Ford Model A (1903–04)

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Ford Model A
Manufacturer Ford
Also called Fordmobile
Ford Model AC
Production 1903–1904
Designer Henry Ford
Body and chassis
Body style 2-seat runabout
rear-entry 4-seat tonneau
Engine Flat-2 1668 cc (101.788 cu in) 8hp.[1]
Transmission 2-speed planetary
Wheelbase 72 in (1.8 m)[2]
Curb weight 1,240 lb (562 kg)
Predecessor Ford Quadricycle
Successor Ford Model B
Ford Model C

The original Ford Model A is the first car produced by Ford, beginning production in 1903. Ernest Pfennig, a Chicago dentist, became the first owner of a Model A on July 23, 1903.[3] 1,750 cars were made from 1903 through 1904 during Ford's occupancy of its first facility: the Ford Mack Avenue Plant, a modest rented wood frame building on Detroit's East Side. The Model A was replaced by the Ford Model C during 1904 with some sales overlap.

Ad for the Model A from a December 15, 1903 newspaper

The car came as a two-seater runabout for $800 or the $900 [4] four-seater tonneau model with an option to add a top. The horizontal-mounted flat-2, situated amidships of the car, produced 8 hp (6 kW). A planetary transmission was fitted with two forward speeds and reverse, a Ford signature later seen on the Ford Model T. The car weighed 1,240 lb (562 kg) and could reach a top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h). It had a 72-inch (1.8 m) wheelbase and sold for a base price of US$750. Options included a rear tonneau with two seats and a rear door for $100, a rubber roof for $30 or a leather roof for $50. Band brakes were used on the rear wheels.[1] However, it was $150 more than its most direct competitor, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, and so did not sell as well.[3]

The company had spent almost its entire $28,000 initial investment funds with only $223.65 left in its bank account when the first Model A was sold. The success of this car model generated a profit for the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford's first successful business.[5]

Although Ford advertised the Model A as the "most reliable machine in the world", it suffered from many problems common to vehicles of the era, including overheating and slipping transmission bands. The Model A was sold only in red by the factory, though some were later repainted in other colors.[6]

Model AC[edit]

Some 1904 Model A cars were equipped with the larger, more powerful engine of the Model C and were sold as the Model AC.


  1. ^ a b Kimes, Beverly (1996). standard catalog of American Cars 1805–1942. Krause publications. ISBN 0-87341-428-4. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Lacey, Robert (1986). Ford: The Men and the Machine. Little, Brown and company. ISBN 0-316-51166-8. 
  4. ^ ad in Automobile Review magazine, Chicago, Dec. 15, 1903, p. 10
  5. ^ "Early Ford". Retrieved February 11, 2010. 
  6. ^ Auto Museum Online - 1903 Ford Model A

External links[edit]