I know this is a T forum, but I've always liked the look of the Model A Sedan. What are the main differences between the T and the A (please, no jokes!). Is the A as easy to work on as the T, and do you drive it similar to the T? Also, are the parts as easy to come by as out T parts? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
The Model A is a big up grade/change from the Model T. Too many differences to try an cover here. The Model A is just as easy to work on as the T. Both are fun to drive however, the Model A has a clutch and brake peddle with foot throttle which is still the style today. Parts are easy to come by and costs are comparable to what T parts cost. Possible more Model A parts suppliers vice for Model T.
I have both and enjoy driving each for different reasons. Each provides a different driving experience. The brakes are 4 wheel on a Model A which is a big improvement over T's even with RM's
Even with all the improvements, I still will not drive my Model A on freeway's here in California.
It is like comparing a helicopter to a hay baler.
the two cars are so different that they could have been made by two different companies and been more similar that they are.
I like them both.
One was designed in 1908, the other in 1927.
There were probably more advances in the automotive industry in the time than any other 19 year period in history.
I have driven them both on the freeways.
But freeways are no place for either one.
I am nearly unable to drive a Model A because they are made to fit small people. I have the same problem with 1926 - 27 Model T's. I am physically unable to drive any of these cars comfortably.
Do the Model A's have engine stamp dates like the T, and did Ford's model year run the same as when producing the T?
1. A has 4 wheel brakes while T has single drum transmission brake.
2. A has foot throttle while T has hand throttle on steering column.
3. A has 3 speed sliding gear transmission while T has foot operated 2 speed planetary transmission.
4. A has electric starter while early Ts (prior to 1919) and many later Ts are hand crank start only.
As said above, they are very different. If you are considering getting one or the other as a hobby car I'd suggest you locate a local A club and a local T club. Then go hang out with each and see which rises to the top for you.
Model A parts are much more available.
A parts are more expensive.
the A fits a skinny short leg person.
It has a foot clutch that should be double clutch but if you let the rpms die down you can shift as normal.
Has far more low and top end speeds.
steering is more like a modern non power steering car but steering box does have steering slop.
As for working on the A , I believe the A is the start of the end of the shade tree mechanic.
The A has an engine number and a frame number as the '26-27 T did.
The A frame number is on the top of the frame just behind where the steering gearbox is mounted.
I think the model year started in Sept. but there were exceptions too.
For example, the '29 pickup was built until June 1930. It even kept the 21 inch wheels which were replaced with 19 inch wheels on the cars in the fall of '29 on the '30 models.
Which do you like better -- chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter cookies? That is a good way to look at the which one would I prefer when it comes to Model Ts or Model As (1928-1931 not the 1903-04) Fords. They both were great cars in their time. In stock form they are both slower and lack the safety and creature comforts of cars made this century. They both have great national and local clubs see: http://www.mafca.com/ and http://model-a-ford.org/ . The members of both clubs are usually great but there is always someone -- somewhere that is having a bad day (I even have those sometimes). If you are going for research in unexplored and undocumented areas – the T is better. Why, because the Model A Folks only cover 4 years, and they have a Model A Ford Foundation [both USA see: http://www.maffi.org/index.htm and Canada see: http://www.cmaff.com/ ] and they have been doing a great job of documenting the history part of the cars for several decades. [I still hope we start one of those for the 1903-1927 Fords – but that is a different thread.] They both have known safety issues [babbitt bearings in the rear axle of the T can lead to loss of brakes and if you remove the shifting tower from the Model A 3 speed transmission and look down at it while you remove the clip that holds the spring – that could easily be the last thing you ever do. They come off with a lot of force. Not a problem if you read the many warnings about that on the Model A forums and the numerous “How to Restore Your Model A” books or if you just purchase a rebuilt shifter if it needs to be rebuilt.
If I was going for a daily driver in an area where most of the traffic was 45 mph or under – I have gone with and would still go with the basically stock Model A. It can keep up and not get in the way. It won’t be the leader of the pack – but it won’t have a trail of 15 cars behind it either. And both cars with a little modification – higher compression head, aux transmission or rear axle can be made to go a little or a lot faster (speed cost money – how fast do you want to go?). But be sure the brakes are upgraded. Speaking of which a well restored Model A brake system is great compared to the two wheel brake system of the T. But you will notice none of the new 2015 cars that I know of have mechanical brakes. You still have to plan your lights – I will be ready to stop, I will be ready to stop, I will be ready to stop, I’m going no matter what at this point….. Ok maybe it isn’t that simple but like the T you really have to think about are you going to stop or go through the light. It won’t stop on a dime – especially the heavier sedans.
I would strongly encourage you to go to a couple of the Model A Ford club meetings / tours near you. Talk to folks. Go for a ride etc. Some of them would probably let you drive their car (I would – but first we would need to dig it out of the storage…etc.).
And yes – try them on for size. The later 1931 Model A Fordor and Townsedan has an adjustable front seat that allows you more leg room than the roadster that has a fixed seat etc. There were some other models with adjustable front seats (Tudors – you can rotate the mounting bracket etc. And you can always build a bracket for the Tudor to give you even more room.)
Below are a couple of shots of our Model As when they were our daily drivers.
Faithful Fred the pickup is shown the year we were in Iceland. It was sold when the children came. I never could convince my wonderful wife that I could safely secure a child seat in the pickup bed....
Below is photo of Bessie, our 1931 Model A Town sedan that was taken in then West Germany. That was the only car I had there for the first year or so. Higher compression head than stock and an overdrive transmission. And it did well. The higher compression head (mild not wild) allows the heavier sedan to go up long grades in high gear rather than having to shift down to second gear. You are still in the truck lane but every now and then you can pass a truck.
Good luck with your discovery process and have fun.
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We had a car show at work last week and also had a fundraiser for JDRF that day. I drove into work at 5AM and opted to drive my '31 A in instead of a T. Even though my one taillight is brighter than an oil lamp, I put a magnetic yellow light on the back of the car. I also liked having a stop lamp.
We had a guest show up in a very nice Shelby convertible and he paused for a photo by my car.
Thanks for all the input, fellas! The reason I'm asking about Model A's is there's a really nice 1931 Model A two door sedan for sale, but I'm not sure what a good price is for one. This one looks really nice and was rebuilt a few years ago. It doesn't appear to need anything, as the interior has been redone as well as the exterior.
Royce is right; these Model A Fords have real small interiors. _Pictured above is yours truly trying to squeeze into one. _Without my shoulder and elbow out the window, I'd have taken up just about the whole front seat, and my knees were up real high, so I don't know how I'd have operated the pedals without moving them to either side of the steering wheel. _No room for a passenger that way! _I guess between The Dust-Bowl and The Great Depression, folks were kept skinny enough to fit. _Okay, enough typing—time to go out to McDonalds.
I've had 'em both and enjoyed each for what they are but a Model A is too much like driving a modern car for me. I drive one of those everyday and what I was looking for was something a bit more primitive. The Model T and my other early brass cars fit that bill. The beauty of the Model T is that parts are readily available unlike the other early cars. For my money you can't beat a Model T for enjoying the antique car experience!
You can tell by the number in use,the model A was and still is a great car!! You look good Tom,but that Bill look's underfed!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Yeah, Val; it's pretty hard to beat a car for which almost any part can be ordered by phone and shipped within a couple of days. _I once knew a pilot who owned a humble Piper Cub and a rather desirable, 600-HP, WWII airplane, but the one he wound up keeping right behind the hangar door was the 40-HP Cub. _He was surprised to find that he flew the little puddle-jumper far more often and enjoyed it more.
Bill, I'd say in the $16-$19K range, without seeing the car. You say it's been rebuilt, with "new" interior/exterior.
Size can be a problem. My 28 Phaeton is hard to get in and out of with the top up. I'm 6'2. I drilled out the spot wells on the front seat back, pushed it back as much as I could and re-welded it. The guy that had it before me was taller than I am and bent the shifter to the right a little bit. Once I'm in, it is comfortable. I've done eight hour driving in it and have been comfortable. What is strange is there is all kinds of leg room in the back seat, a lot more than a T.
Not trying to start a war but i think the 16-19 range is high for a two door?? I wonder if there are more A's with side mounts than were ever built?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
I have a fantastic Model A for sale. It has a Borg Warner overdrive, B crank, Denver cylinder head, drives flawlessly, and was restored with a ton of NOS parts including all four fenders. Has side curtains, Washington blue with straw wheels and striping. It is a late 31 with the indented firewall.
Royce - that is one pretty car!! I have a '30 Town Sedan in the same colors.
I have both and enjoy the T more. In comparison to a T, the A is basically a modern car. It has twice the power, a sliding gear trans, a gas pedal, starter and other modern amenities. You can keep up with rural traffic in it.
That said, when we go out for breakfast on the weekend, I usually take the T. I like how different it is. Crank start, acetylene lights, timers, 3 pedals, very little power, even less brakes...
That said, the well cared for spartan ahhoga horn on my A makes an iconic sound that I never get tired of hearing...
I noticed you are in Michigan. If you are near Milford any weekend the weather is nice, come by and you can drive the A and see if it suits you. Of if you are at old car fest, take a drive then.
As I think about it, you probably need both...