LEATHERBACK 4-DOOR SEDAN, TOURING SETUP, BORG-WARNER OVERDRIVE FOR HIGHWAY
Despite Henry's insistence that the Model A be a simple car, the factory put a dizzying array of bodies on the same chassis, including perhaps a half-dozen different versions of the simple 4-door sedan. One of the more unusual styles was the "leatherback" like this 1929 model, which offered a padded roof and no quarter windows for a slightly more formal look.
Obviously set up to tour, this handsome 1929 Model A looks fantastic and a little playful in correct Ford Stone Brown with bright orange wheels and pinstripe. As most experts will tell you, the fenders should be black like they are here, giving the little A the look of its big brothers over at the Lincoln store. The restoration is a few years old now, but that makes this the kind of Model A you want to own: seasoned and sorted, ready to enjoy. All four doors fit well enough, the hood lines up and with a new leather top, it is ready for another 80 years of enjoyment. Modern sealed-beam headlights have been cleverly stashed inside the original light housings, so it keeps the vintage look with vastly improved nighttime driving safety, and turn signals have been neatly integrated into the front bumper and twin taillights out back. The brightwork is good, working with the patina on the rest of the car so that nothing stands out.
For touring, I'm a fan of four-door sedans. Everyone seems to love the roadsters until the weather gets wet or cold, then they'll envy your closed car and its comfortable cloth interior that stays dry and warm. Both front and rear seats wear handsome cloth upholstery that isn't quite factory-issue but looks appropriate in the semi-formal sedan, and it's definitely comfortable. Beautiful door panels with map pockets give it a highly finished look, and all the nickel-plated hardware has that soft shine that only age can deliver. The dash is standard Model A, with a polished instrument panel housing speedometer, gas gauge, ammeter, and the ignition switch. The only notable deviations from stock are the aftermarket turn signal stalk on the steering column and the controls for the Borg-Warner overdrive underneath (more on that in a moment).
The stock Model A engine works so well because it's torquey and the cars themselves are light weight. This one sports its original Zenith updraft carb, distributor, and other ancillaries, because those systems work just fine. Look closely and you'll notice upgraded electricals, including an alternator, new wiring, and a sealed water pump. The factory 3-speed manual transmission is still there and still needs a quick double-clutch to shift, but behind it and mounted integral with the torque tube is a Borg-Warner overdrive unit from a '50s Ford product, which delivers a 30% overdrive and realistic cruising speeds around 55-60 MPH without beating up the bearings in the long-stroke engine. The frame and undercarriage look about right after a few years of touring, and it's obvious that the wheels have been recently refinished and now wear 21-inch blackwall tires as original.
A neat little Ford with all the upgrades for effortless touring. It seems that the market is rediscovering the Model A, as we can't seem to keep them in stock, so don't hesitate, call today!
- Cloth Interior
- Seatbelts (Front)
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