Model AA

Shown is a well restored Model AA truck from manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. This 1929 Ford Model AA was arguably the most popular truck during the late 1920's. Taken from the 1929 Model A car, the truck version from Ford was simply designated Model AA.

model aa

1929 Ford Model AA

This designation was also used with the famous Ford Model T with the truck version named Model TT. During the booming 1920's, demand for more and better trucks grew. Ford had done an excellent job in mobilizing America. Ford's brands were both popular and affordable and they created a way for the common man to own an automobile.

The Model AA is an example of Ford taking what they had with the Model TT Truck and making it better.

Ford Model AA as well as the Model A automobile was superior to the Model T in most respects. First of all, the Model A was so well built these cars and trucks could be seen on the road even into the 1950's. Reports are that there are still Model A trucks in service as of this writing in several overseas countries. That type of lifespan is excellent for any vehicle. The Ford Model A's were among the best selling cars in America.

The Model AA Specs

1929 ford model aa truck

Front end of the restored Ford Model AA Truck

Designing for the Model A was started in 1926. The Model AA trucks were basically similar to the Model A cars but with a much plainer interior. The Model AA Truck utilized the same 4 cylinder engine used in the car. This was a 201 cid 3.3 L power plant. The transmission was a manual three speed. Suspension was similar to the car counterpart with leaf springs on the front but the truck version had leaf springs shackled to the rear axle and with no shock absorbers. Four oversized drum brakes were added to the Model AA's.

The Ford Model AA Truck was offered with a variety of options. For starters, two different wheelbases were offered. These were 131.5 inch and 157 inch lengths. Trucks were built for a large variety of purposes and the Ford Model AA came with several body options. Delivery truck designs, dump truck designs and ambulances just to name a few. The Ford Motor Company even sold a fleet of Model AA trucks to the U.S. Postal Service whose bodies were designed by an outside source.

Model AA Production Figures

ford model aa

Beautifully restored Model AA Truck bed

Production numbers for the 1929 Model AA are thought to be 156,430 units. This was out of a total of about 1,715,000 vehicles. Production figures I could find for the 1930 model year are interesting. Ford Motor Company produced about 1,250,000 vehicles with about 159,000 being trucks. Total vehicle production was obviously affected by the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Model year 1931 total production was half that figure at over 600,000 with Model AA truck production at 104,000. Truck production actually grew as a percentage of overall production during the beginning years of the Great Depression.

See our photo articles about the 1946 Ford Woody Wagon and the Ford Trucks of the 1930's.

Preserving the Model AA's

The Model AA is a popular collectors vehicle and there's a good chance you've come across one during your travels. This popularity covers both the Model A cars and the Model AA trucks.

restored ford model aa

Model AA restored as a Falstaff beer delivery truck

Sites around the U.S. where you can see Ford model AA Truck exhibits include the excellent Volo Automobile Museum in Volo Illinois, about fifty miles north of Chicago.

The 1929 Ford Model AA shown in this article is on display at the San Antonio Texas Museum of Transportation located on Wetmore Rd.just northeast of the San Antonio International Airport.

Also, if you haven't already, make plans to visit the fascinating Henry Ford Museum at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan. Dearborn is a western suburb of Detroit. The Henry Ford Museum is an excellent addition to any trip planner and is an educational experience for the entire family.

Another good venue to see the Ford trucks is at the Petersen Automotive Museum on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles California. This museum has one of the largest automobile collections in the U.S. and features numerous events throughout the year.

(Photos from author's collection)

Fordson

Fordson Tractors were first manufactured by Henry Ford and his son, thus the name Fordson. Eventually the division merged with the Ford Motor Company and the Fordson brand of tractor was manufactured by Ford Motor until 1991 when the tractor division was sold to Fiat.

Although Henry Ford started experimenting with tractors as early as 1905, it wouldn't be until 1915 that success took hold. His key idea was to mass produce his tractors the same way he was building his cars.

1920 Fordson Tractor

The photo at left is of a 1920 Fordson tractor displayed at the Heritage Farmstead Museum in Plano Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas. Assembly line mass production would make the tractors affordable and hopefully help Ford dominate the market. The first Fordson tractors were for general use and as you can imagine were very welcomed by farmers during the early decades of the 1900's. By the same token, the early models would at times be tough to start and required quite a bit of hand cranking. With this being said, they were still more convenient than harnessing a team of mules.

By the second decade, thousands of Fordson tractors were in use in the U.S., Britain and Canada. By 1928 however, Fordson tractors were built only in Cork Ireland and eventually in Essex England. The operation was transferred out of the U.S. due to a severe economic downturn in the U.S. in the mid 1920's and tractors were then imported back to America. Ford's two biggest tractor competitors in the U.S. were General Motors and International Harvester.

1941 fordson tractor photo

1941 Ford 8N Tractor

Ford's mass production methods were so successful, that by the 1920's most competitors had to follow the same method or perhaps go out of business. Only the most competitive of tractor companies would survive the Ford mass production success. The earlier Ford tractors it was said were built to replace the power of four mules.

There were a series of different Ford tractors over the years. The first were the B Models in 1915, then the Ford F series which sold some 750,000 tractors between 1917 and 1928. No other tractor model has ever sold those many units. Then came the Ford N series which debuted in 1927. The Ford N series had a more powerful 27 HP engine, rear fenders, optional pneumatic tires and a higher voltage ignition system. Not for another ten years would Ford make significant improvements with it's tractor models. In the late 1930's, models such as the 9N, 2N and 8N were introduced. The 9N's big change was that it was more powerful and could pull more weight. The 2N was put on the market in 1942 and the 8N in 1947. The next Ford tractor model after that was the 1953 "Golden Jubilee". During the 1940's Ford received a lot of publicity for the ruggedness of it's tractors and how they allowed farmers to increase their harvest. Lots of testimonials from farmers were published and how the increased output allowed the farmers to make a better living.

An interesting thing about tractors as opposed to automobiles is that they are capable of turning over backwards. This can happen in about 1 1/2 seconds. There is a point of no return which usually is figured at about 3/4 of a second. There is little time indeed for the driver to react.

rear tractor turnover

Rear tractor turn-over diagram

This is the type of tractor accident that causes most tractor related fatalities. Causes are usually several happening at one time. Rear axle torque along with shifts in center of gravity are the main factors. Jumping tractors out of mud holes and frozen ground also result in rear overturns. Safety experts suggest using another tractor to pull you out rather than to risk the backwards over turn.

In 1957, Ford produced the Fordson Dexta. The Dexta model was a relatively smaller tractor and it's creation was aimed at competing with Massey Ferguson's 35 model. These were built in both gas and diesel models. In the U.S., the model was sold as the Dexta 2000. This included a 52 inch width narrow model, an industrial model and from Germany a Dexta Special. The tractors offered a 3 cylinder diesel or 4 cylinder gasoline engines putting out 32 HP.

Beginning in 1964, all tractors that Ford Motor Company sold were sold under the "Ford" name. This included all tractors in the U.S. and abroad. Most farm historians contend that the first basic Fordson design as being the model used to design more modern tractors for decades later.

Another AutoMuseumOnline article and photos you'll be interested in is the vintage 1929 Ford Model A automobile.

(1920 Fordson photo from author's private collection. Remainder of photos and images from the public domain)

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)