Video: Henry and Edsel Ford Introduce the Model A

Henry and Edsel Ford Model AThis silent newsreel from December of 1927 presents a huge moment in Ford Motor Company history: Henry and Edsel Ford introduce the all-new 1928 Model A. 



December 2, 1927 is a red-letter day in Ford history: The Model A was introduced. Its predecessor, the Model T, had been the most popular automobile in history, with more than 15 million units sold. But after 18 years of volume production, Henry Ford’s inner circle, including his son Edsel, finally managed to persuade him that the venerable T was obsolete and overdue for replacement.

Once Ford made his decision to replace the Model T, he acted in his own inimitable way, shutting down production across his entire manufacturing empire for six months and laying off more than 60,000 people. Meanwhile, an all-new vehicle was engineered and tooled for production, and assembly was relocated from Ford’s Highland Park plant to the sprawling complex on the River Rouge in Dearborn. The new car was named the Model A, both as a callback to Ford’s original production car, the 1903 Model A, and to signal that this new car was a complete departure from the beloved but outdated Model T.

While the Model A wasn’t a game changer like the Model T, it was a highly successful car for the Motor Company, and more than 4.8 million units were produced. A few items worth calling out in this short newsreel, produced by The Detroit News: 

+   The filming takes place at the Ford Engineering Laboratory on Oakwood Avenue in Dearborn, which became known in later years at the EEE Building but is barely used by the company today.

+   The big man in the big, flat straw hat is Ford production boss Cast-Iron Charlie Sorensen, so named for his expertise with iron castings and for his iron-fisted management style.

+   Henry Ford is shown zipping around the front drive of the Engineering Laboratory in the original 1896 Quadricycle, his first automobile (read the Mac’s Motor City Garage stories here and here).

+   Edsel Ford can be seen driving several new Model A Fords, including a Roadster and a Sport Coupe, which are known to be two of his favorite body styles.

Please enjoy the video.


4 thoughts on “Video: Henry and Edsel Ford Introduce the Model A

  1. Wonder where that 15 millionth Model T is today?
    I love the Model A, it put Ford in line with a more modern auto like the other car makers were producing. Ole Henry was stubborn, staying with mechanical brakes long after most had went to hydraulics. probably a lot more things, too. Amazing that he would shut down everything for months before the A was introduced, looks like he would have kept making T’s until the A’s were ready. Not his style, I guess!

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