Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where I highlight fascinating cars I found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.
Most people would posit, I imagine, that the Ford Model T is Ford's most iconic early car. It put America on wheels, they argue. It was built on an assembly line, they say. It has three pedals, none of which give you forward motion and the damn thing is well-nigh impossible to drive, they contest. All of these things are true.
But I'm going to go out on a limb of the insanity tree and posit that the Ford Model A is more iconic. Yes, more iconic. The Ford Model T was a skinny, spindly thing and I dare you, the average person (no, not you the Ford Model T savant), to pick out the Model T from the sea of cars produced around 1921. They're all sort of skinny, spindly things. The Model A on the other hand, introduced in December 1927, conjures up the Depression and gangsters and O Brother Where Art Thou? It was Ford's first truly modern offering. It even had an electric starter – take that, Elon Musk.
This particular Model A is a convertible, which you super-sleuths should've been able to deduce from the fact that it has no roof. It's in stunning, fully-restored condition, and to be honest, I'm a little surprised that it is. Most Ford Model A's that you see have been turned into some form of hot rod, with chopped windshields, exposed engines, and fat tires out back. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it just makes one that hasn't been turned into some hairy-chested mutant a bit more special.
Then again, it's a little surprising that "hairy-chested mutant" wasn't one of Ford's original offerings. The Model A chassis was extremely versatile, and unlike today's cars with their unibody construction, you could basically just take the body off one car and slap on a new one. So that's what Ford did. They offered over 20 body styles, including:
- Standard Coupe
- Deluxe Coupe
- Business Coupe
- Convertible Sedan
- Standard Fordor Sedan (Murray)
- Standard Fordor Sedan (Briggs)
- Deluxe Fordor Sedan (Murray)
- Deluxe Fordor Sedan (Briggs)
- Leatherback Fordor Sedan
- Mail Truck
- Pickup Truck
- Deluxe Pickup
- Roadster Pickup
- Panel Truck
- Station Wagon
- Standard Roadster
- Deluxe Roadster
- Sport Roadster
...and on and on. Benjamin Buford Blue could have a field day with it. And with more than two million sold in the first year and a half it was on sale, plenty of people did.