The Model AA Bus Restoration Project
The Ford Motor Company provided Model AA chassis to many different non-Ford body builders who independently produced a wide variety of different
commercial vehicles. However, for two vehicles - the Ford School Bus and the Ford Passenger Bus - Ford contracted directly with the Union City Bus Company,
Union City, Indiana. Using Union City-produced bodies, Ford introduced the Ford School Bus (330-A) in May 1931 and the Ford Passenger Bus (330-B) in December
1931. The School Bus was produced on both the 131 1/2" and 157" chassis; the Passenger Bus only on the 157" chassis.|
With the recent acquisition of an unrestored 1931 Ford Passenger Bus, the Model A Ford Foundation, Inc. (MAFFI) has launched a challenging new restoration project.
It was last spring when we delivered the chassis to the Coastal Carolina A's led by Don Temple and Grier Flieschhauer. They have done a magnificent job of restoring the chassis and by early February are expecting to install the engine and transmission into the chassis thereby finishing it up soon after.
Larry Wallace and Steve Burton came over from Gand Blanc MI and rented a trailer to take the roof wood home for complete duplication. Larry and Steve are probably out shopping for some wood these days and have a large task ahead of them.
We also placed the bus body on a trailer and moved it to the shop of Bob Lederer. Bob is a collector of antique cars and has a restoration shop in Elk Grove Village IL. His crew is going to be doing the sheet metal panel repair on the sides and doors of the bus body. The Bus Boys from Woodstock will travel to Bob's shop and do the grunt work of disassembly and assist in any way they can to help keep the cost down.
This 21-seat bus, in need of a full restoration, was a generous donation to the Foundation by long-time MAFFI supporter Ken Ehrenhofer, from
Woodstock, Illinois. The 330-B Ford Passenger Bus is a rare commercial vehicle - with only three known to exist today. It was produced with luxurious, genuine leather trimmed
seats. wood-grained mahogany trim, nickel-plated interior hardware, and a marble-patterned linoleum covered floor. Vertical mirrors were mounted between the windows so a
lady could fix her hair or a gentleman could straighten his tie.
The goal is to have the MAFFI bus completely restored to its original condition and then put into service at the Gilmore Car Museum campus where the Model A Ford Museum is located. The bus will not be on display in the Museum itself. Instead, it will be loaned to the Gilmore and available to transport visitors around the Gilmore's car museum campus when needed.
The AA bus was found in a fairly complete, but rough, condition and is currently in its original, unrestored, partially-disassembled state. A group of eager volunteers, headed by Ken Ehrenhofer, has already begun the restoration process. The full restoration could take as long as several years to complete, depending on the pace of volunteer assistance and donated parts and services.
Updates on the restoration process will be posted on this website and through the planned bus project electronic monthly newsletter. There will also be a raffle set up in support of the Bus Restoration Project. The winning raffle ticket holder will be treated to a trip to see Jay Leno's car collection in Los Angeles.
This restoration project will be a Model A community-wide undertaking. Lots of assistance - in terms of monetary contribution and donations of time, talent and parts - will be needed for its successful completion. If you would like to contribute to these restoration efforts, mail your donation to:
Model A Ford Foundation, Inc.
Attention: Bus Restoration Project
P.O. Box 28
Peotone, IL 60468-0028
This project is being coordinated for the Model A Ford Foundation by MAFFI Trustee Ross Milne. The restoration itself is being organized and managed by Ken Ehrenhofer. For more information and to learn where you can help, contact Ken (firstname.lastname@example.org or 630.697.3906) and Ross (email@example.com or 905.455.6615).