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Auction: Auction 13.09.1997
was auctioned on: 13 September 1997
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Estimate: £8,000 - £10,000
ca. US$12,799 - US$15,999
Price realised:  £8,625
ca. US$13,799
Lot number 324, Views: 122

1931 FORD MODEL A ROADSTER Registration No. YSU 829 Chassis No. 3164 201009 Engine No. A.4201009 Black coachwork with brown interior trim. Engine: four-cylinder in-line, water-cooled, cast-iron block, detachable cylinder head, side valves, 3300cc. 40bhp at 2300rpm. Ford positive feed carburettor, electric start. Transmission: single dry plate clutch, three-speed synchromesh type gearbox, spiral bevel rear axle. Suspension: front beam axle, transverse semi-elliptic springs; Rear: 3¾-floating Ford rear axle with semi-elliptic springs. Houdaille lever arm shock absorbers. Brakes: four-wheel drum. Left- hand drive. Compared with its Model T predecessor the Model A had a much shorter production life amounting to about five years, but even in those times it managed to sell four and a half million examples which even today is a record. It was a virtually unbreakable car with an amazing record of longevity, a fact explained by the scientific use of high grade steel. An early example was driven straight off the production line in 1928 and then went 3046 miles across North America to Seattle. Despite the non-existent state of many of the roads and tracks, especially across the Rockies, the Model A beat the fastest train time for the journey by four hours. This certainly proved the point that the modern wire spoke wheels were just as strong as the wooden type of the Model T. An even more tortuous journey was undertaken by a Roadster up the Rio Grande from El Paso to Los Angeles without mishap. Ford Motor Company were opening production factories all over the world and Model A's were being made as far away as Russia. By 1929 they were trying to take their dominance on the road into the air, with the new Tri-Motor Aircraft which was being built at the rate of twenty-five per month. The rugged 3.3 litre side-valve engine of the Model A provided 40bhp at 2200rpm and with its three-speed sliding type gearbox was capable of tackling any road conditions due to its immense low down torque, and this provided the ideal chassis for pick-up type vans and light commercial vehicles which gained immense popularity. The Model A was also the first mass production car to fit a safety-glass windscreen. This 1931 Ford A Roadster on offer is finished in traditional Ford Black with brown leather upholstery. This style of two-seater sports type bodywork, with a separate Dickey seat located in the rear compartment, was a favourite with the younger age group of motorists. The performance was excellent with its big four-cylinder engine providing a cruising speed of 55mph and tuned versions were able to exceed 70mph. This model has the spare wheel side-mounted in the front wing and, in addition to the chromium-plated headlights, has the two side-lights mounted on the bulkhead. The radiator has a chrome stone-guard in front as well as the Flying Bird mascot. Double leaf spring bumper bars provide protection in the front and rear and the centre lock wire spoke wheels have white wall tyres. The car is in lovely overall condition having been sympathetically restored some years ago and should provide its new owner with great fun and utterly reliable vintage motoring. Over the past few years of ownership it has been used sparingly, supporting the local fête and then garaged again! It carries a current MoT, valid to June 1998, V5 registration and correspondence relating to Model A's. The Model A is still a very underrated motor car, and those enthuasists who own such a model will rarely part with them as they are so practical and enjoyable. This car will make an excellent rally and show vehicle and comes with a current MOT Certificate. A fine example of its type and ready to be enjoyed.

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Christie's
Title: Auction 13.09.1997
Date of the auction: 13 Sep 1997
Address: Christie's
London, King Street