1930 Ford Model A Roadster

Shown in this article is a masterfully restored 1930 Ford Model A Roadster. The Ford Model A's replaced the Model T's and this car is an excellent representative of the entire line of Model A's. This particular 1930 Model A is probably one of the best restored models you'll find anywhere.

1930 ford model a roadster

1930 Ford Model A

The Ford Model A was offered in many different styles. These included a coupe, sports coupe, roadster, convertible, towncar, fordor, truck, station wagon and taxicab. When the Ford Model A was first introduced in 1928 it came with a price that could be anywhere from $395 to $1,000. A lot depended on the exact style and model plus any options. The lower price range made the Ford Model A available to working people. Ford's famously efficient assembly line and mass production kept certain Ford models well in reach of the average car buyer.

The year 1930, shortly after the stock market crash of 1929, ushered in a new era of financial challenges for both automaker and car buyer. Price point became more important than ever before.

Changes from 1929

ford model a

Model A Roadster

The 1930 Model A had several changes compared to the 1929 model. This included wider fenders, elimination of the cowl stanchion and a deeper radiator shell were a few. Options available for 1930 included an external sun-visor, a rear luggage rack, a spare tire lock and for a bit of better safety a rear-view mirror.

See our photo articles on the 1929 Ford Model A and the Ford Model AA Truck.

The Ford Model A's replaced the famous Model T's. Although Model T sales had been down trending in the 1920's, it took a bit of persuasion to talk Henry Ford to come out with a new car model. This was a characteristic of the old automaker. Ford had a habit of not wanting to tinker with what he thought was a good car. Competitive pressures made Ford agree to changes that he didn't feel were necessary. A good example were the Ford brake systems that remained mechanical for a period after General Motors came out with a hydraulic system.

1930 ford model a interior

1930 Ford Model A Roadster interior

The Ford Model A's were manufactured through 1931. After that the Model B's were introduced. By the time the Ford Model A production ended nearly five million total units had been produced since their introduction in 1927.

1930 Ford Model A Specs

The 1930 Ford Model A came with a four cylinder 205 cid, 3.3 liter engine putting out 40 HP. The wheelbase was 103.5 inches. The car's transmission was a three speed manual. Vehicle weight was between 2,155 and 2,495 pounds. New vehicle price ranged from $450 to $650 which reflected the slow economy that year.

As mentioned above, the last year of the Ford Model A was 1931. The Ford Model A overall was a big hit as was Ford's previous Model T. The Ford Model B which was sold through 1934 took things a step further. The Model B essentially took the Model A and improved it.

ford model a rumble seat

Rumble Seat are in the rear of this Ford Model B

The Ford Model B engine offered a four cylinder 201 cid engine delivering 50 horsepower. Ford also brought out their Model 18 which had an eight cylinder engine. Some referred to the car as simply the Ford V-8. The new V-8 produced 65 horsepower. The car in essence was a Ford Model B except with a V-8 engine. The Model 18 was the first mass produced V-8 in the nation.

Due mostly to Ford's innovative assembly line, the Model 18 was also a relatively low priced V-8. One of the most significant changes with the Ford Model B was it's lengthened wheelbase of 112 inches. This represented a 6 inch increase.

Collectors Car

Ford Model A's are popular collectors cars. Two reasons the Model B's retained their popularity was that they were quite advanced over the previous Model T's and not as many of them were produced. The 1930's were produced during the onset of the Great Depression and production of course was affected.

(Photos from author's private collection)



Ford Roadsters / 1931 Ford Model A

The 1931 Ford Roadster was part of Ford's Model A years which spanned 1927 through 1931. The Model A's followed the highly successful Model T line. The Ford Motor Company had grown fast and by 1931 there were some 32 assembly factories spread across the U.S. The year 1931 was also significant in as much as the country was entering the Great Depression. The 1931 Model A's in general were good sellers for Ford and the Ford Roadsters were a good part of that.

The common definition of a Roadster is a two or three passenger automobile without a fixed top. Another definition is a two seat car without a fixed top (convertible or retractable) with an emphasis on sporty handling. The Roadster was in many ways a sports car. Roadster styles were available on a range of automobiles both higher and lower priced.

1931 Ford Model A Roadster

The Ford Motor Company sold about 2 million by 1929 and 3 million by 1930. By 1932, Models A's of all styles hit a sales figure of 4.8 million vehicles. Still, by 1930 both Chevrolet and Plymouth were outselling Ford. Ford held a very dominant position with it's Model T's along with it's mass production procedures. By the middle of the 1920's however General Motors caught up with Ford's assembly advantages and became stiff competition. This fact helped spur the new design of the Model A, which as many people knew about Henry Ford, was not real easy. Ford had a reputation for the liking the status quo and as a result some of his competitors were offering many more choices for buyers. As a result of competition, Henry Ford, with urging from his subordinates, offered Deluxe Roadsters whose extra sporty appeal was all over Ford Motor advertising campaigns. In fact, Ford Motor Company launched an advertising campaign targeted to women with a ad headline stating "I've always longed to drive a roadster". The ad went on to claim that deep down every woman really wanted to drive a stylish car like the Ford Roadster. Ford states in the ad that "the dream can now come true". Surely, in the economic environment of 1930-31, an appeal to emotion was a needed selling tool.

The 1931 Roadsters had sporty tan tops


Ford Roadsters in 1931 had a price tag of anywhere from $400 to $1,200. The 1931 Model A was considered quite affordable, but if you had the money, the top of the line was there to be had at about three times the lowest price Roadster. The Deluxe Roadster was touted as having leather seats, head lamps and cowl lights, door handles made of Rustless Steel, a folding windshield made of Triplex safety glass and for the truly sporty looking automobile, a rumble seat in the rear for added passengers.

Ford advertising for the 1931 Model A Deluxe Roadster also offered steel spoked wheels and a range of colors to choose from. Ford's ads spoke of the vehicle as being a "dashing sports car". If you look at old ads for the Ford Roadster of the 1931 model year, you can readily see that the emphasis was on "something different". This was necessary to push during an economic depression and because of growing competition that started years before the great depression even arrived.

1931 Ford Roadster interior with leather seats

In 1932 Henry Ford was pushed to redesign the 1931 Roadster. This was the start of the Model B. The Ford Model B had an improved four cylinder engine. At the same time, and uncharacteristic of Ford Motor Company, they came out with the Model 18 which was a Model B with an eight cylinder engine. It was also the lowest priced V-8 on the market at it's time.

The Ford Roadster shown in this article has been beautifully restored. The color combinations of the tan roof and seat go great with the deep green. Sales prices for restored Model A's obviously vary. Modifications make a big difference. Just a sampling of Model A's being offered for sale as of this date....1929 Model Roadster priced at $19,000...1929 Ford Model A at $24,000...a hot rod 1931 Roadster at $28,000....1931 Ford Model A at $31,000 and a 1931 Ford Model A Roadster at $33,000. Other Model A Roadster street rods are in the mid $30,000 range.

See our article on the 1929 Ford Model A. Also, the 1920 Ford Model TT Pickup.

(Photos are from author's private collection)



1929 Ford Model A

After the Model T came Ford's Model A. The Model A introduced itself in 1927 as a replacement for the wildly successful Ford Model T. What were the differences between the two models?

First of all there were many different styles offered the buyer with the Ford model A. These included a coupe, sports coupe, roadster, convertible, towncar, fordor, truck, station wagon and taxicab.

1929 ford model a

1929 Ford Model A

Under the hood was a four cylinder engine providing 40 HP. Mileage was between 25 and 30 MPG which isn't too bad at all when you compare this to today's modern models. The transmissions on the Model A was a standard three speed with a manual sliding gear. The fuel tank was mounted under the cowl in front of the fire wall.

The Ford Model A shown in this article is a 1929 model Roadster with a rumble seat. The rumble seat was really best for passengers not minding braving the elements. As you can see, rumble seat passengers were not protected by the roof of the vehicle nor from the wind. The rumble seat addition really gave passengers the option of riding as a sedan or a convertible all in one car. While being quite sporty, the rumble seat never really caught on in a huge way and was discontinued by most manufacturers in about 1939.

ford model a rumble seat

Ford Model A showing rumble seat area

As far as price went, when the Model A came out it could be purchased from anywhere from about $395 to $1,000 depending on the model. This was quite a good price for many working people when you consider that sporty cars such as the Stutz Bearcat back in 1914 could easily cost $2,000 or more.

Ford Motor Company really dominated the automotive industry, mainly because of their mass assembly system, right into the mid 1920's. By that time several of their competitors were catching up. The introduction of the new Ford Model A was in answer to this competition. Additionally, the mid twenties was a time that the old Model T needed to be replaced regardless of competition. Ford's goal for this new model was to create as much buzz with it as they enjoyed with the "Tin Lizzie".

According to numbers from the Ford Production Department, the total number of Ford Model T sales from 1909 to 1927, including all the various models, cars, trucks and ambulances was 14,689,520.

ford model a interior

1929 Ford Model A interior

Some other sources may have slightly different figures. Between 1927 and 1931, about 4.9 million Ford Model A's were sold. There was an entirely different Model A built between 1903 and 1904 and 1,700 of those vehicles were sold. These were the first cars sold by the Ford Motor Company. Beginning in 1932, Ford produced a Model B. These were produced between 1932 and 1934 and really represented an update of the Ford Model A.  Prices for the Model B ranged between $500 and $650. Today, the 1932 Ford Model B appears to be the most collectible model and many have been restored.

You may also enjoy the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

1914 Ford Model T Depot Hack

1922 Ford Model T

About Model T Serial Numbers and Registering Antique Vehicles

Interestingly enough today, parts for the Ford Model A are relatively easy and quick to get a hold of. There are several suppliers and parts can be shipped quickly. In addition to this there are several restorer clubs located around the country that encourages vintage car enthusiasts to join them in restoring historic and classic automobiles. Ford Model A restoring clubs are located by region in the U.S. Among the many car museums where the Ford Model A can be seen is the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners Michigan, the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Michigan and the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)