1931 Ford Model A Convertible Sedan 400-A
Chassis No. A4512527
Body Style 400-A
Body No. 301
40 bhp, 200.5 cu. in. four-cylinder inline L-head engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring, live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 103.5 in.
Although the five million Model A Fords built from October 1927 through 1931 shared a common pattern and theme, a gentle styling evolution kept the look fresh. In addition, a continual array of new body styles interspersed the catalog. Some, like the Deluxe Roadsters and Sedans, were subtle variations on their basic counterparts. Others, like the 1928-29 140-A Town Cars and the two-door 190-A Victoria coupes and 180-A Deluxe Phaetons of 1930-31, were distinctive body styles in their own right. Another example is the 400-A Convertible Sedan, introduced in the spring of 1931. Over the years, the Convertible Sedan, sometimes familiarly called “A-400,” has become regarded as the most desirable of them all.
The Convertible Sedan was a cross between the Victoria coupe and the Deluxe Phaeton. The body, built by Murray Corporation of America, had two wide doors giving easy access, the right front seat folding forward for easier entry to the back. Rear passengers had ample foot room, thanks to wells in the floor (anticipating the Step-down Hudson of 1948). A collapsible roof lowered on side rails, leaving the side windows intact (predicting the 1950 Nash Rambler). This provided a more rigid body structure and better wind protection. Seating and door pockets were genuine leather, while matching crush-grained artificial leather lined the door and cowl panels. There were six standard colors and five optional schemes, some with complimentary molding hues and contrasting pin stripes. Just 4,864 were built, making it one of the rarer styles. Interestingly it outsold the Deluxe Phaeton by more than two-to-one, suggesting that the superior comfort was very well received.
This stunning 400-A Convertible Sedan was restored over a period of 15 years by Bill Sturm of Neenah, Wisconsin. Sturm, a nationally-known specialist in interiors and tops, has been regarded among the best of restorers. This is borne out by this car’s collection of awards. Following completion it received a First Place from the Model A Restorers Club, followed by a MARC of Excellence award and subsequently Masters of Excellence. In AACA competition it has received First Junior, Senior, Grand National, Senior Grand National and Repeat Senior Grand National honors.
Painted in Brewster Green with Apple Green wheels and pinstripe, it has the correct contrasting black fenders and splash aprons. With body number 301 and an engine number issued in March, it is among the first flight of this coveted model. It has appeared as the cover car on Model A News, the magazine of the Model A Restorers Club. The body contours are excellent, and the paint exhibits a good shine. The roof is tan canvas; all glass has correct Ford script “bugs.” The interior is immaculate and the engine compartment and undercarriage are clean and correctly detailed, the latter with the original-type tapered muffler. The tires are correct Firestone 4.75 x 19 blackwalls.
Features include dual sidemount spares, a rear-mounted trunk rack with correct metal wood-grained rails, cowl lamps and ash trays for the rear seat passengers. A top boot and an original owner’s manual are included.
One of the most desirable Model As, this Convertible Sedan starts, runs and drives like a Model A should…maybe even better. It is a must for any serious Model A Ford collector and this example is by far the best. But don’t take my word for it, the awards speak for themselves.