In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Ford Model A was one of the most publicized and best-selling cars in America. It was sporty, attractive, well-built, and smooth-running compared to the Model T, which it replaced in the 1928 model year. Thousands of people were eager to see for themselves that "Henry's made a lady out of Lizzie," and they stormed Ford showrooms when the Model A debuted on December 2, 1927. This new Model A (a previous model had used the name in 1903–04) was designated a 1928 model and was available in four standard colors. It was produced through model years 1928 - 1931.
Edsel Ford had to convince his father Henry that the Model T had run it's course and would no longer complete with the competition for the automobile market. Henry would eventually relent to his son's plan to replace the Model T with a new and improved model, but he would always believe it was a mistake to abandon the Model T.
The much-anticipated 1928 Ford Model A was chic and sporty, and it had mechanical features that the Model T lacked: a three-speed, sliding-gear transmission, four-wheel brake system, and hydraulic shock absorbers. A laminated glass windshield improved safety by preventing glass from shattering into small pieces and separating. The Model A was the first Ford to use the standard set of driver controls with conventional clutch and brake pedals, throttle, and gearshift. Previous Fords used controls that had become uncommon to drivers of other makes. The Model A's fuel tank was situated in the cowl, between the engine compartment's fire wall and the dash panel. It had a visual fuel gauge, and the fuel flowed to the carburetor by gravity. A rear-view mirror was optional. In cooler climates, owners could purchase an aftermarket cast iron unit to place over the exhaust manifold to provide heat to the cab. A small door provided adjustment of the amount of hot air entering into the vehicle's cab.
Prices for the Model A ranged from $385 for a roadster to $1400 for the top-of-the-line Town Car. The engine was a water-cooled L-head inline four with a displacement of 201 cu in . This engine provided 40 horse power. Top speed was around 65 mph . The Model A had a 103.5 in wheelbase with a final drive ratio of 3.77:1. The transmission was a conventional unsynchronized three-speed sliding gear manual with a single speed reverse. The Model A had four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. The 1930 and 1931 models were available with stainless steel radiator cowling and headlamp housings.
The Model A came in a wide variety of styles including a Coupe (Standard and Deluxe), Business Coupe, Sport Coupe, Roadster Coupe (Standard and Deluxe), Convertible Cabriolet, Convertible Sedan, Phaeton (Standard and Deluxe), Tudor Sedan (Standard and Deluxe), Town Car, Fordor (five-window standard, three-window deluxe), Victoria, Town Sedan, Station Wagon, Taxicab, and various Truck models. The very rare Special Coupe started production around March 1928 and ended mid-1929.
In addition to the United States; Ford made the Model A in plants in Argentina, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom. When production ended in March, 1932, there were 4,849,340 Model As made in all styles.