Henry Ford was always convinced that people should satisfy themselves with nothing more than a good, simple
and economical car. At the price of great efforts, his inner circle finally succeed in eroding his stubborness and,
in May 1927, after having produced more than 15,000,000 Model Ts since 1908, Ford closes his plants for
many months in order to retool his assembly lines for the production of his next legend: the Model A. The
latter will ultimately be produced in 5,000,000 copies between 1928 and 1931. This new miracle is equally
attributable to Henry and his son Edsel. Henry will dedicate himself to the mechanical aspects and Edsel will
bring a whole new look to the Â«peopleâ€™s carÂ». Whereas the Model T was nicknamed â€œTin Lizzieâ€�,
the Model A will be known as the Â«Baby LincolnÂ».
No new automobile has ever been so expected in History. The competition sharply felt the hurt of this waiting
period (as much as tens of thousands of Ford employees which were temporarily laid off) since many were
putting off their puchase of a new car in order to see what Henry was going to pull out of his hat this time.
|HISTORY OF THE FORD MODEL A
When the New Ford is unveiled in
December of 1927, riots occur in a
few cities. 25,000,000 Americans
(more than one out of every five man,
woman and child in the U.S.A.) literally
assault Ford showrooms in the space
of only one week!
A fresh jaunty look, sparkling
performances, easy drivability and a
low price all contribute to half a million
sales on the spot!
Ford easily retakes first place in sales,
but will loose it in 1931 at the hand of
Compared to the Model T, technical improvements are
numerous although certain anachronisms persist. For
example, the conestoga-wagon transverse semi-eleptical
suspension is kept.
On the other hand, a water pump, an oil pump and hydraulic
shock absorbers are added. The 2-speed planetary
transmission is replaced by a modern 3-speed gear box. But
since it is not synchronized, the driver must now master the
The engine is a 4 cylinder affair of 200.5 cubic inch,
producing 40 horsepower. A comfortable cruising
speed is 40-45 miles an hour and a top speed of 65
miles an hour can be reached. Compression ratio has
been expressely kept low (4:22 / 1). Of course, this
low ratio lowers horsepower output and speed but, on
the other hand, allows the use of lower grade fuels
even if de-carbonization of cylinder heads isnâ€™t
performed regularly. Longevity, dependability and
simplicity were more important to Ford than
Wheelbase is 103.5 inches. Track is 56 inches.
Weight varies from 2,050 to 2,386 pounds depending
on the model.
In 1930, the appearance of the Model A is refreshed.
The grill is higher as well as the hood line. The front
fender curve is more graceful. Wheel diameter is
reduced from 21 inches to 19 inches.
At the end of WWII, the Model A will become the unchallenged queen of the vintage car scene. This brief moment in
automobile history (1928-1931) will generate the largest gathering of enthusiasm around a single model that no other has
ever equalled since. Two gigantic Clubs and an entire spare part industry see the light of day. The abundance and ease
with which technical information and new or refurbished parts can be found have made the Model A the easiest vintage
car to buy, understand and maintain. One could even be able to assemble a completely new Model A from all the new
parts that can be found on the market today! However, assembling the 6,800 distinct items to do so could well run over
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Brakes are now on all 4 wheels
and are actuated by steel rods.
Henry will insist that his brakes
remain mechanical all through
the 30s even though all his
competitors have adopted the
hydraulic system. He took
satisfaction in explaining that a
single small leak could
incapacitate the entire hydraulic
system Â«But have you ever
seen all 4 rods from a
mecanical system break at
the same time?Â». He will
relent only in 1939 after years
of supplications from Edsel.
Moreover, the carburettor is gravity fed, eliminating the
need for a fuel pump. Since the gas tank is now
immediately behind the rudimentary instrument panel, it is
now possible to determine the fuel level by peering through
a small port-hole.