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Ford Model A

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Model A
Vehicle Model

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Wikipedia: Ford Model A (1903–04)
Wikipedia: Ford Model A (1927–31)

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A car produced by Ford. The name was first used for a 1903-1904 model, so named because it was Ford's first car. On 23 July 1903 Ford made its first car sale, a Model A, to Dr. Ernest Pfenning of Chicago for $850.

The name was used again beginning in 1927 for the Model T's replacement, a completely separate car from the first Model A.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Ford Model A (1903–04) and Ford Model A (1927–31) pages on 16 June 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

1903–04

The original Ford Model A is the first car produced by Ford, beginning production in 1903. Ernest Pfennig, a Chicago dentist, became the first owner of a Model A on July 23, 1903. 1,750 cars were made from 1903 through 1904 during Ford's occupancy of its first facility: the Ford Mack Avenue Plant, a modest rented wood frame building on Detroit's East Side. The Model A was replaced by the Ford Model C during 1904 with some sales overlap.

The car came as a two-seater runabout for $800 or the $900 four-seater tonneau model with an option to add a top. The horizontal-mounted flat-2, situated amidships of the car, produced 8 hp (6 kW). A planetary transmission was fitted with two forward speeds and reverse, a Ford signature later seen on the Ford Model T. The car weighed 1,240 lb (562 kg) and could reach a top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h). It had a 72 inch (1.8 m) wheelbase and sold for a base price of US$750. Options included a rear tonneau with two seats and a rear door for $100, a rubber roof for $30 or a leather roof for $50. Band brakes were used on the rear wheels. However, it was $150 more than its most direct competitor, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, and so did not sell as well.

The company had spent almost its entire $28,000 initial investment funds with only $223.65 left in its bank account when the first Model A was sold. The success of this car model generated a profit for the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford's first successful business.

Although Ford advertised the Model A as the "most reliable machine in the world", it suffered from many problems common to vehicles of the era, including overheating and slipping transmission bands. The Model A was sold only in red by the factory, though some were later repainted in other colors.

Some 1904 Model A cars were equipped with the larger, more powerful engine of the Model C and were sold as the Model AC.

1927–31

The Ford Model A (also colloquially called the A-Model Ford or the A, and A-bone among rodders and customizers), was the second huge success for the Ford Motor Company, after its predecessor, the Model T. First produced on October 20, 1927, but not sold until December 2, it replaced the venerable Model T, which had been produced for 18 years. This new Model A (a previous model had used the name in 1903–04) was designated a 1928 model and was available in four standard colors.

By 4 February 1929, one million Model As had been sold, and by 24 July, two million. The range of body styles ran from the Tudor at US$500 (in grey, green, or black) to the Town Car with a dual cowl at US$1200. In March 1930, Model A sales hit three million, and there were nine body styles available.

Model A production ended in March, 1932, after 4,858,644 had been made in all body styles. Its successor was the Model B, which featured an updated 4-cylinder engine, as well as the Model 18, which introduced Ford's new flathead (sidevalve) V8 engine.


Photographs

Ford Model A Photo by David Ellis
View photo of Ford Model A - 3,282KB
1928 Ford Model A 1928
Photo by Richard Smith
July 11, 2004
View photo of 1928 Ford Model A - 1,281KB
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.
1928 Ford Model A Popcorn Wagon 1928 Popcorn Wagon
Photo ©2017 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night: 5 June 2017
View photo of 1928 Ford Model A Popcorn Wagon - 2.9MB
1928 Ford Model A Popcorn Wagon 1928 Popcorn Wagon
Photo ©2017 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night: 5 June 2017
View photo of 1928 Ford Model A Popcorn Wagon - 2.9MB
1929 Ford Model A 1929
"Gentleman's Yellow"
Photo by Todd Petit
Wenatchee Apple Run Car Show
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A - 2,777KB
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.
1928 Ford Model A 1929
Photo ©2017 Bill Crittenden
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A - 3.2MB
1929 Ford Model A 1929
Photo ©2018 Bill Crittenden
2018 Woodstock on the Square Benefit Car Show
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A - 3.3MB
1929 Ford Model A Convertible 1929 Convertible
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
Richmond, Illinois Cruise Night:  May 27, 2011
View 1929 Ford Model A Convertible - 4,199KB
1929 Ford Model A Convertible 1929 Convertible
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
Richmond, Illinois Cruise Night:  May 27, 2011
View 1929 Ford Model A Convertible - 3,704KB
1929 Ford Model A Convertible 1929 Convertible
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
Richmond, Illinois Cruise Night:  May 27, 2011
View 1929 Ford Model A Convertible - 4,240KB
1929 Ford Model A Woody with Boss 302 EFI Engine 1929 Woody with Boss 302 EFI Engine
Photo ©2017 Bill Crittenden
2017 Woodstock on the Square Benefit Car Show
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A Woody with Boss 302 EFI Engine - 2.5MB
1929 Ford Model A Woody with Boss 302 EFI Engine 1929 Woody with Boss 302 EFI Engine
Photo ©2017 Bill Crittenden
2017 Woodstock on the Square Benefit Car Show
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A Woody with Boss 302 EFI Engine - 2.5MB
1929 Ford Model A Woody with Boss 302 EFI Engine 1929 Woody with Boss 302 EFI Engine
Photo ©2017 Bill Crittenden
2017 Woodstock on the Square Benefit Car Show
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A Woody with Boss 302 EFI Engine - 2.4MB
1929 Ford Model A Hot Rod 1929 Hot Rod
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
2013 Woodstock High School Car Show
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A Hot Rod - 4.1MB
1929 Ford Model A Hot Rod 1929 Hot Rod
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
2013 Woodstock High School Car Show
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A Hot Rod - 3.7MB
1929 Ford Model A Moxie Car 1929 Speedster Moxie Car
Titled as reconstructed 1929 with Utah-assigned VIN
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
Reserve not met ($40,000 high bid) at the Mecum 2012 Fall Premier Auction
Mecum Auctions
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A Moxie Car - 3.5MB
1929 Ford Model A Moxie Car 1929 Speedster Moxie Car
Titled as reconstructed 1929 with Utah-assigned VIN
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
Reserve not met ($40,000 high bid) at the Mecum 2012 Fall Premier Auction
Mecum Auctions
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A Moxie Car - 3.9MB
1929 Ford Model A/Boyer Fire Truck 1929 Ford Model A/Boyer Fire Truck
Marengo Fire Department's 2nd Fire Apparatus

Photo ©2014 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night:  July 21, 2014
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A/Boyer Fire Truck - 3.1MB
1929 Ford Model A/Boyer Fire Truck 1929 Ford Model A/Boyer Fire Truck
Marengo Fire Department's 2nd Fire Apparatus

Photo ©2014 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night:  July 21, 2014
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A/Boyer Fire Truck - 2.4MB
1929 Ford Model A/Boyer Fire Truck 1929 Ford Model A/Boyer Fire Truck
Marengo Fire Department's 2nd Fire Apparatus

Photo ©2014 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night:  July 21, 2014
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A/Boyer Fire Truck - 2.4MB
1929 Ford Model A/Boyer Fire Truck 1929 Ford Model A/Boyer Fire Truck
Marengo Fire Department's 2nd Fire Apparatus

Photo ©2014 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night:  July 21, 2014
View photo of 1929 Ford Model A/Boyer Fire Truck - 2.9MB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 480KB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 429KB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 579KB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 616KB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo, 311KB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo, 346KB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 368KB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 321KB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 472KB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
October 8, 2006
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 452KB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2007 Bill Crittenden
Richmond, Illinois Cruise Night:  July 20, 2007 View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 2,376KB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
Crandall's Breakfast Cruise and Car Show
July 27, 2008
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 4,175KB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
Crandall's Breakfast Cruise and Car Show
July 27, 2008
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 3,636KB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2018 Bill Crittenden
2018 Woodstock on the Square Benefit Car Show
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 3.3MB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2018 Bill Crittenden
2018 Woodstock on the Square Benefit Car Show
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 2.4MB
1930 Ford Model A 1930
Photo ©2018 Bill Crittenden
2018 Woodstock on the Square Benefit Car Show
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A - 2.2MB
1930 Ford Model A Hot Rod 1930 Hot Rod
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Schaumburg Bank & Trust Car Show
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A Hot Rod - 4.5MB
1930 Ford Model A Hot Rod 1930 Hot Rod
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Schaumburg Bank & Trust Car Show
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A Hot Rod - 4.7MB
1930 Ford Model A Hot Rod 1930 Hot Rod
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Schaumburg Bank & Trust Car Show
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A Hot Rod - 4.2MB
1930 Ford Model A Hot Rod 1930 Hot Rod
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Schaumburg Bank & Trust Car Show
View photo of 1930 Ford Model A Hot Rod - 2.6MB
1931 Ford Model A 1931
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
2013 Woodstock High School Car Show
View photo of 1931 Ford Model A - 4.6MB
Glassic 1931 Ford Model A Phaeton Replica Glassic Motor Car Company 1931 Phaeton Replica
2nd Generation, #1122
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Nostalgia Auto Show
View photo of Glassic 1931 Ford Model A Phaeton Replica - 2.5MB
Glassic 1931 Ford Model A Phaeton Replica Glassic Motor Car Company 1931 Phaeton Replica
2nd Generation, #1122
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Nostalgia Auto Show
View photo of Glassic 1931 Ford Model A Phaeton Replica - 2.2MB
Glassic 1931 Ford Model A Phaeton Replica Glassic Motor Car Company 1931 Phaeton Replica
2nd Generation, #1122
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Nostalgia Auto Show
View photo of Glassic 1931 Ford Model A Phaeton Replica - 2.4MB
Ford Model A Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 The Cars Time Forgot
View photo of Ford Model A - 4.1MB
Ford Model A Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 The Cars Time Forgot
View photo of Ford Model A - 4.7MB
Ford Model A Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 The Cars Time Forgot
View photo of Ford Model A - 4.0MB
Ford Model A Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 The Cars Time Forgot
View photo of Ford Model A - 4.1MB
Ford Model A Roadster: 1980 Shay Reproduction 1980 Shay Reproduction (Fiberglass body roadster)
for $8,750
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of Ford Model A Roadster: 1980 Shay Reproduction - 3.1MB
Ford Model A Roadster: 1980 Shay Reproduction 1980 Shay Reproduction (Fiberglass body roadster)
for $8,750
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of Ford Model A Roadster: 1980 Shay Reproduction - 543KB
Ford Model A Roadster: 1980 Shay Reproduction 1980 Shay Reproduction (Fiberglass body roadster)
for $8,750
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of Ford Model A Roadster: 1980 Shay Reproduction - 3.4MB
Ford Model A Roadster: 1980 Shay Reproduction 1980 Shay Reproduction (Fiberglass body roadster)
for $8,750
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of Ford Model A Roadster: 1980 Shay Reproduction - 3.2MB


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
25 March 2011The Ford Model A: How It All BeganWilliam Jason
25 May 2016Tail Lights: One Grade "A" CollectionBill Crittenden


Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
29 July 1962International Model A Reunion
Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village
PNG format - 40MB - 10 pages


Merchandise

Type & Item #NameDetails
Model Kit - AMT 38679Vintage Police CarFord Model A
Model Kit - Revell H-1324Woodstock1:25 scale "'30 Model A Ford Woody"


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