A Great Looking 1931 Ford Model A Coupe

After the great run of the popular Ford Model T, the Ford Motor Company ushered in the first Model A in December of 1927. This is entirely different from the original and historic Ford Model A built in 1903. That was Henry Ford's first automobile, long before the Model T.

1931 Ford Model A

1931 Ford Model A

The time was right in the mid to latter 1920's for Ford to unveil another model to keep sales apace. The Model A was their answer to try to keep up with the competition. They designed an excellent vehicle. If this stunning 1931 Ford Model A Coupe featured in this article isn't a great looking antique automobile I don't know what is.

The 1931 Ford Model A featured in this article is a favorite for collector's, customizer's and hot rodders. This automobile is a big part of automotive history and was a milestone model for Ford.

The Model A Ford Club of America (MAFCA) is an organization totally dedicated to preserving and restoring the Ford Model A that was manufactured from 1928 to 1931. This club is said to be the largest auto club in the world dedicated to one particular automobile model. The club also hosts Model A events around the country. To highlight the popular interest in the Ford Model A there are clubs dedicated to the preservation of this car in Europe, South America and Australia.

1931 Ford Coupe

1931 Ford Coupe

The Model A Vs. The Model T

Some who are not totally familiar with the Ford Model T's and Model A's will often call a Model A a Model T. They can both be considered antique automobiles but there is a difference in many ways between these two Ford models.

When the Ford Model A appeared, the old Model T, while a historically popular automobile, was badly outdated. Ford's competitors were on it's heels and the company simply had to produce a new product. The result of this was the Ford Model A.

One thing in common with the 1927 Model T and the 1928 Model A was that they had the same 21 inch tires. Another was that they had the same type metallic radiator shells.

Below are some of the more obvious differences between the two models.

The Model A had smoother and rounder front fenders. The Model T had painted headlights where the Model A are a shiny metallic. The Model A had a gas cap in the middle of the cowl whereas the Model T had a vent door in that place. The Model A had a sliding gear transmission vs. the T's planetary three pedal transmission. In other words, you had a stick to shift in a Model A but only pedals to push in a Model T. In fact, Henry Ford held out longer than any other automaker in switching away from the planetary mechanism. Not making changes was a trademark of Henry Ford for quite a long time.

1931 Ford Model A

1931 Ford Model A

Changes With the 1930/31 Model A's

While somewhat the same as with the 1928 and 1929 Model A's, the 1930 and 31 models were changed a bit in design. The latter models included lower and wider fenders plus a higher hood line. The 1930 and 1931 Model A's also had a stainless steel radiator and smaller diameter wheels.

1931 Ford Model A Coupe Specifications

The Ford Model A was built with a 200 cubic inch L-Head four cylinder engine delivering 40 horsepower. These engines were manufactured at Ford's Rouge factory in the Detroit area.

The transmission was three speed sliding gear and the brakes were mechanical drum.

The 1931 Model A's had a stainless steel radiator cowling and headlight housing.

Front suspension were transverse leaf springs and rear suspension were transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs.

The Ford Model A wheelbase was 103.5 inches, it's  overall outside length just a hair under 153 inches, it's height 70.5 inches. The car's fuel tank held 10 gallons and the Model A weight was about 2,350 lbs.

1931 Ford stainless steel radiator

1931 Ford stainless steel radiator

Ford placed the serial number on the left side of the engine above the water intake. The Model A engine number was the car's ID number.

Total Ford production for the 1931 model year was 615,000 vehicles of which the Standard Coupes accounted for 80,000.

New car price was about $550.

Two more AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you'll enjoy are on the links below...

The 1931 Dodge Coupe

A Finely Restored 1932 Ford Victoria

1930 Ford Standard Coupe

The 1931 Morgan Super Sports Three Wheeler

One of the best books on the subject of Ford's Model A is, Legendary Model A Ford: The Complete History of America's Favorite Car by author Peter Winnewisser.

Another informative book is titled, How to Restore the Ford Model A by author Leslie R. Henry.

1931 Model A rear

1931 Model A rear

 Ford Model A Auction Prices

All automobiles from this period are considered antique or vintage collector's cars. Vehicles from the period of the late 1920's to the mid 1930's are some of the most coveted collector automobiles. Those that are in restored mint condition can command serious dollars. The Ford Model A was one of the company's most famous models. About 5 million Model A's were built over the four year production run. Almost 15 million Model T's were produced between 1909 and 1927.

A restored Ford Model A as of this writing would likely have an auction price in the $15,000 to $40,000 range. This is a wide range and is dependent on condition, mechanics and specific model and year. The higher prices would be for mint condition show quality restorations. One such model is a 1929 Ford Model A in museum condition with an asking price of $36,500. We've also seen 1931 Model A Coupes, restored, in the mid teens which sounds like a pretty good bargain if the mechanical condition is up to standards.

For a project car, a lucky find would be a Ford Model A well under $10,000 that still has a good enough body to restore.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)

 

 

Ford’s Mid Size Luxury Car / 1979 Lincoln Versailles

The Lincoln Versailles was advertised as the automobile with elegance, great engineering and comfort. Two of it's engineering achievements included a computer run Electronic Engine Control System as well as a Variable Venturi carburetor.

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The 1979 Lincoln Versailles featured in this article is a big car but it was offered as Lincoln's  mid sized entry. The Versailles was categorized as a compact luxury car. Ford Motor Company engineers built a compact car with all the bells and whistles you'd find in the luxurious Continental. The Versailles was only available as a four door sedan and the 1977 Versaiiles was Lincoln's first mid size model. The Versailles came out with several firsts for American auto manufacturers including Halogen headlights and a clear coat finish.

The Versaille Sedan

The Versaille Sedan

The Lincoln Versailles Design

The Lincoln Versailles was in many ways a product of it's times. The fuel shortage crises of the early 1970's left Lincoln without a mid size vehicle to sell. Car buyers suddenly became quite fuel efficiency conscious. Two of it's competitors, Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz did have a mid size offering and the Versailles was designed and built to fill that gap.

This was the era in the 1970's when Ford Motor Company's president was Lee Iacocca who rose through the ranks of Ford to become their president in 1970. Iacocca's involvement with the design of the Ford Mustang was among his significant achievements while at Ford.

Lincoln Versailles trunk design

Lincoln Versailles trunk design

Ford Motor Company not having a great deal of money in the mid 1970's to design a new car from scratch took some body designs of the Lincoln Continental and the Mercury Monarch to come up with the first Versailles in 1978. The car's overall platform was inspired by the the Mercury Monarch and Ford Granada which was preceded by the Ford Falcon. So many of Ford's 1960's and 1970's designs and concepts began with the Falcon.

One very apparent part taken from the Continental was the grille. The tire bulge in the rear trunk area was an idea taken from the Continental Mark.

Lincoln Versailles front end light arrangement

Lincoln Versailles front end light arrangement

Power everything including seats, windows, steering and brakes were all standard equipment with the Lincoln Versailles as well as an automatic transmission. Entry lighting, remote mirrors, lighted visors and intermittent windshield wipers and more were also standard. So many of these features came as standard equipment that there really were not too many add-on options for the buyer to consider.

The Versailles interior included twin lounge or bucket seats in the front and a bench seat in the rear. Head room was a good 38 inches.

Lincoln Versailles tail light

Lincoln Versailles tail light

The Lincoln Versailles had only a 3 1/2 year production run and only some 51,000 were built. Out of this total around 21,000 1979 models were sold. The Versailles model proved not up to competing against it's primary American competitor the Cadillac Seville. The Versailles was discontinued after 1980.

1979 Lincoln Versailles Specifications

Engines on the 1979 Lincoln Versailles were 301 cubic inch V-8's providing 130 horsepower.

Transmission was an automatic three speed and brakes were power disc front and rear.

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The 1979 Versailles wheelbase was 109.0 inches. Compare this to the Lincoln Mark V with a wheelbase of 120.3 inches. Overall length was 201.0 inches and the car's width came in at 74.5 inches.

Curb weight on the Versailles was about 3,850 lbs compared to the Mark V weighing in at about 4,800 lbs.

New car base price for the 1979 Lincoln Versailles averaged around $12,500.

Below are links to two more of our articles you may enjoy...

The 1931 Cadillac V-16

1986 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible

The 1979 Lincoln Versailles Collector Car

The 1979 Versailles has not been considered a sought after collector car. By the same token, such a limited number were built over 3 1/2 years that you'll not find them too common. The Versailles, as mentioned above, came with a lot of bells and whistles. A fully restored original would have plenty of gadgets and electronics. Probably the biggest challenge for a Lincoln Versailles restorer would be to make sure all of the car's electronics are in working order.

1979 Lincoln Versailles grille and dual headlights

1979 Lincoln Versailles grille and dual headlights

As a side note, classic car restorers find the rear end assembly from the Lincoln Versailles is near a perfect match for the Ford Mustang. The 1965 and 1966 Mustang rear is just about the same size, perhaps only a quarter inch shorter. Some however say that the width of the Versailles is a bit more than the 65/66 Ford Mustang and may require custom wheels. As such, many old Versailles have been taken apart by Mustang enthusiasts.

In a way the Lincoln Versailles is a classic car nevertheless and came about in a large part because of the oil embargo of the early 70's. The model gave Lincoln a chance to compete against Cadillac's mid size Seville. Moving forward the automobile may attract more collectors.

As of this writing, asking prices for 1979 Lincoln Versailles automobiles depend entirely on the car's condition. A Versailles in like new condition may have a price tag in the mid to high teens. Non restored Versailles will be under $10,000 and more likely around $5,000. Some non restored yet in very good condition Versailles have been offered in the $5,000 price range.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)

The Big V-8 1957 Buick Century

The 1957 Buick Century featured in this article has a heritage that goes back to the 1930's. The production run for the earlier Buick Century's lasted from 1936 to 1942 and was interrupted by the war. These were powerful Buicks being able to reach speeds of over 90 MPH during the late 1930's.

1957 Buick Century Convertible

1957 Buick Century Convertible

After the model was dormant for years the name reappeared in dealership showrooms in 1954 as one of General Motor's performance car offerings. The 1957 Buick Century's would be noted for sporty design, luxury features and big powerful V-8 engines.

The Buick Portholes

One of the most remembered features of the Buick Century were the portholes on the /side of the front fenders. These were also called ventiports which really were their official name.

The portholes or ventiports would signify the engine. The Buick Century sported four portholes designating the V-8 engine. Four portholes on each side of the car. The portholes were also seen on the Buick Roadmaster models. The meaning of the portholes had to do with emphasizing the power output of the Buick's big V-8. In regards to those Buick portholes, for those that might remember the old television series from the 1950's, Highway Patrol, these were the cars you would have seen each week portrayed as California Highway Patrol cars.

1957 Buick Portholes

1957 Buick Portholes

The 1957 Buick Century's all had four portholes on each fender which signified the  364 cubic inch V-8 putting out 300 horsepower. These were 100 MPH automobiles.

1957 Buick Century Advertising

Buick advertising for the 1957 model year stressed power. One of their motto's during that year was "gives you the power to take it easy". Another motto was "the dream car to drive". Buick touted that the big V-8 gives you enough power to have some in reserve for those tall hills along with smoothness provided by their Variable Pitch Dynaflow automatic transmission. Dynaflow's claim to fame was it's smoothness and instant response time.

Another feature advertised in 1957 was a "buzzer" that would sound when you attained the speed you wanted. They called it a "built in conscience". This was quite a unique feature in 1957. Today it's offspring is the automatic speed control.

Buick Century side chrome spear

Buick Century side chrome spear

The 1957 Buick Century Design

Buick was known to have produced some of the most stylish and powerful cars of any nameplate during the 1950's.

The 1957 Buick Century was a  sporty looking car and was a departure from Buick's more laid back designs of the earlier 1950's. Buick touted it's low sweeping grace and fresh lines. Many say that the 1957 Buick Century was the best looking Buick ever produced. All Century models in 1957 had the eye catching chrome side spear which added a sporty touch with class. As the photos in this article illustrate, the 1957 Buick Century was a very good looking car.

The 1957 design was in many ways a continuation of the earlier 1950's designs by GM's Harley Earl. Probably the most popular model in 1957 was the Buick Century Convertible which remains a sought after collector's car today. Their value has appreciated well over time. Don't be surprised to see price tags for original 1957 Buick Century Convertibles, in mint showroom condition, with asking prices north of $50,000.

Buick claimed to have built the 1957 Century on the most level riding compact chassis ever built offering great maneuverability. GM also claimed the highest power to weight ratio of any Buick model ever built.

Buick Interior and dash 1957

Buick Interior and dash 1957

Also in 1957 Buick unveiled the Caballero station wagon using the Century body. The Caballero was produced for two years in 1957 and 1958 and then discontinued. Although Caballero sales didn't meet expectations, this station wagon with the Century body and it's side chrome spear trim is one of the sportiest looking classic station wagons you'll ever see.

1957 Buick Century Models

Buick Century buyers had several models to choose from. There was the Sedan, the Riviera hardtop coupe, the ever popular convertible and the four door Caballero station wagon. The Riviera hardtop along with GM's Oldsmobile of that year were the first four door hardtops built.

1957 Buick Century Specifications

As stated above, power meant a lot to Buick in 1957 and the Buick Century came with a 364 cubic inch V-8 engine delivering a big 300 horsepower. This was powering an automobile with a weight of about 4,200 lbs.

The 1957 Buick Century wheelbase was 122.0 inches which was about five inches shorter than both the Roadmaster and Special models.

Compare the 1957 Buick Century to the cars on the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

The 1956 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Convertible

The 1958 Ford Fairlane Retractable Hardtop

Also see our article on the Rare 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk

To learn all about the Buick automobile and the company, an excellent book on the subject is The Buick: A Complete History by authors Terry B. Dunham and Lawrence R. Gustin.

Buick emblem

1957 Buick Century Collector Car

As mentioned in this article, the 1957 Buick Century is a popular automobile among collectors. Prices being asked have been increasing over the years and many collectors view this model as one of the most stylish ever produced by Buick. In addition to the styling, the 1957 Buick was in many ways a 1950's muscle car with it's big V-8 and 300 horsepower. If the vehicle wasn't so large it could have competed head on against 1950's European imports.

If you can find a usable body shell somewhere the 1957 Buick Century can be a terrific project car where restoration costs might be recouped and more.

Mint condition 1957 Buick Century Convertibles can command prices of $50,000 and above.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)