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GAZ, dry lakes racer, mobile welding cart – all the ways to modify a Model A

Published in blog.hemmings.com

Photos courtesy Gary Bricken.

Sure, Ford’s Model A – like the Model T before it – assumed many different roles, whether it be racer, fire truck, or killer hot rod roadster. But even dedicated Model A enthusiasts don’t have the time or resources to collect them all. Gary Bricken of Elmendorf, Texas, however, has embarked on an attempt to do exactly that, just in scale form. Starting with Hubley Model A models, he modifies them into all the various forms the A has taken over the years.

As Gary wrote to us:

Model car building is more of an exercise in patience than any other talent. I began my lifelong hobby of building model cars in 1951 with a Highway Pioneers plastic kit of a 1910 Cadillac. Over the next half century plus I worked with plastic, wood, resin, brass, white metal before settling on model kits from Hubley, Gabriel and Scale Models of Dyersville, Iowa. I believe that of those kits the Model A Ford offers the best resource for recreating unique historical moments in 1/20th scale.

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The Model A Ford in its basic form arrived at the right, if unfortunate moment, in American History. The Great Depression forced people to use their cars for years past their estimated life expectancy and the 5 million Model A Fords were well up to the task. In time Model A’s donated its reliable talents to thousands of race cars, fire trucks, police vehicles, tow trucks, farm trucks not only in this country but countries around the world, including the Soviet Union where a license made GAZ Model A was built until about 1935 with variations being made through WWII. Where it can be said that Cords, Packards, Pierce Arrows and Duesenbergs moved the well to do from their mansions in New York City to the Hamptons  the Model A Ford moved America itself. These lightweight 4 cylinder wonders moved millions from the dustbowl to the West Coast, from the poverty of  the deep South to millions of new jobs in the North during the war and untold trips to work and back for those lucky enough to have a job in the 1930’s. It truly was the car that moved America.

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I consider my models as tiny monuments to those who adapted the versatile Model A to a never changing environment. Some found their way to the early dry lakes of California long before the era of the hot rods arrived. And some suffered old age being demolished at Jalopy Derby’s well into the 1950’s. And thousands survive today in the hands of talented collectors gracing museums and parades big and small. The pride of my collection is what I call the Depression Model A, “a tribute to the mating of poverty, ingenuity and hope.” The Model A Ford for all its limitations is a vehicle that will outlive us all in the hearts and minds of car collectors throughout the world.

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Thanks, Gary!