The Model A was the “New Car” that took Ford from the ranks of the simple utilitarian Model T to the top of an automobile with rugged good looks. The elder Henry Ford was hesitant to discontinue the Model T, but his son Edsel convinced him otherwise. Henry plunged headlong into the Model A project, designing the engine and chassis himself while Edsel oversaw the vehicle styling.
Edsel modified features from from the Lincoln, rounded fenders, the shape of its nickel-plated radiator shell, its hood-to-passenger space relationship, and reconstructed them for the Model A which was substantially shorter. The amazing success of the designs (since the Model A was offered in more than half a dozen body styles) was the fact that he was able to keep the proportions right for each model.
The Ford factory was closed for 6 months while making the change over from the Model T to the Model A. This new vehicle was a 4 cylinder, 3 speed machine with features that Henry had never envisioned in 1908 when he introduced the Model T. The new engine displaced 201 cubic inches and reached 40 horsepower making it twice as powerful as the Model T. With 40 horsepower, the Model A offered better than average acceleration and a top speed of 65 miles per hour versus the Model T’s top speed of 43 miles per hour. Other improvements included 4 wheel mechanical brakes replacing the 2 wheel brakes and shocks replacing leaf springs. The Model A had over 1800 more parts then the Model T’. In spite of the great depression and business losses from the 6 month factory shut down, 4.5 million Model A’s were sold between 1927 and 1931. Ford out sold Chevrolet two to one in their best year 1930. When it was introduced to the world in 1928, the Ford Model A created a frenzy unheard of in the car business. Within 36 hours of its debut, more than 10 million people had seen the car in person.
Seven of the models produced from 1928 through 1931 included:
Ford Model A Sedan
The Sedan was probably the most popular of the body styles especially the 2 door.
It was basically the family sedan of the Model A bodies and at $495 for the 2 door and $570 for the 4 door, it was great value and extreme luxury after the faithful Model T.
Ford Model A Coupe
The Ford Model A Coupe proved to be a very popular body style for the Ford design team. It was an elegant vehicle for the ladies as well as a very versatile car for businessmen of that era. Some models came with a rumble seat in place of the boot which gave the option of an extra two seats for the fair weather traveler.
Ford Model A Phaeton
The Phaeton was full 4 seater open air motoring and at a very reasonable price too just $460. Full side screens could be fitted in the event of bad weather.
In June 1930, Ford launched the DeLuxe Phaeton which was a luxury 2 door car with two individual seats rather than a bench seat and trimmed in leather.
Ford Model A Roadster
The Roadster just had to be a real winner with young ladies and gentlemen in 1928.
It was a low priced Sporty open air car and with a launch price of only $385.
The optional rumble seat changed the boot to an extra 2 seats which was an extremely popular choice for model A owners.
Ford Model A Cabriolet
The Cabriolet model was not produced until March 1929.
It was a luxury version of the roadster but with wind up windows and a standard rumble seat. A slant windscreen model was launched in late 1931 and remains quite rare due to the low production numbers.
Ford Model A Convertible Sedan
The Convertible Sedan known as the A-400 was introduced in May 1931.
It was a five passenger vehicle and a new unique design In the sporty DeLuxe line of cars. With it’s leather interior and luxury credentials, It remains very sought after with only 5093 vehicles produced.
Ford Model A Pickup
The Pick Up was a very popular commercial vehicle available with a closed or open style cab. The open style had what looked like a roadster type convertible top but was in fact fixed.
An interesting fact about the above photograph is the 1931 Ford was parked in front of a gast station that was built to the exact blueprints from an original statiuon built in 1904. It is complete and to scale inside and out.