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The Restorer, Jim Spawn, editor, Model A Ford Club of America A. Are you sure you’re not referring to the later Model B engines, which were nearly identical to Model A’s? I have several detailed books on Model A’s, and none mentions changing the external oil return tube prior to end of Model A engine manufacture in March 1932. Four-cylinder Model B engines, without the tube, continued in production through 1934. Model B engines did not require the return tube, as oil was pressure-fed to the camshaft and main bearings. In Model A engines, the oil was pumped up to the valve chamber, then trickled down to the bearings. The return tube allowed excess oil to drain down to the oil pan. Model B engine production seems to have been around 200,000 units. Interestingly, Ford offered a four-cylinder truck in 1941, but not with the Model B engine. Instead, it used the 119.7-cubic inch, 30-hp unit from the 9N Ford tractor. Not many were sold. I was not familiar with the Pietenpol airplane. With a little research I found the story of Bernard Pietenpol, a self-taught mechanic from Minnesota. His Pietenpol Air Camper was designed to be built by owner-hobbyists from spruce and plywood. The Model A engine was selected as a readily available powerplant, although later Pietenpol designs used Model T and other engines, up to and including the air-cooled Corvair. The Air Camper plans were originally published in 1932. Bernard’s grandson Andrew Pietenpol now operates the Pietenpol Aircraft Company (www.pietonpolaircraftcompany.com) in Cottage Grove, Minn., where you can purchase plans and kits for both the Air Camper and the lighter, single-seat Sky Scout. Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

   

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