Hershey Lodge
6 - 7 October 2016
Lot 150

1931 Ford Model A DeLuxe Coupe with Custom House Trailer


$100,000 - $150,000 USD | Not Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
  • The custom-built house trailer and Model A of marine products salesman J.M. Keely
  • Trailer built using numerous original Model A components; original interior fixtures
  • A wonderful, evocative presentation for the dedicated Ford collector
  • The ultimate toy for the fishing enthusiast on the go

40 bhp, 200.5 cu. in. four-cylinder L-head engine with single carburetor, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with transverse semi-elliptical leaf spring, three-quarter floating rear axle with transverse leaf spring, and four-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 103.5 in.
Trailer: 268-in. long, 79-in. wide, and 90-in. tall

Occasionally, a vehicle comes along that conveys the nostalgic allure of an entire era, propelling one back to a simpler and more genteel way of life. This astonishing rig is one such vehicle—or, rather, two of them.

The combination of a 1931 Ford Model A DeLuxe Coupe and a custom-built house trailer, this caravan served as both the mobile sales platform and on-the-road accommodations of J.M. Keely, a salesman of Horrocks-Ibbotson “Best by Test” rods and other marine products in the coastal towns of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.

Keely’s Model A was modified with a heavily reinforced rear spring and cross-member, with the rear axle, hubs, brakes, and wheels of a Ford Model AA truck. The four-cylinder engine was fitted with two six-volt generators: one for the car and the other for twin storage batteries that power the running, tail, and interior lights of the trailer. The trailer itself, based on a Model AA truck rear axle, hub, and wheels, boasts brakes that are vacuum-operated from a unit in the Model A’s engine compartment. A 110-volt “shore power” system takes over for fans, lighting, and the radio, while the rig is parked at a trailer camp, and can also be run from a gas-powered home generator.

Further Model A accessories used throughout the custom trailer include the cranks and regulators for the windows, and the locks and hardware of the doors. The interior is nautically themed, appropriate to the wares behind sold within, and includes twin bunk beds, a hooded gas stove with an exhaust fan, an icebox, a sink with running water provided by a 25-gallon tank and hand pump, a writing desk, and cabinets for enamelware cookery and utensils. Canvas awnings are provided for roadside shade, while additional ventilation to the interior is supplied by two brass-screened roof vents. The trailer itself is mounted to the Ford by means of a Glenn Curtiss Aero-Coupler, designed by the aviation pioneer who also built the famous Curtiss Aerocar trailers beloved by wealthy travelers during the 1930s.

Offered with Keely’s caravan is a boatload of fishing supplies, including lures, rods, floats, oars, small outboard motors, and even road maps and letterhead used when the original owner was selling his wares to Depression Era customers.

The ultimate plaything for a fishing enthusiast, this is both a genuine historical document on wheels and an ideal “hospitality suite” for the fields of Hershey . . . this year, or any other.