Pick of the Day: 1930 Ford Model A police ‘paddy wagon’

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The Ford Model A has an arresting appearance

Nobody really calls a police van a “paddy wagon” anymore, but in the 1930s when urban police departments were largely populated by Irish patrolmen, that was the going term for the specialized trucks used to haul away bad guys. Presumably, to the hoosegow.

The Pick of the Day is a 1930 Ford Model A restored as a seemingly accurate rendition of a period patrol wagon, the kind you see in old black-and-white gangster movies with Jimmy Cagney or Edward G. Robinson being shoved inside by burly cops.

The body is fashioned from wood

Recently built on the platform of a U.S. Mail truck of the era, the paddy wagon is loads of fun, gets lots of attention at car shows and runs well, according to the Malone, New York, dealer advertising the Ford on ClassicCars.com.

“We just had it out for a local tour and what a great time we had with it,” the dealer recounts in the listing. “It does 40-45 mph easily with the high 3rd gear, and handles great.”

The Model A is powered by its original four-cylinder engine and geared low for city driving, so don’t expect to do any high-speed chase scenes. But with its low first gear, the wagon would be an ideal entry as a slow-moving parade vehicle, the seller notes.

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The Model A’s simple controls

“It has a tilt-out front windshield, vintage ah-ooga horn, steel grates in six windows, sliding door between passenger/driver compartments, sliding driver’s and passenger door, vintage military rear lock, beveled slatted vinyl covered wood roof, signal lights, battery shutoff (and) gas shutoff,” according to the listing.

Collectors of vintage police and military vehicles comprise an active subset of the collector car hobby. Authentic vintage service vehicles are preferred, but such an apparently nicely done replica of an 87-year-old paddy wagon should have appeal for a police-car fan.

This unique Model A seems reasonably priced at $35,900.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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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 SPEED.com, 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.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I was lucky enough to grow up with a Scottish name and not be the victim of anti-Irish prejudice, but I am Irish. You claim nobody calls it a “Paddy Wagon”, but I’ve heard this term all my life and yet you repeat this Irish slur several times in your article. To Irish Americans the term Is as offensive as the N word. Call it a police wagon or van.

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