In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Ford Model A was one of the most publicized and best-selling cars in America. It was sporty, attractive, well-built, and smooth-running compared to the Model T, which it replaced in the 1928 model year.
In the early 1920's, the plain, utilitarian Ford Model T far outsold other new cars and gave millions of working Americans the advantages of personal mobility. But by the mid-1920's, Ford's market share was shrinking because other automobile manufacturers offered stylish, sophisticated cars at low prices and enticements such as buying on credit.
Henry Ford decided to replace the Model T with a new car that would attract as much attention as the "Tin Lizzie" once had. When the Model A debuted on December 2, 1927, thousands of people were eager to see for themselves that "Henry's made a lady out of Lizzie," and they stormed Ford showrooms. 25,000,000 Americans literally assaulted Ford showrooms in the span of just a week.
The much anticipated 1928 Ford Model A was chic and sporty, and it had mechanical features that the Model T lacked: a three speed, sliding -gear transmission, four-wheel mechanical drum brake system, and hydraulic shock absorbers. The engine was a 201 c.i. L-head inline four-cylinder with water and oil pumps, and providing 40 h.p. The car could cruise comfortably at 40-45 mph, and top speed was around 65 mph.
In less than two weeks there were 400,000 orders, and Henry Ford could not keep up with the demand for his latest "gift" to an increasingly mobile nation.
Despite the onset of the Depression, Model A production remained strong at 1,261,053 cars in 1930 but fell to 626,579 cars in 1931, the last year that the Model A was produced. Model A production ended in March, 1932, after 4,858,644 had been made in all body styles.
Ford never again dominated the new-car market as it had at the height of the Model T's popularity; Chevrolet, Plymouth, and other makes proved to be formidable rivals in the 1930's and beyond. In the 1932 model year, Ford replaced the Model A with the Model B, which featured an updated four-cylinder engine, and the Model 18, which introduced Ford's new flathead V-8 engine.
The Model A we have on display was donated by Tim and Jill Kietly.
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