Antique Ford Model A Tow Truck is Tow Mater’s Wealthy Cousin

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1931 Ford Model A Tow Truck

Restored Ford Model A pickup from Billy’s Route 66 Towing is a flawless blast from the past.

While flipping through the Ford trucks for sale on the Hemmings website, we came across this 1931 Ford Model A tow truck that is nothing short of a remarkable piece of automotive history. The logos on the doors suggest that this antique Ford truck would have helped rescue motorists along the old Route 66 during the road’s early years, similar to the popular character Tow Mater in the Cars movie series.

Of course, unlike rusty old Mater, this antique Ford truck is probably nicer than it was when it was on duty back in the early 1930s when it was helping America’s earliest motorists make their way to the California coast. Best of all, this truck will be sold to the highest bidder at the upcoming Mecum auction in Indianapolis in mid-May.

1931 Ford Model A Tow Truck

Model A Tow Truck

The Model A was Ford’s follow-up to the insanely successful Model T and after the T was offered for 18 years, the American public was happy to begin buying up a different Motor Company vehicle. As a result, by the later stages of the Model A in the early 1930s, there were a great many privately owned vehicles on the road. As there were more cars, more drivers and more roads, there were more breakdowns and accidents, leading to a demand for affordable vehicles that could tow disabled cars and trucks.

1931 Ford Model A Tow Truck

Ford answered that demand with the likes of the Model A tow truck shown here, which has been beautifully restored into a pristine show piece. As rare as a clean Ford Model A pickup might be, an original tow truck that survived its working days to see a full restoration is truly an unusual occurance, making this a collectable that will be the only one of its type at any car show.

Vehicle Details

This antique Ford truck has been subjected to a full body-off restoration that appears to have left no bolt unturned, but the old school wrecker has been recreated using all Ford sheet metal. The exterior was painted Grabber Orange and Black, and on the inside, all of the exposed metal is color-matched orange while the seats, carpeting and door panels are black.

1931 Ford Model A Tow Truck

The interior is restored to original, with just a simple four-gauge cluster mounted in the center of the dash, the four-spoke steering wheel, the manual shift level, the parking brake handle and the choke button.

Under the hood is the original 40-horsepower L-head four-cylinder engine, mated to a three-speed manual transmission that sends the power to the Husky wire wheels wrapped in Silvertown tires. Ford shocks provide the ride quality and support of the extra weight out back.

1931 Ford Model A Tow Truck

The towing rig consists of a two-step Springfield Weaver Auto Crane and Crank, featuring an adjustable 3-position boom, a hook, pulleys and chain axle straps. This assembly is bolted into a varnished oak bed that maintains the classic look while comfortably carrying the weight of the boom assembly.

Facts and figures aside, this 1931 Ford Model A tow truck is absolutely stunning in every way. With the restoration maintaining evert aspect of the classic look inside and out, this antique pickup provides a walk down memory lane. This is the kind of truck that we would have called upon when your Model T broke an axle back in the day and the odds are good that this truck was a hard-working rig back in the day, but it managed to stay solid enough to be restored to better-than-new form.

1931 Ford Model A Tow Truck

Again, this truck will be auctioned off during the Mecum Indianapolis auction that runs from May 14 through the 19, but with this being such a stunning example of an early Ford tow truck, it will likely take a serious collector with deep pockets to win the auction.

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

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