2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


A long time dream comes true! My ‘new’ 82 years old Ford Model A

Ford Mod. A w. ATWATER KENT logo

Emmanuel Riginos’ Ford Model A Tudor bearing the Atwater Kent radios logo. On the fender posing, his brother Alecos

Readers of my Blog may have seen a previous post titled: My next classic/veteran car investment? dating 11th May 2011. In that post I was sharing my desire to acquire one day a prewar classic and more specifically a Ford Model A, similar to a car that my father Emmanuel Riginos owned in the 1930’s in Athens, Greece.

Hence the famous line of Dr. Martin Luther King I have a dream seems befitting. This dream started many years ago when upon shuffling through old family photographs, I discovered few pictures of my Father’s car in the 1930’s. It was a Ford Model A Tudor.

I was looking at these pictures and was wondering about what kind of driving experiences, sounds, smells etc such a car would offer. Slowly the idea to obtain one day such a car settled in my mind. To boot, one evening at the PHILPA Club, Dimitri Vernardakis, our President, told me this: ‘Byron you ought to get yourself a prewar car’, an advise that was never forgotten.

The Car at the Classic Car Auctions premises in Canton Ohio awaiting shipment

The Car at the Classic Motorcar Auctions premises in Canton Ohio awaiting shipment

Recently (Spring 2013) that dream became a reality. After an extended search in Europe and in the USA markets, with the help of few good friends, this particular example was found in Canton, Ohio, inspected, serviced and a deal to buy was concluded in mid April 2013. Soon after the car was loaded on a closed transport heading to New Jersey Container Terminal Port from where it was placed in a 20 Foot container and shipped to Piraeus. Of course I was in great anticipation to see and drive the old lady, as this acquisition marked the first time of buying a car from far away without having seen it up close myself…

Special thanks go to my good friends Alex Vazeos, an Etceterini cars collector and Myron Vernis of Glenmoor Gathering Concours d’Elegance who have been instrumental for my ‘Dream to Come True’; plus to my new friend Bob Lichty of Classic Motorcar Auctions who ‘pro-bono’ looked after all the details of the deal, the US title change, fund transfers, getting the car serviced and arranging shipment from Canton, Ohio to New Jersey!

The Model A is being loaded onto an enclosed car transport for the journey from Canton, Ohio to New Jersey Port

The Model A is being loaded onto an enclosed car transport for the journey from Canton, Ohio to New Jersey Port

Loaded in the 20' container and secured for the transatlantic crossing

Loaded in the 20′ container and secured for the transatlantic crossing

24th April update: The car was booked on the vessel ZIM Rio Grande 46E sailing on 10th May 13 and arrived in Piraeus on Saturday 1st June 2013; provided it would clear Greek customs in time, what a nice June 6th birthday present that would be!

The ZIM Rio Grande Contaner Vessel brought the car to me :)

The ZIM Rio Grande Container Vessel brought the car to me! 🙂

June 7th update: finally chasing the delayed arrival or the US Title within the Kifissia Postal Sortation Office, on Friday June 7th the car, via the adept services of the PHILPA Customs Clearing Agent, namely Elias Athanasoulas [many thanks Elias, well done!], cleared the bureaucracy and the 20” Container was loaded on a trailer truck bed. Then it was taken to a nearby container depot, for placing the box on the ground, thus making the unloading procedure quite easy. The photos and the video clip capture these memorable moments and trace the car resting in company with other cars of my collection safely in my Garage.


Unloading the Container from the semi-trailer


The moment of truth! First glimpse of my much awaited ‘new’ car! Upon opening the container doors a distinctive ‘old American car’ smell oozed out. Immediately, the unfastening and chock removal procedure commenced.


Behind the wheel for the first time: rolling the car out of the container


Next task, loaded the car onto a transporter for taking her to my trusted mechanic John ‘Motorman’ Palmos for the first inspection and start-up


On its way from Piraeus to the North of Athens; many hoots and thumbs up on the way 🙂


My friend Robert Smith behind the wheel, taking her out for a first test drive after adjusting the advance timing

June 16th update: the FMA underwent a ‘crash detailing’ service undertaken by Mike Tsaltas of www.swell.gr in an effort to be ready for its first public appearance in Greece, participating in the Parade of the ‘2nd PHILPA TATOI CIRCUIT 2013” event. In between my good friend Robert Smith offered his knowledgeable services for adjusting the timing and expediting the car’s technical inspection for obtaining its ‘historic car’ FIVA card certification and license plates.


Changing gears on a fully unsynchronized 82 year old gearbox requires ‘old car drivemanship’, a talent Robert has in abundance (owner of a 1918 Ford Model T among other prewar and classics).


Mike ‘Swell’ Tsaltas doing his magic on the soiled rag-top


At the same time a horde of accessories and spare parts sourced from Mac’s Antique Ford Parts are gradually being fitted, improving the car’s appearance and operation


Part of the fun for many car collectors is the ‘deepening knowledge’ for the newly acquired model. Manuals, schematics, reference books, memorabilia etc help to enhance the experience…


Mike’s assistant George ‘swelling’ the running boards


Among the accessories, the Ford logoed headlight protective covers go well with the radiator stone guard option, to be proved useful when rallying 😉

Front radiator view with the stone guard, 'my b-d' bespoke license plate, and the Quail Motometer radiator cap

Front radiator view with the stone guard, ‘my b-d’ bespoke license plate, and the PHILPA-Antique Car Club of Greece badge

Detail of the Quail Motometer radiator cap

Detail of the Flying Quail with Motometer radiator cap

The RH engine bay after having been detailed

The RH engine bay after having been detailed


View of the LH engine bay after having been detailed


The Data Patent and Body Number templates on the firewall indicating S/N 4558478, which means that this car was produced during May 1931


The cabin of the Roadster after being swelled. The seat belts are a modern accessory but allowed by the Judging standards for safety reasons


The pedal area after being swelled


The dashboard after being swelled


The frugal instrument panel of the Model A


The dual side mounted spare wheels along with the cowl lights where part of the standard accessories for the Deluxe model B-40 version


Side mounted spare wheel detail


The RH license plate indicates the car model year


The wire spoke wheels are fitted with a set of white wall tires

Detail of the side windwing mounts and top release butterfly


Side view of the car after being swelled


Front view of the car after being swelled

Side view of the car after being swelled

Rear view of the car after being swelled

We made the race against the clock and the car did motor proudly and took its place among other historic vehicles, parading in front of thousand car loving spectators 🙂


In good company with a 1934 MG PA at the ‘2nd PHILPA TATOI CIRCUIT 2013’ Parade


In good company with a 1934 MG PA and a 1926 Chevrolet SK Tourer at the ‘2nd PHILPA TATOI CIRCUIT 2013’ Parade


Parading at the track of the ‘2nd PHILPA TATOI CIRCUIT 2013’

Next event: the ’42nd PHILPA International Rally’ in the Peloponnese during Sept. 2013.

Η Γέννηση των Αυτοκινήτων (1878-1909)

Ορισμός: Όχημα που κινείται με δικό του σύστημα προώθησης και διεύθυνσης, με τη βοήθεια τεσσάρων ή περισσότερων τροχών, και χρησιμοποιείται για κάθε είδους οδικές μεταφορές. Υπάρχουν διάφορες κατηγορίες αυτοκινήτων ανάλογα με τη χρήση τους (επιβατικά, λεωφορεία, φορτηγά κ.λπ.).

1978 Jacquot 2 cylinder steam car.

1978 Jacquot 2 cylinder steam car.

Ιστορία μέχρι το 1900. Η αρχική ιδέα του αυτοκινήτου δεν αποδίδεται σ’ ένα μόνο πρόσωπο. Πολλοί ερευνητές ασχολήθηκαν συγχρόνως και ανεξάρτητα με την ανάπτυξη του αυτοκινήτου. Η ιδέα κατασκευής ενός οχήματος που θα κινούνταν με δικά του μέσα, εμφανίστηκε για πρώτη φορά στην Ιλιάδα. Ο Leonardo da Vinci (Λεονάρντο ντα Βίντσι), αργότερα, ασχολήθηκε και αυτός με την κατασκευή ενός οχήματος, που θα κινούνταν με δική του ενέργεια. Το 17ο αιώνα ο Ολλανδός ερευνητής Christiaan Ηuygens (Κρίστιαν Χίγκενς) κατασκεύασε μια μηχανή που δούλευε με πιεσμένο αέρα και χρησιμοποιούσε ως καύσιμο την πυρίτιδα. Ο Γερμανός  Οttο νοn Guericke (Ότο φον Γκέρικε) ήταν ο πρώτος που κατασκεύασε έμβολα, κυλίνδρους κ.λπ. για χρήση σε αεραντλίες. Η πραγματική όμως ανάπτυξη της τεχνικής για την κατασκευή ενός αυτοκινούμενου οχήματος, άρχισε το 18ο αιώνα ο Γάλλος Philippe Lebοn (Φιλίπ Λεμπόν) που πήρε δίπλωμα ευρεσιτεχνίας για την κατασκευή αεροκινητήρα με καύσιμο άνθρακα. Το 1748, ο Γάλλος εφευρέτης Jacques de Vaucanson (Ζακ ντε Βουκανσόν), έκανε την επίδειξη ενός οχήματος που κινούνταν με μια μεγάλη μηχανή. Το 1760 ο Ελβετός κληρικός Τ. Geneνοis (Τ. Ζενεβουά) πρότεινε τη χρήση ενός ανεμόμυλου για την κίνηση οχήματος που έμοιαζε με κάρο. Η πρώτη σοβαρή προσπάθεια με κινητήρα υπολογίσιμης απόδοσης, ήταν η κατασκευή του Γάλλου Νichοlas-Jοseph Cugnοt (Νικολά-Ζόζεφ Κινιό), που χρησιμοποίησε για την κίνηση του οχήματός του την ατμομηχανή, η οποία είχε ήδη ιστορία 50 χρόνων.

Σχέδιο της ατμοκίνητης άμαξας του Murdock

Έτσι άρχισε μια περίοδος πειραματισμού με ατμομηχανές, η οποία διήρκεσε ως το 1860 περίπου, αλλά αργότερα πέρασε σε δεύτερη μοίρα, με την εμφάνιση του κινητήρα εσωτερικής καύσης. Ο Κινιό, το 1769, κατασκεύασε δυο τρίκυκλα ατμοκίνητα οχήματα, που είχαν όμως περιορισμένη επιτυχία. Κυριότεροι λόγοι ήταν το μεγάλο βάρος των μηχανών και η αδυναμία τους να κρατήσουν ατμό για κίνηση πάνω από 20 λεπτά. Το 1784 ένας Σκωτσέζος, ο William Μurdοck (Ουίλιαμ Μάρντοκ) έθεσε σε κίνηση ένα ατμοκίνητο όχημα στους δρόμους της Κορνουάλης. Το 1788 ο Rοbert Fοurness (Ρόμπερτ Φουρνές), κατασκεύασε ένα τρακτέρ με τρεις κυλίνδρους.
Στη Γαλλία, οι διάδοχοι του Κινιό συνέχισαν τους πειραματισμούς με τα ατμοκίνητα οχήματα και έτσι, το 1790, ένα τέτοιο όχημα εμφανίστηκε στην Αμιένη, ενώ το 1800 τα πρώτα ατμοκίνητα λεωφορεία κυκλοφορούσαν στους δρόμους του Παρισιού.

Στην Αγγλία, τις ιδέες του Μurdοck ασπάστηκε ο συμπατριώτης του Richard Τreνithick (Ρίτσαρντ Τρέβιθικ), που κατασκεύασε ένα ατμοκίνητο όχημα το 1801, ενώ το 1803 ο ίδιος εμφανίστηκε επανειλημμένα στους δρόμους του Λονδίνου με το περίφημο “Lοndοn Steam Carriage” (“Ατμάμαξα του Λονδίνου”).

Η ατμοκίνητη άμαξα του Goldsworthy Gurney του 1827 σε χαρακτική απεικόνιση της εποχής.

Το 1823 ένας άλλος Άγγλος, ο Samuel Βrοwn (Σάμουελ Μπράουν), οδήγησε το “αυτοκίνητό” του που είχε δυο κυλίνδρους και χρησιμοποιούσε ως καύσιμο υδρογόνο, στην κορυφή του λόφου Shοοter, στο Λονδίνο. Η εποχή όμως του ατμού βρισκόταν στην ακμή της και έτσι το 1830 ο Sir Gοrdswοrthy Gurney (Γκόρντσγουόρθι Γκάρνεϊ) κατασκεύασε ατμοκίνητα οχήματα.
Αυτή όμως την εποχή έγινε αντιληπτό ότι οι δυνατότητες των ατμοκίνητων οχημάτων ήταν πάρα πολύ περιορισμένες. Έτσι από το 1840 ελάχιστοι ασχολούνταν πλέον με αυτά. Ένας από τους συνεχιστές ήταν ο Τhοmas Rickett από το Μπάκιγχαμ, που το 1859 κυκλοφορούσε ακόμα το ατμοκίνητο όχημά του. Τα πράγματα χειροτέρευαν όμως συνεχώς. Νέα τεράστια διόδια επιβάλλονταν στα ατμοκίνητα οχήματα, ενώ τη χαριστική βολή την έδωσε η αγγλική κυβέρνηση που το 1865 ψήφισε το νόμο “της κόκκινης σημαίας”. Με το νόμο αυτό περιοριζόταν η ταχύτητα σε 7 χλμ. την ώρα σε ακατοίκητες περιοχές και 3,5 χλμ. στις κατοικημένες. Συγχρόνως υποχρεωνόταν να προπορεύεται από το όχημα ένας άνθρωπος που κρατούσε μια κόκκινη σημαία. Ο νόμος αυτός τροποποιήθηκε το 1878 και μετά καταργήθηκε το 1896, στάθηκε όμως αποφασιστικός παράγοντας για την εξάλειψη των ατμοκίνητων οχημάτων. Όμως, ατμοκίνητα αυτοκίνητα συνέχισαν να κατασκευάζονται ως το 1926 κυρίως στις ΗΠΑ.

Το τρίκυκλο (Tricar) του Léon Bollée του 1896.

Έτσι το 1873 ο Léon Bollée (Λεόν Μπολέ) κυκλοφορεί με την Οbeissante (Υπάκουη), ένα δωδεκαθέσιο λεωφορείο, ενώ το 1887 ένας από τους πρωτοπόρους του αυτοκινήτου, ο Γάλλος κόμης Jules-Albert de Dion (Ντε Ντιόν), ιδρυτής της αυτοκινητοβιομηχανίας De Dion-Bouton, παρουσίασε το ατμοκίνητο τρίκυκλό του. Τέλος, το 1890, ένας από τους τελευταίους θιασώτες των ατμοκίνητων οχημάτων της εποχής, ο Lοuis Serpοllet (Λουί Σερπολέ) οδήγησε το ατμοκίνητο τρίκυκλό του, από τη Λυών στο Παρίσι. Μια μεγάλη καινοτομία που εφάρμοσε, ήταν η χρήση καυστήρα υγρών καυσίμων, για τη θέρμανση του ατμού. Τη μέθοδο αυτή εφαρμόζουν στις ΗΠΑ οι Stanley και White, που γνώρισαν μεγάλη επιτυχία.

Το τρίκυκλο Motorwagen του Karl Benz με το οποίο έλαβε το δίπλωμα ευρεσιτεχνίας.

Ο κινητήρας εσωτερικής καύσης και ο Κarl Βenz. Η ιστορία του κινητήρα εσωτερικής καύσης άρχισε από το 1862, όταν ο Γάλλος Εtienne Lenοir (Ετιέν Λενουάρ) κατασκεύασε τον πρώτο κινητήρα εσωτερικής καύσης κατά το πρότυπο της ατμομηχανής. Ο κινητήρας του δούλευε με μείγμα αέρα και φυσικού αερίου, χωρίς συμπίεση. Παράλληλα την ίδια χρονιά ένας άλλος Γάλλος, ο Αlphοnse Βeau de Rοchas (Αλφόνς Μπο ντε Ροσά) κατασκεύασε έναν τετράχρονο κινητήρα. Ακόμα το 1864-65, πάνω στις ίδιες αρχές, πειραματίστηκε και ο Γερμανός Siegfried Μarkus (Ζίγκφριντ Μάρκους). Οι προσπάθειές του όμως δεν ολοκληρώθηκαν ποτέ. Έτσι, η θεωρητική και τεχνική πατρότητα του τετράχρονου κινητήρα, που κινεί και τα σημερινά αυτοκίνητα, αποδίδεται στο Γερμανό φυσικό Dr. Nikolaus August Otto (Ότο), που ανακάλυψε τον ομώνυμο κύκλο λειτουργίας των μηχανών και κατασκεύασε το 1872, την αθόρυβη αεριομηχανή του.
Το 1880, ένας άλλος Γερμανός, ο Κarl Βenz (Καρλ Μπενς) ίδρυσε μια εταιρία κατασκευής μηχανών στο Μανχάιμ. Έτσι η Γερμανία έγινε εκείνη την εποχή, το κέντρο ανάπτυξης του αυτοκινήτου και οι καινοτομίες διαδέχονταν η μια την άλλη.

To Reitwagen (riding car), είναι η πρώτη μοτοσυκλέτα με μηχανή εσωτερικής καύσεως του Gottlieb Daimler (1885).

Το 1885, ένας μηχανικός που δούλευε κοντά στον Ότο, ο Gοttlieb Daimler (Γκότλιμπ Ντέμλερ), χρησιμοποίησε τη βενζίνη για καύσιμο και εφεύρε το καρμπυρατέρ. Την ίδια χρονιά, τοποθέτησε τη μηχανή του σ’ ένα τρίκυκλο και το 1886 κατασκεύασε το πρώτο του τετράτροχο αυτοκίνητο.
Παράλληλα, ο Βenz, το 1885, κατασκεύασε τρίκυκλα, τοποθετώντας μάλιστα ένα στοιχειώδες κιβώτιο δυο ταχυτήτων. Το 1888 ο ίδιος κατασκεύασε το πρώτο τετράτροχο αυτοκίνητό του. Την ίδια χρονιά ο Daimler παρουσίασε τον πρώτο του δικύλινδρο κινητήρα, ενώ την επόμενη χρονιά, το 1889, η γαλλική εταιρία Ρanhard et Leνassοr (Πανάρ και Λεβασόρ), αγόρασε τα δικαιώματα κατασκευής των κινητήρων του στη Γαλλία. Έτσι, το 1890, η πρωτοβουλία πέρασε στους Γάλλους, που έκαναν σημαντικές μετατροπές στην τοποθέτηση του κινητήρα και στο σύστημα μετάδοσης. Το 1891 ιδρύθηκε η εταιρία αυτοκινήτων De Diοn Βοutοn (Ντε Ντιον-Μπουτόν), που αργότερα έγινε ονομαστή. Την εποχή αυτή ιδρύθηκαν στη Γαλλία οι εταιρίες Ρeugeοt (Πεζώ), Renault (Ρενώ) και στην Ιταλία η Steffanini Μartina (Στεφανίνι Μαρτίνα) και η FΙΑΤ (1899) που είναι τα αρχικά των λέξεων “Fabbrica Ιtaliana Αutοmοbili Τοrinο”.

Henry Ford portrait

Henry Ford portrait

Στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες, μόλις το 1893 δυο αδερφοί οι Charles και Frank Duοrea (Τσαρλς και Φρανκ Ντάρια) κατασκεύασαν το πρώτο αυτοκίνητο που το βελτίωσαν το 1895. Το 1895 κατασκεύασε το πρώτο αυτοκίνητό του ο άνθρωπος που έφερε λίγο αργότερα την επανάσταση στις μεθόδους παραγωγής, ο Ηenry Fοrd. Έτσι με την αρχή του 20ου αιώνα τα αμερικανικά αυτοκίνητα φαίνονται μπρος στα ευρωπαϊκά σαν παιχνίδια. Παρ’ όλα αυτά όμως, παρουσίαζαν ένα πολύ μεγάλο πλεονέκτημα: ήταν φτιαγμένα για μαζική παραγωγή, πράγμα που ήταν αδύνατο να εφαρμοστεί στα ευρωπαϊκά αυτοκίνητα.

Το Panhard-Levassor Landaulet Type AL του1898.

1900-1914. Το 1900 τα κύρια χαρακτηριστικά των αυτοκινήτων, θύμιζαν ακόμα τις άμαξες, από τις οποίες εξελίχτηκαν. Οι επιβάτες ήταν συνήθως απροστάτευτοι από τις καιρικές συνθήκες και η οδήγηση τη νύχτα ήταν εφιαλτική κάτω από το φως των λαμπών του πετρελαίου. Τη χρονιά αυτή διοργανώθηκε για πρώτη φορά από την αυτοκινητιστική λέσχη της Αγγλίας ένας αγώνας-δοκιμασία μήκους 1.600 χλμ., όπου φάνηκε καθαρά η υπεροχή των άλλων ευρωπαϊκών αυτοκινήτων, απέναντι στα αγγλικά. Οι Panhard (Πανάρ) θριάμβευσαν με ένα όνομα που σύντομα θα γινόταν πασίγνωστο στον κόσμο του αυτοκινήτου, τον εντιμότατο Charles S. Rolls ( Τσάρλ Ρολς). Σ’ αυτόν τον αγώνα-δοκιμή εμφανίστηκε για πρώτη φορά και ένα αγγλικό αυτοκίνητο με τέσσερις τροχούς, το Lanchester (Λάντσεστερ). Το Λάντσεστερ, παρόλο που δεν ήταν κατασκευή μαζικής παραγωγής, εξασφάλιζε ανταλλαξιμότητα των διάφορων εξαρτημάτων του, πράγμα πρωτοφανές για ευρωπαϊκό αυτοκίνητο.
Το 1907 κατασκευάστηκε η πρώτη Rοlls-Rοyce (Ρολς-Ρόις) Silνer Ghοst (ασημένιο φάντασμα). Η φίρμα Ρολς-Ρόις, που έχει γίνει συνώνυμο της ύψιστης ποιότητας στα αυτοκίνητα, κατασκεύασε το πρώτο της αυτοκίνητο, γι αυτόν ακριβώς το σκοπό: την ύψιστη ποιότητα, χωρίς οικονομικούς περιορισμούς.

Ο Henry Ford με το Model T.

Ο Henry Ford με το Model T.

Ένα χρόνο αργότερα, το 1908, παρουσιάστηκε στην άλλη μεριά του Ατλαντικού ένα εξίσου διάσημο αυτοκίνητο, διάσημο για τελείως διαφορετικούς λόγους. Ήταν το Fοrd Model “Τ” που κατασκευάστηκε με το σκοπό την παραγωγή ενός πραγματικά “αξιόπιστου” αυτοκινήτου, στη χαμηλότερη δυνατή τιμή.
Την ίδια εποχή εμφανίστηκαν στην Ευρώπη οι ανταλλακτικοί τροχοί-ρεζέρβες, που έβαλαν τέρμα σ’ ένα μεγάλο πρόβλημα, το πρόβλημα της επιδιόρθωσης των ελαστικών στο δρόμο.

Επιμέλεια κειμένων: Βασίλειος Παπαϊδής & Βύρων Ρηγινός. Πηγές: Διαδίκτυο.

Το συνοδευτικό φωτογραφικό άλμπουμ με πολλά παραδείγματα από τις πρώτες κατασκευές θα δείτε με κλικ ΕΔΩ!

About Ford Model A’s

The History of the Model A 1928-31

1929 Ford Mod. A Roadster

1929 Ford Mod. A Roadster

Introduced to the public in late 1927 as a “New Ford Car,” the Ford Model A could trace its roots all the way back to the establishment of the Ford Motor Company in 1903. Actually, the first car produced by the developing auto manufacturer was labeled the Model A. Henry Ford would work his way through a series of letter designations for his automotive creations before settling on the successful formula that would become the Model T. In the years that followed, as America’s roads and driveways filled with Model T’s, Henry Ford would remain reluctant to significantly tamper with his beloved car’s design.

Henry Ford portrait

Henry Ford portrait

It was only in the face of plummeting sales by the mid 1920’s, the result of a buying public that sought the modern upgrades offered by Ford’s competitors, that Ford finally relented. In an unusual business move, Ford halted production of the Model T in May of 1927, shutting down the entire production operation for 6 months to allow for retooling and final development of the new Model A Ford.

1928-29 Standard Coupe

1928-29 Standard Coupe

A Ford Mod. A Coupe being assembled.

A Ford Mod. A Coupe being assembled.

Working under an impossible deadline, Ford managed to get the design and production requirements in place for the release of the “New Ford Car” by November of 1927. Henry’s son, Edsel Ford, had unsuccessfully tried to convince his father to abandon the Model T years earlier. Unbeknown to his father, Edsel had been secretly working on the development of a new car and would ultimately play a significant role in the design of what would become the Ford Model A.

A Ford Model A Roadster body ready to be mounted on its chassis.

A Ford Model A Roadster body ready to be mounted on its chassis.

Ford Mod. A's being assembled at the Rouge line.

Ford Mod. A’s being assembled at the
Rouge line.

Unlike its predecessor, the Model T, which was the result of an evolving process of design, the Model A was designed, complete, from the ground up. The Model A was truly a “New Ford Car.” Mechanical upgrades for the Model A Ford included a new 3-speed transmission, hydraulic shock absorbers, and four-wheel mechanical brakes. Other significant improvements were an electric starter, water pump, speedometer and gas gauge, and the introduction of Triplex safety glass. The styling of the Ford Model A, elegant and integrated compared to the Model T, brought Ford into the modern era with a vehicle that looked more like a car and less like a horseless carriage.

A period Ford Salesroom featuring Ford Model A's.

A period Ford Salesroom featuring Ford Model A’s.

The first Mod. A was delivered on Jan. 26, 1928.

The first Mod. A was delivered on Jan. 26, 1928.

Henry Ford created a sense of hype and mystery surrounding the release of the Model A Ford, relying on the media to reach the buying public and generate interest in the “New Ford Car.” Shortly after the Ford Model A was made available to the public on December 2, 1927, orders for the new car far exceeded supply. Ford scrambled to increase production and by mid 1928, producing up to 4,000 cars per day, was still not meeting the buying publics demand. In an effort to meet demand, Ford steadily boosted production, peaking at around 9,200 cars per day by June of 1930.

During its four-year production run, the Model A Ford would be offered in a wide variety of car and truck body styles. For 1928, Ford offered several different style passenger car bodies:

Early Ford Mod A. Fordoor

Early Ford Mod A. Fordor

Standard Phaeton, Standard Roadster, Standard Coupe, Special Coupe, Sport Coupe, Business Coupe, Tudor Sedan, Town Car, and Leatherback Fordor Sedan. Truck bodies included: Open Cab Pickup, Closed Cab Pickup, Pickup (box), “A” Panel Delivery, “AA” Panel Delivery, and Deluxe Delivery.

In 1929, Ford expanded the options for passenger car body styles by adding the Steelback Fordor, Cabriolet, Station Wagon, both Murray and Briggs versions of the Town Sedan, as well as Murray and Briggs versions of the Standard Fordor. The Standard Fordor (2 window) was also introduced. Options for truck bodies remained the same from the previous year.

For 1930, the Leatherback and Steelback Fordors, as well as the Special and Business Coupes, would be dropped from the lineup. New passenger car bodies included the Deluxe Phaeton, Deluxe Roadster, Deluxe Coupe, Deluxe Fordor (2 window) and Victoria. Truck body options included the addition of the Deluxe Delivery and Panel Delivery (drop floor), Special Delivery, Town Car Delivery, “AA” Panel Delivery and the “AA” Deluxe Delivery.

Introductory Period Brochure

Introductory Period Brochure

The Story of the New Ford Car poster.

The Story of the New Ford Car poster.

The year 1931, was the final of Ford Model A production, would mark the most extensive offering of passenger car and truck body styles in the vehicle’s brief history. New passenger cars for 1931 were the Deluxe Tudor, Slant Window Cabriolet, Slant Window Standard Fordor, Slant Window Town Sedan, Slant Window Deluxe Fordor (Blindback) and Convertible Sedan. The Standard Fordor (2 window) and Town Car were no longer offered. For truck bodies, a Deluxe Pickup and a wide bed Pickup (box) were introduced.

Like the rest of the nation, the Ford Motor Company would endure the effects of the economic Depression that began with the stock market crash in October of 1929. Despite reducing prices for 1931, Ford continued to see a steady decline of new car sales.

Perhaps learning from his mistake of sticking with the Model T long after the public regarded it as outdated, Henry Ford had been actively working on a new design for 1932. The successful development of the new V8 Ford for 1932 would ultimately put an end to the short but successful run for “Henry’s Lady,” the Model A Ford.

A FMA Coupe in the snow!

A FMA Coupe in the snow!

President Franklin Roosevelt in a Ford Mod. A Roadster.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) is sitting in a 1929 Model A Ford 68A Convertible Cabriolet.

Summary of models produced: Ford Model A Standard Phaeton, Standard Roadster, Standard Coupe, Special Coupe, Sport Coupe, Business Coupe, Tudor Sedan, Town Car, Leatherback Fordor Sedan, Open Cab Pickup, Closed Cab Pickup, Pickup (box), “A” Panel Delivery, “AA” Panel Delivery, Deluxe Delivery, Steelback Fordor, Cabriolet, Station Wagon, both Murray and Briggs versions of the Town Sedan, as well as Murray and Briggs versions of the Standard Fordor, Standard Fordor (2 window), Deluxe Phaeton, Deluxe Roadster, Deluxe Coupe, Deluxe Fordor (2 window), Victoria, Panel Delivery (drop floor), Special Delivery, Town Car Delivery, “AA” Deluxe Delivery, Deluxe Tudor, Slant Window Cabriolet, Slant Window Standard Fordor, Slant Window Town Sedan, Slant Window Deluxe Fordor (Blindback), Convertible Sedan, Deluxe Pickup and Wide Bed Pickup (box).

Almost every Ford Mod. A car body will be found in this gathering!

Almost every Ford Mod. A car body will be found in this gathering!

From the same FMA gathering.

From the same FMA gathering.

Fun Facts:

  • Riding the roads and the airwaves. The Ford Model A was the subject of the 1928 song, “Henry’s Made a Lady Out of Lizzie,” which sang the praises of Ford’s new addition to the road.
  • The first Model A Ford engine, stamped “A1” by Henry Ford himself on October 20, 1927, was put in a Tudor Sedan that Ford personally drove and tested before giving final approval to begin production of the car. At Henry Ford’s request, the engine was eventually placed in a 1928 Phaeton that was reserved in Dearborn for the use of his friend and fellow innovator, Thomas Edison.

    Henry Ford punches the engine number on the first Ford Model A off the assembly line.

    Henry Ford punches the engine number on the first Ford Model A off the assembly line.

  • The 20 Millionth Ford was a 1931 Ford Model A 160-B Slant Windshield Town Sedan. Accompanied off the assembly line by Henry and Edsel Ford, the black car was lettered on the sides and, so it could be seen from the air, the roof, with “The Twenty Millionth Ford.” The Sedan would be taken on a tour of the U.S., stopping at nearly every Ford territory and dealer along the way. Rumored to be lost in a fire sometime after the publicity tour, the car was discovered in Michigan in 1999. After Ford determined it was indeed “The Twenty Millionth Ford,” the company agreed to lease the car from its current owner. Ford then devoted their resources to a complete restoration of the car in preparation for their 2003 Centennial celebration. As part of the lease agreement, the Town Sedan will be displayed at Ford World Headquarters for the following 10 years.
The Twenty Millionth Ford Model A was a Fordor!

The Twenty Millionth Ford Model A was an 8 window 1931 Ford Model A 160-B Slant Windshield Town Sedan!

Henry Ford and his son Edsel in front od a Mod. A Fordor.

Henry Ford and his son Edsel in front of a Mod. A Fordor.

Text Sourced from: www.macsautoparts.com

Greece in the 1930’s

A period advertisement from the first Ford distributor in Greece, J. Kontellis & Co.

A period advertisement from the first Ford distributor in Greece, J. Kontellis & Co.

Finally, few pictures of our Father’s (Emmanuel V. Riginos) 1929 Ford Mod. A Tudor which he brought to Greece upon his return from an extended 15 year period of immigration to the USA. Upon his return to his homeland, he also brought (importing & distributing) the Atwater Kent radios to Greece in the late 20’s – early 30’s.
He used a 1930 Ford Model A Tudor as his car and on the door panels the round “Atwater Kent Radios” logo was affixed.

Ford Mod. A & KENT RADIO

Here Emmanuel and his brother Alekos Riginos admire a newly erected street side advertisement of the ‘Kent Radio’.

Ford Mod. A w. ATWATER KENT logo

He used a 1930 Ford Model A Tudor as his car and on the door panels the round “Atwater Kent Radios” logo was affixed.

Riginos Bros&Atwater car breakdown-ca.1939

The Ford Model A has broken down! The agony of the moment is captured on the faces of Emmanuel and his other brother George Riginos’s faces.

Manolis Riginos Ford Model A Tudor, bearing Greek License Plate No. 30914.

External links:

Model A Ford Reference Sheet, Owners Manual, and Help

Model A Ford Club of America

Model A Restorers Club

The Model A Barnyard

Ford Model A Assembly Plant in Edgewater NJ


My YouTube Ford Model A Playlist

Model A/AA Ford Websites

Internal Link:

My Next Classic/Veteran Car Investment?

Our Christmas 2012 days in Austria & Germany

We left Athens on Christmas Eve for Munich and then onwards via car rental to Seefeld-Mosern in the Tyrolean Alps of Austria. Returned to Athens the day before New Years Eve, i.e. 30th Jan 2012. Enjoy the pictorial ride with us! 🙂

My Blog 2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for my blog. Thank U all for visiting and helping make these thrilling stats! 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 22,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

The VW Käfer is back on the streets!

The finished 1962 VW Beetle made its first 'after the restoration' appearance during the '9th Concours d'Elegance PHILPA 2012'.

The finished 1962 VW Beetle made its first ‘after the restoration’ appearance during the ‘9th Concours d’Elegance PHILPA 2012’.

I am pleased to report that at long last my 1962 VW Käfer restoration project has been completed successfully! And just in time to enter the car in the “9th Concours d’Elegance PHILPA 2012“. The ‘spare no expense’ restoration project lasted about nine months and by all accounts the result is quite stunning.

Picking up the thread of the story since the previous post detailing the process, I add few words before completing the project; the car was loaded on a transporter from the body shop heading to the upholsterer, Christos Tsadilas. There, the TMI upholstery kits were fitted to the car, the front windshield was replaced along with new rubber seals, the carpet kit was improved and fitted.

Here is a short video clip from the unloading sequence:

Afterwards the car was taken to the electrician Stefanos Tokatlian (who had fitted the new wiring loom and had done all the connections), for fitting the new Blaupunkt Frankfurt radio sourced from Koenigs Klassik Radios, plus few other details.

Several last minute missing items were sourced from Oval Dean who carry BBT stock items in Athens, before the car was declared ready. On the first drive home along the highway, the speedo climbed to 110 kph without any hesitation or drama.

The renovated little car with matching numbers is intended to be driven regularly, has normal licenese plates and is pledged to my wife Ivi as a birthday present 🙂

Enjoy the photo album here below.

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The Restoration Project of the 1962 VW Käfer continues

Several friends who know about my venture into the deep waters of yet another ‘ground-up restoration’ project have been asking about its progress. Well here is an update.

After having separated the body from the rolling chassis (see previous post by clicking here), two main tasks have been taken care of:

  • Sandblasting the body shell and it’s already removed parts (bonnet, deck lid, doors, fenders etc.),
  • determining the actual condition of the car and drawing up a ‘parts required’ list

The verdict (and the lesson learned) is that if one plunges into a restoration project, ‘you either do it right or do not do it at all’. What I mean is that only after one skins the shell (in this case by sandblasting), can truly assess the actual condition of the metal, which more often than not, in old cars has been surfaced by several coats of body filler and paint, effectively hiding its true condition. Nasty surprises uncovered? Oh! yes. The bonnet (or front trunk hood) has been badly treated apparently after a front end collision. Ditto for the apron. The spare wheel well bottom looked like a strainer with several pit holes. The door bottom part has been treated badly from a rust attack. The rear deck lid (engine hood) as well as the lower heater channel areas had its own rust malaise’s. All these parts are characterized as ‘B.L.R.’ (i.e. Beyond Local Repair) and need to be replaced.

Back to the drawing board. That is the list of spare parts required grew longer than initially anticipated. While sourcing parts on the Internet is a great boon for any restorer, believe me the task of searching, identifying parts, comparing prices, determining delivery availability and summing up the costs from many vendors is a very time-consuming job! I ended up breaking the purchase orders from three sources: VW Heritage in England, Custom Speed Parts in Germany and BBT4VW.com in Belgium via its local new agent and friend Oval Dean Parts. Orders were placed, screened, verified, negotiated and awaited for taking delivery. Overall about 200 items were included in the lists. Few days ago I took partial deliveries from the three suppliers while back orders are still outstanding and will be forthcoming in the near future.

Blaupunkt Frankfurt radio for VW Beetles

And what about a period correct sound system? To my rescue comes a great German classic car radios provider (who supplied the Becker radio for my Mercedes-Benz 250SE Coupé), the firm www.koenigs-klassik-radios.de. The proper radio model, the Blaupunkt Frankfurt special car radio for VW beetle and speaker plus antenna and iPod/iPhone/iPad cable have also been selected. What about the cost of all these parts? Way out of my initial budget calculations. But as I said, you either do it or you don’t! No regrets as the end result will be such a good one which will certainly make me feel proud! 🙂

So here is a brief slide-show of the tasks at hand so far. We now have plenty of spare parts to go on with the Käfer restoration.

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June Update:

The rolling chassis has been treated and repainted.

The restoration works are progressing at a slower pace than I would have liked but as the proverbial saying “it takes some time to cook a good meal”, I have now complaints. The gear box has been entrusted to Labros Dimitriou in Melissia, the half axles and rear drums have been removed and now repainted while the sourcing of parts is underway to replace the faulty synchronizer rings before the box is reassembled and complete.

Similarly the floor pan has been scraped and repainted by my guys at A & B For Cars. More rusty spots have been treated and some hand-made metal parts have been skillfully fabricated. My new friend Tassos Baxevanakis has been most helpful in sourcing used but in excellent condition major body parts as front hood, rear deck lid and both doors. The hard to find correct 1926 rear engine lid was found and shipped from Sweden! Both front and rear aprons have been replaced by new parts and the front hood has been fitted.

The TMI Co. interior upholstery kit has arrived!

Just a week ago three parcels arrived from England, shipped by VW Heritage, containing all the important TMI Co. upholstery kits. Boy do their quality and perfection will make my “De Luxe” Beetle looking so good when finished. 😉

This question jumps-up. WHEN? To be frank I have no idea. There is so much more ground to cover. With almost all the required parts now gathered, on that department we look good. But the summer months are already upon us. That translates to more delays as shops will close for summer vacations and so on. Mentally I will set a target for the Bug to be back in the streets of Athens in her reincarnated form by the middle of September. As it was similar in the case of my Mercedes-Benz 250SE Coupe project, I would like to have the car ready to participate in the PHILPA 41st International Rally 2012, a major Regularity event this year taking the streets of Pelion (see here: 41st In’t Rally 2102 English).

July-August Update:

The rear apron had to be aligned and made to fit properly…

During July and most of August the progress of the restoration was slow due to a number of problems which had to be resolved. First the LH door that was sourced proved to be of a slightly later model year and had to be modified around the hinge areas to make it fit. The engine lid which was sourced from Sweden also required some metal work to treat some rust and fit the handle cylinder lock to an oversized hole.The rear apron which was sourced as a new replacement part from CSP Germany was way out of spec in terms of size and form. Plenty of hours were spent to make it true. The RH side windshield post was damaged to the extent that a replacement was sought. This proved to be difficult, so my body shop guys had to also spend extra time to heat it up, reform it and bring it back to spec, ensuring a good fit for the windshield glass without water ingress from the rubber seal.

Having overcome these challenges successfully, the body became ready for its final treatment and preparations before entering the paint oven. As planned, the color had to be the same as per the original specs of the factory, as attested in the ‘Zertifikat”, i.e. the L 469 Anthracite.  In early August of 2012, the color recipe was cooked by Master Painter Costa Vitaliotis  and the Käfer shell was carefully and lovingly resprayed.

Milestone moment: the Bug has be repainted to its original factory Anthracite L469 color!

At the same time, two other tasks were taken care of. First the old, original gear box was rebuilt as the synchro mesh of the

The gear box is refitted to the rolling chassis and mated with the engine.

2nd gear had weakened. Upon inspection, the 1st gear mesh was also replaced as did all the seals and axle boots. Prior to reassembly, the half axles were repainted black as well as the drum assemblies. The completed g-box looked nice while the first test drive will prove if the ‘surgery’ was successful.

Second, the old seat covers were removed from the seat frames and the frames were scrubbed and painted in light ivory as per their original color. Next, a friendly upholsterer was recommended by a friend who was doing up the interior of his newly acquired 1962 Jaguar Mk II and was quite happy with the quality of his workmanship. One hot afternoon I loaded up all the seat frames along with the TMI Inc. upholstery kits and ventured to west side Athens to meet my new collaborator, Christos Tsadilas.  After inspecting his work on my friend’s Jag, touching bases and helping him to file an application for a FIVA card on his Dodge Charger classic, a deal was struck ‘on the interior job’ and we agreed to bring the car to him prior to fitting the front and rear windshields so that he could also fit the new headliner.

The engine-trans-axle-gear box assembly has been refitted to the rolling chassis.

Finally back at the A & B For Cars body shop, the guys started to reassemble the trans-axle and engine onto the reconditioned chassis. All the engine tinware and fan doghouse were repainted flat black and the new screws were fitted from the appropriate kit provided by VW Heritage.

Next task: re-mating the body to the rolling chassis!

More updates will be forthcoming…

The Restoration Project of the Käfer has started

In my other post of mid December 2011 titled A 1962 VW Beetle joins the ‘family’, I had outlined the new acquisition and mentioned about the plan to proceed with a sympathetic restoration of this fun car to which I have become emotionally attached.

Not without some delays, the resto project has commenced as of Monday 5th March. I have entrusted the work to my competent body shop friends of A & B For Cars who had done such a good job couple of years ago on my other car, the Mercedes-Benz 250SE Coupé.

Since the VW Beetle is a much simpler and smaller vehicle compared to the Mercedes, but also having gone through the previous Mercedes project experience, I am now more knowledgeable, hence confident that we will proceed with a relatively quick pace. An important factor pertains to human relationships. Through the years, I have built trusting and friendly relationships with the owners Gregory and Costa, as well as with their staff and Manos, the shop’s foreman who is looking after my Käfer! The target is to have the car ready for Easter. Sort of like a little ‘half egg shaped’ present. In addition, I have done some preparatory research on parts availability; as expected for such a popular car which had endured a long life with 18+ million examples produced, the issue of sourcing spare parts is de facto solved. There are many specialists involved with the VW brand both in Europe, the USA, South America and Asia of course.

We are currently verifying the “parts needed list” in order to proceed with placing purchase orders. The guys at A & B suggest that we take off the body, have it sand blasted and thus allowing for working on the floor pan with much ease and thoroughness. Budgetary estimates are being prepared for this (and only) scenario. So far the verdict is that we have a rather sound body with very little rust spots and an even better looking floor pan. Not so many worries (or additional expenses). 🙂

So here is what I saw yesterday after the initial stripping:

The restoration was started on 5 March 2012

Wheel arches show no rust

The rear LH valance from the inside: few issues here

The LH inner fender rust spot: not so difficult to fix

Inner door condition is good with some rust in the bottom area.

The view from the rear, prior to engine removal

Wed. 7th March 2012 update: ‘Houston we have Lift-Off’, the body was separated from the chassis

The body shell hovers over the chassis! Perhaps this temporary separation has occurred for the first time after a tight, faithful marriage of over 50 years!

Today as I visited the body shop, the Käfer was just being readied for lift-off! That is all the bolts holding the body shell firmly mated to the rolling chassis had been removed, ditto for the wiring. Manos, the shop’s Foreman was making sure that nothing was forgotten, the last item to be disconnected was the speedo cable. The body was manually cracked open and the lifter arms were adjusted so that by pressing the Up button it would be raised evenly and without much effort. Carefully coordinating the intermittent pressings of the button by an assistant, the body was lifted-off without any mishap.

Rear quarter panel is rusted nicely and will be replaced.

Upon closer examination of both body and floor-pan, the verdict revealed few more rust spots, mainly in the body undersides, in the area of the heater tubes which run alongside the door sills. A known source of pain for VW Beetles. In addition, few more rust spots became evident on the rear quarter panels onto which the bumper brackets are being mounted. Luckily such panels are readily available from a number of sources, among which the VWHERITAGE guys in the UK.

Other than these pains in the aforementioned areas, there were no further nasty surprises upon the separation of the body from the chassis, such having occurred for the first time after a tight and faithful German marriage, residing in sunny dry Greece, for over 50 years!

Watch the ‘separation’ video clip here below:

Here are few more impressive pictures from the operation:

I love this particular picture which captures almost an unreal sight 😉

The rolling chassis

Attention Low Riders: you cannot go any lower than this! 😉

My Blog during 2011 in review!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.