1929 Ford Model A Pickup - A Diesel-Powered
Model Of Perfection
Henry Ford made history in 1908 when he introduced the Model T, an affordable automobile that opened the roads up to the American middle-class. In 1927, lightning struck again for Ford with the introduction of the new Model A. The Model A was available in more than 30 different models and came standard with a 201ci water-cooled L-head four-cylinder that produced 40 hp. By the time production had ended in 1932, Ford had produced nearly five million of these iconic vehicles.
Almost a century later, the Model A has become quite the collectable. With a desire to relive the experience his father once had owning a Model A, Cirius Noble of Degraff, Ohio, set out to find one of his very own. After locating a very nicely restored ’29 pickup model not far from home in Dayton, Cirius handed over the cash and trailered his new prize home. Unfortunately, not long after arriving, Cirius discovered the old engine had a cracked main bearing cap, and a massive oil leak -- the combination of which were terminal.
Not wanting to spend $3,000 to have a new Babbit bearing poured and engine rebuilt, a drivetrain swap was deemed to be the next best option. Doing what diesel enthusiasts do best, Cirius and his son Cyle took to Craigslist and found a 2.1L Renault turbodiesel out of an 1985 Jeep Cherokee. The guys wasted no time getting the old engine and transmission out of the classic pickup and the new diesel slung in. A five-speed manual AX-5 transmission was bolted up to the engine, and a custom hub and bearing assembly was machined to adapt a standard driveshaft to the vintage rear axle. To squeeze out a little more power, the rotary-style injection pump was turned up a bit. Exhaust gases are routed through a straight pipe and exit via a bed-mounted stack.
While it may not be original anymore, the diesel engine more than doubled the truck’s horsepower, which is quite noticeable at only 2,265 pounds, and allows the 85-year-old pickup to cruise at 70 mph and knock down nearly 40 mpg.
|1929 Ford Model A Pickup|
|Engine:||2.1L Renault I-4|
|Aspiration:||Single fixed-geometry turbocharger|
|Fueling:||Bosch VE mechanical injection pump|
|Horsepower:||85 hp at 3,750 rpm (stock)|
|Torque:||132 lb-ft at 2,750 rpm (stock)|
|Transmission:||Aisin AX-5 five-speed manual|
|Wheels:||21-inch factory steel wire spoke|
|Fun Fact:||Cirius once hauled a 5.9L Cummins engine to a machine shop in the bed of the Model A, right down I-75.|