Ford Model A (1903)

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See also Ford Model A (1927)
Ford Model A
1903 Ford Model A
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Also calledFordmobile
Ford Model AC
1700 produced
PredecessorFord Quadricycle
SuccessorFord Model B
Ford Model C
Body style(s)2-seat runabout
rear-entry 4-seat tonneau
Transmission(s)3-speed planetary
Wheelbase72 in (1.8 m)
Curb weight1,240 lb (562 kg)
DesignerHenry Ford
ManualsService Manual

The original Ford Model A was the first car produced by Ford Motor Company, beginning production in 1903. Dr. Ernst Pfenning of Chicago, Illinois became the first owner of a Model A on July 23, 1903. 1,750 cars were made from 1903 through 1904. The Model A was replaced by the Ford Model C during 1904 with some sales overlap.

The car came as a two-seater runabout or four-seater tonneau model with an option to add a top. The horizontal-mounted flat-2, situated at the amidships of the car, produced 8 hp (6 kW). A 3-speed planetary transmission was fitted, a Ford signature later seen on the Ford Model T. The car weighed 1,240 lb (562 kg) and could reach a top speed of 45 mph (72 km/h). It had a 72 in (1.8 m) wheelbase and sold for a base price of US$750 (equivalent to $NaN today). Options included a rear tonneau with two seats and a rear door for $100 (equivalent to $NaN today), a rubber roof for $30 (equivalent to $NaN today) or a leather roof for $50 (equivalent to $NaN today).

The company had spent almost its entire $28,000 (equivalent to $NaN today) initial investment funds with only $223.65 (equivalent to $NaN today) left in its bank account when the first Model A was sold. The success of this car model generated a profit for the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford's first successful business.

Although Ford advertised the Model A as the "most reliable machine in the world", it suffered from many problems common to vehicles of the era, including overheating and slipping transmission bands. The Model A was sold only in red by the factory, though some were later re-painted in other colors.

Model AC

Some 1904 Model A cars were equipped with the larger, more powerful engine of the Model C and were sold as the Model AC.