Robert Elayer restores 1929 Model A

August 26, 2011 10:31 pm

 Robert Elayer’s father taught him to be self-sufficient and fix things by himself.

The Brookings resident used that trait to turn a rusted, battered 1929 Model A into a showpiece.

The vintage vehicle, which Elayer began refurbishing in 2008, will be displayed at the MDA Benefit Car Show at Lucky 7 Casino on Saturday, Sept. 3.

 

 

Robert Elayer, left, shows his restored 1929 Model A which includes rebuilt original engine, center, and new upholstery in the interior, right. The Pilot photos/Jef Hatch

The event will be from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and feature cash and prize raffles along with a 50/50 drawing. Proceeds go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Elayer’s red and black Ford is sure to be one of the top attractions at the show sponsored by the Curry County Cruisers. The car’s shiny exterior and immaculate interior reflect the effort of more than 1,000 hours of work.

“I always wanted a Model A since I was a kid,” Elayer said. “I just like antiques.”

The Tidewater Contractors Inc. employee was on assignment in Lakeview when he spotted the car in a barn. He learned it was owned by his boss, Jess Fitzhugh, and they eventually arranged a sale.

Elayer was happy with the purchase, but knew he had a big job ahead.

“I said, ‘Oh my gosh. What have I gotten into?’ The interior was a total mess.”

However, only a few parts were missing. He got three new wheels from eBay and bought a new axle.

A local machine shop rebuilt the engine and Elayer did all the other work, including painting it in his garage. He rebuilt the transmission and put in new upholstery.

“I had never done anything like this so I had to learn as I went,” Elayer said.

He recalled finding baling wire used in the original engine, saying that wasn’t unusual in the old days.

“It was a people’s car,” Elayer said. “They did all kinds of jerry-rigs to keep them going.”

The car has an authentic 1929 license and under Department of Motor Vehicles rules for special licenses he isn’t allowed to drive it on a daily basis. However, it’s approved for car club use and infrequent short road trips.

“I drive it whenever I can to keep it up,” Elayer said.

The four-cylinder Model A runs comfortably at 45 mph.

The proud owner has won four trophies at car shows. Those include second place at the Azalea Festival, Best of Show at a contest in Harbor, Best Antique at a Gold Beach show and People’s Choice in Coquille.

 However, he isn’t really interested in awards.

“I just appreciate people liking my car.”