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  • Nick and Robert's Family Heirloom - '29 Ford Tudor

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A place to talk about your non-LH current or former vehicles.

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 #391205  by LUNAT1C
Now that I've laid eyes and hands on it, I'd like to present to the group the latest (coming) addition to the fleet. The Runion/Armentrout family heirloom, 1929 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan.

The family history of this car can be traced all the way back to the original owner. It was purchased new by Alimo "Fats" Jones and used by him until 1955. He then sold it to Ivan "Doc" Runion, his niece's, Genevieve Runion's, husband.

Doc drove the car and used it as a farm truck for many years. His daughters grew up with and learned to drive in it. Upon his passing in the 1980s, it was willed to all the daughters. One of them Sara "Mom-mom" Runion-Armentrout, bought her sisters' shares of the car, and had it restored locally by what we're told was an antique Ford specialist. She drove the car very seldom, mainly to local shows and parades, and shipped it up to PA in the 90s to be used in her daughter's wedding.

Mom-mom very sadly passed away March 2021, and had willed the car to her son and daughter. At this point, it lived it's entire life in Virginia and still has the original plates from Doc's ownership, and she had kept Doc's 1955 title.

Her children, Kelly and Natalie, both love the car for what it represents of the family history, and so too do her surviving sister and her grandchildren. However, Mom-mom's youngest grandchild, Nick, has wanted the car since the first he ever saw of it as a child. Knowing no one else realistically has the resources and drive to take on an antique car that's been sitting disused for the better part of 15 years, Kelly and Natalie and the rest of the family made the decision to pass it on to us.

February 2022, the car was trailered from it's storage spot in a garage in Virginia to Nick's parent's house in SE PA, and yesterday was the first time I got to see and touch it.

Our plan is to relocate the car to our home near Detroit sometime next year, and then we will slowly work to mechanically restore it once again to running and driving condition. Then we can turn to cosmetic fixes. Already I've been in touch with the Model A Ford Club of America (MAFCA) for resources on this car and to understand what I can expect for needing to get it running again.

Today I took the first baby step, and cleaned up the 1980s Sears Allstate bias ply white walls, removing over a decade of dirt and grime to get them back to some semblance of white.

Feb '22
Today, halfway through one tire showing my in-laws the power of bleche-white.
All mounted tires done (did not do spare yet).
The list of what it needs I'm sure will be extensive once I get it home and dig into it. The MAFCA Facebook group agrees the car is a great starting point as it sits today and recommended some in depth diagnostic manuals, YouTuber Paul Shinn (whom I already follow and have spoken to), joining the local Model A club, and realistically not going through it here until I've got it home and gotten the rotating assembly moving again. Mom-mom started it monthly until about 2008, however her health declined shortly thereafter and her husband couldn't care less about the car, so it sat. It was last insured in mid 2009, expired mid 2010. Last year I put it on a collector car policy asking with my Special, to ensure it's covered in the event anything happens to it, with an agreed value of $15k.

I know the radiator core desperately needs help, full of crud from absolutely no winterization at all. It will also need a new radiator cap, the very expensive thermometer cap broke from it's mounting on the core a few months ago. I will try to clean it out before getting a new $800 core. I'm hoping the block is still clean.

Steering looks ok, I don't see major rust or wear in the knuckles or kingpins. I see fluid on the diff and trans drain plug, but no puddles where it's been sitting since Feb. Pan looks mostly dry and is full of clean oil. Very good sign. Fuel tank is bone dry with no fuel smell, so I wonder if it was emptied or if it leaked out.

Battery appears to be a 6V, and is crusty. It will be replaced. Fan belt doesn't look bad, but has zero tension.

Currently has a 4 blade fan. Original was a 2 blade unit that was known to rust and fail catastrophically, taking out hoods and radiator cores. There's debate if the aftermarket 4 blade units are much better, I may swap it out for an aluminum 2 blade unit along with a "leakless" water pump after cleaning out the cooling system and replacing the hoses. The tubes have surface rust, so they'll be cleaned up along with everything else that has surface rust under the hood.

All the stainless outside is pitted. I'll try to save what I can, but some will need to be replaced from rust. Metal was flaking from the headlights.

Wheels will need to be repainted. I'm sure the brakes need to be adjusted (all mechanical).

Mods may simply be minor modern conveniences, like an oil filter and air filter. I may not upgrade to 12V, but may replace the generator with an alternator.

Interior is fantastic for an 80's restoration, the car was largely an original restoration. Crawling around under it, I can see where corners were cut and saw a large hole in the floor under the rear seat that was painted over. Some of the blue paint has cracking going on and peeling, but we're not looking into a repaint anytime soon. I want to simply bring it back and show it as a 1980s restoration.
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EasyRider300M, monte4 liked this
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 #391209  by monte4
That's a great looking ride. As stated you've got lots to do to it to make it 'right' but it's all there so you've got a great car to start with. Congrats on getting it and wanting to finish it.
LUNAT1C liked this
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 #391212  by First Lady
Awesome!!! I’m so very glad that you both got to see it while in PA and know it’s going to live a wonderful life with its next custodians.
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 #391214  by Sneke_Eyez
Congratulations to you and to Nick on getting a very cool piece of automotive history! I look forward to watching you guys restore it!
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 #391217  by LUNAT1C
The great thing about this particular car is it's been in the family essentially since it was brand new, bought new by great-grand-mom's uncle, with endless history. 1929-1955 (his ownership) is largely unknown, but great-grand-dad's ownership (1955-late 80's) has some tid bits. These cars are known for having lots of overheating problems. Since production ceased in 1931 (replaced by the V8 Model B), "leakless" water pumps were developed, and all manner of tricks to keep the radiator cores going were devised by shadetree mechanics. I'm going to at least try to save the existing radiator, but it may be futile and I'm planning for a new one. Someone in the MAFCA group on Facebook suggested that it seemed like the water pump had leaked, and I should consider switching it out for a leakless unit. Planning to look into it. I also connected with someone in Ohio who has brought a few back from the dead and has worked with the "Model A Medic" in Oklahoma many times, essentially a Model A Bob Day.

In talking with Kelly about the car (my FIL), he remembers as a 10-year-old watching his grandfather replace the headgasket on the car. Kelly just turned 60 last week, so that was 50 years ago.

The whole situation with the car and his recently passed mother, and her husband (no relation, Kelly's father passed in 1979) is very sad. There was a point where we were convinced the husband had pushed the car out of the garage to the street with a for sale sign, to get rid of it like he'd gotten rid of their family home (rental since late 80s) and many other colossal grievances. Shocking that was it still in the garage and under the cover Mom-mom put on it all those years ago. Understandably he has a lot of reservations about the car and wanting to do anything with it, hence giving it to us, but I can tell he still cares deeply about it since it was his mom's prized possession from her father. He seemed to get much more interested in it as I took away the dirt from the tires and went over it, getting more and more interested as I noted this and that. Nick took some Coke and aluminum foil and turned one of the foggy and rusty hub caps into a good shine (with rust, still need to replace it), and I think that rekindled a little something in Kelly. It'll be an exciting day when that 90 year old engine turns over and we can take Wendy and Kelly for a ride in it.
Sneke_Eyez, monte4 liked this
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 #391219  by FIREM
Quite a time capsule you have been entrusted with. Obviously it will be well cared for and treated with the respect it deserves. Good to hear you have found a “medic” to help guide your progress. “Pay Attention to Detail” and you will be fine. Be sure to have a camera on Kelly when it fires up so we all can see his joy.