1930 Ford Model A Station Wagon/Shooting Brake Coachwork by Hercules Body Company Registration no. BF 8081 Chassis no. 2679223
Introduced in 1929 and one of Ford's many 'firsts', the Station Wagon or 'Woodie' was the firm's debut entry into this particular market sector. At a time when re-configurable seating is commonplace the similarities are striking, showing just how advanced a concept it was. At a push the Woodie could accommodate eight people with their baggage carried on the fold-down rear deck, or alternatively the individual pair of second-row seats and rear bench could be folded forward and lifted out, leaving a substantial flat deck area. It was a true multi-purpose vehicle. As with the Model T, only one colour was offered, in this case Manila Brown, while mudguards, wheels, and most trim pieces were painted black. Over time dealers and owners frequently improved the appearance by adding the passenger car's chromed radiator shell.
While the majority of station wagons are known to have been designed, constructed and supplied directly by Murray to Ford, a few buyers or agencies chose their own coachbuilder. One company that was well known for constructing high quality Woodies on Packard and other top marques was the Hercules Body Company of Evansville, Indiana. The Model A we offer here is badged as bodied by Hercules and, as such, is extremely rare - only a comparative handful of Model As carried their coachwork.
This immaculate Station Wagon comes to market having received considerable work and expense of restoration. Mechanically, the car was entrusted to noted Model A specialist Ladd Eaton of Melvin Village, New Hampshire and found to need relatively little work, mainly the fettling of its brakes, carburettor, and electrical system. Sensibly, the cosmetics were entrusted to a noted restorer of wooden boats, Charles Gath, who carefully disassembled and refinished all the wooden body panels and trim elements. Using Epifanes spar varnish, these cars' original finish, the warm, original honeyed glow of the wood has been reinstated.
The current vendor purchased the Woodie at Bonhams' Amelia Island Sale in March 2015 (Lot 113) and brought it to the UK. He sent it straight to Belcher Engineering, the UK's top Model A Ford specialists, who were given a free-hand and did everything required to ensure that the car runs well. Since then it has only been used for short trips around the owner's farm, and is only offered for sale due to a lack of space. A wonderful opportunity to own a rare, distinctive and immensely practical vehicle that is sure to provide great fun for all of the family this summer and into the shooting season to come.