c1928 Ford Model A (Miller Schofield Special)
|Engine||In-line four-cylinder, 200.5-cid|
Introduced in late 1927 as a 1928 model, Ford's Model A was a milestone car in the history of the Blue Oval, replacing the much-loved Tin Lizzie and proved equally successful, despite its much shorter production life. Almost everything about the Model A was new, including the four-cylinder L-head engine of 200-cid with 40 horsepower on tap, more than doubling the output of its predecessor. The cumbersome and outmoded planetary gearchange was replaced with a simpler, more user-friendly three-speed sliding transmission box, while the chassis featured a longer wheelbase, new front and rear axles and hydraulic shock absorbers for a vastly improved ride. The American public had been waiting almost two decades for a new model so it was hardly surprising the Model A proved a resounding sales success, with 633,594 built in the first calendar year of production. Right from the beginning the potential for tuning the Model A's engine for more power was obvious and one of the leading names in American motor racing, Harry Miller, whose superb track cars rivalled those of Ettore Bugatti for quality and indeed success, was soon at the forefront of the speed equipment business. In 1929 Miller joined forces with a consortium headed by Californian businessman George L Schofield, who wanted to move into the automotive and aviation worlds and needed Miller's engineering expertise to make it possible. With the so-called “junk formula” then in place for races like the Indy 500, the search was on to extract more power from regular production engines so Miller's designer Leo Goossens came up with three different cylinder heads for the Model A. These consisted of a high compression flathead, a pushrod overhead valve conversion and an 8-valve DOHC head specifically aimed at racers. Combining one of these heads with a reground cam, improved ignition and stripped-down bodywork enabled hot rodders to achieve remarkable speeds on the dry lakes of America.