JD W 1931 Ford Model A 2dr Coupe

Hard Times

Each time I drive my 31 Model A Coupe I can't help but remember back to my early teens, about 1953, to a cousin who also owned a similar Model A. He was a fireman and generally used it to drive to work and back. I remember riding in it several times and noticed a curious feature that I had never seen before. There was a manual valve mounted on the inside of the car near the gas gage and I noticed that he would switch the valve shortly after he had started the car and then back again sometime before we reached our destination. He explained the reason for the switching back and forth; At the time gasoline was selling for about 30 cents a gallon, but kerosene was only 7 cents per gallon. This Model A had two tanks or a split tank, one for gasoline and the other for kerosene. The car would not start using the kerosene so he would make sure that he switched the tanks before shutting it off in order to give the gas time to fill the carburetor. I remember him telling me what he had to do if he failed to switch it in time.

In my years of restoring and working with the Model A's I have never seen another car set up the way this one was, It was a sign of the hard times of earlier years when people saved any way they could. I've never been able to find out if this came from the factory with the two tanks or if it was the work of someone who just wanted to save money.

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