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Ford A Speedster in the driving report: Pre-war Speedster for 25,000 euros

Hardy Mutschler
Ford A Speedster in the driving report
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Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day it will almost certainly be: At some point, most scrap iron enthusiasts will discover in themselves an increased interest in pre-war vehicles. Isn't that the case with you yet? Wait and see. At some point you will no longer be able to escape the charm of the simple, archaic technology and the filigree forms and, for example, you will find electric window lifters completely superfluous - especially if you have no side windows at all. Like the F ord A speedster.

Dangerous pre-war virus

The physically linked variables of distance, time and speed then take on a completely new meaning: Tempo 100 on the country road suddenly feels like again a real adventure, 100 kilometers can be quite a long way, and you are happy to take the necessary time for it.

There is one catch, however, with the pre-war virus, which once caught you won't be able to get rid of it quickly: the material is comparatively expensive. There are no entry-level drugs for a few thousand euros in cars up to 1945 - at least not if the object of desire should ideally be open and sporty and it can also go a little ahead.

When studying The prices then quickly show that for the equivalent of a Bentley or Bugatti you can live comfortably in the best location and for the price of a real supercharged Mercedes you can easily get a whole row of houses. One floor below, for example at Alvis and Riley, cars with sleek roadster bodies like to scratch the 100,000 euro mark.

Expensive entry-level class among the pre-war classics

Even in the entry-level segment, for example with French cycle cars such as Amilcar or Salmson, you can't exactly talk about bargain prices. A gross annual income (in Germany an average of over 40,000 euros) is quickly transferred to the seller, often significantly more. So better bury the dream?

Don't be in a hurry. Perhaps you should first let your eyes wander a little and look for alternatives, in the land of unlimited possibilities, for example. In contrast to old Europe, there has always been more wasteful displacement thereAbundance, and that's not a bad basis.

It is better not to ask about hemispherical combustion chambers or even overhead camshafts - after all, valves positioned neatly on the side next to the cylinders also have their appeal, and such a design also delivers a lot of steam in the lower speed range. In terms of chassis and brakes, inexpensive American automobiles do not expect miracles, but simple, robust and functional technology.

The million seller Ford is cheap to have

With this kind of consideration you almost inevitably end up with the Ford A, built from October 1927 to March 1932 in the impressive number of 4,849,340 copies. Most of the chassis had a two-door body (Tudor Sedan), but there were also four-door, a coupé, a sports coupé, an open tourer and a roadster, and even a truck and van body. What was not available, at least not as standard ex works, was a sleek sports car body.

This is where Claus Müller comes into play, known to insiders as the long-time organizer of Classic Mobil in Munich and current organizer of the Oltimertage Fürstenfeldbruck, but above all as a dealer for Ford A parts. The 51-year-old has been driving a Ford A Roadster for almost 20 years: 'I bought it out of a museum in Sacramento on a Motor-Klassik readers' trip in 1993, and I'm still friends with the museum director,' says Müller.

When his spare parts supplier died in Germany, Müller took over the entire warehouse from his widow without further ado and has since provided parts to the estimated 400 to 500 Ford A drivers here in this country with his company Iron Age Garage. Almost everything is available, which is also a big advantage of the Ford A.

Juan Manuel Fangio also drove in a Ford A

At some point, US fan Müller asked himself where the Ford A-based sports and racing cars actually stayed. 'The factory never officially took part in races with the Ford A, but there were many private drivers who drove races with the converted Ford A in the 1930s and 1940s, especially in South America - including Fangio,' explains Claus Müller. Black-and-white photos from that time show Ford A with narrow, two-seater sports bodies - but none of which apparently survived or are known.

Ford A Speedster bodies from South America

During his research, Müller finally came across a workshop in South America that builds such aluminum bodies exactly according to the models in the photos to fit Ford A. Müller traveled there, made an extensive test drive and stated laconically: 'I want something like that too.'

After Müller's own Ford A Speedster was finished and extensively tested on rallies, he decided to offer these cars to his customers -optionally as a kit or as a complete vehicle. In addition to the chassis and drive, the kit contains everything you need in terms of parts, i.e. the aluminum body, seat, tank, windshield, etc. including various small parts such as screws. Cost: 18,500 euros complete.

'A good chassis with a motor costs around 10,000 euros, with luck you can find one that needs work for a good half,' says Claus Müller. The frame can come from any Ford A model year, the radiator should be from 1928 or 1929, otherwise the body will not fit. To do this, the steering column has to be made flatter and a little longer, for which specialist dealers charge 100 to 200 euros.

The Ford A Speedster is made at home - and costs between 25,000 and 30,000 euros

The rest is home work, which can basically be done in the garage at home and does not require any real miracle hands. 'It's almost plug + play,' says Müller. Drill a little, screw a little, adjust a few brackets, done. Depending on your own contribution, ability and the condition of the chassis and engine, you can then move in the range between 25,000 and 30,000 euros - not much for an open sports car from the 1930s with a 3.2-liter four-cylinder, a healthy 40 hp that is easy to use to 50, and a top speed of 100 km /h.

The Ford A Speedster costs 41,900 euros without doing anything yourself

If you mistrust your hands, you can also purchase a completely finished Ford A Speedster from Claus Müller, color in principle freely selectable. Price including new tires, a full 80-liter tank and registration: 41,900 euros. So far, Müller has delivered four cars with a delivery time of up to a year. 'Everything is done by hand,' he says.

Now you want to know how it goes, and all I can say is: wonderful. The cast iron side valve starts without any problems with the start button in the footwell and first of all roars the neighbors together. First gear in and off.

Pre-war driving pleasure with a torque peak at 1,000 rpm

The clutch separates smoothly, the three-speed transmission is of course not synchronized, but with a little practice the gear change succeeds without making any noise. The jump from second to third gear is a bit too big, which is why rally driver Claus Müller allowed himself a synchronized overdrive for 3,000 euros. This can be switched on in every gear, which gives a total of six gears. 'It's especially great in the mountains,' he enthuses.

You won't really need it, the 3.2 liter has its maximum torque already at 1,000 (!) revolutions and defiantly pushes the 720 kilo Ford A Speedster forward. The standard compression is 4.3, with a different cylinder head cover you have 50 still indestructible hp. The steering of the Ford A Speedster is amazingly accurate; there was a little snow on my journeywhat invites you to drift and is a lot of fun. As usual in pre-war cars, the four small brake drums require a certain amount of foresight.

My tip: Do not take a test drive with the Ford A Speedster if the building society loan agreement is otherwise planned - otherwise the house blessing may be crooked.

Comment - Motor Klassik editor-in-chief

Hans-Jörg Götzl on the Ford A Speedster and original pre-war athletes: Did someone say a craft shop? Does anyone complain about falsification of history and destruction of original material? Go ahead, you've come to the right place. Of course, when building a Ford A Speedster, the original body has to believe in it - but it is not destroyed, but simply put aside if it can still be saved. You never know. And only a fool would use an original, well-preserved Ford A with a Fordor Sedan body as the basis for a conversion. With almost five million units built, there are better and cheaper chassis.

On the subject of falsification of history: In fact, this Ford A Speedster body never came from the factory. But it is also not a fantasy product, but based on historical models as original as possible. This means that it has a lot ahead of a number of sporty pointed-tail bodies that drive around on predominantly English frames: Their shape was often actually created in the imagination of its builder, and these cars were usually born as sedans.

But even these 'specials' have their right to exist - because they are fun and enrich the scene. As long as nobody comes along and says that his Ford A Speedster is exactly the car that Fangio won in Argentina in 1932. That would be a fraud.

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