1929 Ford Model A Phaeton

Star Car Fritz James


After a wildly successful 18-year production run of the famous Model T, the Ford Motor Company introduced its all-new Model A on December 2, 1927. Ford’s mission was to duplicate the T’s utility and dependability, but with a level of styling sophistication that generally was reserved for higher-priced marques. Under the hood lurked Ford’s new 200.5 ci, four-cylinder, water-cooled engine that produced a respectable 40 hp at 2200 rpm.

Within 18 months of the introduction, two million Model As in a full range of open and enclosed body styles were on the road. Among the most affordable was the four-door, four-passenger Phaeton with a base price of just $460. Although designed with dependability in mind, few Model As were subjected to the rigors endured by this particular Phaeton, nicknamed “Henry”. Henry is a veteran of two recent ultra-marathon vintage car rallies.

In 2010, Fritz James and Lang Wightman piloted Henry from Peking, China, to Paris, France. The team completed its 10,000-mile journey through 11 Asian and European countries in just 32 days. Traversing Mongolia presented the greatest challenge, since obstacles were many and roads were few. Even so, Henry performed admirably without so much as a flat tire.

Three years later, the duo participated in The Great South American Challenge from Rio de Janeiro to the world’s southernmost town, Ushuaia, Argentina. The 7,800-mile rally routed the team through five countries and over desolate mountain passes in the Andes in excess of 16,000 feet.

In order to endure some of the worst roads on the planet, the team converted the Phaeton’s six-volt electrical system to 12 and installed sturdier shock absorbers. True to the Model A’s reputation for dependability, Henry had no breakdowns and only one flat tire. The team completed the adventure in 38 days.

  • Owner

    Fritz James


    1929 Ford Model A Phaeton


    200.5 ci, four-cylinder


    40 hp