There is a discussion on another forum I read, about the Model A Victoria. Some say that all Vickies are 1931 or later, and some say there were some made in 1930. (Of course, both could be correct.) I think those folks are confusing calendar year with model year. Does someone here know when Ford's 1931 model year began, and when the first Vicky was built? Thanks for any info.
Doesn't anyone have an answer for this?
There were some Model A Victoria's built in 1930, I think somewhere around 7,000. The majority were 1931's, somewhere around 34,000 I believe.
As for model year vs. calendar year, I'm not sure, hopefully someone else can answer. My first thought is the first Model A was sold on December, 2, 1927 (1928 model year), so maybe model year did coincide with calendar year?
What model year is a Model T with a flat dash that was manufactured in Nov 1914? Or a flat wooden dash Model T manufactured in Dec 1915? That is a similar debate you can have with the Victoria body style but the time frame shifts to the fall of 1930.
The Victoria body was introduced in Nov 1930 (ref page 172 of "The Ford Model "A" As Henry Built It" by George DeAngelis, Edward P. Francis, and Leslie R. Henry 5th edition.) That is a very good book for Model A Ford details. They specifically say on that same page 172, "There were no changes in body design between the 1930 and the 1931 models. However, in 1931 there was new interior trim scheme, tan broadcloth. The upper radiator shell panel was painted body color in 1930 and 1931. The lower panel lower panel was to remain black, but there is evidence that many plants painted both the upper and the lower the same color."
The book also shares that 6,306 Victoria Model A’s were built from Nov to Jan, 1931 [i.e. Dec 31, 1930]. Production was 33,906 for 1931. That is clearly by calendar year.
The Model A Ford Club of America has a listing of body types and years at the link: http://www.mafca.com/data_bodycodes_a.html They have the Victoria listed 1930-1931. Note cars like the 160 A, 160B, & 160C are listed as 1931 only.
And the same club has a listing of how to tell the difference between the 1928, 1928, 1930 and 1931 cars at: https://www.mafca.com/whatyear.html In the middle they have a disclaimer that reads, “But don't forget, there are some exceptions to these general guidelines, so you may not want to bet a lot of money on your identification!” And they refer folks to the judging guidelines for specific details.
From there it says, “Is it a 1930 or 1931?
This one is tricky, but in general, you can tell a 1930 from a 1931 by looking at the radiator shell. 1930 cars had a stainless shell with a painted insert at the bottom and a blue Ford logo. 1931 cars had a painted upper insert with a stainless steel Ford logo.
Click Here for a photo comparing the 1930-31 radiator shells
Another difference between 1930 and 1931 vehicles are the running board splash aprons. The 1930 vehicles used a two-piece splash apron. The main piece was integral with the running board, and the small front section was bolted to this assembly. The 1931 vehicles used a separate, one-piece splash apron that bolted to the running boards. However, the transition period commenced in October 1930 and continued to year end.
Click Here for a photo comparing the 1930-31 fender/running boards.
But note in remarks from page 172 of “The Model A Ford as Henry Built It” that he says about the Victoria bodied cars: “The upper radiator shell panel was painted body color in 1930 and 1931.” That would indicate to me that is was a 1931 model year car.
Additionally the 1930 cars have a two piece splash apron but notice the transition period mentioned of above that ran from Oct to the end of 1930.
I did a quick look but so far I have not found any factory photos of a Victoria with the 1930 style radiator shell or typical 1930 style 2 piece splash apron.
The Joint MAFCA & MARC Judging Guidelines probably address the issue. But remember the MTFCI Judging Guidelines 6th edition would say that a Model T manufactured in Nov 1914-Dec 1915 with the cherry stained flat dash would be a 1914 model year car. Ref page 3 of the 6th edition. It states for Model Year 1914: “Oct 1913 – Jan 1915 (Sedan and Coupelet appear in fall 1914. First 1915 Touring appeared in Jan 1915, but 1914 style open cars continued to be produce by branches.” And on page 1 of the 1915 section it shares, “Assembly plants continued to produce the Tourings and Runabout with the 1914 style until the new bodies reached them, possibly as late as April 1915.
I think many of us would like the answers to be more like math where 2 + 2 = 4 or at least when I took math it did. But Ford was not that interested in Model years. He did many running changes. He was selling Fords and not trying to make them where they would fit nicely into a specific model year each year.
That probably isn’t the answer you were looking for. And I’m sure the MAFCA & MARC joint judging guidelines will spell things out more clearly. But I would guess those guidelines have changed and been updated over the years.
Hap l9l5 cut off and 1931 160B slant windshield town sedan. And if you want to avoid what model year your Ford is, that is one of the ones to own as they were only produced during the 1931 calendar and 1931 model year.
(Message edited by Hap_tucker on May 06, 2016)
"The Victoria body was introduced in Nov 1930"
Thanks Hap, that answers one of my questions.
Does anyone know when Ford's 1931 model year began? During Model T production, the model year change was typically 1 August of the previous year. Were they still doing that in the 30's?
(Message edited by coupelet on May 06, 2016)
(Message edited by coupelet on May 06, 2016)
You mentioned in your note above that you hadn't found any factory photos of a Victoria with the 1930 radiator shell.
In the "for what it's worth department" on page 169 of "The Model A Ford as Henry Built It" there is a picture of a leather back Victoria on the top of the page that is sporting the 1930 style radiator shell.
Thank you so much for pointing out that photograph. For anyone wanting information about the 1928-1931 Model A Fords, the book "The Model A Ford as Henry Built It" is excellent. It is available from the vendors as well as the national Model A clubs. I had missed the generally considered 1930 radiator shell while I was trying really hard to see if the car had or didn’t have the two piece splash apron where it joins with the front fender. Below is a cropped version showing the front half of that car. But notice that the photo is labeled “A pre-production engineering-built Victoria. The production cars had cowl lights and the deluxe radiator shell.” (Hap’s comment -- i.e. it doesn’t have the painted insert at the top of the radiator shell).
We can learn something new about Fords every day. In this case it turns out that Ford USA introduced the Victoria along with the new radiator shell with the painted insert at the top. That was in Nov 1930. When introduced in Nov 1930 it had a stainless Ford oval with the “Ford” filled in with blue paint. During Feb – Mar 1931 that blue paint in the Ford stainless oval change to black. (ref page 49 for the radiator shell, ref page 172 for the introduction of the Victoria.)
What does that mean? A production Victoria, produced in Nov of 1931 would have had the new style radiator shell. And until Feb 1931 the standard model cars continued to use the 1930 style radiator shell with the Blue Oval (not the stainless steel one used on the deluxe cars). And for Feb – Mar the standard cars (not the Victoria) could have either the earlier commonly considered 1930 radiator shell or the newer style with the painted insert at the top. (All that is discussed on page 49 of “The Model A Ford as Henry Built It.” )
On page 50 it states the one piece splash apron went into production in Sep 1930. The two piece splash apron that was spot welded to the front fender was continued on the AA trucks. How much overlap when both were still used on the cars? Ref: https://www.mafca.com/whatyear.html as stated earlier in the posting: “Another difference between 1930 and 1931 vehicles are the running board splash aprons. The 1930 vehicles used a two-piece splash apron. The main piece was integral with the running board, and the small front section was bolted to this assembly. The 1931 vehicles used a separate, one-piece splash apron that bolted to the running boards. However, the transition period commenced in October 1930 and continued to year end.
Click Here for a photo comparing the 1930-31 fender/running boards.”
So Mike, we can have two styles of Model A Fords produced in Nov 1930. The Victoria with the painted insert radiator shell and the bulk of the other cars having the all stainless radiator shell at the top. [Note – I do not know how many other deluxe models they were producing in Nov 1930 – just that it said deluxe models got the radiator shell with the painted insert.] So were they both 1930 model year cars? Or were they both 1931 model year cars? Or was the one with the deluxe radiator shell a 1931 model year and the other a 1930 model year? I would guess that the joint MAFCA & MARC Judging Guidelines would address that. They are available for $25 from the clubs see: https://mafca.com/cart/index.php?productID=115 and yes it includes the recent Revision 3. Or they may have taken the less controversial approach and just said – what year and month was the car produced? For that calendar year time frame these are the items you would typically see during normal production. [Note for a 1928-1929 the assembly date was stamped on the gasoline tank.]
The nearest Model A club may have a copy that you could look at?
Note while looking for information about the Victoria cars I came across a closed e-bay listing about a Model A Ford with the German coach built body. (No, I’m not going to ask what model year). The short version is located at: http://www.ebay.com/blogs/stories/rare-1931-ford-model-victoria and the expired listing is located at: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ford-Model-A-Victoria-/301149329931 and has a number of nice photos of that car. One of the photos I liked best of that car is shown below:
And if anyone can answer Mike's question that would be appreciated. Or if it is not answered by Christmas, maybe Santa can bring me a copy of the Model A Judging Guidelines.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Yes, Timothy, but as you know, that photo is of a prototype Victoria Coupe, as this body style was called until sometime in 1931. Then it became simply the "Victoria". Even though this is a Model T website, the door has been opened to the Model A world with the original poster's question about Victorias. For those readers on this Tin Lizzy website who may not know it, Timothy Kelly is SUPER well-versed in Model A's, too, especially the rarer ones like Town Cars and Station Wagons. I'm sure his reply would have been more complete, had this been a Model A website. I'll go for the low hanging fruit from here.
To set the record straight in Model T owners' minds, let me add a couple comments, as a longtime Model A enthusiast and Victoria owner. ALL Victoria Coupes/Victorias were considered 1931 models by FoMoCo, even those few thousand produced in late 1930. This body style was a luxury model and was priced accordingly. $$$$$ Even though new models were introduced in January during the Model A era (except the 1928 model year, which came out in December, 1927), the Victoria Coupe had the unique distinction of debuting in November of 1930. It received the new "deluxe" radiator shell with the painted upper insert, the only body style to be fitted with this feature initially. This shell was not installed on all 1931 Model A's (passenger cars) until early 1931, when it became the "standard" radiator shell, replacing the 1930 style with its stainless shell upper area. Consequently, many early 1931 Model A's had the 1930 radiator shell, but the one-piece side aprons. When the change occurred depended upon remaining supplies of 1930 shells in the various factories. This crossover fact is recognized by both major Model A clubs and accepted in judging.
Incidentally, George DeAngelis got it wrong in his book about Model A's when he stated that the Victoria was produced by both Briggs and Murray. Briggs made NO Victoria bodies. They were all produced by Murray. Any Victoria with a Briggs firewall plate has been debunked as a restorer-added plate. Also, George stated the customer had a choice of either the softback or steelback Vicky. Not quite true! The softback Victoria Coupes were the first version and were produced through approximately half the run of Victorias (at around #17,000), when the steelback was exclusively made for the rest of 1931. A dealer MAY have had a leftover softback in stock when the newer steelbacks began arriving, but George left the impression that the customer could simply order whichever version he wanted. He later admitted both of these errors after more research had been performed on this rare and desirable body style.
The Victoria Association's newsletter has many authoritative articles about these subjects, including debunking "Briggs" Victorias.
early Victoria Coupe #4554
Hap types and posts faster than I do! He posted while I was still typing and proof-reading my missive. Oh, well...
Here was one for sale a while ago, for 15k Its a 1930, note the rad. shell and the 2 piece splash shield.
Thanks for the kind words....but you have overstated my knowledge of Model A Fords by a fair bit. My interest is focused on the rare Model A Fords, and my knowledge for the most part starts and stops there.
Getting back to the original question.... There are factory photos of a Model A Ford Town Car Delivery ("TCD") sporting a 1930 style radiator shell and a straight, not slanted, windshield. The photo is dated (from memory) October 1930. In addition, there are many features on that car that are different than the production 1931 Town Car Deliveries.
Notwithstanding the foregoing facts, I have never found any mention in Ford writings or files of a "1930" TCD. Reference is always made to "1931" TCDs, even those manufactured late in 1930.
Lastly, in an era trade magazine or journal I found on eBay, there was a prominent article about a company taking delivery in January of 1931 of its new 1931 Model A Ford Town Car Delivery. Interestingly enough, the car delivered and depicted was a straight windshield model with the stainless unpainted upper radiator shell.
The car in the Hap Tucker picture has 31 splash shields, but has a 30 radiator shell
The car in the Dan Treace picture Has 30 splash shields and a 30 radiator shell.
Look at the splash apron and fender nose juncture in Dan's photo. Two different colors and aging/rusting indicate that these pieces came from two different cars. My gut feeling is that this Vicky was put together from parts. Owners have only had 85 years, in which to make such parts swaps. Perhaps the owner saw "1930" on the title, so during the rebuild, he installed 1930 features? 'Dunno.
My Victoria is fairly early (November, 1930), but it has the "deluxe shell" and one-piece splash aprons. It's never been apart for "restoration", so I am confident that it came from the factory like that. If - and this is a BIG "if" - the pictured Victoria came from the factory with a '30 radiator shell and split aprons from a 1930, it would be a very unique car. The Victoria was introduced as a high end model, so it should have gotten the newest and best parts on the assembly line, meaning the deluxe radiator shell and the new one-piece side splash aprons.
There's no use in trying to split hairs over a Model A on a Model T website. I think it's a safe statement to say that Victorias were considered 1931 models by Ford and were introduced almost two months ahead of the other 1931 Model A's. The deluxe radiator shell and one-piece splash aprons SHOULD be part of the Victoria Coupe package, despite what one might see running around these days.
So there's a lot of information here, but still no answer to one of my questions. Can anyone tell me when Ford's 1931 model year began?
Do you happen to have the link to the other forum or the name of the other forum where the discussion was/is taking place? If so that may or may not be of any help. We don’t need to rehash what may have been discussed there. And more importantly, if they eventually come to a definitive answer there, it would be good to share it here also. I’m certain there is as least one Model A Victoria lurker somewhere on this forum…. And you can stop reading now – I didn’t find the holy grail that will give us the year model dates.
For Marshall, Timothy, Dan, & Norman,
Thank you so much for taking the time to post your comments. While this thread is not directly Model T, it is marked “OT” and it shows how Ford did some things in the 1930-31 time frame. That is only 3 to 4 years past the 1927 Ts.
I checked the Model A Ford Foundation, Inc. (MAFFI) web site http://www.maffi.org/index.htm , but I did not see a reference to what the Ford model years might have been. I did find a great source for Model A factory photos at their page at http://www.maffi.org/My_Homepage_Files/Page12.html . While the pictures that are posted are low resolution, folks can purchase the higher resolution photo (actual photos – not electronic) if they want a copy for a car they are interested in etc.
Of special interest to me were the four 1930 Victoria photos. They were of two cars – one leather back and one steel. Both had the earlier 1930 style radiator shells. And apparently they had a date on the photos with all four listed as being taken Mar 13, 1930. Seven months before the Nov production date. That would indicate to me a pre-production car as would the straight windshield on the steel back car. But they were not listed as pre-production.
Listed in order – the last numbers are the number of the photo.
http://www.maffi.org/factoryphotos/335-30.jpg steel back but STRAIGHT Windshield NOT slanted!
http://www.maffi.org/factoryphotos/336-30.jpg steel back same STRAIGHT windshield with early radiator shell showing
http://www.maffi.org/factoryphotos/337-30.jpg slant windshield leather back showing early radiator shell
http://www.maffi.org/factoryphotos/338-30.jpg slant windshield leather back same car -- note the date in the lower right hand side of the photograph – I believe that is where they obtained the date of the photograph. Note this is NOT the same car that is shown on page 169 of “The Model A Ford as Henry Built It” unless the car in the book was repainted. Why? The car in the photo 337 & 338 has the window reveals painted a light color and the photo on page 169 of the book the reveals appear to be he same color as the lower body or at least not contrasting to the body color.
There are about a dozen photos under the 1931 Victoria cars. But two of them caught my attention.
http://www.maffi.org/factoryphotos/343-31.jpg which is listed as a Pre-production Leatherback with no cowl lights. It appears to be the same car as shown on page 169 in the book “The Model A Ford as Henry Built It.” In the book it has the caption listed as “Pre-production engineering built Victoria. The production cars had cowl lights and the deluxe radiator shell.” The photo is taken from a slightly different angle that the photo in the book. But the rear wheel valve stem is in the same location, the shrubbery in the background appears to match, and the small portion of the building appears to match, and the car appears the same paint scheme, the shadows are in the same location etc. Unfortunately they do not have a date for the photo.
But the two photo just before that one numbers 341 http://www.maffi.org/factoryphotos/341-31.jpg
& 342 http://www.maffi.org/factoryphotos/342-31.jpg is also of the same car (one taken closer than the other). BUT it has cowl lights! Now you see them now you don’t. I sure wish we had a date that those photos were taken.
I believe this demonstrates how Ford did have pro-type cars and how the initial pre-production factory photos can sometimes be misleading. For example that also occurred with the 1915 Centerdoor photos. Ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/doc14.htm where it has:
SEP 23, 1914 Acc. 833, Photo 1621, Ford Archives
Photo of 1915 Sedan. Fork-mounted headlamps and lantern-like side lamp. Curved front and rear fenders.
SEP 23, 1914 Acc. 833, Photo 1546, Ford Archives
Photo of 1915 Sedan with gas headlamps.
Those were both pre-production cars and the curved front fenders did not go into production just like the straight front windshield on that steel back 1930 pre-production Victoria did not go into production.
Well I have successfully put off mowing the lawn about as long as I can get away with it…..
Hap l9l5 cut off