Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


THE Model T Ford was certainly a tough act to follow. Indeed, the Model A that succeeded it in 1927 wasn’t even the first Ford Model A. Ford’s 1903 car carried this moniker as well, logically as the company’s first product.

As R&T described in “Poor Man’s Classic—The Model A,” February 1957, “The last of 15 million model Ts came off the assembly line on May 26, 1927, and production of the model A began on November 1st of that year.”

“Only 4186 model A’s were built in 1927,” R&T recounted. “Despite official predictions that the company would build more As than Ts, production of the model A ceased early in 1932 when the vastly improved model B and the sensational model 18 (the V-8) were introduced. In all, 4.5 million model A’s were built in just over four years.”

1930 Model A Ford. This and other images from R&T, February 1957.

This 1930 sport coupe was featured in that February 1957 article. It was accompanied by No. 7 of R&T’s time-traveling Classic Road Tests. Here in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow are tidbits gleaned from both articles together with memories of R&T’s Model A experiences back in 1988. 

A Major Changeover. R&T reported, “The changeover from the T to the A cost over 100 million real dollars, and there is no doubt that the A is much more expensive to manufacture than its predecessor. Aside from the more costly design features, Henry Ford was never a man to stint on the quality of materials and/or workmanship, and this also increased costs. Prices began at $385 for the roadster but were increased slightly in 1928.” 

By the way, according to the CPI Inflation Calculator, $385 in 1927 dollars works out to $6656.52 today. Quite a bargain.  

This “recent” (i.e. 1957) outing of the Model A Restorers Club of Southern California shows an array of Model A’s.

A Vast Array. Wikipedia notes, “The Model A came in a wide variety of styles including coupes (standard and deluxe), business coupe, sport coupe, roadster coupes (standard and deluxe), convertible cabriolet, convertible sedan, phaetons (standard and deluxe), Tudor sedans (standard and deluxe), town car, Fordors (five-window standard, three-window deluxe), Victoria, town sedan, station wagon, taxicab, truck, and commercial. The very rare special coupe started production around March 1928 and ended mid-1929.”

“The Model A,” Wikipedia noted, “was the first Ford to use the standard set of driver controls with conventional clutch and brake pedals, throttle, and gearshift.” The Model T’s controls were unique to Ford.

Outstanding Performance. R&T wrote, “So important (and outstanding) was the performance that even the trade magazine ‘Automotive Industries’ commented on the fact that the model A’s stop-light getaway would embarrass the owners (and manufacturers) of even our highest prices vehicles.”

“All comparisons being relative,” R&T continued, “it is interesting to note that today’s Volkswagen performs approximately on par with the model A through the gears, but cannot even approach the A’s high gear acceleration of 5 to 25 mph in 8.5 seconds.”

Tomorrow in Part 2, we learn of Model A achievements and foibles, both from 1957 R&T as well as our experiences in 1988. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023


  1. -Nate
    March 30, 2023

    As the ex owner of four different ‘A’ Model Fords I can tel you they really were stellar cars .

    I used them as daily drivers and work vehicles in and around Los Angeles in the 1980’s .

    Dirt cheap to buy and dead easy to dive and maintain .


  2. Mike Scott
    April 1, 2023

    It seems every old car guy at one point dallied with a Model A.  I get their charm, just never sang to me.I’d take a Plymouth over a Model A or Chevy of the same years.  Henry Ford brought the masses affordable cars. Walter P. Chrysler brought them affordable engineering.

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