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From Model T to Model A, a change as complex as it is necessary

After almost two decades on sale without major mechanical innovations, the Ford Model T had to be replaced if the company did not want to lose ground to the competition. In this way, the Model A was born in 1927.

With 15 million units produced, the Ford T brought motoring to the masses on the scene. In addition, its mass production had a decisive influence on the progress of the production system, evidencing the efficiency of chain assembly. And well, as if all this were not enough It was a true global phenomenon.; being assembled simultaneously in 34 factories installed in the United States and 12 distributed from Japan to Spain.

In short, whether we like the Ford T more or less, we owe a good part of what we know today as modern motoring. Of course, since time passes for everything that exists, this enormously successful vehicle also showed signs of wear. Even more so when, in an initiation period marked by the exponential advancement of technology, their competence was constantly improving.

Thus, this model presented in 1908 suffered from not a few delays already in the twenties. What's more, from Chevrolet to Willys-Overland via Essex all manufacturers behind Ford had much more attractive models than the Model T before the next decade arrived.

What's more, even when its sales began to drop worryingly, Henry Ford blamed the situation on the little commercial eagerness of its distributors. However, checking technical sheets and catalogs of options it is difficult to buy that speech.

Not surprisingly, while the Model T had not received a single mechanical update of interest, its alternatives in the same segment they already commonly mounted brakes on the front axle as well as engines with up to six cylinders. All this, in addition, with a wide range of options in paints and equipment for just a little more price.

In short, in the mid-XNUMXs only Henry Ford he seemed to be sticking to his guns, blinded by the pride of being one of the basic men in world economic history. Fortunately, however, his son Edsel seemed to have a clearer vision. Thanks to that, convinced the company management of the need to create new designs in order to replace the Model T. Also, this should happen as soon as possible. Even more so considering how the Ford dealer network was declining at the same speed as sales of the old model.

At this point, in 1927 Ford made official the development of a new model coinciding with the presentation of the Model T 15 million. Regarding the mechanics, responsibility fell to Charles E. Sorensen. One of the strongmen during the first decades of the company. As noted for his methodical organization as for the harshness with which he managed the workforce under his charge.

Likewise, with regard to the style of the future model, the work fell on the shoulders of Edsel Ford. By the way, very efficient in creating a wide range of options for the buyer. With all this, by mid-year the first experimental chassis were already running while Sorensen's engines finished tuning. Yes indeed, its first results were no less than disappointing. And it is that, of the 40 CV estimated for the new Ford, the block with four cylinders in line and 3.286 cubic centimeters was left in only half.

Fortunately, the redesign of the manifolds, as well as an improvement in other areas such as the valves, raised the horsepower to the figure expected and necessary for commercialization. Thanks to this, by October 1927 the first engines of the future Model A were ready. In addition, it would include Obvious improvements over its predecessor such as drum brakes on both axles or hydraulic shock absorbers. And that's not to mention a much more comfortable and elaborate address along with a gearbox with up to three relationships.

Having reached this point, the official presentation of the Ford Model A was finally made on December 2, 1927. And yes, it was a complete success. What's more, even without knowing the exact details of what would be a replacement for the Model T, Ford had already registered some 400.000 orders. In addition, in order to liquidate the remaining units of the Model T as soon as possible dealers of the brand offered it for a while at really amazing prices. With all this, the Dearborn giant further improved its already well-off financial situation, projecting itself into a new time without the iron leadership of its founder.

In fact, the replacement for the Model A did not have to wait 19 years but only four. In short, industrialization has just discovered the inherent rhythm of consumption based on throwaway use. We'll see how long we last like this.

Images: RM Sotheby's /Ford 

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Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.

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