Saturday, October 29, 2016

Danville Street Sighting - 1931 Ford Model A Pickup

Autumn is in full swing and it's almost Halloween, so how about a vehicle that reflects the colors of the season? This 1931 Ford Model A pickup in cheerful yellow, orange and black is downright cute.

From time to time I like going over to downtown Danville on weekends because the town allows people to park for-sale vehicles on the street in front of the high school. It's usually the typical assortment of modern used cars but occasionally something classic pops up. This is one of the oldest vehicles I've come across on that block. It's not the first Model A I've featured and it won't be the last.

Ford built the Model A from 1928 to 1931 as a replacement for the popular Model T. By the end of its near-20-year production run the "T" was getting to be a relic with its unusual throttle and pedal setup and thoroughly antiquated design. The A reflected the more modern design ideas of Henry Ford's son Edsel, and adopted the now commonly accepted interface of clutch, brake and accelerator pedals and a gear shift lever, along with a new four-cylinder engine making roughly twice the horsepower of the old Model T. It was a vehicle that most anyone (at least anyone familiar with driving other contemporary cars) could climb into and operate without learning all-new techniques.

A pickup truck was one of many body styles available on the Model A (I believe this one is the Model 82-B Deluxe Pickup). Buyers could also specify a roadster pickup for top-down utility or upgrade to an AA commercial truck if they needed to haul real stuff. That's not to say a little truck like this can't haul things. I'm pretty sure I saw this one puttering past Home Depot once with some kind of appliance box in the bed. Back in the day you didn't have a Super Duty F-350 ponying up to the home improvement store for two or three yards of dirt. A Model A pickup had a payload capacity of about 500 lbs and 16.5 cubic feet with the standard bed. And honestly, with 40 horsepower on tap, and buggy spring suspension, would you really want to put much more strain on it?

Today a truck like this is more of a toy to enjoy on nice days, that can hold a few more things in the back than your average Model A. As I remarked on my previous Model A pickup feature, it's a charm-filled alternative to a base model compact truck from the modern era. If you want something with a stick shift, no air conditioning and not a lot of power, and you don't mind babying it and doing maintenance, maybe one of these might be for you.

Photographed September 2015
Please don't ask me if it's still for sale; I do not know the owner and would assume it most likely is no longer available.

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