Award at the same show.

We’ve recently moved to Red Deer, Alberta, and in the fall of 2016, Jim had the Model A properly registered and licenced for our new home province. So, he’s ready to show his prized possession to all who are interested!

Looking for more amazing classic car restorations? Check out these beauties:

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Originally Published in Our Canada