When he was a teenager, Jim Sulser went to a car show in Mexico, Mo., and fell in love with early automobiles.
Soon after, he bought the body of a 1928 Model A Ford two-door sedan.
“At the time when I bought this car in ’78, I would have been 18,” Sulser says. “Most kids my age were like, ‘What do you want that for?’ ”
It took him about four years to restore the car the first time. He was moving around a lot back then, and before it was done he had worked on it in 13 different garages.
Sulser painted the Model A brown, drove it for 10 years and put 50,000 miles on it.
Then he decided to put in a new motor, a goal that ended up sidelining the car for about 20 years. When he had the car apart, he decided to change the suspension so it would ride more smoothly. Then he started to think of more and more changes he would like to make.
Pretty soon the whole project was put on the back burner while he was raising a family. Sulser gathered parts for it over the years, but little else.
In 2011, he decided to get the car going again and got down to the business of rebuilding it. This time he picked the color he had always wanted for it: black, with red trim.
“I had a bunch of people that thought I had a different car, it changed so much,” he says.
One of the challenges with a Model A was that it originally would have come with a cloth top. Sulser fashioned a roof for the car from a 1987 Ford Bronco II. The 454 Chevy engine is exposed for looks, but also because cars that old did not have much room for a radiator.
Sulser says he gets the car out and drives it in the summer. He takes it to some shows, but mostly just enjoys driving it. He is currently working on restoring another vehicle.
Sulser says he gets lots of comments from older people who would have seen this type of car on the road.
“I’ve just always enjoyed the old cars,” he says. “They all looked different. Some of the newer ones, they kind of get to looking alike, but the old ones are all different.”
Contact Darren at 515-953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”