1930 Ford Model A Sport PhaetonSOLD

Gooding & Company Classic Car Auctions

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To be sold at the Gooding & Company Scottsdale Auctions on January 18 and 19, 2013. For further details please visit www.goodingco.com or contact a vehicle specialist at 001.310.899.1960 or specialist@goodingco.com. Engine Specifications: 201 CID L-Head Inline 4-Cylinder Engine Single Zenith Updraft Carburetor 40 HP at 2,200 RPM 3-Speed Manual Gearbox 4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes Live Axle Suspension with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs About this Car: Given that his father was the most successful automobile manufacturer in the world, it was only fitting that Edsel Ford spent his formative years immersed in the still-new auto industry. From his position at the forefront of a burgeoning industrial movement, Edsel cultivated a deep appreciation for automobiles and invested much of his energy and talent into the production of cars that embodied the ultimate in quality styling, material, and craftsmanship. Whereas Henry Ford made the motorcar accessible to every man, Edsel envisioned the mass-produced automobile as an aesthetic object and wanted to offer the public something more than a versatile, ubiquitous appliance. As a young man, Edsel studied the details of fine European coachwork, owned a variety of exclusive luxury cars, and commissioned his own specially designed Model Ts. In 1922, three years after accepting the role of company president, Edsel purchased the Lincoln Motor Company, a manufacturer known for high- quality engineering. The purposeful reputation of the Lincoln marque was immediately transformed when Edsel called on famous coachbuilders such as LeBaron, Dietrich, Locke, and Judkins to create chic, custom body styles for the expensive chassis. Edsel later established Fordís styling department, founded the Mercury division, consolidated overseas production, and championed many technological innovations, including streamlined designs, V-8 engines, and hydraulic brakes. Unlike many auto executives, Edsel was intimately involved in the design of each new model and those who worked with him had tremendous respect for his trained eye and encyclopedic knowledge. His influence was clearly reflected in the appearance of the Model A, the first new Ford model built under his direction. Unsurprisingly, the Model A was one of the first truly attractive mass-produced automobiles and took many design cues from the more upscale Lincoln, from the shape of the fenders and radiator to the painted horn mounted beneath the left headlight. As a true connoisseur, Edselís appreciation for beauty extended beyond automobile design. Over the years, he was a significant art benefactor, serving as the president of the Detroit Arts Commission, during which time he famously authorized the Detroit Industry Murals, a series of frescoes that Diego Rivera considered his finest work. From 1919 until his death in 1943, Edsel served as the president of Ford Motor Company. During this golden period, Edsel realized his vision of automotive excellence and showed the world that an assembly-line automobile was not strictly limited to terms of utility and profit Ė it could also be a work of industrial art. As president of the worldís most powerful automobile company, Edsel Ford was in the unique position to own any car he chose. Though he often indulged in his passion for fine European sports and luxury cars, he was never without a special automobile of his own design. After all, anyone could buy a great motorcar Ė few could build one. In late 1929, Edsel commissioned LeBaron to design a one-of-a-kind body for the new Model A chassis Ė a special project that would imbue the mass-produced Ford peoplesí car with style, grace and the grandest luxury. Intended for his personal use, Edselís coachbuilt Model A had to represent the height of contemporary styling, yet maintain a strong kinship to the marqueís identity. A credit both to its location in the heart of ďMotor CityĒ and to a talented staff of designers, LeBaron was among the most prolific of the great American coachbuilders. Although other firms employed LeBaron to create custom and catalogued body styles, Ford Motor Company developed a particularly fruitful relationship with the Detroit coachbuilder. As Edsel was one of the firmís great patrons, it is unsurprising that LeBaron is credited for the design of all of the Briggs-built open body styles available for the Model A chassis. The design LeBaron created for Edsel, referenced as number D-358, is, in simple terms, a dual cowl sport phaeton - an open body style that was most seen on upscale chassis. Of the many successful works to come out of LeBaron's design office, the classic dual cowl sport phaeton was one of their finest achievements and several variations graced the most expensive luxury chassis of the era, from Lincoln to Duesenberg. As would be expected, Edsel was involved in every detail of his carís design and no expense was spared in creating a coachbuilt automobile of the highest order. Though Edsel originally commissioned the body for a standard Model A, he eventually opted to have it mounted on an experimental chassis being developed for the European market. Correspondence between Edsel Ford and Ralph Roberts of LeBaron confirms this decision and details the relocation of body brackets to fit the special narrow-tread chassis. Around the time of this car's construction, Ford was centralizing European activities in England, where it had recently established Ford Motor Company Ltd. Before the first production vehicle left the new Dagenham, England, plant in October 1931, Ford experimented with a number of proposals for a UK and European market Model A. With this unique experimental chassis serving as the foundation, LeBaron created one of the most handsome bodies ever seen on a pre-war Ford. The Sport Phaetonís sweeping fenders, shortened running boards, lack of body moldings, and metal-covered rear spare all serve to lengthen the profile, while the narrowed track and custom radiator contribute to a svelte, upscale appearance that belies the carís humble origins. The windshield is mounted in a fixed position, at a rakish angle, without the familiar molding frame. An advanced feature for the period, the single driverís side wiper is located at the bottom of the windshield, with the motor discreetly mounted beneath the cowl. The beautifully integrated rear cowl assembly is one of the body's most extraordinary elements and a signature LeBaron feature. In this design, the rear cowl is hinged at the back of the front seats in order to fold forward, thus allowing passengers greater ease of ingress and egress. The sculptured look of the front and rear cockpit, inspired by the famed Lincoln Aero Phaeton of 1928, is yet another example of LeBaronís excellence in coachbuilding and Edsel Fordís fine conception of all that is good in automotive design. Although the overall style and proportions of the LeBaron design are quite a success, the extraordinary bespoke details are what really set this car apart. For instance, exclusive French- made Stephen Grebel headlamps were sourced at Fordís request and a custom headlight bar assembly was fabricated so that a special Klaxon horn could be mounted in the center. According to Ford Motor Company correspondence, the exotic Parisian headlamps were ordered from the Nil Melior Company in New York at a cost of $250. At the time, a standard Model A cost as little as $385. While the front bumper maintained a close resemblance to the production unit, the upper and lower bars were joined at each end, rather than being connected with a pin rolled into the face bars. At the rear, a one-piece bumper was used, rather than the stock bumperettes typically fitted with a rear-mounted spare. Exposed chrome door hinges and swept-back door handles are classic LeBaron flourishes that further accentuate the expensive appearance of the car. Similarly, the custom narrowed radiator cowling, bumpers, and rear spare tire carrier were polished to highlight the elegant proportions and exquisite lines of the coachwork. Even the splash aprons were custom-tailored in gleaming patent leather Ė a fashionable modern material rarely employed in automotive applications. The completed car was finished in black lacquer with painted Model A wheels and Firestone blackwall tires. The interior was trimmed in carefully selected leather hides, using small 2" pleats and a slight bucket to the front seats. A tan canvas top folded neatly behind the rear seats. With the exception of the standard Model A engine, instruments, components, Edsel Fordís Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton was a true one-off custom in the classic tradition of coachbuilt luxury cars. Completed in May 1930, the LeBaron Sport Phaeton was immediately delivered to Edsel. Soon after taking delivery, he registered the car in his name, using the famed 1100 Lakeshore Road address in Grosse Pointe Shores. It is believed that the LeBaron-bodied Model A remained in Edselís personal stable until his passing in 1943. In the early 1950s, the Model A Sport Phaeton was sold to Vernon Jarvis, a pioneer in the antique car hobby whose world-class collection formed the basis of an auto museum in Silver Springs, Florida. During his ownership, Mr. Jarvis placed Edselís special Model A in a dairy barn in Springfield, Illinois, and the unique LeBaron-bodied Ford was all but forgotten. Over the years, the Edsel Ford LeBaron Phaeton became something of a mystery to car collectors and Ford historians. Though photos and records documented its existence, the car remained elusive and many believed it had disappeared forever. In 1958, an antique car historian wrote in The Restorer that if the car had not been found by then, it probably did not exist any longer. In fall 1962, MARC News, the official newsletter of the Model A Restorers Club, featured an article on Edsel Fordís ďvery special Model A,Ē highlighting the coachbuilt features of the presumably lost car. Ford Motor Company also searched for the Sport Phaeton, to no avail. Approximately 10 years ago, a re-creation of the LeBaron Phaeton was built and displayed at the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours díElegance, a remarkable testament to the enduring appeal of the original design. Finally in 2007, Edsel Fordís Sport Phaeton was discovered in a dilapidated barn on Mr. Jarvisí Springfield farm. Clearly in need of restoration, but with the majority of its original panels, fenders and mechanical components still intact, the Sport Phaeton retained its original LeBaron body tag, no. LB-4093, and sections of original red leather upholstery. To handle the restoration of this significant automobile, the current owner enlisted Manns Restoration & Maintenance of Festus, Missouri, a firm with experience preparing a wide variety of classics. Restored to the highest standards, this spectacular car is presented in concours condition in every respect and is complete with all the unique features and details originally requested by Edsel Ford. Making its first public appearance since restoration, Edsel Fordís LeBaron-bodied Model A is sure to be a star wherever it goes and will undoubtedly provide its new owner with an exciting, highly sought-after entry into any major concours event. Beyond the inherent qualities of the car itself, the sale of this one-off Model A Sport Phaeton is offered with an impressive file of supporting documentation that includes a copy of Edselís original Michigan registration, archival photographs, period magazine articles, restoration records, and correspondence between Ford and the LeBaron-Detroit Company. Presented here is a unique and truly important pre-war motorcar. Commissioned by Edsel Ford, this one-of-a-kind coachbuilt wonder is a powerful reflection of its ownerís sophisticated tastes, artistic talents, and profound influence. Although many believed that this car was lost forever, it standsbeforeustodayinmagnificentlyrestored condition, offering a glimpse of a brilliant period in American automotive history. Considering Edsel Fordís personal involvement in the design, its experimental narrow-tread chassis, elegant one-off LeBaron coachwork, and extensive documentation, this Model A Sport Phaeton is surely one of the most historically significant and beautiful automobiles ever built by the Ford Motor Company. For the collector who demands only the very best, the appearance of this car at auction represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Reference Number 203906

as of 2/15/2013

Overview
Car 1930 Ford Model A Sport Phaeton
VIN 
Serial No. A2079701
Body No. LB-4093 
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Known History

Originally owned by Edsel Ford