Saturday, September 8, 2012

Oldest Surviving Model A Goes To Auction

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

One of the oldest surviving Ford Model A's will be auctioned off by RM Auctions next month in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The last one known to be closest to this in rarity went to auction in 2007, closing the winning bid at $630,000!

RM Auctions auctioning 1903 Ford Model A
Rear Entry Tonneau, Chassis No. 30
Hershey, PA auction October 11-12, 2012

But, this auto, billed as "The Fordmobile" when sold, is said to be the only surviving car from the first production run of just three Model A's, and has complete documentation. Even so, it is not the "oldest" car Ford sold because it is said that there was at least one other car that shipped the same day. The car is a 1903 Ford Model A Rear-Entry Tonneau, Chassis No. 30. According to an archived ad, the car retailed for $850, a whopping figure for 1903! The ad reads, "It is positively the most perfect machine on the market, having overcome all draw-back such as smell, noise, jolt, etc., common to all other makes of Auto Carriages. It is so simple that a boy of 15 can run it."

Credits: Pate’s Early Ford Automobile Encyclopedia
(The Ford Cars 1903 – 1909)

The car has had five owners which began with Herbert McNary, a butter maker from Waterloo, Iowa. He purchased the car at retail price plus an additional $30 for options which included a side light and apron.

The Model A's most recent owner was a Houston, Texas trial lawyer, John O'Quinn, who had an extensive vintage auto collection of approximately 1,200 cars. It is said that the car had a professional engine rebuild just before he added the car to his collection in 2007. After Mr. O'Quinn died in a car accident in 2009, this car went up for auction in 2010. While it received a high bid of $325,000, the bid did not meet the auction reserve and went unsold. It is now up for auction again from the estate of John O'Quinn.

Vehicle Specs:
  • 1903 Model A
  • Rear-Entrance Tonneau Body Style
  • 8 HP Engine designed by Henry Ford
  • 2 cylinder horizontal opposed
  • 4x4" pistons, 100.4 cu" stroke
  • 156 to 1 ratio (lb/HP) 
  • 2 speed transmission
  • Chassis No. 30
  • Original Kingston Carburetor
  • Original Coil Box (stamped No. 30)

The Hersey Auction will take place the weekend of October 11, 2012.

REFERENCES: - Pate's Early Ford Automobile Encyclopedia - Model A Rear Entrance Tonneau History

RM Auctions - About RM Auction in Hershey, PA 10-11-12
RM Auctions - Feature Car: 1903 Model A
RM Auctions - Order A Catalogue to the Hersey Auction

Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.
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