Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Heart of America Model A Club celebrates the history of one of America's great cars at Kansas City's City Market

This is a story of what may very well be the best mass-produced car ever made. Bulletproof, stylish, and timeless, the iconic Ford Model A continues to be an American favorite, and that claim was never more obvious than at Kansas City’s City Market over the weekend.

When the Model A was introduced in 1927, it had unbelievably large shoes to fill. This was the car destined to replace the Model T, the car that almost singlehandedly put America on wheels. In order to follow an act like that, the Model A had to be exceptional.

And it was. For an average of $500, customers could choose from more than 15 body styles and a multitude of colors throughout the A’s five-year run.

Even today, the tick-tick-ticking sound of the Model A’s 201-c.i. four-cylinder is unmistakable. But it is not unremarkable. If you are around enough old cars, you will encounter plenty of original Model A’s. And you can’t help but be impressed at how reliable, how smooth, and how superior these cars operate as a whole compared to almost anything else. While more modern cars overheat, miss, and fuss, Model A Fords just seem to get along without a hiccup.

Some of that may be due to the brilliant simplicity that was engineered into these cars from day one. Anyone with a screw driver and a socket set can work on a Model A, and there is so much aftermarket support that you could practically build a whole car from a catalog.

For a mass-produced car in the late ‘20s, the Model A was a good looking machine as well. The Model T was all business, but the A had plenty of style built right in. If Henry Ford had his way, we’d still be driving the Model T, but technology, style, and preferences change. Henry’s son Edsel was charged with leading the styling team for the Model A, and it still looks good to this day.

In fact, the Model A is a common platform for hot rod builders. George Barris’ famous Ala Kart show truck was built from a Model A, and the well-known song Hot Rod Lincoln is actually about a Model A hot rod with a Lincoln engine. Go to almost any car show (or just look through some of the slideshows here on HMC), and you’ll see plenty of modified and customized A’s, fixed up in both traditional and modern styles.

Bone stock was the order of the day at the City Market, however, as the Heart of America Model A Club treated the crowd to a sparkling display of these cars in their original, factory-fresh configurations.

This is a pretty formidable club, with a membership of more than 130 families, a monthly newsletter, and a history that dates back to 1962. These folks have some great cars, too. Just the sample at the City Market ranged from a wood-bodied wagon to a roadster pickup, and a two-door Victoria to a four-door sedan. Many of them were decked out with period accessories like motor meter radiator toppers and custom luggage compartments. They really were fun to look at.

As usual, I am leaving you with several pictures from the Model A Club’s “Art of the Machine” appearance at the City Market. You’re looking at cars that have been on the road for some 80 years. That’s an amazing history, and an incredible testament to one of the best-built cars ever to roll on America’s highways.


  1. Great article, but you have the wrong club listed. All the vehicles you show are from the show featuring the Northwest Model A Ford Club which is based out of Smithville MO. We're a newer club but still growing with about 150 member in our five years of existence. But love those pictures!

  2. Thanks for the comment. I don't doubt that you're right about the club. I was just going off of the information that the City Market had been promoting during the weeks leading up to the event. Maybe something changed along the way??