Henry Ford was born in 1863. The son of William and Mary Ford, Henry was raised on a farm just outside of Dearborn, Michigan. Henry met and married a woman named Clara Bryant in 1888. In 1891 they moved to Detroit so that Henry could start work at the Edison Illuminating Company as a repairman and technician. In 1893 the Duryea brothers from Massachusetts had performed a successful public automobile presentation. This was also the year that Henry and Clara's first and only son Edsel was born. Henry was doubly inspired. He began working harder, receiving several promotions and ending up as chief engineer of the steam engines that powered the Edison Illuminating Company. Henry was also hired to teach evening classes to machinists at a local YMCA. The contacts that he made at the YMCA seemed to have solidified his mechanical thinking.
In January of 1896, Henry visited a friend named Brady King and noticed two copies of the American Machinist on Brady's desk. The magazines contained a two-part article on how to build a simple gasoline engine from odds and ends. Henry became determined to build one. Late on Christmas Eve in 1895, Henry brought home a small engine that he'd built and wîth Clara's help, Henry successfully started and ran his first combustion engine. With this initial success, he decided to form a team of mechanics to help him build a real motorcar. Working in an old shed behind Henry's home on Bagely Avenue, they took a length of scrap pipe from an old steam engine, cut the pipe into two eleven inch lengths, and bored the pieces to 2.565 inches to create the cylinders. Fuel was fed to the engine simply by placing the fuel tank directly above the engine to let gravity do the work. Power was transferred to the wheels by a ten-foot length of chain. The car weighed no more than 500 pounds and was able to travel at 20 mph -
Though born in adversity, the Model A was the 'New Car' that took Ford from the ranks of the simple utilitarian Model T to the zenith of an automobile wîth serviceable good looks. The elder Henry Ford had been reluctant to bid farewell to the venerable 'T', but once he reached accord wîth son Edsel (who fought to build a new car), Henry plunged headlong into the Model A project. He designed the new chassis and engine himself, while Edsel oversaw the styling. The Model A's styling was sophisticated and derived mainly from Lincoln, which was overseen by Edsel.
The Ford factory was idle for 6 months pending a change-over to the Model A. The Model A was a 4 cylinder, 3-speed machine wîth features that Henry had never envisioned in 1908 when he introduced the Model T. The new engine displaced over 200 cubic inches and reached 40 horsepower, making it nearly twice as powerful as the T. Four wheel mechanical brakes replaced two, and shock absorbers replaced leaf springs. The new car had over 6800 parts, far more than the Model T, which had fewer than 5000. Despite the great depression, and the business losses stemming from the down time at the factory, 4.5 million Model A's were sold between 1927-1931, wîth Ford outselling Chevrolet two-to-one in the peak year 1930.
Collection of Dwight SanfordSource - SDAM
Although the Model T was the best-selling car in the Únited States of America in the mid-1920s, the growing popularity of low-priced competitors forced Henry Ford to bring out a new product. The first Model A rolled off the assembly line in October 1927. It offered more comfort and performance than comparably priced cars and came in nine different models, ranging from the $500 Tudor Sedan to the $1,200 town car. By the end of 1930, Ford had sold four million Model A's.
Collection of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.Source - Petersen Museum
The Ford Model A was a very popular automobile and succeeded the Model T in 1928. During the period of 1928 through 1931 there were approximately five million Model A's (all body styles) manufactured. The 1931 Model A Roadster was priced at $475.00 and weighed 2230 pounds - that's 22 cents a pound. There were 456,000 Roadsters produced by Ford during this four year period.
This Brewster Green Roadster with its Apple Green wheels and pinstripe was the original 1931 color and is currently in the identical configuration as manufactured by Henry Ford - no modifications. This car was on display for seven years in a restaurant called 'Roadsters' near Fredericksburg, Virginia. Prior to that time this Roadster won Senior National First Prize, Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA).
The Ford Model A Rumbleseat Roadster with stone brown exterior and emerald trim and black fenders was offered for sale at the 2006 Worldwide Group Auction held on Hilton Head Island where it was expected to fetch between $25,000-$35,000. It includes features such as a Lebarron Bonney top, dual side mounts, heater, rumble seat, full size rear mounted trunk, and wind wings. The rumble seat roadster was one of the most popular body-styles of its day, providing seating for up to three in the front, and three in the rumble seat. Three individuals in either the front or the rumble seat would be rather cramped, unless they were smaller in size, or children. 1931 was the final year of production for the Model A which had served as a replacement for the very popular Model T line. 1931 was also the year that Ford would surpass its 20 millionth vehicle produced.
At the conclusion of the Worldwide Group Auction, this vehicle was left unsold. By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2006
Highboy Rumble Seat
Sold for $30,000 at 2006 Bonhams. This is a 1931 Ford Model A Highboy Rumble Seat Roadster Hot Rod. It is in unrestored condition and is fitted with a 1935 Ford 6.00:16 inch wheels and Guide headlights. In current times, there is a trend to using fiberglass bodies to make recreations of this vehicle. This example has the original steel-bodied guise and is mostly original. Under the hood, the engine has been given special modifications. It has a high performance rocker arm head designed by Leo W. Goosen for Harry A Miller. Production of the head was handled by the Miller-Schofield Company, then by the Cragar Company. This head provides two enlarged intake valves and four exhausts.
This car was equipped with a lightened flywheel, aluminum pistons, and better ignition. Top speed was estimated to be 110 mph.
This car was offered for sale at the 2006 Bonhams & Butterfields auction held at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California where it was estimated to sell between $40,000 - $60,000. Though it is in pretty poor condition, the body-style is highly desirable. The upgrades alone are worth the selling price. The buyer of this vehicle got a bargain, when it was sold for $30,000 at auction, falling short of the estimated value. By Daniel Vaughan | May 2007
The most expensive production model available at its time. The Ford A400-A was manufactured during The Great Depression, and targeted the middle to high income customers. Production of the convertible sedan began on May 22, 1931 and was publicly available in June. The total production of this model was 5085 cars, with 208 (less than 100 survive today) of them assembled in Ford plants in other countries. It is generally accepted that the A400 was so named because at the same time there was a social register called 'The Four Hundred.' This register stood as a symbol of wealth and power, and one needed both of these to be considered a worthy addition. With leather upholstery, walnut wood-graining, and carpets, the A400 sold for about $640.
For sheer sportiness, no other Ford body style measured up to the Model A Deluxe Roadster. It was proudly displayed in dealer showrooms beginning in August of 1930. With its flashy two-tone paint, genuine leather seat, and abundance of bright-work, Henry Ford's sport car was a BIG HIT! The price tag was $520. During those years of the Great Depression, that $520 may have been as hard to come by as nearly $30,000 today.
Except for the bumpers, most of the bright work was not chrome, but rather, highly polished 'stainless' steel, which was durable and never rusted.
In the 1930s, whitewall tires were available as an after market accessory, however, as per Henry Ford's directive, all Model A's, even the sport models, rolled off the assembly line with blackwall tires.
The sportlights (spotlights), which are rarely seen on both sides, are an original accessory, as are the 'Fulton Upstart' starting level, and the oil pressure gauge.
Notice that the Model A has no dashboard as other cars have. What appears to be the dashboard is actually the gas tank, which allows for a simple 'gravity flow' fuel system to the carburetor. The four-cylinder flat head (actually 'L' head) engine delivers about 40-hrosepower, and provides for a comfortable cruising speed of 30-50 MPH.
Sold for $44,000 at 2007 RM Auctions. This 1931 Ford Model A Deluxe Rumble Seat Roadster was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held at Meadow Brook. The car was offered without reserve and estimated to sell between $30,000 - $40,000. It is powered by a four-cylinder engine that displaces 201 cubic-inches and is capable of producing 40 horsepower. Mechanical drum brakes can be found on all four wheels and the three-speed manual gearbox sends the power produced by the engine to the rear wheels.
This car was in the possession of its previous owner for 52 years. It has an older restoration that is still in good condition. It includes many desirable features such as the rumble seat, twin side mounts with canvas cover, luggage rack, two rear taillights, horn and chrome on the bumpers and radiator. The car is finished in correct Washington Blue with black fenders, yellow wheels and matching pin-striping. The interior and rumble seat are finished in a tobacco color and the canvas top is black.
Ford was able to weather The Great Depression by continuing to offer a product that was attainable by many. The Deluxe models had a price tag under $500 and included many popular accessories and amenities.
The Model A had been introduced in 1927 and was a worthy successor of the highly popular Model T Tin Lizzie. The Model A was a more refined car than its Model T sibling, with better reliability, greater performance, refined operation, and a variety of bodies that were versatile in any weather condition.
At auction this car was sold for $44,000. By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2007
The Ford A400 Convertible was produced in 1931 only. These were the rarest of all Model A's with only 5085 units produced.
Only the Deluxe version was produced in 1931. The deluxe version included leather trim and walnut interior wood graining.
This unit is #1750 of 5085. It is an AACA Junior, Senior and Grand National Winner.
This 1931 Ford Model A Deluxe Coupe was offered for sale at the 2007 Worldwide Group Auction held at Hilton Head Island, SC where it was estimated to sell for $20,000 - $25,000. It has a Deluxe Coupe body which was one of the more affordable and popular choices of the day. It had a very compact configuration with seating for three plus additional room for luggage. It is finished in original maroon with black fenders and black top. In the early 2000's this vehicle was treated to a complete body-on restoration with virtually everything reconditioned and reassembled. The exterior was repainted and the interior was given the hard-to-find mohair material. Many of the major components were rebuilt including the engine, transmission, clutch and brakes. A modern alternator was installed to guarantee trouble-free charging and starting.
The Model A was the replacement for the popular Model T. Prices ranged from $385 for a roadster to $570 for the top-of-the-line Fordor. The 201 cubic-inch L-head engine was capable of providing around 20 to 30 mpg.
These cars were very versatile and fit with nearly any configuration request. They came in a variety of body styles including the Fordor in either two or three windows, Victoria, Station Wagon, Truck, Town Car, Convertible Cabriolet, Phaeton, Business Coupe, Sport Coupe, Roadster Coupe, Tudor, and Coupe to name a few.
Production of the Model A would last until August 31, 1931 with 4,320,446 examples produced. It was replaced by the Model B.
On auction day, this was one of the last vehicles to cross the auction block. It was able to secure a new owner, one willing to pay slightly less than the estimated value, at $15,950 including buyers premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2007
Special Delivery Style 255-A Chassis Num: A4682692
Sold for $66,000 at 2007 RM Auctions. The Ford Model A followed on the coat-tails for the Model T, and was introduced in December 1927. It was, in many respects, similar to its predecessor, but incorporated a sliding-gear transmission, four-wheel brakes, and a larger and more powerful engine. There were Houdaille hydraulic double-action shock absorbers which gave a very comfortable ride; this was a feature uncommon on a lower priced vehicle. Over four years there were almost five million examples of the Model A produced.
The light commercial vehicles in the Model A lineup were available right from the beginning on the Model A. This included the 76-A and 82-A Roadster and Closed-Cab Pickups, respectively. After a short while, they were joined by Panel Delivery trucks, both standard and Deluxe, styles 79-A and 130-A. In 1930 the 295-A Town Car Delivery truck and 255-A Special Delivery were added to the list.
The 255-A Special Delivery was based on the 150-B Station Wagon. The 255-A had two-doors and solid side rear panels. This particular example is painted in Manila Tan and complemented with a wood body. The car is mostly solid though there are a few blemishes such as at the right cargo door which now wears a brace near the latch. The fenders are solid but a bit ruff. The interior is nice and appears to have weathered time in nice fashion. The steering wheel has no visible cracks. The horn is a modern replica and the front bumper is missing. The engine needs mechanical attention before proper use, but is operable. The odometer displays 41,995 miles since new, and it was last inspected in Pennsylvania in 1955.
This rare example of the Model A was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars sale at Hershey, PA presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $15,000 - $20,000 and offered without reserve. Bidding surpassed the estimates with the final bid settling at $66,000 including buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
Sold for $27,500 at 2007 RM Auctions. This 1931 Ford Model A Convertible Sedan, commonly referred to as the A400, was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars sale at Hershey, PA presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $14,000-$18,000 and offered without reserve. Bidding surpassed the estimates with the final bid settling at $27,500 including buyer's premium.
The convertible sedan was cataloged as body style 400-A, thus the A400 nickname, and was first introduced in 1931. Just under 5,000 examples were created before production of the Model A ceased in March of 1932. The body style would continue for one more year into 1932, available as a four-cylinder Model B or V8 Model 18. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
This 1931 Ford Model A Deluxe Roadster has been judged the Best National First Place Winner. It is well equipped, having many options including dual sidemounts, dual mirrors, rumble seat with toneau cover, six white wall tires, wipers, side curtains, dual cowl lights, horn, quail ornament, chrome stone quard, leather interior, etched glass wind wings, and trunk with rack. It is painted Ford Red with black fenders and straw wheels. The interior is brown leather than a tan Harts top.
Standard Fordor Sedan
This vehicle is a slant windshield Deluxe Murray Ford with dual sidemounts and loaded with nearly every available option of the era. It has a horn, rear window shade, dual tail lights, wipers, new trunk and rack, six whitewall tires, dual cowl lights, dual sidemounts and mirrors, and chrome stone guard.
This is a 1931 Ford Model A Victoria Two-Door Sedan painted in Ford Maroon and black with red wheels. The interior is brown mohair. It has dual tail lights, dual cowl lights, quail ornamentation, chrome stone guards, white-wall tires, trunk and rack, and rear mounted spare and cover. It has had a frame-off restoration and remains in great condition in modern times. By Daniel Vaughan | May 2008
The Model T Ford put America on the road but had become outdated by 1927 and the Model A was its replacement for 1928.
Edsel Ford designed and led the Model A project. Prices ranged from $385 for a roadster to $570 for the top-of-the-line Fourdoor. The engine was an L-head, 4-cylinder 40 horsepower with a displacement of 201 cubic-inches. Typical fuel consumption was 20 plus mpg.
This particular car is a 180A Sport Phaeton with a body built by Briggs Manufacturing for Ford. The original price of this car was $760 with options that included front and rear bumpers ($15 option), trunk rack ($10), side mount spare tires ($40), Quail radiator caps ($3) a second tail lamp ($4), and tire rear view mirrors ($9). Ford produced 2229 Sport Phaetons in 1931. An estimated 233 exist today.
The Ford Model A was built by the Ford Motor Co. from 1927 thru 1931. During this time there were over 3 million produced in domestic plants and over 400,000 produced overseas. The engine is an L-Head design, 4-cylinder with 201 cubic-inches (3.3 liter) producing 40 horsepower.
Sold for $23,100 at 2009 Worldwide Auctioneers. The Model A came equipped with nickel plated bumpers in both the front and rear, combination tail and stop lights, a driver's side windshield wiper, and an electric 'oo-gah' horn produced for Ford by Spartan. The car rode on 19-inch wheels, and was much easier to drive and steer than its predecessor. There were 12 different passenger car models offered, from an open roadster to elegant town cars and included the first factory built station wagon. Trucks were another mainstay of Ford's production, from large tractor type to lightweight utility models.
Ford introduced their new truck line in the mid-1930s. It had roadster type doors, wider fenders, and a one-piece flat folding windshield. The headlight pods and radiator shell were black and the interior wood floors were painted body color. The spare tire was positioned on the front fender well and the running boards had an embossed non-skid surface.
This particular Model A Roadster Pickup has been given a high quality restoration. There are five new period-style tires, fresh top, driver's side external rear view mirror, and tailgate chain protectors. It is one of only 2,637 open cab roadster pickups produced in 1931. It is painted in Hessian Blue and powered by a 200.5 cubic-inch L-Head four-cylinder engine rated at 40 horsepower. There is a three-speed manual transmission and four-wheel mechanical brakes.
In 2009, this Model A Roadster Pickup was offered for sale at the Houston Classic Auction in Seabrook, Texas presented by Worldwide Auctioneers. The lot was estimated to sell for $25,000 - $35,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot had been sold for the sum of $21,000, plus buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | May 2009
This 1931 Ford Model A 400 Convertible Sedan was Ford's first five-passenger convertible. USA production reached 4864 units and this car is one of approximately 100 running examples. The A 400 was also Ford's first vehicle with an ashtray. By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2009
The final year for Ford Model A production was 1931. That production year featured several new body styles, most notably the convertible sedan. This body style was announced in May 1931 but remained in production for only a few months. Total production was just over 5,000.
Styling was revised for the final year of Model A production, including a new radiator shell with a relief design. The chassis and drive train remained the same - powered by Ford's four cylinder motor that developed 40 horsepower.
This car was the recipient of a complete, body-off restoration in 2007. That year it received the Award of Excellence at the Model A Restorers Club (MARC) national meet.
This 1931 Ford Model A Pickup has recently completed a frame-off restoration. It is a Closed Cab Pickup finished in chocolate brown with black fenders and yellow trim. It is completely stock inside, outside and under the hood. Powering the truck if a Ford 220.5 cubic-inch L-head engine offering 40 horsepower and coupled to a 3-speed manual transmission with closed drive shaft and a banjo-type rear end.
In 2012, this car was offered for sale at the Glenmoor Gathering Auction presented by Classic Motorcar Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $20,000 - $30,000. By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2012
The Slant Windows came out in May of 1931 and were only produced for about 7 months. It was the first all-steel structure fordor for Ford and it was produced with all interchangeable parts between Ford, Murray and Briggs. Wood was only used for the top and for mounting interior parts.
The labor savings and body cost were phenomenal. The build-up costs of the earlier fordors were significant. Plus it required more expensive skilled labor to build the wood frame and then nail the metal to it.
It was also the first step towards better styling. The slanted windshield was also a safety feature. The parallel glass of the straight window bodies were a hazard at night. Parallax (the reflections between the front and rear windows) made it difficult to be sure if a car was coming in front or behind you.
A 1931 advertisement described the new slant window types: 'The Ford Town Sedan - This Sedan has recently been made larger and now embodies many deluxe improvements. The windshield has the approved 19-degree slant for greater beauty and safety (reduced nigh glare), while the straight line treatment of the molding is an authentic beauty note. The driver's seat is easily adjustable, even when occupied.'
Sold for $19,800 at 2015 RM Auctions. The 1931 Ford light-duty trucks were available in a variety of body styles including a bare chassis and drivetrain which allowed for custom bodies to be crafted. Buyers had the option of open and closed cabs and panel delivery models, along with other styles and options. Buyers even had the option of selecting from 38 different colors. Part way through the 1931 model year, a closed cab pickup was introduced and offered five more cubic feet of cargo space from the prior year's model. This quickly proved to be the most popular body style with 98,166 examples produced.
This 1931 Ford Model A Pickup was donated to the AACA museum in 2012 by an individual in New York. The AACA Museum used it often as their Christmas display and for food and toy drives.
This closed-cab pickup is powered by an L-head engine fitted with a single two-barrel carburetor and offering 40 horsepower. There is a three-speed manual transmission and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2015
Standard Tudor Sedan Engine Num: A4755319
Sold for $13,200 at 2016 RM Auctions. Sold for $7,150 at 2016 Bonhams. This 1931 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan was sold new to Charles A. Brown of Kingston, Pennsylvania, in late 1931 from Motor Twins dealership in nearby Wilkes Barre. It left the factory finished in black with apple green wheels and a green pinstripe. When Mr. Brown was in his nineties, he sold the car to Bernard Healey of Forty Fort, Pennsylvania, with just 14,000 miles on the odometer. Healey sold the car to Gast Classic Car Museum in Strasburg, Pennsylvania in May of 1982. When the Museum closed, the car was sold to Alan Greenleaf of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, in 1987. Mr. Healey's nephew found the car (after an exhaustive search) and purchased it - owning it well into his eighties. In 2007, a new interior was installed.
Cowl lights, accessory step plates, windshield visor, and grille guard have been added. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2016
This 1931 Ford Model A Coupe has a 4-cylinder 40 horsepower engine with a three-speed manual transmission, mechanical brakes, a rumble seat in the rear and will reach a top speed of 55/60 MPH. It was built at the Ford Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan in March of 1931. The Model A was the first automobile built at the Rouge.
These cars were made from 1928 through 1931. There were about 5,000,000 manufactured. There are still about 500,000 still on the road today, many were converted to hot rods.
The current owner has owned this car for about five years.
The name Model A was first used by Ford in 1903 and also known as the Fordmobile. This was the first vehicle produced by the Ford Motor Company and its first owner was Dr. Ernst Pfenning of Chicago, Illinois who purchased the Model A on July 23, 1903. Production of the first generation Model A lasted from 1903 through 1905 with 1750 examples being produced.
Automobile production was new and experiments with design, techniques, and technology were still being experimented with. Many early producers of the automobile had been in either the coachbuilding business or the bicycle business. Upon the invention of the automobile, they switched to the production of horseless carriages.
Henry Ford had $28,000 in investment capital to begin his new business. Upon completion of his first motorcar, he had spent all but $223.65. The Model A's were available as either a two-seater runabout or a four-seater tonneau. A flat-2 engine was horizontally-mounted midship and capable of producing 8 horsepower. A three-speed planetary transmission was matted to the engine. Dimensions and weight varied but the advertised top speed of the vehicle was about 45 miles per hour. The base price was $750 and was available with options such as a rear seat for $100. A rubber roof would set the buyer back an additional $30 while the leather roof was $50.
The Model A was replaced by a sequence of 'letter cars' until Ford produced the perfect combination of accordability and reliability with the Model T. It was mass produced and by 1914 the adaptation of the assembly line streamlined the process even further. By the 1920s, Ford had mobilized the United States with their customers wanting more and willing to pay more for it. Chevrolet's were becoming popular because they were similar to the Ford but offered a few extra amenities at a slightly higher but still reasonable price. Near the close of the 1920's and after sales began to slip, Ford realized that a replacement was needed.
So as production came to a close for the Model T, Henry Ford halted all production for six months to retool the equipment and prepare for the production of the Model A. The second generation of the Ford Model A began on October 20th, 1927. Sale of the Model A began on December 2nd, 1927 and was offered in four colors. The Model had been available in the United States only in black because it dried the fastest.
The public eagerly awaited the sale of the Model T's replacement and were not disappointed. It was a stylish and elegant vehicle, which had been designed by Henry Ford's son, Edsel. In comparison to its predecessor, it was more sophisticated and complex.
The cost of the second generation Model A, produced 24 years after the original Model A was sold for $365 less, with price ranging from $385 through $570. The car was powered by an L-head 4-cylinder engine with just over 200 cubic-inches in displacement. A three-speed sliding gear transmission with 1 reverse speed was used. Top speed was achieved a little over sixty-miles per hour with the average fuel mileage being rather exceptional at over 40 MPG.
Just like the Model T, the Model A was available in multiple configurations such as the top of the line Fordor in either 2 or 3 window, Victoria, Station Wagon, Truck, Town Car, Convertible Cabriolet, Phaeton, Business Coupe, Sport Coupe, Roadster Coupe, and Coupe to name a few.
During the production lifespan of the Model A, lasting until August 31, 1931, Ford produced 4,320,446 Model A's. It was replaced by the Model B. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006