Ford Model AA Truck

1929 Ford Model AA truck a beefed-up response to earlier models

| July 2011

In 1926, when Henry Ford realized that his Model TT truck had become obsolete, the stage was set for more than a mere replacement. The truck he unveiled in October 1927 – the Model AA truck – was a stronger, more powerful vehicle, well equipped to conquer rural roads. 

“You have to remember most of the roads – dirt roads – were terrible at the time,” says Lee Young, librarian/archivist at the American Truck Historical Society. “If you loaded down a truck with any kind of weight and you got on a dirt road with mud, you needed all the power you could get to move it. The Model AA truck was tremendously important on the farm and an awful lot of them were used there.”

Though the Model AA’s production run lasted only four years, the choice proved propitious for the manufacturer: In 1929 Ford set a new record for truck sales. And one Model AA truck is still going strong in the collection of a Minnesota man.

Rescued from the barn

After watching a 1929 Ford Model AA truck languish in a pole barn for 15 years, Leon Bray, Crown, Minn., couldn’t take it any more. He finally asked the owner what his plans were for the old relic – and Leon ended up as the truck’s new owner. “By that time the truck hadn’t run in over 20 years,” he says.

The son of a truck driver, Leon grew up with trucks. “My dad drove Mack trucks and I have a Mack truck,” he says. “They’re a lot harder to work on. When my friend decided to sell this 1929 Ford, I knew it would be a lot easier to work on. Also, you don’t need a CDL commercial license to drive it in Minnesota, like you do for the Mack. So I said, ‘This Ford is the one for me.’”

Retired from the farm

Originally a working farm truck in the Chamberlain, S.D., area, the Ford was already restored when Leon’s friend bought it from a museum that was closing. Use of authentic Ford parts was apparently not a top priority in that restoration. “I don’t think the headlights and the grille shroud are original, because they are chrome or nickel,” Leon says. “The only others I’ve seen on these vintage AA trucks are painted black. I don’t know if somebody changed those parts or what.”