HomePick of the Day1929 Ford Model A roadster

1929 Ford Model A roadster


The 1929 Ford Modal A roadster is a classic representation of an early dry-lakes speed racer
The 1929 Ford Modal A roadster is a classic representation of an early dry-lakes speed racer

“Dry lake” means something different in Southern California than it does in the rest of the world. Speed-obsessed hot rodders since the late 1940s have viewed the flat, dusty expanses of prehistoric lake beds as perfect places to go fast, fast enough to break records, and to do so in an automotive style that created an entire subculture.

During our recent drive back from Monterey Classic Car Week to Phoenix on back roads across the Mohave Desert, we spotted quite a few of these eerie landscapes. It was easy to visualize speed-record cars roaring across the dry lake beds, kicking up tall rooster tails of dust behind them.

The Ford roadster ready to roar on an airport runway
The Ford Model A roadster ready to roar on an airport runway

The Pick of the Day is a celebration of dry-lake history, a 1929 Ford Model A roadster that pays homage to the pioneers of speed-record chasing. It was built in the 1980s by two-time world-land-speed record holder and 200 MPH Club member Butch Philips of Riverside, California, and was formerly owned by noted historic racer and street-rod builder Phil Braybrooks, according to the car’s listing on

The roadster is offered for sale by an Orange, California, classic car dealer, who says in the ad, “This Roadster exemplifies an era when they transformed from weekday driver to weekend racer, and is an iconic example of a true American Hot Rod. Since acquiring, all efforts were made during restorations, safety and engineering upgrades, to retain Butch’s signature of “stout simplicity” while preserving the most formative years of hot rodding.”

An old-school Ford flathead V8 with triple Strombergs provides the power
An old-school Ford flathead V8 with triple Strombergs provides the power

Powered by a classic Ford flathead V8 engine fitted with triple Stromberg carburetors and Edelbrock heads and manifold, the Model A has been totally restored after being rediscovered resting for decades in an airport hangar. Upgrades include Borg-Warner five-speed manual transmission, disc front brakes and electronic ignition, with the original distributor kept for the future owner.

The paint, pinstriping and interior are all original, says the seller, who adds that the roadster is “seriously fun to drive.”

The asking price seems pretty strong at $89,500, although this hot rod really is a piece of history, and it appears ready to be enjoyed on the street or else driven out to a dry-lake course to raise a rooster tail of its own.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. Oh my goodness Grady!
    What a beautiful old car. This era sure sings with both the style of clothing, music, and everything great about America in those early days! I really love to look at vintage “motor cars” from the 1920’s. my mind starts day dreaming about everything that was”in” back then. I am only 67 and certainly wasn’t around then but am so glad the cars still are. Those who own them are passionate about their cars; i am certain. I once had the chance to ride in an old car that had a rumble seat. As a young teen I can’t recall the make or model, but I sure remember the ride! What a novelty it was for me. I also remember riding in a 1929 Oakland. I sat in the back seat and remember how soft and comfortable the seat was. Everything was natural fiber back then NO VINYL! The rear windows had cloth shades to pull down for privacy or to block the sun. The bottom of the shades were adorned with frills along the length of the shade. I salute all of you who own and care for one of these great old cars. You are certainly to be honored for keeping history alive!

    Thanks to each of you,

    Daniel Delancy
    New Preston, CT

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