An intriguing and skillfully crafted prewar custom
Appealing hand-formed boattail bodywork, modified Model A powertrain
Bare aluminum body; black convertible top; black interior
Red wire wheels, including dual sidemount spares
Introduced in 1929, factors that made the Ford Model A a smash-hit—including its durability, reliability, and style—would also, inevitably, make it a popular starting point for customizers. But while hot rod culture really came into its own following World War II, visionaries were building bold one-of-a-kind creations based on the Model A decades earlier.
This unique 1929 Model A special is one such car. From its V-shaped radiator shell to its distinctive boattail rear, one-of-a-kind details abound. Its aluminum bodywork is left bare, rather than painted, providing contrast with its black fenders, black leather interior, and black convertible top.
Under its hand-formed hood, the stock powertrain remains relatively intact, though the 201 cubic-inch inline-four engine has gained a Stromberg downdraft carburetor, a copper-plated cylinder head, and a custom exhaust; the engine’s distinctive oil return pipe, formed from twisted square copper tubing, is one example of the high level of craftsmanship that went into the build. A Mallory dual point distributor was added at a later point.
Research conducted under previous ownership suggests that this car was built by E.J. Walton, who was believed to have been a fabricator for the legendary race car constructor Harry Miller. According to a recorded interview with Ralph Young, a prior owner, the car was on the roads around Asheville, North Carolina by the late 1930s; he was so struck by its style that he eventually managed to purchase it.
Unfortunately, further documentation of this intriguing backstory (and its potential links to the Miller operation) is sparse. Whoever may have commissioned the construction of this car, however, the coherence of the vision and the quality of the work performed is self-evident: From the expertly shaped body to the detailing in the engine compartment, it is clear that this car was created by someone with a clear idea in mind—and access to the skills necessary to execute it.
The results have stood the test of time, making this 1929 Ford Model A special both a fascinating piece of custom car culture and an appealing roadster in its own right. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/0620.