To many car novices, the Model T is the most memorable of the earliest rendition of the automobile. However, the Model A garnered more attention than any other automobile of that era.
Henry Ford actually closed his plants in order to redesign and overhaul his wildly popular Model T. The new model was so highly anticipated that other car makers suffered a loss in sales because the public was so keen to see what the new Ford had to offer that they put off making car purchases until it was revealed. People were afraid they would regret buying a new car before they could see what Ford had to offer.
Ford was a man who did not put much stock in the aesthetics of his designs and went more for an economical, straightforward car. With his Model A, he made some concessions to the increasing popularity of some amenities that other car manufacturers were providing at their customers’ requests.
Henry’s son, Edsel, was actually the one responsible for the styling changes to the new model which was launched in 1927 and was offered until 1931. This Model A should not be confused with a version that Ford offered in 1903-1904 by the same name.
MODEL A UPGRADES AND CHANGES
Ford’s Model A offered some significant changes. The first of these was a 3-speed transmission which was a change from the Model T’s 2-speed planetary transmission. The 3-speed was an unsynchronized transmission that required drivers learn how to double clutch.
The fuel tank was placed under the cowl and the gasoline was gravity fed. Drivers could finally see how much gasoline was in the tank with the help of a visual fuel gauge located in the dash.
The A boasted hydraulic shocks and both an oil and water pump. Henry Ford, however, did not upgrade his brake system to hydraulics as most other car manufacturers of the day had done already. He did include them on all 4 wheels on this latest version, but they remained mechanical, operated by steel rods.
The 4-cylinder engine produced an impressive 40hp and could reach cruising speeds of 45mph. Its top speed was about 65mph. Ford was not concerned so much with performance as he was with dependability.
When it was introduced, the Model A’s price tag was $385 for the basic version to the impressive top of the line version for $1400.
MODEL A’S FUTURE
The Model A has become very popular in the restoration and hobby arena. There are kits available for those interested in recreating their very own Model A. Replacement parts are very accessible and make the Model A is an easy option for a rebuild project.
It remains one of the most iconic cars to date despite its short production life. Approximately 5 million were sold in that time frame and it served to put Ford back at the top rescuing it from declining sales in the 1920s.