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Owners: Eric A. Peterson & Charlie

Mooresville, NC

The Ford Model “A” was produced from 1928 through 1931 and probably did more to mobilize America then any other single car. It was built in many configurations and there were an unbelievable number of accessories available for it. One of my favorites was the skis that could be put on the front in place of the wheels and tires for improved steering in the snow.

Eric’s car is a rare “Canvasback” Special Coupe which refers to the fabric covering which extends down the back of the roof to below the rear window. All Model “A” Fords had canvas tops, because the roof was constructed of wooden bows covered by canvas, but the extension covering the back of the roof was special and gave the car more of the look of a car with a folding top. So you thought that vinyl covered tops were something new in the sixties to make the “Hardtop” models resemble the convertibles and now you find out they started in the thirties! Either way, they seem to be long gone today!

It’s been said that the “Canvasback” Special Coupe was Henry Ford’s favorite model of the Model “A”. This model was only built from June, 1928, through June, 1929. Eric’s car is a beautifully restored example of the car and has many interesting features. If you study the picture of the car with Charlie at the wheel you’ll see a glass object in the upper left of the inside of the windshield. That’s a traffic light finder. Since the windshields in those days were very vertical and the roof extended so far beyond the driver, it was often hard to see the traffic lights and that little piece of curved glass would enable the driver to find the traffic light.

The chrome button in the middle of the steering wheel was the light switch. The lever on the left of the steering column, just below the steering wheel, was a spark advance and the lever on the right was a throttle control. The throttle control was in a way the forerunner of what we now know as cruise control. It could be easily set so the car would maintain a speed, even though its primary function was to adjust the idle speed in conjunction with the spark advance. It was like tuning the engine while you sat behind the steering wheel. The fuel tank was located in the cowl area and well above the carburetor, thus allowing for a gravity feed system and eliminating the need for a fuel pump.

The brakes were mechanical and operated by steel rods, so there was no need to worry about cylinders failing or brake fluid leaks. The trunk was just that, a trunk that could be fastened to the fold down rack on the rear of the vehicle with leather belt like straps. In the area we now think of for trunk space was a rumble seat that could be opened and passengers could enter by climbing up the steps on the rear bumper and fender. For those that wanted to protect the paint on the fender, they even had a “fender tender” available.

Eric and Charlie sure enjoy their Model “A” Ford and it’s rare to find such a fine original 1929 car of any kind being driven and enjoyed today. If you’re interested in Model “A” Fords, talk to Eric, he’s a wealth of information on the subject.

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