“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” So what to do if the aging 1930 Model A Cabriolet you’re using to deliver the mail isn’t cutting it in the heavy snows of typical Montana winters? If you were Milton Hill, of Bloomfield, MT (the post-original owner who first used it for mail delivery), you hire one Roman Chupp to convert the Briggs-bodied car into a ‘snowmobile’ capable of riding the drifts on huge Goodyear 11.25″ x 24″ tractor tires.
From the current owner’s eBay listing (which ended without meeting reserve), “The rear axle and wood spoke wheels are from a 1919 – 1927 Model TT Ford one ton truck. That axle assembly was installed in order to get the higher numerical axle ratio to handle the larger diameter tractor tires. The front wheels are made from mid 1928 – 1929 21″ Model A Ford wheels. The outer row of spokes was long enough to reach the dropped section on the inside of the 24″ tractor rims. The inner crossed spokes were too short to reach the tractor rims. They were completely removed and replaced with spokes about 3″ longer. All welds on this conversion were done with an acetylene torch because electric welders were virtually non-existent in rural Montana back in 1936 when this conversion was done.”
Be sure to click through and read the extensive history of the car on the eBay listing. One section that caught my eye reads, “At a recent Modal A meet… it was very interesting to note how people reacted to this gem. I would say the majority of them appreciated it for what it was made into and encouraged me to preserve it they way it is now. Several people simply could not understand how anyone could “hack up” a car as scarce and desirable as a Model A cabriolet is. Every time, I patiently reminded them that any Model A cabriolet was most likely nearly worthless in 1940 or 1941…”
Sounds mighty similar to the comments we get around here when a Donk or ‘art car’ is posted! I guess we’ll never get everyone to agree on what’s “right” for an old, worn-out car — who could have predicted that this old Model A, or a tapped out GM B-body, for that matter, would eventually change status from ‘just an old beater’ to something highly desirable?
At any rate, I was able to find a couple other converted Model A mail cars online – but apparently this was a fairly rare conversion, and only a few survive today. I’ll finish with a few more photos of this unique piece of Americana, and you can see more at the now-closed listing.