Ford Model A

When competition began catching up with undisputed icon of automotive industry Ford Model T, Henry Ford had to expand his perception of future vehicle development. Simple truth is that American public wanted more in every possible aspect – engine performance, general convenience and design features.

Most of the changes Henry Ford considered unnecessary, but he couldn't argue with the number which indicated a diminishing market share and imminent threat. As a result, Ford Motor Company began to develop a new vehicle called Model A.

Henry mainly focused on the mechanical aspects while his son Edsel Ford took charge for Model A's styling. The Ford Model A was unveiled in December of 1927, raising unprecedented interest from the general public. More than one fifth of the entire United States population visited Ford showrooms and dealership in the first week.

It was a true sensation with fresh look, great performance and low price. Buyers were so impressed that they made around half a million sales on the spot, reinforcing Ford Motor Company position as a market leader.

The cheapest Model A was priced at $385 while the most luxurious city version could amount to $1400, a small fortune in those days. The standard engine was 40 hp 201 cu in with a top speed of around 65 mph. Model A was also the first Ford to use the standard set of driver controls with conventional clutch and brake pedals, throttle and gearshift. The transmission consisted of a conventional 3-speed sliding gear manual unit with a single speed reverse. The Model A followed the tradition of being reliable performer with typical 4-wheel mechanical drum brakes and Zenith carburetor as part of standard equipment.

Because the design aimed for the fuel to flow to the carburetor by gravity, fuel gauge was clearly visible. There were other innovations as well, for instance it was the first car with safety glass installed in the windshield. For some extra money, buyers could purchase a rear view mirror. A water pump, an oil pump and hydraulic shock absorbers were added.

A variety of styles was offered to the public, including several versions of Coupe, Convertible, Phaeton, Tudor, Town Car, Fordor, Victoria, Station Wagon, Taxicab, Truck, and Commercial. Henry Ford was basically aiming to dominate the automotive market once again.

In addition to the United States, Ford assembled the Model A in plants in Argentina, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. From 1932-1936 even the Soviet company GAZ made a licensed version of the Model A. Despite the fact that first limits of mass production started to show a flexible mass production era had begun on a global scale.

The biggest success was made on domestic market, keeping the first place in sales for several years. European engine tax regulations put another unplanned weight on buyers, making Model A too expensive to achieve greater sales volume. On the other side it wasn't able to enter the luxury product market. In 1930, company decided to refresh the appearance of the Model A with higher grille, more graceful front fender curve and reduced wheel diameter to 19 inches.

Nowadays, Model A is considered one of the favorites in the worldwide vintage car scene. No other model has raised as much attention and fans in automobile history. An entire spare part industry still exists and it's possible to assemble a completely new Model A from all the new parts. Books of technical information are available online along with the support of numerous online communities. These facts make Model A the easiest vintage car to buy, understand and maintain. However, keep in mind that it can be quite expensive sport to have this beauty in your garage.

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