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.
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.
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When the Ford Model A appeared, the old Model T, while a historically popular automobile, was badly outdated.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.
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.
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.
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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.
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)