Travis Cook found this 1929 Ford Model A pickup, with a blown engine, listed for sale in Wheel Tracks six years ago. Since he had a fine “pickled” engine at home, he bought it. Here, you see the model A 3000 miles later, at our 2023 Waterbury Show.
Evidence indicates this Model A might have begun its life in Mississippi. Travis speaks of a windshield inspection sticker from that state. There is also a gas ration sticker on the truck from October 1st, 1942. It’s interesting how these old vehicles can “talk” to us!
Travis answered a Wheel Tracks ad in 2018, and that is when the truck found a new home in his Connecticut garage. It had been owned by VAEer, John Gray of Proctor, our VAE president in 1982. How many have heard of a “pickled engine?” That was a new term for me. When Travis explained, I could only see a huge crock, full of oil, with an emerged engine sitting in it. Wrong… the engine was simply well oiled while waiting to pull a vehicle down the road again.
Travis said all he had to do was install the engine, replace the rusted aprons and buff the old paint. Last year he did do a major revamp of the front end, and the braking system. The pickup sits with two other Model As, a 1930 Murray bodied 4-door sedan, and a 1931 slant-windowed A. It seems like “that old car thing” also exists down country. One old car is good, but more than one is even better!
Travis says he and his buddy of 40 years, Pete Johns, will be coming to next year’s VAE car show with a 1977 Chevy Caprice Classic. He describes the car as having a lot of horsepower and maybe a bit more noise than normal. I can’t wait to see it. He has been a club member for 20 years and speaks of his many adventures in Stowe and Waterbury. Over the years he has become friends with Stowe restauranter, Franke Salese, thus the “Salute” advertisement on the Model A’s door, in honor of his friend. Sign making and advertising has been Travis’ career, and his handywork is evident. BTW, friend, Pete Johns, can be seen, on the front page, sitting at the rear of the pickup. The easy banter between the two was what drew me to the Model A that day in Waterbury. I remember saying that I hoped they were friends, which caused another round of funny cross-comments between the two.
Travis was married to Pauline for 47 years whom he lost her four and a half years ago. She was mentioned many times as he told me of their old car adventures over the years. He is also a proud Army vet. Thank you for your service Travis.
Model A production ended in March 1932, after 4,858,644 had been made in all body styles since 1928. From that total, there were about 482,000 pickup trucks built. Travis said the Model T line ended in 1927, and that Ford used many of the leftover model T parts in the 1928 models. By 1929, the pickups used no leftover parts.
Ford’s 1929 Model A pickup truck was based on its Model A car. It used the same four-cylinder, 40-horsepower engine. Ford’s pickup was available in open and closed-cab versions. Factory price for the open-cab pickup was $430, while closed-cab trucks started at $445. Ford sold more than 212,000 trucks in 1929.
The road manners of these trucks are surprisingly nimble, thanks to stiff suspension and quick steering. Speeding tickets probably won’t be a major concern, as a Model A feels happiest running along at around 45 MPH.