The Model A – Necessary Upgrades Before The Trek

This is a segment from the notes provided to us by an actual participant in the 2013 Trek from Peking to Paris. The one we will be taking.

The Model A is a great choice of vehicle but it needs some basic upgrades in addition to those specified by the ERA. Junk the factory carb and use a Weber downdraft conversion with a manual choke. Much more reliable and will deliver more power (you’ll need it). Install two sets of large inline fuel filters along with a water separator ahead of your carb. Fuel in Mongolia and rural Russia is awful. Convert the car to ‘40 Ford juice brakes.

Mandatory: Find a 10-leaf rear spring and install it! The standard 7-leaf spring is not satisfactory and WILL break! Install a racing fuel cell behind the drivers seat and plumb it separately from the cowl tank. Be able to switch tanks in case one fuel line clogs from sand/debris. (Trust me on this!) Again, make sure you have redundancy in your filters. Have a master power disconnect switch installed and use it always. Have two batteries installed. Install turn signals, back-up lamps, flashers and powerful off-road lighting up-front. (You’ll need it.)

If you’re building an engine, H&H Flatheads in CA are the acknowledged experts! I’d use them and them only! (They sent me a short-block at the 10th hour and it worked flawlessly!) If you build an engine, build it for durability but bore it and deck it a bit to get about another 10HP from it – it’ll come in handy.

Make sure you’re really familiar with your car and that you can handle all the basic maintenance along the way. If you’re not mechanically inclined or experienced, now’s a really good time to learn! You will have support from the event mechanics (great bunch of guys – tell Skippy and the guys I said Hi!) but if you break down behind the pack, you’re 100% on your own (they won’t come back for you)!

Research everything and do your homework up-front. Last-minute surprises are generally not good.