Would you drop a cool $264,000 on a vintage Ford that isn’t a classic Mustang or GT40? Bill Ford Jr. – the great-great grandson of Henry Ford and the present executive chairman of the Ford Motor Company – would, although the car in question is more than just an old Ford. Bill Ford Jr. bought a 1903 Ford Model A – the third example ever sold, and the oldest-surviving Ford vehicle on the face of the planet.
Although most associate the Model A name with the Model T successor built from 1927 through 1931, the same name was also applied to the first motor vehicle produced by the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford’s second stab at automobile manufacturing. Built from 1903 through 1904, the Model A utilized a 100-cubic inch flat-two-cylinder engine that provided about eight horsepower. Pricing began at $750 – roughly the equivalent of $18,483 today – and just under 1700 were built over a fifteen-month timespan.
In its earliest days, the Ford Motor Company did not have much liquidity at hand – in fact, many sources allege the company was buoyed in part by the first three orders for Model As, all placed on July 13, 1903. The first three cars were not built in order of their chassis numbers, and were allegedly assembled simultaneously instead of sequentially.
Herbert McNary’s order for a Model A – optioned up to $880 – was the third order recorded in Ford’s production books. His car, which bore the #30 chassis number, may not have been the very first Model A off the line, but it was part of that first batch of three cars. More importantly, it’s the only one known to exist, making it the oldest production Ford known to exist today. McNary’s Model A has only changed hands six times in its 110-year lifespan. The Model A sold earlier this fall for a whopping $264,000 at RM Auctions’ sale in Hershey, Pennsylvania, although the bidder was unknown at the time.
Bill Ford Jr. only made his purchase known yesterday during a kick-off for the Ford Motor Company’s celebration of Henry Ford’s 150th birthday, which falls on July 30.
“The timing was perfect to bring this part of Ford heritage back to the family as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of my great-grandfather’s birth,” Ford Jr. said in a prepared statement. “The Model A helped keep our company going during a difficult time and enabled [Henry] to continue pursuing his vision of putting the world on wheels.”
According to The Detroit News, The Model A will be shown on Ford’s forthcoming Detroit auto show stand in January before joining the company’s permanent collection at its headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.
Source: Ford, Detroit News, RM Auctions