Story of the Week

Posted: 04.28.2015
Remembering Ford Trucks: 1930-1934
By: Robert Tate, Automotive Historian/Researcher
Images: Courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection

 

The 1930’s were a time of economic down turns and also considered a sad time for many Americans who were enduring the Great Depression. For many living in this country, this was a dismal time in their lives and in our country’s history. During the model years 1930-1934, the Ford Motor Company still manufactured remarkable Ford Trucks for the consumer market. Styling changes to the 1930 and 1931 Model A cars and Model AA trucks made them look new and exciting and many business would enjoy their popularity.
 
Ford Trucks From the 1930's
 
Early on, Henry Ford became one of the world's largest automobile and truck manufacturers. On June 16, 1903 the direction for transportation and consumer needs within our American culture would forever change. Ford's early commercial vehicles were released during the early part of the century. The first model was a Model C Ford that was introduced in 1905 with a price tag of several hundred dollars. However, only a few buyers were attracted to this model and less than a dozen were manufactured and produced.
 

 

Ford Trucks From the 1930's

 

 
Ford's second model that was released for the commercial market was the Ford Delivery Van introduced in 1907. Later, the very popular Model T Ford was easily modified for commercial purposes. During the 1930's, the De Luxe Delivery models at Ford offered a low cost price tag for the consumers throughout America. By the early 1930's, an open cab pickup truck became a popular vehicle among many companies who were fans of Ford’s lines of great trucks. Other popular models included the Model A Town Car Delivery which offered an aluminum body with Veneer panels and full length sliding doors that connected the driver's compartment with the loading area for the driver’s work usage. Ford also offered a Model A natural wood panel delivery truck which was also very popular. The model offered hard maple and birch material finished in natural grain wood products. The sides and rear were painted and the seats were deeply cushioned. Ford also offered the Ford drop floor panel delivery that was designed for florists, cleaners, or sales men with their samples. The drop floor was the same construction as the body floor and the wide double doors made it easier for retailers and their working needs.
 
Ford Trucks From the 1930's
 
During the early 1930's, Ford offered a wide range of 1 ½ ton trucks for the consumer market that included 1 ½ ton chassis equipped with stake bodies and closed cabs. Other bodies included coal bodies with high end- gates, and open express bodies with closed cabs along with standard hydraulic dump bodies, and stock racks with closed cabs along with many more options as well. The Deluxe panel Delivery had been designed for the retailers who required the best in dependable delivery service. The Deluxe Panel Delivery was a vehicle for the most exclusive shops. Yet, it was very economical to own and operate for the average consumer. Some delivery panel bodies offered a 157-inch chassis which were truly an outstanding large capacity delivery unit for anyone who had a business and who needed a lot of space to work with. There was an exceptionally large load of space inside this unit as well. The hardwood floors were supported by heavy cross sills which were protected from excessive wear by seven painted steel skid strips. The panel areas offered insulated masonite for that extra support.
 
Ford Trucks From the 1930's
 
In the 1930’s, Ford’s truck sales approached the 200,000 mark. The company was the nation's best-seller, both in that year and in 1931. By 1934, Ford trucks sales were continuing to be very strong within the consumer market because Ford offered more equipment and significantly more models to customers than any other manufacturer. In comparison to the competition from Dodge, Chevrolet, and International Harvester, Ford trucks offered more general improvements and conditions. Customer awareness and the revolutionary V-8 engine were also factors among consumers. In conclusion, throughout history, Ford trucks have historically been very popular among consumers. For this reason and more, they will always have their special place in automotive heritage.
 

A special thanks to Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher, for donating the story to the MotorCities Story of the Week program. Photographs are courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection. (Bibliography: Wagner K. James. “Ford Trucks since 1905” Crestline Publishing February, 1978. McLaughlin Paul & The Auto Editors Of consumer Guide. “Ford Truck Chronicle “ International, LTD 2006.)

For further information on photos please visit http://www.detroitpubliclibrary.org/ or email nahc@detroitpubliclibrary.org. Please do not republish the story and/or photographs without permission of MotorCities National Heritage Area.

If you have a story that you would like to donate to be featured as a MotorCities Story of the Week, email mcadmin@motorcities.org

 


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