1929 Ford Doodlebug Found in the Woods Gets First Wash in Decades, Engine Still Runs

1929 Ford doodlebug 7 photos
Photo: AMMO NYC/YouTube
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Ever heard of the Ford Doodlebug? Of course, you haven't, it's not even a real nameplate. Doodlebug is a slang name for a home-built tractor during World War 2. Why did farmers build their own tractors? Well, since most manufacturers were required to support the American war effort, farming equipment was in short supply.
So farmers took things into their own hands and turned old cars into small tractors. Most of them were usually Ford Model A automobiles from the 1920s, which had their body panels and interior appointments removed. Most of them also had their wheelbases shortened. To most people, they're not a pretty sight, but I think they're cute. As a bug.

Let's say I like them because I have a thing for weird vehicles in general, but doodlebugs are an important part of American history. These contraptions actually have a cult following in certain parts of the U.S., to the point where enthusiasts are dragging rusty doodlebugs out of the woods to put them back on the road.

A while ago I introduced you to a 1930 Ford doodlebug that was saved after spending more than 70 years in a forest. Now it's time to see another one, this time around based on a 1929 Model A, come back to life.

This doodlebug was also abandoned in the woods, but it didn't spend so many years off the road. Parked behind a farm in 2013, the doodlebug was recently dragged out of the bushes by its owner, who wanted to get it running again.

The tractor is obviously in rough shape. Even though it spent only eight years off the road, you can tell that it didn't get a lot of maintenance in recent decades. The yellow paint is almost gone and most of the body is now covered in surface rust. Yes, I call that patina and I love it on really old cars, but rust can be an issue when it goes near the drivetrain.

In this case, it got into the gearbox, which was stuck, so the tractor couldn't move. But the owner quickly fixed it with a hammer and a screwdriver and even managed to start the engine with a new battery and alternator. What a beautiful sight to see this old doodlebug run again.

Not only that, but after a quick tune-up and a set of new tires, the tractor got its first cleaning and detailing in decades. Since the owner has decided to preserve it as is, the rusty sheet metal got the treatment it needs to survive for a few more decades.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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