1931 Ford Model A, Model A, 1931 Ford Model A Coupe, Model A Coupe, 1931 Ford Coupe, hot rod

Larry Barbier’s 1931 Ford Model A Hot Rod Coupe

If anyone ever records an album of songs about Model A hot rods, Larry Barbier’s 1931 Ford coupe might make a good cover vehicle. His low-slung screamer is everything you’d want in a Model A hot rod – the look, the color and the big thumper of an engine.

1931 Ford Model A, Model A, 1931 Ford Model A Coupe, Model A Coupe, Model A hot rod, 1931 Ford Coupe, hot rod

Let’s start with the stance. Larry’s coupe hints at the old-school East Coast look – a ground-hugging attitude with tall, skinny whitewall tires and a channeled body. The tires surround 16-inch steel wheels, though there are more modern four-wheel disc brakes controlling the stopping. The TCI frame is also a bit more contemporary, sporting an independent front suspension and an independent Jaguar rear that hosts 4.11 posi-traction gears.

Model A hot rod, 1931 Ford Model A, Model A, 1931 Ford Model A Coupe, Model A Coupe, 1931 Ford Coupe, hot rod
Model A hot rod, 1931 Ford Model A, Model A, 1931 Ford Model A Coupe, Model A Coupe, 1931 Ford Coupe, hot rod

Power comes from a 496c.i. Chevy big-block that’s topped by two Holley 390-cfm four-barrel carbs on an Offenhauser intake. Aluminum finned valve covers lend a classic look and reside on aluminum heads, with Sanderson headers feeding the 2.5-inch exhaust system. A Comp Cams Thumper cam and roller rockers and a Pertronix ignition system keep the power flowing through a GM 700R4 overdrive automatic transmission.

Model A hot rod, 1931 Ford Model A, Model A, 1931 Ford Model A Coupe, Model A Coupe, 1931 Ford Coupe, hot rod, mooneyes, big block chevy, bbc, offy


Model A hot rod, 1931 Ford Model A, Model A, 1931 Ford Model A Coupe, Model A Coupe, 1931 Ford Coupe, hot rod

When Larry brought the coupe back to Dublin, California, from Seattle he began completing the previous owner’s work by adding his own spin. In addition to improving the engine, Larry changed the wheel/tire combination, the interior, and other details to add his personal touch.

Model A hot rod, 1931 Ford Model A, Model A, 1931 Ford Model A Coupe, Model A Coupe, 1931 Ford Coupe, hot rod

The all-steel body features a 3-inch top chop and is channeled 4-inches. The suicide doors are fitted with power windows. A ’29 Ford firewall was installed, the cowl smoothed, and the roof insert replaced with steel. The stock Model A grille shell was replaced with a ’32 Ford unit. The body is covered in red acrylic urethane from Summit Racing with red Roth metalflake in the clear coat adding extra glimmer.

Model A hot rod, 1931 Ford Model A, Model A, 1931 Ford Model A Coupe, Model A Coupe, 1931 Ford Coupe, hot rod

The black, pleated vinyl interior continues the old-school flavor. Larry did the interior work himself, including the addition of TPI gauges to the stock dash. A banjo-style wheel tops the steering column while gear-changing chores are handled by a Lokar shifter topped by a red skull shift knob. A vintage military ammo box serves as a console, nestled between the bomber-style seats.

Model A hot rod, 1931 Ford Model A, Model A, 1931 Ford Model A Coupe, Model A Coupe, 1931 Ford Coupe, hot rod

Model A hot rods come in all sizes, shapes, colors and styles. Their simplicity and versatility is one of the things that has kept them so popular through the years. While there are no right or wrong ways to build a Model A hot rod, some just stand out from the crowd. Larry’s ’31 is one those.

Model A hot rod, 1931 Ford Model A, Model A, 1931 Ford Model A Coupe, Model A Coupe, 1931 Ford Coupe, hot rod

Photos by Brett Macadam

Dave Doucette is a long-time Goodguys member with a career in newspaper, magazine and website journalism. He was one of the founding editors of USA TODAY, editor of two daily newspapers and co-owner of a magazine publishing and trade show company. He owns and operates Real Auto Media. His first car was a 1947 Ford; he has owned Camaros, Firebirds, El Caminos and a 1956 Chevy that was entered in shows from California to Florida before being sold last year. He was one of the original Goodguys Rodders Reps and served as president of two classic Chevy clubs. Doucette grew up in South Florida, avidly following the racing exploits of local hero Ollie Olsen and, of course, Don Garlits. He remembers riding his bicycle to Briggs Cunningham’s West Palm Beach factory to peak through the fence at his Sebring and LeMans racers.

Share With: