The first Ford Motor Company product was called, not surprisingly, the Model A. It was powered by an opposed 2-cylinder engine that displaced 100 cubic inches and developed 8 horsepower. Built on a wheelbase of only 72 inches, it weighed roughly 1,250 pounds, depending upon the body fitted. Its light weight made the most of the engine’s 8 horsepower, and an ordinary man could cover more ground in a day with a Model A Ford than with a horse and buggy. More importantly, the Ford didn’t need to be fed on days it wasn’t being used — or have its stall mucked out!
Ford filled his manufacturing pipeline with product in early 1903, making more than a few running changes in the Model A’s design along the way — a pattern that would be repeated many times. Yet while cash was going out to pay vendors and employees, shipments hadn’t started, and income wasn’t coming in to replenish the coffers. It was doubtful if payroll could be fulfilled long enough to complete the existing works-in-progress. Henry Ford and James Couzens had bet the company on having product ready and customers signed up at exactly the moment the cash ran out. That day was Monday, July 13, 1903, when the first three orders were received by the Ford Motor Company for Model A Fords.