Body and Interior
Overall height is 67½ inches. Overall length is 154 inches.
Like in the model kits we built when we were kids, fenders, running boards and floor are made in one piece. Then, the body is stuck permanently onto this part and the whole unit is dropped over the frame. So if you don't already have side-mounted spares and were planning to just buy a fiberglass repro welled front fender, forget it. You will have to cut the hole and stick in a prefabricated fiberglass well. Please note that this one-piece body and fender assembly was used on the assembly line only after October 1979. From August 1979 to that point in time, cars were built using a 23-piece body and fender assembly.
The running boards are supported underneath by a rack made of welded steel square tubing. The paint is not thick on that rack and you should attend to it in order to avoid rust.
Exterior door panels are fiberglass stuck onto a frame made of welded steel square tubing which also supports the hinges and latch mechanism. Don't slam shut those doors. Instead, hold down the handle until the door rests lighlty on the body and then give it a little yank so it clicks nice and snug against the body. Inside door panels are vinyl draped over a thick cardboard screwed to the metal frame.
The hood is all metal. The hold down latches tend to scrape the paint off where they rest on the hood. Put a rubber cap on the latche's nose to prevent this and put on rubber «hood bumpers». It is reported that Shay hoods were hand formed in Coopersville, Michigan, stamped louvers and cut them one at a time. This is why some might not fit really well. Workers said they would shift in the "jigs" and several hoods were discarded. The radiator shell is chromed metal. One suspects those two items to be of a somewhat thinner gauge than the real thing. A grey steel mesh was added between the radiator and this shell. It protects the radiator and hides the fact that it goes only 2/3 the way up the shell. This mesh can be easily painted gloss black for a more realistic look.
TIP : The radiator expanded steel stone guard grill can become discolored with time, some areas being stained a sort of yellow or just dull gray metal. An owner reported having had good results by doing the following: mask off all of the painted body parts around the radiator shell + the headlight bar with several layers of newspaper and spray the entire stone guard with aerosol "Oven Cleaner". Let the oven cleaner sit on the grill for about 3 to 4 minutes, use a small scrub brush and hose it down with water. He said it sparkled just like new and that this was much easier than replacing or painting the grill work.
All emblems (radiator, step plate and hub caps) are of the same shape but have a different script than the real Ford ones.
Bumpers are very good quality steel and chrome plate. Rear bumper is full length, unlike the real Model A which has a two-piece split-bumper.
COLORS AND OPTIONS
Colors were what was available for '79 to '81 Fords. They do not correspond to the real Model A colors. However, you can still get touch-up bottles and spray cans custom-made (or off-the-shelf if you're very lucky) at your auto parts store. The basic color was Black fenders and Creme body (code #1979-6P). Other body colors were usually Dove Grey (code #1979-1N), Black (code #1979-1C) and Light Champagne (code #1979-52). Theoretically, you could also have Light Medium Blue (code #1979-3F), Light Emerald Green (code #1978-7Z), Bright Red (code #1979-2P), Polar White (code #1979-9D), Tangerine (code #1979-85), Light Gold (code #1979-6W) and Light Chamois (code #1979-83), but those latter colors are most rare.
Real 1928 Model A Roadster colors were Light Niagra Blue, Dark Niagra Blue, Light Arabian Sand, Dark Dawn Gray and Gunmetal Blue. Real 1929 Roadster colors were Bonnie Gray, Rose Beige, Balsam Green, Andalusite Blue and Thorne Brown. The best way to check these paint colors is to check the Model A Ford Club of America's Website. Their Color Charts have sample color paint chips for all real Model A colors. They will help you match the real colors for the body, the belt, quarter and sill moldings, the pin stripes and the wheels.
Shay options were:
Original Model A steering wheel*, fold-down chrome winshield*, lift-off fiberglass top* (*very rare!);
Automatic transmission, air conditioning, cruise control;
Left or right outside mirror, regular or etched windwings, left or right windshield wiper, manual or electric windshield washer, tinted windshield, sun visors;
Color keyed or paded or imitation wood dash, regular or digital clock, colors of top and interior (black, tan or white), leather top & interior, pleated seats, door map pockets, carpeting, vinyl or leather steering wheel cover, cockpit or rumble seat light, cockpit or rumble seat heater, cigarette lighter, variety of radios or CBs;
Top hold-down strap & hook, boot to cover folded top, folding landau bars, nylon cover for car;
Running board step plates, radiator stone guard, regular or eagle motif imitation gas cap on cowl, quail radiator ornament, chrome hood latches, chrome door hinges, pinstriping, belt & moulding color;
Rear luggage trunk rack, standard or deluxe rear luggage trunk;
Chrome spoked wheels, stainless steel spoke covers, whitewall tires, chrome spare tire covers;
Dual (right) horn, chrome headlight bar, enlarged headlights (Model A diameter), lipped headlight visors, cowl lights.
Click here to see an original list of options (with prices) used by dealers in 1980.
INTERIOR, TOP AND TRUNK
Standard material was black vinyl. Textured for the top and boot. Smoother for the seats and inside door panels.
(An owner experienced an unusual problem with the fold-down
top. Notice that, on each side, there is a large rivet covered by a
piece of black simili-wood plastic on the metal top bows. It acts
as a pivot where the two bows meet on each side. This pivot/rivet
is normaly under a lot of stress and friction. It can break and it is
recommended to put a drop of oil at this junction.)
Since replacement original Shay tops, side curtains and boots are impossible to find + the fact that real Model A ones won't fit properly, it is suggested that you call on «Boat or Automobile Upholstery & Top Replacement Shops». They'll make fine
replacements to measure.
Floors and sides are covered in regular black automotive carpeting.
There are two seat belts in front and two in the rumble seat.
Convertible top bows are made of sturdy steel. (You can replace the plastic imitation-wood coverings with the real thing to improve the look.) The front part fastens to the windshield stanchions with winged screws. The fabric then snaps to the top of the windshield frame. The rear window can be folded up. Unlike the real Model A's rear window, this one is made of mylar and has a much greater surface. Side curtains are snapped into position. Doors can be operated with the side curtains in place.
A modern-style inside rear view mirror is fixed to the top of the windshield frame.
The serial number (VIN) is found in 2 places: a small sticker on the very narrow top of the dash, on the driver's side, near where the lower windshield frame meets it. The main information sticker (including month and year of production) is on the driver's side of the box on which the bottom seat cushion is screwed. You must crouch down to see it.
Trunks came in two varieties: the standard model was fiberglass and the deluxe model (still manufactured by Varco) was
much more realistic. The dimensions are 13 x 34 x 18.5 and it is of the "straight back" variety. The trunk rests on a good quality chromed steel foldable rack with wood ribs. To understand how a trunk can be installed on a Standard Roadster, see here.