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1980 Ford

Shay Model A


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Engine Size
2.3 Liter I4
Transmission Type
4 Speed Manual

1980 Ford Shay Model A

1980 Ford Shay Model A

Take a look at Harry Shay's effort to provide the nostalgic looks of the Model A Ford roadster with the ease of a late-model car. Now, however, even commonplace cars of the Shay's 1978-'82 era (and its successor, by Camelot Motors) are open to consideration as something more than just transportation. As such, one can consider the Shay as a contemporary to the Pinto, on which it was based, rather than in the context of its 1920s inspiration. Take into account its approximately 5,000-unit production run and it's even something of a rarity.

For consignment a deal between Harry Shay and the Ford Motor company to produce a replica of the Model A without the unreliability of the mechanicals, rough rides, or problems with the old steel bodies, and a fully function replica of the classic Model A. These were even offered through Ford dealers and based on the Pinto platform.

Full on fiberglass exactly replicating the original Model A with its cowled hood, short doors, rumble seat, convertible top, and dual bar chrome bumpers, and swooping black fenders and running boards it is looking much like the 1920's all over again. Patina black paint dances with various chromed and polished trimmings on the body like side view mirror, door handles, headlights and of course the main front grille. Shiny chromed 18-inch spoked wheels wrapped with wide whites, adorn the corners, and even the spare is inserted into the driver's fender. Those black fenders curve up and down in front and in back and are held together by a running board with an inserted chromed framed rubber grip for easier entry. On the back is a large back trunk for tool storage, however with this modern version, I doubt you'll need to do any mid trip wrenching, so just pack your clothes here! A very nice condition black canvas top has a yellowed plastic rear window. The rumble seat is in very nice condition and perfect distance away from the driver for the mother-in-law. Noted on a few surfaces paint is showing some aging and slight scratches in the form of dulling, and some chrome shows early signs of rust.

A simple black bench in vinyl stretches from door to door. Upfront the black padded dash houses the “mask” like instrument cluster, but with just a twist of modern design from its predecessor original. A dash mounted stereo is seen on the passenger's side, and black carpet is flooding the floor. The steering wheel has modern turn signals and wiper levers, hazard flashers and a locking ignition. On top is a smaller steering wheel to make driving just a bit less unwieldy.

Slightly more complex than the original Model A under the cowls, now mounted is an overhead cam 4-cylinder engine, 140 cubes with 88hp from the Ford. A very recognizable setup for any mechanic, now much easier to have worked on if a problem should arise. This car is also equipped with a FOG 4-speed manual transmission, and a 3.08 rear axle. A bit more complex than the late 1920's version underneath this hood, it is just more electronics noted. Some surface rust in a fine coating is also present on various parts under this hood, along with a round red air cleaner housing.

Pinto independent suspension, rack and pinion steering, and front disc and rear drum setup, the frame is solid and shows some surface rust. Mostly fiberglass abounds underneath, as well as the fairly clean underside of the engine and transmission. Slight surface rust upfront from scraping of parking lot cement bumpers, but definitely structurally sound.

The combination of '70s engine, chassis and braking technology with a 1920s ride height and 1930s tires makes the Shay a uniquely handling automobile. The experience is very similar to a Model A until you turn the corner or step on the brakes, at which point the more-modern technology makes its presence known in a positive way. On uneven surfaces, however, my ride told me that the shimmy and wander of the skinny bias-ply tires bring back the old days. It ran just peachy, and was a hoot to drive, wandering left and right or not.

One would expect the usual Model A sound, cantankerous starting, lack of modern drive-ability, however this car offers up a pleasant surprise. It is easy to drive, and also attracts attention as any Model A would. When something goes wrong, just take it to your local Ford dealer..Shay what??!

Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special interest automobile showroom, featuring over 600 vehicles for sale with showroom space for up to 1,000 vehicles. Also, a 400 vehicle barn find collection is on display.
This vehicle is located in our showroom in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, conveniently located just 1-hour west of Philadelphia on the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike. The website is www.classicautomall.com and our phone number is (888) 227-0914. Please contact us anytime for more information or to come see the vehicle in person.