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The Transition


  • The Transition

    Henry Ford stamps the serial number on the first Model A engine. Ford Motor Company archive photo
    After selling more than 15 million Model Ts in nearly two decades, “The New Ford,” renamed the Model A, was introduced on Dec. 2, 1927.

    Ford had previously used the Model A name in its early years, but wanted to help differentiate its latest vehicle from the Model T by creating a name from the opposite end of the alphabet.

    While vastly improved from its predecessor, especially in the areas of comfort, safety and design, the Model A was still state-of-the-art and affordable. Prices ranged from $385 for a roadster to $1,200 for a town car.

    Upgraded safety features on the vehicle included shatterproof glass, four-wheel brakes and bumpers – all as standard equipment.

    Also, the company’s color and design department, which did not exist at Ford Motor Company prior to the Model A, was established.

    The Model A was the first vehicle to be assembled at Ford’s River Rouge plant. Production reached a peak of more than 9,000 cars per day in March 1929 and more than five million units of the vehicle were sold in just four years of production.

    Among the first Model A owners were Thomas A. Edison and Hollywood stars Will Rogers, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.

    The car’s affordability helped Ford persevere through the Great Depression, which began in 1929 and wiped out many other automotive companies.

    Top speed was around 65 mph (105 km/h). The Model A had a 103.5 in (2,630 mm) wheelbase with a final drive ratio of 3.77:1. The transmission was a conventional 3-speed sliding gear manual unsynchronized unit with a single speed reverse.

    (Notice the article says top speed, not all day speed)

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