1929 Ford Model A Phaeton
1929 Ford Model A Phaeton
Chassis No. A2045438
40 bhp, 200.5 cu. in. L-head inline four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 103.5 in.
By 1927, Henry Ford had built more than 17 million Model Ts, the car that truly put America on wheels. The long-running model, conceived in 1908, had changed little, however, and by that time was quite antiquated in comparison to its competitors. Ford’s son Edsel, then president of the firm but basically in name only, had been trying for years to convince his father to update the T. Finally he was successful, and in June 1927 Henry Ford halted production completely. His new car, ready in October, was novel in many ways and to emphasize the fact Ford returned to the beginning of the alphabet and christened it “Model A.”
The engine followed the Model T formula, an L-head inline four, and though it was a mere 14 percent larger in displacement it produced twice the brake horsepower. Replacing the two-speed planetary transmission of the T was a three-speed selective gearbox, though transverse leaf springs and torque tube drive were retained, but the car had four-wheel brakes. It rode a three-and-a-half inch longer wheelbase and weighed 700 pounds more than its predecessor.
Most noticeable was the styling. Reminiscent of the Lincoln, the car that Edsel had ushered into trendy, iconic styling after his father acquired the company in 1922, the new Model A was similarly drawn under the scion’s watchful eye. While his father was practical and pragmatic, hewing to the form-follows-function school of design, Edsel was an aesthete of the highest order and knew how design could attract customers. He was proved right as the public queued up for a first look and placed orders that the factories took months to fill.
The new Model A was designated a 1928 model, and a number of running changes took place in that first year. The long hiatus from Model T to Model A caused Ford to fall behind Chevrolet for both calendar years 1927 and ’28, but for 1929 Ford rebounded mightily to more than 1.5 million cars. It would be the company’s best year for some time to come.
The current owner acquired this Model A Phaeton, Body Style 35-A, in southern New England in September 1986. Built early in August 1929, it was a solid, unrestored car. It was then treated to a complete restoration. The owner, a prominent Model A collector, did the chassis work himself, sending the engine to a machine shop for complete rebuilding. The body and paint work was entrusted to a quality specialist, refinished in correct Bonnie Gray with Chelsea Blue moldings. The wheels and body stripes are done in Ford’s pleasing and popular Straw hue. The seats are correct Blue-Gray Colonial Grain artificial leather with matching kick panels. The top is black canvas.
This painstaking work was rewarded with AACA honors from First Junior up through the ranks, culminating in a Grand National Senior First in 1995. The car has been meticulously maintained ever since. It is smart-looking, runs well and is a delight to drive. The Phaeton body is an excellent choice for sporty family touring, and the car is ready to enter in the most prestigious of concours d’elegance and regional shows.
Be sure to check out the Model A Restorers Club.