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1929 Model A Ford is classy and dependable

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

With its classic lines, smooth-running engine, and unique “ooh-gah” horn, their 1929 Model A Ford gets lots of attention when Ed and Irene Fasching of Winsted are out for an afternoon drive.

They have put more than 12,000 miles on it since restoring the two-door sedan in 1993, driving it around the country on trips as far away as 100 miles.

“It has been a real dependable car, but I had to do a lot of repairs to make it that way,” Ed said.

Ed purchased the Model A in 1986 from someone living outside the Twin Cities area. He had wanted to restore it, but had lost interest in it. The previous owner had replaced the exterior roof, but other than that, had not done anything to it.

When Ed first bought the car, he was still farming, with little extra free time. It wasn’t until 1992, after he had retired from farming and moved to Westgate in Winsted, that he began to work on the vehicle’s restoration.

The original body was in fair shape, but Ed had the car repainted. The engine was taken out, taken apart, and completely overhauIed. The car needed new tires, and the interior was reupholstered, including the ceiling, seats, doors, and floor.

With the vehicle in like-new condition, the Faschings have shown it in many parades and taken it on many pleasure trips. When they are out on the road, Ed drives the Model A between 35 and 45 miles per hour.

“When it was new, it could go 60 to 65 miles per hour. It would do it now, but being an older car, I don’t like to drive it that fast,” Ed said.

Every summer, Ed and Irene drive up to New London-Spicer, where they are in a parade with 20 to 30 other classic cars, stopping at different towns, where people can come and get a closer look, on their way to New Brighton.

They like driving in a group of older classics. One of the reasons is just to see the different kinds of cars that have been restored.

“One of them was an International that had tires that were as big as buggy wheels. They are wooden wheels and they are crudely made, but they run,” Ed said.

Another reason they enjoy meeting other owners is to hear what the owners of these classic cars have had to work with, and what they have had to do to keep the car running.

“The older models, like the Model T, have to have a lot of its parts made because you can’t buy them. I can go down to Little Dearborn in Minneapolis and buy any parts I want to for the Model A – new and used. They still manufacture these parts,” Ed said.

One of the reasons there are parts available for the Ford Model A is that there are approximately 900,000 Model As still around.

“They are the most restored car there is, as far as I know,” Ed said. “Henry Ford claimed he had the best car in the world when he made the Model A, and it is a simple vehicle; not expensive or complicated to work on,” Fasching added.

The Model A might be dependable, but all cars get flat tires, no matter how well they are made, and the Faschings’ Model A is not any different.

“We had a flat tire in back at the Dairy Queen in Hutch one time. We had gotten ice cream cones and came out to find we had a flat tire. The audience we had while we were fixing it was something,” Irene said.

They had the spare tire that hangs on the back of the car, but Ed had forgotten to bring along a jack. Someone who parked next to them, in a much newer car, let them use their jack.

Ed still has his eye out for another antique vehicle, and if the price is right, he just might buy it.

Fasching is looking for, “Something a couple of years newer, with a rumble seat. A couple years after 1929, cars were classier with more chrome and fancier wheels, but they are just so expensive. Nice looking rigs though.”

Model A Ford history

The Ford Model A was the replacement to Ford’s long-running Model T. The Model A did not include any major changes, but was more about style and a new look, hoping to outsell competition like Chevrolet and Dodge, which had become serious threats to Ford’s sales.

When Henry Ford finally decided to replace the Model T with the Model A, he did something no manufacturer today would dare attempt. He shut down production for seven months. The shutdown caused multi-million dollar losses for Ford, put 60,000 men out of a job, and closed 23 assembly plants.

When the Model A was launched in December 1927, nearly five million orders were taken. In New York, buyers were lining up outside the showroom at 3 a.m., and in Cleveland, police were called out to control the crowds.

The Model A four-cylinder engine, displacing 200.5 cubic inches, delivered 40 hp and gave a top speed of 65 mph (the Model T delivered 20 hp, with a top speed of 45 mph).

A conventional three-speed transmission, and hydraulic shock absorbers were part of the Model A, and safety glass in the windshield was a first for this price class.

In 1932, when the last Model A was delivered, some 3,837,503 had been made. As many as 22 different models were produced, including convertibles, phaetons, town sedans, station wagons, and even trucks.

Ford biographer Robert Lacey wrote that with the unveiling of the Model A, “Ford swung overnight from country cousin to country club. It had a cachet lacking in the workhorse Model T, and suddenly film stars were happy to pose next to one. Future President Franklin Roosevelt proudly drove an A, and so did movie moguls Cecil B. DeMille and Louis B. Mayer.”

Portion of this article was taken from the web site: Profile - The Ford Model A.

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