1931 Ford Model A

Renewal of a Legacy

As seen on Season One of FantomWorks

Owner insight: I did not choose the vehicle, it chose me.  My father passed away last year and this was the only possession he had left.  He had the vehicle for over 40 years and was well known for his kindness and his car.  He was the epitome of a Hot Rodder.  He lived right off Route 66 in Arizona.  I never got to know my father and since I also had my two younger brothers pass away (all within the past 2 years), it makes me the last of my family.  I am compelled to continue his legacy.  I attempted to restore his car, but to no avail.  I chose FantomWorks because of their reputation, and from what I have seen so far, they have an incredible array of talented staff.

Quote from the vehicle owner: “Lovin’ life & livin’ the dream…”

FantomWorks insight:  Bill brought in his 31 Model A “high boy” hot rod project recently and shared his story of how he came to inherit it. It was his only connection to his now deceased father and needed to be handled in a very special way. Bill’s father was a Hot Rodder in every sense of the word. We can see his hands, heart, and spirit in every part of the car and he lived and built cars much the way most of us at FantomWorks did as we were building cars in our carports in years past. He employed good techniques using the basic tools and hardware available to the everyday mechanic. Bill’s concerns was that his dad lived by the seat-of-his-pants and accepted risk in many systems on this car. Bill wanted to keep his father’s legacy and asked us to blend FantomWorks safety and quality in with his father’s spirit. We are fixing what needs to be fixed and keeping what must be retained. This project is a fantastic connection to the past for both Bill and the craftsmen at FantomWorks.

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After discontinuing the Model T in 1927, Ford Motor Company closed down operations for almost six months to develop its next car—the new Model A. Responding to a more affluent consumer market, the car was more powerful, more luxurious and equipped with more features than its predecessor.

A New Model A Is Born

Realizing that consumers of the prosperous Twenties were ready for more comfortable and stylish cars, Henry Ford envisioned a new car that would deliver speed, power and comfort, and be suited to the improved roads and the quick-paced life of the day. It would be lower, longer and wider than the T, more pleasing in proportion, and available in a variety of models and colors. And it would be named after the first car made by Ford back in 1903—the Model A.

Styling and Features

The lines of the Model A suggested those of its richer relative, the Lincoln—so much so that the Model A was often called “the baby Lincoln.” Body colors included several trendy hues, which was a heady change from the monochromatic Model T, available only in black from 1914 to 1925.

Like the Model T, Model A could go anywhere and do anything on 20 miles to the gallon, but with greater safety and far superior comfort.

First-time features included hydraulic shock absorbers, a safety glass windshield, bumpers, automatic windshield wipers, tilt-beam headlights and a Bendix self-starter. Even with the new features, Ford was able to offer it at prices close to those of the Model T.

Engine and Transmission Design

Ford adopted a four-cylinder, 200-cubic-inch L-head engine for Model A, only a little larger than the engine used in the Model T, but developing 40 horsepower at 2200 rpm. The new engine had aluminum alloy pistons and cylinder head, three-bearing counterbalanced crankshaft, and battery distributor ignition. Model T’s outdated planetary transmission gave way to a three-speed sliding gear type made of heat-treated chromium steel; the clutch and transmission were duplicates in miniature of those of the Lincoln.

End of the A

During the five months between the end of Model T and delivery of the first Model A, 400,000 orders had piled up, and by early 1928, orders had mounted to 800,000. Ford made almost two million Model A’s in 1929, but Black Thursday came on October 24th of that year, ushering in the Great Depression. By 1931, sales had dropped to 620,000 units.

Model A production ended in August 1931. By that time, more than 20 million Fords had been built, almost five million of them the brilliant little Model A.

Read more about Ford Models at : http://corporate.ford.com/our-company/heritage/vehicle-history-news-detail/671-model-a-1928

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