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What’s the Difference Between a Ford Model T and a Ford Model A?

Ford 2The average person, on seeing “an ancient black car,” will simply say that they happened to see a Ford Model T that day. After all, the Ford Model T was the most well-known of those early Ford models and, some say, is what put America on wheels. In fact, some estimate that, during its production run between 1908 and 1927, over 16 million Ford Model T were produced, a model production record that wasn’t broken for another 45 years!

On the other hand, how could one know that the vehicle they were looking at was actually a Ford Model T and not some other model, such as a Ford Model A or Ford Model N? When Ford started out, the first production model was actually the Ford Model A, which was produced for just a couple years from 1903. The same was true of the Ford Model B, C, F, K, N, R, and S, selling just a few hundreds or thousands of each, but Ford really hit it big with the Ford Model T, which is why it’s so well-known.

Ford 3Then, in 1927, Ford figured that people were looking for something different. He shut down two dozen assembly plants and laid off 60,000 workers for a seven-month retooling. Strangely, instead of going with the “Ford Model U” or V, Ford went back to the “Model A” name, and the “new” Ford Model A rolled out in December of 1927. It was produced until 1932, after more than 4 million units had been sold.

According to some, the differences between the two should be obvious, but it still seems that a lot of people confuse them. There are many differences, but here are a few things that stand out when considering the Ford Model T and Ford Model A:

  • Ford 1Radiator – The Model T radiator core is flat across the top, while the Model A’s double curve reminds some of the top of a Valentine heart. Also, the Model T radiator’s sides are parallel and straight, while the Model A radiator sides angle outward.
  • Engine and Transmission – The Ford Model T was equipped with a 177 in3 four-cylinder engine. The engine’s 20 hp were put through a two-speed planetary gear transmission, and the Ford Model T had a top speed around 45 mph. The Ford Model A was also equipped with a four-cylinder engine, this one with 201 in3 displacement and twice the power at 40 hp. The transmission was also different, the Ford Model A featuring a sliding gear three-speed transmission with reverse and a top speed of 65 mph.
  • Fuel Tank – The Model T fuel tank was under the driver seat, while the Model A fuel tank was in front of the firewall. The Model A fuel filler cap is right there in the middle of the cowling, while the Model T has an air vent door in that spot.

Again, these are just a few things that one might note between the detailing of the Ford Model T and the Ford Model A. Others include overall styling, more curves, more chrome and stainless steel. Also, the Ford Model A was available in color!

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