109 years and two days ago…
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- July 30, 2012
Henry Ford at the wheel of a Model A later in life.
109 years and two days ago, a small company began selling automobiles... Over the next 100 + years, that company’s products became recognized more than any other as an integral part of American history.
In 1903, the fledgling Ford Motor Company made its first sale of a Model A on July 28, 1903. The 1903 Ford Model A was a simple machine with a 2-cylinder engine producing eight horsepower. It had a non-regulated fuel economy rating of up to 25 mpg and could reach 30 miles per hour on a smooth road with its two-speed planetary transmission. To slow the car down it used band brakes. Slippery when wet does not even begin to describe that action. The car weighed in at a svelte 1,240 lb and sold for a base price of $750 USD.
Its suppliers are still around today
Four suppliers helped Ford build the first Model A including BFGoodrich, Goodyear, Holley and Rayl Industries and have been supplying Ford throughout its history.
BFGoodrich got their start in the automotive industry in 1896 when BFGoodrich engineers began manufacturing pneumatic tires for “horseless carriages.” It was natural then that in 1903 Henry Ford went to BFGoodrich to outfit his first Model A.
The Ford-Goodyear partnership goes back not only to the supply of street tires, but also race tires. It was Goodyear provided special tires for the racecar that Henry Ford produced and drove himself in 1901.
Ford Brings Its Racing Past to Life at SEMA
Holley Performance Products began in the same year as Ford. In 1903, Henry Ford asked George Holley to make a carburetor for his Model A and in 1904 it became standard equipment on all Ford vehicles. Throughout its 100-year relationship, Holley has supplied Ford not only with carburetors, but turbos, air pumps, and EFI components.
T. B. Rayl & Company was established in 1875 in downtown Detroit, selling hardware, shop supplies and builders supplies. Ford Motor Company’s early purchases from Rayl were supplies for facility maintenance and automobile assembly, and included material such as funnels, oil, wrenches, nuts, bolts and screws. Today, Ford continues to purchase very much the same materials from Rayl as it did one hundred years ago, including production sockets and hand tools, building supplies and automation presence sensing tools.
Regarding the first Model As, 1,750 cars were produced from 1903 to 1904 when it was replaced with the Model C. When the iconic Model A name was resurrected in 1927, that car was supposedly capable of 40 mpg!