1931 Ford Model A coupe

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This 1931 Ford Model A is a ground-up build. With no engine, no transmission, and a complete body repair in progress, it's a blank-page project with only one ambition: electric conversion for pleasure use and maybe an autocross if it handles well.

This 1931 Ford Model A is a ground-up build. With no engine, no transmission, and a complete body repair in progress, it's a blank-page project with only one ambition: electric conversion for pleasure use and maybe an autocross if it handles well.


Herb didn't buy the Model A; it was his Grandfather's car and was given to him by his uncle Jack when he was 12. So it's been in the family for 70+ years. With his father, he flat towed it behind a 1960 Falcon station wagon from Chautauqua, New York, to his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they tore it down to the bare frame and rebuilt it with the original drive train. It was the car he drove in high school. After high school graduation, they put a Mustang 289 engine/transmission in it that made it a "scary drive."

Life moved on, and they towed it to storage throughout his Air Force and teaching career. After building his Son's '68 Cougar and his father's '69 Shelby GT500 (both Pro Touring-type builds), it's the Model "E"s turn.

After building two ICE cars, Herb knows it will be a significant investment of time, effort, money, and emotions.  "Good thing I have a wonderful wife that encourages my addiction."


Herb has a shop and will handle the restoration and the upgrades. He needs the perfect kit for his dream Model "E" and wants to do most of the EV conversion, although he will consider shipping the car to a converter in Wisconsin and neighboring states.

According to Herb, the car is in a "pretty rough" state. It hasn't had an interior or engine/transmission for 40 years.  So he braced it with a 1" square tube to ensure it doesn’t fold up while on the rotisserie. "It will be built with full fenders, hood, original grill shell, and dark paint.  Maybe a dark blue body, with red pinstripes along the beltline contour, and black fenders & sun visor." 255 front and 295 rear tires will equip the Model “E” with disc brakes at all four corners. Power steering and AC must be considered optional.


Initially, the factory engine delivered 40 hp. Herb does not know the power and torque he wants for his Model "E". He aimed for the 200-300 hp range but realized it might be unrealistic considering the voltage required versus the room available for the battery pack. 

Although he chopped the top by 2" "the Model "E" will never be an aero design; wind noise will be huge over 50 mph.". Ultimately, high torque (at 0 rpm) will probably be an essential criterion before power. He expects a top speed of 70 mph and a 130-mile-plus range.


For the motor and transmission, Herb wants to put the motor directly in front of the differential with no transmission or driveshaft "if it's reasonable to do that". He will start with a new aftermarket frame with independent front suspension and R&P steering. The IRS that he may use is the one from kugel komponents: https://kugelkomponents.com/independent-rear-suspensions/ specifically the black mild steel version with the Winters quick change center section (knowing that the pinion can be moved to a higher location) which would allow easy ratio changes to suit the road/track. Herb is open to suggestions; any reasonable ideas about anything will be considered.


This rear-wheel drive train is light (2,300 lbs factory curbweight), but the frame doesn't leave much room for the battery pack. Herb plans to put batteries between the frame rails as much as possible all the way to the front cross member. - which explains why the motor should be as close to the rear axle as possible. The original engine bay under the hood & trunk will remain open for any other equipment necessary.

Herb also contacted eLeapPower about their integrated inverter. This "game-changing solution allows vehicles to charge directly from the grid without an on-board charger and can achieve higher performance in both driving and charging operation."

Herb will handle the replacement of the superstructure of the body along with patch panels for the lower portions. The body will get matched to the frame by dropping it with the rotisserie, and then the cross members (body & frame)  will be constructed to accommodate the motor, suspension, and batteries.

    • SKU
  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
    Model A
  • Location
  • Run
  • Street use
  • Drivetrain
  • Transmission
    -- Other
  • Front brakes
  • Rear brakes
  • Upgrade brakes
  • Upgrade wheels/tires
  • Upgrade suspension
  • Upgrade interior
  • Power steering
  • AC
  • Primary charging location
  • Charging station needed
  • DIY
    yes for most of it
  • EV conversion training needed
  • Ship vehicle to shop
    Yes, same state and neighboring states
  • EV drive train
    Rear-wheel drive (RWD)
  • EV HP
    -- I don't know
  • EV torque
    -- I don't know
  • EV expectations
    Two times more powerful than today
  • EV top speed
    70 mph
  • EV range
    130-150 miles
  • EV charging time
    High (few hours)
  • Towing
  • Use of used parts
    I don't know
  • Apr 20, 2023, 09:13 AM
    John Metric (Lonestar EV Performance)
    Lonestar EV Performance makes a simple ring adapter that bolts onto the front of a Ford differential pinion flange. And then bolts the motor drive end to that adapter. See pictures on Facebook look for Lonestar EV Performance.
  • Apr 18, 2023, 08:23 AM
    Lawson Sumner (Ampere EV)
    Our Junction Box may be a great fit to enhance your build! View the store page for specifications, but the Atom Drive Junction box includes fusing for your motor and accessories as well as circuits for precharge, discharge, and main negative contactor. The junction box could be used with a variety of battery and control system setups!
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