Ford buys back its oldest car

DAVE MOORE
Last updated 11:50 24/12/2012
1903 Model A.
1903 MODEL A: Purchased just in time for Henry Ford's 150th birthday.

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Not to be confused with the car with the same name that came a quarter of a century later, this 1903 Ford Model A has just been bought by Bill Ford as a major exhibit as part of the year-long 150th birthday celebration for Henry Ford.

Bill Ford is of course the great-grandson and current Ford executive chairman. He says: "The timing was perfect to bring this key part of Ford heritage back to the family as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of my great-grandfather's birth and vision to improve people's lives by making cars affordable for the average family."

The Model A was a vital car for the struggling young company at the time. With a cash balance of just US$250 (NZ$303), one full payment and two cash deposits came in, totalling US$1320 (NZ$1600) for three cars. It was because of these orders that Ford managed to keep the business going and continue building it into the global industrial powerhouse it is today.

The red 1903 Model A purchased by Ford Jr is believed to be car No 3, chassis No 30, and if historical records are correct, it's the only surviving original car.

In total 1750 cars were made during 1903 and 1904 before the Model A was replaced with the Model C. The car came as a two-seater runabout or four-seater tonneau model with an optional roof. The horizontally mid-mounted flat-twin engine produced 6kW and could propel the 562kg Model A to a 45kmh. A planetary transmission was fitted with two forward speeds and reverse. The car had a 1800mm wheelbase and sold for a base price of US$750 (NZ$909).

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