In June of 1927, Ford did something no one thought they would ever do. Soon after producing their 15,000,000th Model T, production ceased and all of the Ford plants were shut down to be retooled for their new Model A. Thinking this would only take a couple of months, it actually took six.
In December 1927 the Model A was ready to be introduced to the public. For pick up buyers the only Model A pick up available at first, was an open cab type. It featured a new body style provided to Ford by Briggs Manufacturing. It also used a soft top that was non-retractable that used side curtains made of canvas and mica to keep out the elements. Though these cabs were new the pickup boxes used were carryover from the Model T. These trucks didn’t just look new, they were new. They featured a new body, new engine, new transmission, new frames and new wheels. Their new 4 cylinder, 200 cubic inch engine produced 40 horsepower at 2200 RPM. Backing up these engines was a new 3 speed manual transmission that used a standard “H” shifting pattern. They were a lot easier to use than the 3 pedal planetary transmission that was used on the Model T. Standard equipment on these new Model A’s included a six volt starting system, left fender mounted spare tire, a four wheel mechanical braking system, tool kit, hand operated windshield wiper and a comfortable seat covered in artificial leather.
In August 1928 the Closed Cab version was introduced to the public. This truck featured an all steel cab with roll up windows in the doors. Both vehicles were available in Black or Rock Moss Green. The fenders, running boards, wheels, headlight buckets and the radiator grille were painted black on these vehicles. Ford produced 26,171 pickups in 1928 before the model year ended. In February 1929 Ford released their 1929 Model A pickups with minor changes over their 1928 counterparts. One of these changes involved exterior door handles to Open Cab models while the other change had Ford offering more exterior color choices for pick up buyers. All of these changes appealed to buyers as Ford’s Model A pick up production jumped to 77,900 units that year.
The 1930 model year saw Ford redesigning all of their Model A’s including the pickups. The redesign involved smoothing out the cowl panels, restyled fenders, raising the hood line and using a taller, thinner radiator. Closed Cab pickup models got a sun-visor mounted over the windshield, a windshield that could be pivoted out from the bottom for cab ventilation, a new soft roof panel, and a cab with more rounded corners on its back side. Open Cab variants got a new top that could be removed and the windshield could be laid down flat on top of the cowl. In addition they offered even more color choices. Even with all these changes they couldn’t keep the pickup production from dropping to 48,378 in this depression year.
For the last year of the Model A production, 1931, Ford offered a larger pickup box (22.2 cubic feet compared to 16.8) and even more exterior color choices to buyers. They even offered a limited production pickup for people who wanted something special. This pickup was called the Model A Deluxe Pickup and it featured a unique slab-sided pickup box that bolted to the back of a closed cab making the two separate pieces look like one. Chrome plated brass rails were added to the top of the bed sides to provide a distinctive look to these trucks. In addition all of the nickel plated trim found on the Deluxe Model A cars were also used on these trucks. Most of them were painted white with black fenders and top panel. Only 293 of them were produced and about 100 of them were used by General Electric technicians who worked on refrigerators. Ford also offered a Canopy Top (Type 65-A) Option for those people who wanted a covered pickup to use for their businesses. Ford produced 29,545 pickups before they stopped production of their 1931 Model A trucks in March of 1932. That brought to a close the Model A era which saw Ford produce some of their most popular vehicles that had such an impact they are still popular today almost 70 years after the first one was produced in the United States.
Happy Motoring, my friends!