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The Ford Motor Company was incorporated under the laws of Michigan on June 16, 1903. The company sold its first car (the original Model A) in July of 1903. During the period 1904-07 Ford produced the Models AC, C, B, F, K, N, R, and S. Then in October of 1908, Ford introduced the Model T, going on to produce 15,000,000 Model T’s by May 26, 1927. At this point, retooling commenced and on October 20, 1927 Ford progressed through the alphabet again, producing the first new Model A engine which came off the assembly line and that day was placed on a brand new Model A Ford chassis. The all-new Model A Ford was announced to the public on November 26, 1927, with its first public showing on December 2, 1927.
The Model A Ford Taxicab was introduced on December 4, 1928 with a price of $800 FOB Detroit. Taxicabs carried their own Type Number, 135-A. Model year 1928 saw only 264 taxicabs being produced for the domestic market. Domestic production peaked in 1929 with 4,376 being produced. The combination of low production numbers and the rough use of taxicabs while they were in service resulted in very few original Ford taxicabs surviving (only four or five Ford taxicabs are known to exist today). A declining economy leading into the depression years of 1930 and 1931 resulted in a poor demand for the factory-crafted taxicab. Ford, seeing the writing on the wall, decided to leave the taxicab market to after-market converters.
An interesting side note: On January 27, 1929 New York City declared that in order to be legal, all taxicabs servicing the city must be able to carry five passengers. Model A Taxicabs from Ford’s assembly line could seat (at best) a maximum of four passengers. This put a damper on the use of Ford-built Model A Taxicabs. The issue was not contested until February 13, 1931 when Luxford Taxicab Company announced that they were going to begin operation in New York with Ford Taxicabs. However, it was too late to save the type. Only 10 U.S. domestic Ford factory-crafted taxicabs were produced in 1930, and production of the 135-A body ceased in March of 1930.
This Ford Taxicab would be extremely rare if it were one of those 10 produced by Ford in 1930. Unfortunately, it is not. This taxicab is, however, a prime example of an after-market conversion to a taxicab. Here a taxicab converter company took a 1930 Model A, five-wheel (one welled front fender) Town Sedan, Murray Bodied, Type 155-C chassis and body and converted it into a taxicab. This was a normal occurrence in the early and mid 30’s. Taxicab accessories were readily available from many auto parts manufacturing and specialty houses. Taximeters, a must for a taxicab owner, were made by Ohmer Fare Register Company of Dayton Ohio, the Pittsburg Taximeter Company, and several others. Body makers also entered the market by offering special bodies of higher load capacity, in some cases to be placed on an extended Ford chassis.
There is not much room for the driver of this car. Only a driver with a small stature would be comfortable driving it.
- Second generation Model A’s were produced from 1928 to 1931
- This is Murray-bodied Model A 4-Door sedan; was later restored and converted into a taxicab
- Price new: $580