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.

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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)

Stutz Bearcat / The Stutz Motor Car Company

The Stutz Bearcat was a creation of Harry C. Stutz and his Stutz Motor Car Company. Stutz was an engineer and became involved with automobiles right after the turn of the century in 1903. Interestingly enough, the first company Stutz founded in 1910 was the Stutz Auto Parts Company. Shortly afterwards the company got into auto building and the Stutz Motor Car Company was founded.

Stutz Bearcat

The first car that was put together was the Stutz Roadster. The story is that Stutz produced the automobile in just five weeks.

The car was entered in the very first Indianapolis 500 Race on May 30, 1911. During this historic 1905 race, the Stutz Roadster attained an average speed of 68 MPH and finished in 11th place.

The 1905 Indianapolis 500 was a great venue for the public to get acquainted with the Stutz Motor Car Company and it’s talented engineer owner.

The Stutz Bearcat came along a year later in 1912. The Indianapolis 500 Race became the place for car manufacturers to showcase their creations and the Stutz Bearcat took full advantage. The Bearcat amazingly won some 25 of 30 races it was entered into in 1912. In 1913, the Bearcat came in 3rd at Indy. The car did quite well again at Indy in 1915.

As far as the Stutz Motor Car Company was concerned, due to the need for large amounts of capital to expand, Harry Stutz ended up selling out controlling interest to a New York investor in 1919. Harry Stutz would later get into manufacturing fire engines which were also changing significantly in design and function.

Stutz Bearcat front end

Today, there is a 1921 Stutz Fire engine on display at the Oklahoma Firefighters Museum in Oklahoma City. Additionally, there is a 1925 Stutz Fire Engine Model K-3 on display at the Los Angeles County Fire Museum. The museum is located in Bellflower California.

The Bearcat’s Popularity

The Bearcat was an automobile that was popular with buyers looking for an everyday vehicle yet with a strong racing flare. The car was essentially a cross between a street car and a race car. The Stutz Bearcat was priced at least twice that of the ordinary automobile.

The 1914 model car was selling for $2,000. The car continued to sell quite well after World War One during the Roaring Twenties. Some would say that the Stutz Bearcat was THE car of the Roaring Twenties. The economy was doing well and the prices of the Bearcats climbed. The customer for the Bearcat would have been someone with the money to pay perhaps three times the price of an ordinary automobile with a desire for a sporty set of wheels. The Stutz Bearcat was offered to the public until 1924.

Bearcat interior

After the mid 1920’s the Bearcat name disappeared until the year 1931.

The reappearance of the Bearcat name had everything to do with the Great Depression. The high end Stutz automobiles had a rough time after the stock market crash of 1929. To try to jump start sales, the company decided to reintroduce the Bearcat name in 1931.

The new Bearcat had an eight cylinder engine and claimed to be tested to 100 MPH, an extraordinary speed for an automobile in 1931, especially a car to be driven off the raceway. The Stutz Motor Car Company ceased production altogether in 1934. The Stutz Bearcat and the Stutz company was one of several auto companies claimed by the Great Depression.

Automobile enthusiasts know quite well that the Stutz Bearcat automobile remains today one of the most popular vintage cars. Today, you can see the Stutz Bearcat automobile on display at several venues around the United States.

Among the many automotive museums where this vintage car is on display are, the Petersen Automotive  Museum in Los Angeles, the National Auto Museum in Reno Nevada, the Wells Auto Museum in Wells Maine, the Blackhawk Museum in Danville California about 25 miles east of the San Francisco Bay area, the Graceland Car Museum in Memphis Tennessee and at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Michigan, a Detroit suburb.

(Photos are from author’s private collection)