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
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
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
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.