Realizing that the normal focus of CLASSIC TRUCKS is, for the most part, on post-’39 pickups, I couldn’t resist crossing the line just once to focus on repowering my 1929 Model A pickup. It was built originally as a barn-fresh beater (the body had sat untouched for years before purchasing it from fellow SIM Senior Editor Eric Geisert) with an equally forlorn powerplant.
I had hoped to turn the body into a complete traditional-style hot rod driver by dropping the original sheetmetal on a newly fabricated chassis and an old 289/C3 automatic I had lying around in the shop. It came together just as I’d hoped – looking, for all intents and purposes, like a “barn-find” early hot rod (which I guess it really was when considering the body and bed alone). The old small-block Ford certainly looked the part of an old jalopy, and in the early days of driving the truck, it surprisingly ran fairly well too.
Being the adventurous (or ignorant) fellow I am, I decided to take the pickup on a road trip to the Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky. As one might assume by its looks, taking a chance on a 1,500-mile journey was not one of my smarter moves. To make a long story short, the truck ended up lasting to nearly Oklahoma City before the engine emitted its final gasps. And after finishing the trip as a passenger in a friend’s ’65 Chevelle I was forced to have the Model A shipped back to California via trailer.
Once back home I decided that I liked the truck enough to invest in a fresh driveline, so I grabbed the phone and ordered a fresh 302ci Ford Racing crate engine and locally sourced a C4 transmission as well. Once I got the fresh parts in hand I proceeded to swap out the remains of the old driveline, taking photos as I went so I could share a typical weekend out in the Rizzo garage. Take a look.