Model A Helped Launch Ford Motor Company on the Road to Putting the
World on Wheels
Model A was the first product of Ford Motor Company, which launched
June 16, 1903
With cash reserves almost gone, three sales of the Model A the next
month saved the company
Model A had a two-cylinder engine producing 8 horsepower and could
achieve speeds of up to 30 mph
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 11, 2012 – It's no coincidence that a car named
the Model A started the road to success for Ford Motor Company in
Though that road – mirroring those of the time – was anything but
Henry Ford founded Ford Motor Company on June 16, 1903. One month
later, his cash reserves were less than $250.
In short, the company needed a doctor. Interestingly enough, Dr. E.
Pfennig of Chicago was one of three customers who came to the rescue.
A much-needed cash infusion of $1,320 arrived on July 13, 1903,
keeping Ford Motor Company afloat. This amount included Dr. Pfennig's
full payment and deposits from the two other customers.
Dr. Pfennig's Model A was shipped to him on July 28, 1903, from the
plant on Mack Avenue. The 1903 Ford Model A had a two-cylinder engine
producing 8 horsepower and displacing 100 cubic inches. It could reach
30 mph on smooth roads, which were rare.
By contrast, the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 has an eight-cylinder engine
displacing 355 cubic inches and can attain a top speed of more than
Only one of the three Model A cars sold on July 13, 1903, remains.
Executive Chairman Bill Ford recently purchased it at auction. The
announcement of the purchase and its return to the Ford family kicked
off the yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of
Car No. 3 and chassis No. 30
Bill Ford's 1903 Model A is a red Rear Entry Tonneau, car No. 3 and
chassis No. 30. Prior to him acquiring it, the vehicle had only five
previous owners in its 109-year existence. The car was bought
initially by Herbert L. McNary, a butter maker from Britt, Iowa.
Records show that McNary put down a $170 deposit on the $850 car.
Harry E. Burd, a collector, was the next owner. His research led him
to believe this example was car No. 3 and chassis No. 30. He sold it
in 1961 to a Swiss Ford dealer, who displayed the Model A in Cologne,
Germany, at Ford's European Center.
Burd then bought back the Model A in 2001. It was purchased by John
O'Quinn in 2007, who was the final owner before Bill Ford.
The 1903 Model A sits on a wheelbase of 72 inches and weighs about
1,250 pounds. About 1,700 were produced over 15 months. It was praised
in the August 1903 issue of Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal, which
reported the following:
When in motion there is a light purring of the gear to be heard if one
listens for it; there is absolutely no vibration to be felt; the
riding is perfectly smooth and agreeable.
The wagon is, of course, under entire control, and is extremely handy
in a crowded street, and, taken all in all, this latest of American
wagons offered leaves very little indeed to be desired.
There will undoubtedly be advances in the art, but there will never be
any wagon much more comfortable for its passengers than the Ford, and
the machine work is excellent, everything being finished and secured
in a workmanlike manner.
The Ford Company finishes the bodies itself, and the external
appearance is extremely good.
World's Oldest Ford Vehicle Returns Home to Kick Off Henry Ford 150th
Celebration in 2013
Oldest surviving Ford production car, a 1903 Model A, recently
purchased at auction by Bill Ford; car unveiled as part of an employee
event to kick off the 150th anniversary celebration of Henry Ford's
Community picnic, special program at Maker Faire are key events
leading up to the 150th birthday of Henry Ford on July 30, 2013
New dedicated website, www.henryford150.com, launches to host an
interactive timeline of Ford's life, a calendar of activities and
information, and efforts to preserve Ford's legacy
Please visit the Henry Ford 150th mini-site for more information about
this event as well as others throughout 2013.
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 11, 2012 – A key part of Ford Motor Company's
heritage returns home as a Model A built in 1903 is again with the
Ford family, kicking off the yearlong celebration of the 150th
anniversary of the birth of company founder Henry Ford.
Considered the oldest surviving Ford vehicle, the 1903 Model A was
unveiled today to Ford Motor Company employees by Executive Chairman
Bill Ford, who purchased the vehicle at an auction in October.
"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 his vision to improve people's lives by
making cars affordable for the average family," said Bill Ford.
"His vision to build cars that are reasonably priced, reliable
and efficient still resonates and defines our vision today as
MotorCities National Heritage Area and the Henry Ford Heritage
Association teamed up with more than 30 Henry Ford-related
collaborators to coordinate the yearlong celebration of events. These
activities, highlighting Ford's legacy, contributions and influence,
include tours, educational programming, dramatic re-enactments,
lectures, integration and special events at auto shows and more.
A dedicated website, www.henryford150.com, also is launching today
that includes an interactive timeline of Ford's life, tours, a
calendar of 2013 events and information about efforts to preserve
Henry Ford's heritage.
Henry Ford's 150th legacy will be celebrated in 2013 through a variety
of events. Some of these include:
Coming Together: A Celebration of Henry Ford – July 27, 2013, The
Henry Ford Estate Fair Lane, Dearborn, Mich. This free community event
will bring Henry Ford to "life" and feature many of his
little-known interests and contributions.
Maker Faire – July 27-28, The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich. A two-day,
family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness.
This year's celebration of the Maker movement will include a special
program to recognize innovators.
Discovering Henry Ford shows at The Henry Ford– April-December. A
presenter-facilitated multimedia program using a large touch screen
monitor to access digital assets (movies, photos) in themed 20-minute
shows (Henry Ford the Tinkerer, Henry Ford and the Model T).
Henry's T – Dramatic presentation at Greenfield Village– May-August.
Visitors will meet Henry Ford in this interactive 15-minute play and
hear how he was inspired to build the world's universal car. Guests
also will find out why the Model T was so revolutionary and how Henry
Ford's visionary thinking and hard work enabled him to put the world
The role of the Model A
The Model A returning home played a pivotal role in Ford Motor Company
In July 1903, Henry Ford faced a daunting situation: The company's
cash balance stood at less than $250. A much-needed cash infusion
arrived on July 13, 1903: One full payment and two deposits totaling
$1,320 for three Model A cars kept Ford Motor Company afloat.
The car revealed today is a red 1903 Model A Rear Entry Tonneau. It is
believed to be car No. 3, chassis No. 30, and the lone survivor of the
group of three Model A cars sold on that day.
The vehicle was auctioned through RM Auctions in October in Hershey,
"The Model A helped keep our company going during a difficult
time and enabled my great-grandfather to continue pursuing his vision
of putting the world on wheels," said Bill Ford. "We look
forward to carrying that same spirit of innovation forward as we
develop new technologies for safer, cleaner, more fuel-efficient
View the attachments for this post at: