How To Start A Model A

Starting a Model A can be a charming trip back to the early 20th century. These iconic vehicles require more hands-on interaction than their modern counterparts, which is part of their appeal. In this article, we’ll cover various aspects like starting the Model A carburetor, comparison with the Model T, the nuances of starting and driving a Model A Ford, how to jump start it, and a brief look at starting a 1930 Model A.

Model A Carburetor: Getting Started

When starting a Model A, one of the first things you’ll encounter is the carburetor. Unlike modern vehicles with electronic fuel injection systems, the Model A relies on a carburetor to mix air and fuel. Here’s how to get it started:

  1. Choke the Engine: Pull out the choke rod located on the dashboard.
  2. Turn the Key: Insert the key and turn it to the “on” position.
  3. Adjust the GAV: Adjust the Gas Adjusting Valve to regulate fuel-air mixture.
  4. Crank the Engine: Using the hand crank or starter motor, crank the engine.

List of Carburetor Adjustments

  • Choke Rod
  • Gas Adjusting Valve (GAV)
  • Throttle Lever
  • Mixture Needle Valve

Once the engine fires up, gradually push in the choke rod and fine-tune the GAV for optimal performance.

How to Start a Model T vs Model A

The Model A succeeded the Model T and came with several upgrades, especially in the starting department. The Model T was started with a hand crank exclusively, but the Model A offered an electric starter as an option.

Table Comparing Model T and Model A Starting Process

Model TModel A
Hand Crank OnlyHand Crank or Electric Starter
No Key IgnitionKey Ignition
Simpler CarburetorMore Adjustable Carburetor
No Dashboard ControlsDashboard Controls for Choke and Throttle

Read more about the history of Model A and Model T here.)

How to Start and Drive a Model A Ford

Starting a Model A Ford isn’t the end of the story; driving it is an experience in itself. To get moving:

  1. Press the Clutch: Depress the clutch pedal all the way.
  2. Shift Gears: Put the gear lever in the first gear.
  3. Release Handbrake: Lower the handbrake lever.
  4. Add Throttle: Slowly add throttle while releasing the clutch.

The throttle and spark are adjusted via levers on the steering column, unlike modern cars where these are automatically controlled.

Key Driving Controls in a Model A

  • Steering Column Levers for Throttle and Spark
  • Foot Pedals for Clutch, Brake, and Gas
  • Handbrake lever
  • Gear Shifter

How to Jump Start a Model A Ford

Jump-starting a Model A isn’t as straightforward as hooking up jumper cables to a modern car. Due to its 6-volt electrical system, you’d need another 6-volt source or a specialized jumper that can down-convert 12 volts to 6 volts.

  1. Turn Off Both Cars: Ensure that both cars are turned off.
  2. Attach Cables: Connect the jumper cables to the batteries.
  3. Start Donor Car: Start the donor vehicle first.
  4. Crank Model A: Crank the Model A’s engine.
  5. Disconnect: Once it’s running, disconnect cables in reverse order.

Starting 1930 Model A

how to start a model a2
how to start a model a1

The 1930 Model A came with some refinements over its predecessors, but the starting process remains largely the same. One thing to note is that the 1930 model is likely to have an upgraded electrical system or parts, which might make starting it slightly easier.

Quick Tips for Starting 1930 Model A

  • Check for any modern upgrades like electronic ignitions.
  • Always start with a well-charged 6-volt battery.
  • Keep the engine well-maintained for easier starts.

Final Thoughts

Starting a Model A Ford offers a visceral experience that modern cars can’t replicate. From manually adjusting the carburetor to cranking the engine, each step involves direct interaction with the machine. While it may seem daunting, a little practice will make you proficient, and there’s plenty of satisfaction in mastering the art of starting and driving this vintage gem.

Hello! I'm Charlie Carr, blogging from the heart of Arizona. My stories celebrate its vast deserts, rich heritage, and urban buzz. Off the keyboard, I'm hiking Sedona's trails or gazing at our starlit skies. Join me in exploring the wonders of the Grand Canyon State and beyond!

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