10-11 October 2013

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Lot 213

1928 Ford Model A Roadster

  • Chassis no. A189
  • Engine no. A189

Sold for $49,500

40 bhp, 200.5 cu. in. inline four-cylinder engine with a two-barrel carburetor, three-speed manual transmission, solid front and rear axles with transverse leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanically operated drum brakes. Wheelbase: 103.5 in.

  • Believed to be the earliest known Model A serial number to survive
  • Matching numbers
  • A genuine piece of Ford history, delivered to Sweden and later owned by Representative Charlie Bass

Revolutionary as it was, Ford’s Model T couldn’t stay in production forever. When it was first produced in 1908, the Model T was hailed as the first affordable automobile, and it put millions of families and drivers behind the wheel of a car for the first time. As time went on, competitors were eager to introduce their own automobile that was aimed at the middle class, and to reap the profits after providing a more modern alternative. By the end of 1924, the Model T was succumbing to more sophisticated competition from other manufacturers, leaving many to believe that Henry Ford was to be a one-hit wonder in the automotive world. However, Ford’s son, Edsel, convinced his father to discontinue the model that brought his company so much success, and Henry allowed the development of a new model to begin.

The Model A introduced many improvements, including a new battery and ignition system and a conventional sliding-gear manual transmission. In addition, four-wheel mechanical brakes, welded wire wheels, and Houdaille-type shock absorbers were also utilized. The exterior design carried over several cues from Lincolns of the era, and it featured a longer wheelbase, a higher belt line, and several more colors than the Model T’s utilitarian black. Perhaps the most notable change to the average customer was that the Model A utilized a new inline four-cylinder engine that produced twice the output of the motor in the Model T.

This 1928 Model A, wearing chassis number A189, is believed to be the lowest known existing serial number for a Ford Model A. While the majority of early Model As didn’t leave North America, this specific example was originally exported to Sweden after leaving the factory, and it was registered in March 1928.

The car passed through a number of owners in Europe, and it was restored in Sweden before returning to its country of origin in the early 2000s. It was then repainted in green with a black top. Later, it was owned by known Model A enthusiast and U.S. Representative Charlie Bass, of New Hampshire, before being sold to its current owner in 2006. The Model A is equipped with the left-handed brake and an early rear taillight, among other options that were characteristic of the first 200 “AR” Model As to leave the factory. The car presents very well and is run periodically to ensure that everything is in functioning order. Documentation includes the original title from the sale to Sweden and a letter from Charlie Bass that confirms his ownership.

This is a beautiful Model A that is only made more desirable because of its pedigree as the lowest chassis number Model A in existence. It is a must have for any collector, as its new owner will not only be purchasing an example of one of the most successful automobiles ever produced, in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition, but also one that has a unique place in Model A history.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver


+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht


+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig


+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose


+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould


+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry


+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut


+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin


+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher


+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden


+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more