Arizona | Lot 176

1929 Ford Model A Station Wagon

Offered from the Mohrschladt Family Collection

$30,800 USD | Sold

United States | Phoenix, Arizona

19 January 2017

Engine No.
  • Offered from the Mohrschladt Family Collection
  • Formerly of the Richard Williams and John Woodhead collections
  • The finest surviving original and unrestored example
  • Believed to have 9,580 actual miles

40 bhp, 200.5 cu. in. L-head inline four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 103.5 in.

The phrase “station wagon” was born from vehicles that were exactly that—wagons used to carry hotel guests’ luggage to and from the train station. This eventually evolved into wooden bodies, built for the same purpose on rugged Ford Model T and A chassis, initially by commercial body shops. In 1929, Edsel Ford, who desired such a vehicle for his estates in Michigan and Maine, commissioned the first factory-built Ford station wagon. Body production was entrusted to Murray Corporation of America in Detroit, one of Ford’s principal body suppliers of this era, while the wood came from Henry Ford’s forests at Iron Mountain, Michigan. Framing was high-quality maple, while birch plywood was used for the insert panels.

Only 4,954 of these original “woodies” were built, and certainly few, if any, have survived as well as the spectacular example offered here. It has been a participant in the collector car hobby for almost its entire life, with stickers on the windshield attesting to its having been judged by the Model A Restorers Club in 1959, and to have completed the AAA Glidden Tour two years later. The roughly 1,000 miles that it traveled on the Glidden in 1961 are about 1/9 of its original miles, as the 9,580 miles showing are believed to be the actual mileage from new. The Manila Brown and Seal Brown paintwork, the rubber roof covering, the synthetic leather interior, and even the plastic partition behind the driver are all believed original and have a healthy but attractive patina.

The provenance of this woodie is unbeatable. It spent several decades in the renowned Grosse Pointe, Michigan, collection of Richard E. Williams, noted during the 1960s and 1970s as the finest collection of early Fords in the world. In 1989 the station wagon was purchased by John Woodhead, a Minnesota Ford dealer assembling a private museum that would come to include one of every important Ford model from the company’s first 100 years. Like the Williams collection, the Woodhead stable was known for the excellence of its automobiles, all of which were either restored to a superb standard or, as here, a mint original.

In a recent road test by an RM Sotheby’s specialist, the Model A proved to run and drive quite well, its carburetor having recently been rebuilt, and was driven some 20 miles across Scottsdale. It has originality, quality, and history in spades—everything demanded by a discerning collector in the mold of Williams and Woodhead.

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